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FUNDING > Partnerships for...

Industrial Innovation and Partnerships

Sara B. Nerlove, (703) 292-7077

Alexandra Medina-Borja, (703) 292-7557

Gurdip Singh, (703) 292-8950

Hector Munoz-Avila, (703) 292-7129

Alexander Leonessa, (703) 292-2678

Leon Esterowitz, (703) 292-7942

William J. Cooper, (703) 292-5356

Jordan M. Berg, (703) 292-5365

Solicitation 15-610

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 15-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after December 26, 2014. The PAPPG is consistent with, and, implements the new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) (2 CFR 200). Please be advised that the guidelines contained in NSF 15-1 apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Letter of Intent Deadline Date:  December 2, 2015

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  January 27, 2016

The Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program supports academe-industry partnerships which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team collaborating with a least one industry partner. In this program, there is a heavy emphasis on the quality, composition, and participation of the partners, including the appropriate contributions for each role. These partnerships focus on the integration of technologies into a specified human-centered service system with the potential to achieve transformational change, satisfying a real need by making an existing service system smart(er) or by spurring the creation of an entirely new smart service system. The selected service system should function as a test bed.

Service systems are socio-technical configurations of people, technologies, organizations, and information [1] designed to create value by fulfilling the needs of those participating in the system. A "smart" service system is a system that amplifies or augments human capabilities [2] to identify, learn, adapt, monitor and make decisions. The system utilizes data received, transmitted, or processed in a timely manner, thus improving its response to future situations. These capabilities are the result of the incorporation of technologies for sensing, actuation, coordination, communication, control, etc. 

PFI:BIC funds research partnerships working on projects that operate in the post-fundamental/translational space; the proposers must be mindful of the state of the art and the competitive landscape, yet recognize that it is not a central task in this proposal to carve out, or be on, a clear path to commercialization. These projects require additional effort to integrate the technology into a real service system, incorporating human factors considerations to assure the system’s efficacy. The research tasks in turn might spawn additional discoveries inspired by this interaction of humans with the technology.

Partnership activities that drive sustained innovation include the targeted allocation of resources such as capital, time, and facilities; and sharing of knowledge in a cross-organizational and interdisciplinary context. The research tasks of the project must demonstrate a highly collaborative research plan involving participation of the primary industrial partner(s) as well as of any other primary partners with the academic researcher during the life of the award.

NSF recognizes that a highly interdisciplinary collaboration involving many areas of expertise beyond those related to the technology is needed to achieve successful integration into a smart service system. The research components to be included in this project are: 1) engineered system design and integration; 2) computing, sensing, and information technologies; and 3) human factors, behavioral sciences, and cognitive engineering. The proposer must show how these components will be integrated in the context of the project as part of the research plan in the Project Description. 

WEBINARS: Webinars will be held to answer questions about the solicitation. Register on the PFI:BIC website where details will be posted ( Potential proposers and their partners are encouraged to attend. Also encouraged to attend are the following stakeholders in the successful review of PFI:BIC proposals: Vice Presidents for Research, Vice Presidents for Research and Innovation, and academic personnel concerned with the review of their respective institution’s selection of candidates for submission, individuals from Sponsored Research Offices, and those focused on the identification and understanding of limited application submissions.


[1] Spohrer, J., Maglio, P., Bailey, J., Gruhl, D. (2007). Steps towards a science of service systems. Computer 40(1):71-77. doi:10.1109/MC.2007.33.

[2] Ng, I. (2015). The Internet of Everything and the Future of Service. Speech, 2015 Frontiers in Service Conference in San Jose, CA. Accessible online at:

Additional Funding Opportunities for the CNS Community
Additional Funding Opportunities for the IIS Community

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)



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