International Materials Institutes (IMI)

Enhancing International Collaborations in Materials Research


Program Solicitation

NSF-02-096



DIRECTORATE FOR MATHEMATICAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES
DIRECTORATE FOR SOCIAL, BEHAVIORAL, AND ECONOMIC SCIENCES
      OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING



FULL PROPOSAL DEADLINE(S): June 6, 2002

 




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SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS



GENERAL INFORMATION

Program Title: International Materials Institutes (IMI)

Synopsis of Program: The aim of this program is to establish International Materials Institutes that will enhance international collaboration between U.S. researchers and educators and their counterparts in specific regions of the world such as Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, or the Pacific region. These institutes will advance fundamental materials research by coordinating international projects involving condensed matter and materials physics; solid state and materials chemistry; and the design, synthesis, characterization, and processing of materials to meet global and regional needs. The institutes must be university-based and provide a research environment that will attract leading scientists and engineers. This may be accomplished, for example, by supporting research in selected thematic areas by networking with other universities, centers, and national facilities. An important aspect of the IMI's activities will be to integrate materials research with education.

Representative activities may include, for example: identifying areas of important and innovative research for joint collaborative programs; organizing and coordinating international exchange programs; establishing mechanisms for long-term international collaborations among academia, industrial and government agencies and laboratories; organizing international workshops on materials research and education, and coordinating international research experiences for students and postdoctoral scholars; developing internet-based virtual institutes with video capabilities for international conferencing and learning; providing university-based research opportunities that attract leading materials researchers as IMI participants; developing and supporting a materials research network that will provide access to research and education resources, such as searchable databases containing materials properties, publications, facilities, instruments, and experts; participating in the creation of a global International Materials Research Network; enhancing public awareness of economic and societal contributions by materials scientists and engineers; partnering with states, private foundations, industry, national laboratories, international organizations, other universities, centers, and national facilities to accomplish the stated goals of the IMI; developing a new generation of scientists and engineers with enhanced international leadership capabilities.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

AWARD INFORMATION

PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements

PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION





TABLE OF CONTENTS



SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
  3. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION
  4. AWARD INFORMATION
  5. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
  6. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
  7. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements
  8. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
  9. OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST




I. INTRODUCTION

The basic properties of materials frequently define the capabilities, potential, reliability, and limitations of technology. Improved materials and processes will play an ever-increasing role in efforts to improve energy efficiency, promote environmental protection, reduce health-care costs, develop an information infrastructure, provide modern and reliable transportation and civil infrastructure systems, and address security. Advances in materials research enable progress across a broad range of scientific disciplines and technological areas with dramatic impacts on society.

Continued progress in materials science and the engineering of materials is increasingly dependent upon collaborative efforts among chemists, physicists, biologists, mathematicians and engineers, as well as closer coordination among funding agencies and effective partnerships involving universities, industry, national laboratories, and international organizations. Because of the rapidly growing interdependence of regional priorities, partnerships are not only important at the national and international levels, but also from a global perspective.

With this in mind, the National Science Foundation (NSF)has co-sponsored a series of five international workshops in materials research designed to stimulate enhanced collaborations among materials researchers and create networks linking the participating countries. A recent NSF report (NSF 02-068) entitled "TOWARD AN INTERNATIONAL MATERIALS RESEARCH NETWORK" provides background information and reports for each of five international workshops co-sponsored by NSF: U.S., Canada, Mexico; National Science Foundation - European Commission; U.S. - Pan American Countries; U.S. - Asian Pacific Countries; and U.S. - African Countries. The individual workshop reports are available on the web page of the International Union of Materials Research Societies at http://www.iumrs.org.

In FY 2002 the National Science Foundation will support the establishment of up to three International Materials Institutes to advance materials research by coordinating international projects involving condensed matter and materials physics; solid state and materials chemistry; and the design, synthesis, characterization, and processing of materials to meet global and regional needs. The institutes must be university-based and provide a research environment that will attract leading scientists and engineