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MATERIALS RESEARCH SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CENTERS
DIRECTORATE FOR MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES
DIVISION OF MATERIALS RESEARCH
DEADLINE: PRE-PROPOSALS: SEPTEMBER 10, 1999
DEADLINE: FULL PROPOSAL: JANUARY 21, 2000
NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress
in the United States by competitively awarding grants for research and
education in the sciences, mathematics and engineering.
To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies
of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Web
Location: 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230
For General Information (NSF Information Center): (703) 306-1234
TDD (for the hearing-impaired): (703) 306-0090
To Order Publications or Forms:
Send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone: (301) 947-2722
To Locate NSF Employees: (703) 306-1234
SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Program Name: Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers
Short Description/Synopsis of Program: The MRSEC program supports
interdisciplinary university based group research and educational activities
in the area of materials science and engineering, condensed matter physics,
solid state and materials chemistry, and related areas of science and
engineering. Any MRSEC encompasses one or more interdisciplinary research
groups (IRGs). The IRGs involve several faculty and associated researchers
with complementary background and expertise and address an area of research,
which requires interactive efforts among the participants.
Cognizant Program Officer(s): Dr. Carmen Huber, Program
Director, Room 1065, Division of Materials Research, telephone (703)
306-1996, e-mail: email@example.com; Dr. Ulrich
Strom, Program Director, Room 1065, telephone (703) 306-1832, e-mail:
Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 47.049
- Limitation on the categories of organizations that are eligible to submit
Proposals may be submitted by universities in support of
center type activities
- PI eligibility limitations: None
- Limitation on the number of proposals that may be submitted by an
Only two pre-proposals may be submitted by any one institution. Any
one individual may be the Principal Investigator for only one pre-proposal.
The same limitations apply to full proposals.
- Type of award anticipated: Cooperative Agreement
- Number of awards anticipated in FY 2000: 10-15 awards
- Amount of funds available: Approximately $22 million will be available
for this initiative in FY 2000
- Anticipated date of award: September 2000
PROPOSAL PREPARATION & SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
- Proposal Preparation Instructions
- Letter of Intent requirements: None
- Pre-proposal requirements: Yes
- Proposal preparation instructions: Standard NSF Grant Proposal Guide
and special instructions
- Supplemental proposal preparation instructions: None
- Deviations from standard (GPG) proposal preparation instructions: No,
except that there are additional instructions
- Cost sharing/matching requirements:
Cost sharing of at least 10% of the total (five year) budget is
required and must be shown on line M of the proposal budget (NSF Form 1030.)
- Indirect cost (F&A) limitations: In accordance with Federal
- Other budgetary limitations:
Awards are expected to range in size between $0.5 million/year and $5.0
million/year. The budget for the full proposal may not be larger than the
- FastLane Requirements
- FastLane proposal preparation requirements: FastLane use required
- FastLane point of contact: Florence I. Rabanal, e-mail:
Maxine E. Jefferson, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Deadline/Target Dates
- Pre-Proposal Deadline 5:00 PM, local time, September 10, 1999
- Full Proposal Deadline 5:00 PM local time, January 21, 2000
PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION
- Merit Review Criteria: Standard National Science Board approved
AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
- Grant Award Conditions: GC-1 and CA-1
- Special conditions anticipated: Stated within cooperative agreement
- Special reporting requirements anticipated: Annual progress report
and continuation request
Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) support
interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary materials research and education of
the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and
engineering that are important to society. MRSECs require outstanding
research quality, intellectual breadth, interdisciplinarity, flexibility in
responding to new research opportunities, and support for research
infrastructure, and they foster the integration of research and education in
the materials field. They are expected to have strong links to industry and
other sectors, and to develop a national network of university-based centers
in materials research. MRSECs address fundamental materials research topics
of intellectual and technological importance, contribute to national
priorities by fostering active collaboration between academia and other
sectors, and enable researchers to address problems of a scope and complexity
requiring the advantages of scale and interdisciplinarity provided by a
campus-based research center.
The MRSEC program reinforces NSF's commitment to excellence in
interdisciplinary research and education; it is national in scope and
significance, requiring coordination of the overall effort among Centers; and
it complements, but does not substitute for, NSF support for individual
investigators, small groups, national user facilities, and instrumentation in
MRSECs are supported by NSF to undertake materials research of a scope and
complexity that would not be feasible under traditional funding of individual
research projects. NSF support is intended to reinforce the base of
individual investigator and small group research by providing the flexibility
to address topics requiring an approach of broad scope and duration. MRSECs
are university-based, and undertake an interactive, interdisciplinary
approach to materials research and education while fostering active
cooperation among university-based researchers and those concerned with the
application of materials research in industry and elsewhere. An MRSEC may
encompass one or more interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs). Each IRG
involves several faculty members and associated researchers, addressing a
major topic or area in which sustained support for interactive effort by
several participants with complementary backgrounds, skills, and knowledge is
critical to progress. The IRGs in a Center may be topically related, or they
may address different topical aspects of materials research; they contribute
to the synergy arising from the intellectual and educational activities of
the Center and its common infrastructure, shared facilities and outreach
programs. Thus, the Center as a whole is expected to be more than the sum of
The scope of activities of each MRSEC depends on the capabilities of the
proposing institution. Smaller Centers normally consist of a single IRG
addressing a particular topic in materials research, involving collaboration
with industry or other sectors. Larger Centers undertake a broader program
of research and education, and may involve several IRGs. MRSECs incorporate
most or all of the following activities to an extent consistent with the size
of the Center:
- Programs to stimulate interdisciplinary education and the development of
human resources (including support for underrepresented groups) through
cooperation and collaboration with other institutions and sectors, as well as
within the host institution. Cooperative programs involving minority and
non-minority institutions are strongly encouraged.
- Active cooperation with industry, to stimulate and facilitate knowledge
transfer among the participants and strengthen the links between
university-based research and its application; cooperation and collaboration
with other academic institutions and other sectors, including international
collaboration. Cooperative activities may include, but are not limited to:
joint research programs; affiliate programs; joint development and use of
shared experimental facilities; access to user facilities; visiting scientist
programs; joint educational ventures; joint seminar series, colloquia, or
workshops; stimulation of new business ventures; involvement of external
advisory groups; and industrial outreach programs.
Each MRSEC has the responsibility to manage and evaluate its own operation
with respect to program administration, planning, content and direction. NSF
support is intended to promote optimal use of university resources and
capabilities, and to provide maximum flexibility in setting research
directions, developing cooperative activities with other institutions and
sectors, and responding quickly and effectively to new opportunities in
materials research and education that are important to the nation's research
and technology base. NSF encourages MRSECs to include support for junior
faculty, high-risk projects, and emerging areas of interdisciplinary
The MRSECs constitute a spectrum of coordinated Centers of differing
scientific breadth and administrative complexity which may address any area
of materials research. The smaller Centers enable specialized areas of
interdisciplinary excellence to be integrated into a national network of
larger MRSECs. These in turn provide, in addition to research excellence,
the infrastructure of equipment, education and outreach needed to ensure that
the program as a whole meets its objectives and provides for effective
coordination with industrial efforts. The MRSEC program will not normally
provide support simultaneously for more than one Center based at any one
MRSEC Directors serve on a national liaison team for the program. The
team is responsible for developing a liaison structure with the active
participation of each Center, contributing to a network of centers addressing
common problems and opportunities, and facilitating links and cooperation
among Centers as well as between Centers and other institutions.
Academic institutions in the USA with broad research and education
programs in the area of condensed matter physics, solid state and materials
chemistry, materials science and engineering, and related areas of science
and engineering may submit pre-proposals.
In order to reduce the burden of proposal writing for the materials
research community and the burden of subsequent proposal review and
evaluation for reviewers and NSF staff, NSF will accept full
proposals for MRSECs by invitation only, based on the
results of the pre-proposal evaluation.
While more than one institution may participate in a single proposal or
pre-proposal, one institution must accept overall management responsibility
for the Center. A single institution may not be the lead institution in more
than two pre-proposals.
Individual MRSEC awards are expected to range in size from about $0.5
million to about $5 million per year. Awards will be made for five years.
The number of awards will depend on the availability of funds and the quality
of proposals received. Proposals from existing (re-competing) Centers will
be evaluated in open competition with new proposals. If a proposal from an
existing Center is not successful, phase out support may be provided at a
reduced level for a period of up to two years after the expiration of the
current award. Awards are based on comprehensive, competitive merit review.
Re-competing Centers must demonstrate excellence, significant achievements,
and institutional and national impact in materials research; substantive
accomplishments in the integration of research and education; active and
effective collaboration with industry and other sectors as appropriate and
effective development and operation of shared facilities. Achievements under
prior NSF support are a critical factor when re-competing proposals are
considered. The commitment of each Center to introducing substantially new
research topics and undertaking innovative research will also be important in
considering re-competing proposals. Anticipated date of awards: September
PROPOSAL PREPARATION & SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
- Support for shared experimental facilities, properly staffed, equipped
and maintained, and accessible to users from the Center, the participating
institutions, and other institutions and sectors.
A. Proposal Preparation Instructions
Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement should be
prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in
the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), NSF 99-2. The complete text of the
GPG (including electronic forms) is available electronically on the NSF Web
site at: https://www.nsf.gov/.
Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications
Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement number (NSF
99-125) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the NSF Form 1207,
"Cover Sheet for Proposal to the National Science
Foundation" and to select "Materials Rsch Sci and Eng
Cent." from the Fastlane org. unit pull-down list. Compliance with
this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing
guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.
The pre-proposal must be submitted via NSF FastLane. The pre-proposal must be
single-spaced in 12-point type, and consist of
Concurrently with submission of the pre-proposal please submit by e-mail
to firstname.lastname@example.org the
following: (1) The title of the pre-proposal, the submitting
institution(s), and the name of the PI(s); (2) a list of individuals (and
their affiliations) outside the participating institutions whose
participation in the review of the pre-proposal might constitute a conflict
of interest through association with the participants; (3) a list of
individuals who might be suitable to act as impartial reviewers.
In the narrative (item 2 above), provide the following:
- the NSF coversheet (showing the name of the proposed MRSEC director
(principal investigator), the pre-proposal title and the names of the
principal participating institutions. It is not necessary to send in page
two of NSF Form 1207 for pre-proposals;
- a narrative (see below); enter in "project description"
- a list of participating senior investigators (faculty level and
equivalent) by name, institutional affiliation, and departmental affiliation
(additional biographical information is not required in the
pre-proposal); include this at the end of the narrative along with a title
that clearly identifies the section and enter in the "project
description" FastLane form;
- a one-page synopsis of institutional and other commitments to the
proposed Center; include this at the end of the narrative along with a title
that clearly identifies the section and enter in the "project
description" FastLane form;
- budget pages (see Budgetary Information below), and a one-page
- a Summary table of requested NSF support (see Budgetary Information
below); include this at the end of the narrative along with a title that
clearly identifies the section and enter in the "project
description" FastLane form.
- a brief overview of the Center as a whole, including a concise rationale
for establishing the Center, and an outline of the existing and planned
capabilities of the participating institutions in materials research and
education. Limit: 1 page.
- a description of pertinent achievements under prior NSF support, where
applicable. Limit: 2 pages.
- a description of each proposed area of multi-investigator,
interdisciplinary group research, including names of faculty-level
participants and numbers of students and postdoctoral associates in each
group (limit this section to no more than two pages for each
- a description of proposed activities in education, human resource
development, and outreach; proposed collaborations with industry and/or other
sectors; shared experimental facilities; international collaboration; and an
outline of the proposed arrangements for administration and management of the
Center. Limit: 3 pages
Limit the narrative section as a whole to no more than eleven pages
total, including tables, illustrations, and references, regardless of the
number of IRGs.
A full proposal may be submitted only by invitation. All full proposals must
be submitted via NSF FastLane. The proposal must be single spaced in
12-point type and must contain the following items in the order indicated.
Proposals that exceed the page limitations will be ineligible for
consideration and will be returned without review. Items 2 through 15
described below should be entered in the "project description"
FastLane form, with the exception of Item Number 4, which should
be entered on the "Add/Modify Non CO-PI Senior Personnel" Form.
The two-page NSF Cover Sheet. Indicate the total amount requested for
the five years of NSF support in the box entitled "requested amount."
Table of Contents. Will generated automatically by FastLane.
Executive Summary. Provide a clear rationale for and
description of the proposed MRSEC and its potential impact. Briefly describe
the institutional setting of the Center, its proposed scope and organization,
activities in research and education and their integration, development of
human resources, shared experimental facilities, collaborative activities
with industry and other sectors, links with related major research centers on
or off campus, and management plan. Limit: 3 pages.
List of Participants. List each senior investigator (faculty
level or equivalent), by full name, and his or her institutional and
departmental affiliation; enter in "Add/Modify Non CO-PI Senior
Personnel" FastLane form.
Achievements Under Prior NSF Support. Describe achievements
under prior NSF support that pertain to the present proposal. (Recompeting
proposals should also list publications and patents from prior NSF support
under Appendix C, below). Limit: 5 pages.
Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs). The Center may
encompass one or more IRGs. For each IRG proposed, provide a concise
description of the long-term research goals and intellectual focus, and
describe the planned research activities in sufficient detail to enable their
scientific merit and significance to be assessed. Describe the role and
intellectual contribution of each senior participant in the IRG, and briefly
outline the resources available or planned to accomplish the research goals
(it will be helpful to underline the name of each senior investigator
wherever it occurs). The need for an interactive, interdisciplinary
approach involving several investigators, and the means of achieving this,
should be clearly established. Place the IRG in the context of the
Center as a whole, and describe interactions with other groups and
institutions. At the beginning of each IRG section in the proposal, name
the senior personnel who will participate, and state the proposed number of
postdoctoral and graduate student participants. Limit for each IRG: 10
pages, including references.
Education, Human Resources, and Outreach. Describe the proposed
activities of the Center in education and human resource development,
including plans for participation by undergraduates, pre-college students and
teachers if appropriate, and members of underrepresented groups. Outline
plans for seminar series, colloquia, workshops, conferences, summer schools
and related activities, as appropriate. Describe any additional outreach
programs not included in other sections of the proposal. Limit: 3
Shared Experimental Facilities. Describe the shared
experimental facilities to be established, including specific major
instrumentation, and plans for the development of instrumentation. Describe
plans for maintaining and operating the facilities, including staffing,
provision for user fees, and plans for ensuring access to outside users.
Distinguish clearly between existing facilities and those still to be
developed. Limit: 3 pages.
Collaboration with Industry and Other Sectors. Describe the
proposed interactions and collaborations with industry, and, where
appropriate, with other institutions and sectors, including national
laboratories. Define the goals of the collaboration, and describe the
planned activities. Describe the roles of the senior participants, the
mechanisms planned to stimulate and facilitate knowledge transfer, and the
potential long-term impact of the collaborations. Limit: 3
International Collaboration (complete this section if
appropriate). Describe the nature of the collaboration and the expected
international and scientific or engineering benefits to the research and
education program. Include a description of the research facilities at the
foreign site, as appropriate, and of the division of effort and expertise
among the collaborators. Limit: 1 page.
Seed Funding and Emerging Areas. Through this mechanism,
NSF intends to provide flexibility for the Center to respond quickly and
effectively to new opportunities. Briefly describe other proposed
research plans and related activities, showing clearly how they are related
to the mission of the Center. These may include (but are not limited to):
seed support for junior faculty and for investigators changing fields;
high-risk research projects; emerging areas of interdisciplinary research;
experimental programs to link the university effort in materials with
industry and other sectors; the development of tools for remote access to
instrumentation; and innovative interdisciplinary educational ventures.
Seed funding through the Center is not intended to provide a substitute
for NSF individual investigator funding: the criteria and mechanisms for
selecting and evaluating projects must be clearly addressed in the management
plan. Include the names of key personnel for the first year. Limit:
Management. Describe the plans for administration of the
Center, including the functions of key personnel and the role of any advisory
committee, executive committee, and/or program committee or their equivalent.
Describe the procedures and criteria used to select, administer, and evaluate
the Interdisciplinary Research Groups and other research programs of the
Center, including seed funding and collaborative programs with other groups
and institutions. Plans for administering the shared experimental facilities
should be described under item 8. Describe plans for administering the
educational programs and outreach activities of the Center, as appropriate.
Limit: 3 pages.
Institutional and Other Sector Support. Outline institutional and
other commitments to the Center, including matching funds, space, faculty and
staff positions, capital equipment, access to existing facilities,
commitments for collaboration and outreach programs, and other commitments.
Limit: 1 page.
Publications and Patents under Prior NSF Support. For
re-competing proposals only, list publications and patents under prior NSF
Letters of Support. Include only official letters of support
verifying specific commitments of resources from participating institutions.
Note: scan your signed letters, but do not send originals.
A: Biographical Information.
Include a biographical sketch for each senior participant, listing up to ten
publications most pertinent to this proposal. Limit, 1 page for each
senior investigator. Enter in "Biographical Sketch" Fastlane
B: Current and Pending Support.
List current and pending support for each senior investigator. Enter in
"Current and Pending Support" FastLane form.
C: Reviewer Information
Enter the following information into the FastLane "List of Suggested
Reviewers" form: (1) a list of individuals (and their affiliations)
outside the participating institutions whose participation in the
review of the full proposal might constitute a conflict of interest through
association with the participants; and (2) a list of individuals who might be
suitable to act as impartial reviewers. Concurrently, with the above
submission send an e-mail to email@example.com with the above
information; include the title of the full proposal, the submitting
institution(s) and the name of the PI(s).
B. Budgetary Information (Pre-proposals and Full Proposals)
Cost Sharing Requirements.
Cost sharing of at least 10% of the total (five year) budget is required and
must be shown on line M of the proposal budget.
The amount of cost sharing must be shown in the proposal in enough detail to
allow NSF to determine its impact on the proposed project. Documentation of
availability of cost sharing must be included in the proposal. The narrative
associated with cost sharing should be included in the "Budget
Justification" form which is included as a part of the Budget Form
Only items which would be allowable under the applicable cost principles, if
charged to the project, may be included as the grantee’s contribution to cost
sharing. Contributions may be made from any non-Federal source, including
non-Federal grants or contracts, and may be cash or in-kind (see OMB Circular
A-110, Section 23). It should be noted that contributions counted as
cost-sharing toward projects of another Federal agency may not be counted
towards meeting the specific cost-sharing requirements of the NSF grant.
All cost-sharing amounts are subject to audit. Failure to provide the level
of cost-sharing reflected in the approved grant budget may result in
termination of the NSF grant, disallowance of grant costs and/or refund of
grant funds to NSF.
Complete budget pages for each year of support (1 – 5) and a five-year
summary budget justification. A five-year budget summary will be
automatically generated by FastLane. Provide separate budget pages for the
Center as a whole and for each participating institution.
Also, in tabular form as follows, summarize the overall support levels
planned for each of the major activities of the MRSEC as a whole
(Note: The Table below is to entered in the "project description"
For each entry in the Table, include indirect costs. Column totals must
equal the total budget requested from NSF for the period shown. Include
major capital equipment under shared experimental facilities. Support for
graduate students should normally be included under research, not under
education and human resources.
C. Proposal Due Dates.
Pre-proposals MUST be submitted electronically by 5:00 PM, local time,
September 10, 1999. Principal Investigators will be notified of the results
of pre-proposal review on or about November 12, 1999.
Full proposals MUST be submitted electronically by 5:00 PM, local
time, January 21, 2000.
Copies of the signed proposal cover sheet must be submitted in accordance
with the instructions identified below.
Submission of Signed Cover Sheets. For full proposals submitted
electronically via FastLane, the signed proposal Cover Sheet (NSF Form 1207)
should be forwarded to the following address and received by NSF no later
than 5:00 PM on January 28, 2000:
National Science Foundation
SUMMARY TABLE OF REQUESTED NSF SUPPORT
5 YEAR TOTAL
IRG 2 (Title) (repeat for each IRG)
Shared Experimental Facilities
Seed Funding and Emerging Areas
Education and Human Resources
DIS-FastLane Cover Sheet
4201 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22230
A full proposal may not be processed until the complete proposal (including
signed Cover Sheet) has been received by NSF.
D. FastLane Requirements.
The NSF FastLane system is available for electronic preparation and
submission of a proposal through the Web at the FastLane Web site at
The Sponsored Research Office (SRO or equivalent) must provide a
FastLane Personal Identification Number (PIN) to each Principal Investigator
(PI) to gain access to the FastLane "Proposal Preparation" application. PIs
that have not submitted a proposal to NSF in the past must contact their SRO
to be added to the NSF PI database. This should be done as soon as the
decision to prepare a proposal is made.
In order to use NSF FastLane to prepare and submit a proposal, the following
Browser (must support multiple buttons and file upload)
PDF Reader (needed to view/print forms)
- Netscape 3.0 or greater
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater
PDF Generator (needed to create project description)
- Adobe Reader 3.0 or greater
A list of registered institutions and the FastLane registration form are
located on the FastLane Web page.
PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION
A. Merit Review Criteria
Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with
expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education
project. These reviewers are selected by Program officers charged with the
oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest, at the
time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers.
Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer.
Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions,
minority serving institutions, adjacent disciplines to that principally
addressed in the proposal, etc.
Proposals will be reviewed against the following general merit review
criteria established by the National Science Board. Following each criterion
are potential considerations that the reviewer may employ in the evaluation.
These are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. Each
reviewer will be asked to address only those criteria that are relevant to
the proposal and for which he/she is qualified to make judgments.
What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and
understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well
qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If
appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.) To
what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and
original concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed
activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?
What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while
promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed
activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender,
ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the
infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities,
instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be
disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding?
What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?
Integration of Research and Education
One of the principal strategies in support of NSF’s goals is to foster
integration of research and education through the programs, projects and
activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These
institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may
concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students
and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the
excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learner
perspectives. PIs should address this issue in their proposal to provide
reviewers with the information necessary to respond fully to both NSF merit
review criteria. NSF staff will give it careful consideration in making
Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens --
women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities --
are essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is
committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the
programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports. PIs should
address this issue in their proposal to provide reviewers with the
information necessary to respond fully to both NSF merit review criteria.
NSF staff will give it careful consideration in making funding decisions.
In addition to these generic review criteria, reviewers will be asked to
use the following criteria. Pre-proposals will be
evaluated in terms of their potential to meet the criteria for full
proposals. Achievements under prior NSF support will be critically assessed
when re-competing proposals are evaluated.
MRSEC proposals will
be evaluated in terms of the interdisciplinary research group(s) and of the
Center as a whole. Support will be determined by merit according to the
criteria given below. Given competing proposals of essentially equal merit,
NSF staff will be responsible for ensuring that the overall program reflects
an appropriate balance among research topics and among Centers of differing
size and complexity.
A: Interdisciplinary Research
- Adobe Acrobat 3.01 or greater
- Aladdin Ghostscript 5.10 or greater
- Intrinsic merit of the research. Overall quality of the proposed
research, and likelihood that the research will lead to fundamental advances,
new discoveries, and/or technological developments.
- Competence to perform the research. Capability of the investigators,
technical soundness of the proposed approach, and adequacy of the resources
available or proposed, including instrumentation and facilities.
B: The Center as a Whole:
- Interdisciplinarity and degree of interconnection within each IRG.
Benefits of a multi-investigator, interdisciplinary approach; cooperation and
interdependence of the investigators.
- Institutional setting and rationale for the Center. Relationship to
existing and planned institutional programs and capabilities in materials
research and education; intellectual breadth of the proposed program;
potential for stimulating interdisciplinary interaction and collaboration.
Potential for institutional, national and international impact.
- Achievements under prior NSF support, where applicable.
- Plans and potential to develop and maintain active collaboration with
industry and other sectors; to stimulate and facilitate knowledge transfer
among the institutional participants and between the Center and other
institutions and sectors; and to strengthen the links between
university-based materials research and its application and implementation.
Outreach to other institutions and sectors, including international
collaboration and cooperation.
- Plans to establish, operate, and maintain shared experimental facilities
and to provide appropriate access to users from the home institution, other
academic institutions, industry, and other sectors.
- Potential effect on the infrastructure of science and engineering,
particularly in fostering a broadly interdisciplinary, interactive approach
to materials research and education, developing effective educational
outreach programs, fostering a climate of interaction and effective knowledge
transfer between the university and its partners in industry and other
sectors (see above), effective use of seed funding, and fostering increased
participation in materials research and education on the part of women and
members of underrepresented groups.
B. Merit Review Process
Most of the proposals submitted to NSF are reviewed by mail review, panel
review, or some combination of mail and panel review.
Pre-proposals will be evaluated by mail and/or panel review.
Full Proposals will be evaluated in several stages of merit review,
which includes mail review, reverse site visit (presentation at NSF), panel
review, and review by NSF and by the National Science Board. A proposal may
be declined at any point in the review process.
Reviewers of pre-proposals will be asked to formulate a recommendation to
either invite or not invite a full proposal. The MRSEC program directors
will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.
Principal investigators will be notified of the results of the pre-proposal
review on or about November 12, 1999.
Full proposals are carefully reviewed by a number of reviewers outside NSF
who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. The
number of reviewers selected is commensurate with the complexity of the
proposal. The MRSEC program directors will consider the advice of reviewers
and will formulate a recommendation. Principal investigators will be
notified of the results of the full proposal review on or about August 30,
In all cases, after final programmatic approval has been obtained, award
recommendations are then forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements
for review of business, financial and policy implications and the processing
and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that
only a Grants Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf
of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part
of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with an NSF
program officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes
financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative
agreement signed by the NSF Grants Officer does so at its own risk.
AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
A. Notification of the Award.
Notification of the award is made to the submitting
organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and
Agreements (DGA). Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised
as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program Division administering
the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the
reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator.
B. Grant Award Conditions.
An NSF grant consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special
provisions applicable to the grant and any numbered amendments thereto; (2)
the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which
NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals
or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the
award letter; (4) the applicable grant conditions, such as Grant General
Conditions (NSF GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership Phase III (FDP)
Terms and Conditions* and (5) a copy of the MRSEC program solicitation.
Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF grants to
organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such
notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.
- Institutional and other support, management plan, and budget.
Institutional and other commitments to the Center. Likely effectiveness of
the proposed management plan, including mechanisms for selection of topics
and internal allocation of resources, plans for self-evaluation, and plans
and potential for maintaining a flexible and innovative program.
Appropriateness of the requested budget.
Cooperative agreement awards are also administered in accordance with NSF
Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1).
More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the
NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, (NSF 95-26) available
electronically on the NSF Web site. The GPM also is available in paper copy
by subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web
site at: http://www.gpo.gov.
C. Reporting Requirements.
For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants),
the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer
at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.
Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit
a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will
send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project
report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and
processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats
of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required
NSF has implemented a new electronic project reporting system, available
through FastLane, which permits electronic submission and updating of project
reports, including information on: project participants (individual and
organizational); activities and findings; publications; and, other specific
products and contributions. Reports will continue to be required annually
and after the expiration of the grant, but PIs will not need to re-enter
information previously provided, either with the proposal or in earlier
updates using the electronic system.
Effective October 1, 1998, PIs are required to use the new reporting format
for annual and final project reports. PIs are strongly encouraged to submit
reports electronically via FastLane. For those PIs who cannot access
FastLane, paper copies of the new report formats may be obtained from the NSF
Clearinghouse as specified above. NSF expects to require electronic
submission of all annual and final project reports via FastLane beginning in
D. New Awardee Information.
If the submitting organization has never received an NSF award, it is
recommended that the organization’s appropriate administrative officials
become familiar with the policies and procedures in the NSF Grant Policy
Manual which are applicable to most NSF awards. The "Prospective
New Awardee Guide" (NSF 99-78) includes information on: Administration
and Management Information; Accounting System Requirements and Auditing
Information; and Payments to Organizations with Awards. This information
will assist an organization in preparing documents that NSF requires to
conduct administrative and financial reviews of an organization. The guide
also serves as a means of highlighting the accountability requirements
associated with Federal awards. This document is available electronically on
NSF’s Web site at: https://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf9978.
CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Inquiries about the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers
Program should be directed to one of the MRSEC Program Directors: Dr. Carmen
Huber, (703) 306-1996, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Ulrich
Strom, (703) 306-1832, email@example.com. Address:
Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers, Division of Materials
Research, Room 1065, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230; FAX:
Information about MRSECs, including current awards, can be found on the NSF
MRSEC WEB site at https://www.nsf.gov/mps/dmr/mrsec.htm
For questions related to use of FastLane contact Florence I. Rabanal,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ; or Maxine
E. Jefferson, e-mail: mailto:email@example.com.
OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST
The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding opportunities for
research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. General
descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for
proposal submission are provided in each chapter. Beginning in fiscal year
1999, the NSF Guide to Programs only will be available electronically, at https://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gp.
Many NSF programs offer announcements concerning specific proposal requirements.
To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the
appropriate NSF program offices listed in Appendix A of the GPG.
Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the
Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, available
electronically on the NSF Web site at: https://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin/. The direct URL for recent issues of the Bulletin is Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service to find out what funding opportunities are available.
- These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF’s Web site at:
Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse,
telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most
fields of science and engineering. Grantees are wholly responsible for
conducting their project activities and preparing the results for
publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such
findings or their interpretation.
NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and
educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons
with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with
federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of
race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance
from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a
Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED)
provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with
disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research
assistants) to work on NSF-supported projects. See the program
announcement or contact the program coordinator at (703) 306-1636.
The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals
with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation regarding NSF
programs, employment, or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703)
306-0090 or through FIRS on 1-800-877-8339.
PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS
The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is
solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950,
as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection
with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by
awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the
Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed
to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to
applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the
proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to
government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as
necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing
information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs;
and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal
administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about
Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select
potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee
members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal
File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and
NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register
268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure
to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility
of receiving an award.
Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to
average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing
instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate and any other
aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing
this burden, to: Reports Clearance Officer; Information Dissemination
Branch, DAS; National Science Foundation; Arlington, VA 22230.
YEAR 2000 REMINDER
In accordance with Important Notice No. 120 dated June 27, 1997, Subject:
Year 2000 Computer Problem, NSF awardees are reminded of their responsibility
to take appropriate actions to ensure that the NSF activity being supported
is not adversely affected by the Year 2000 problem. Potentially affected
items include: computer systems, databases, and equipment. The National
Science Foundation should be notified if an awardee concludes that the Year
2000 will have a significant impact on its ability to carry out an NSF funded
activity. Information concerning Year 2000 activities can be found on the
NSF web site at https://www.nsf.gov/oirm/y2k/start.htm.
Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) No.: 47.049
OMB No.: 3145-0058
NSF 99-125 (Replaces NSF 97-98) Electronic Dissemination Only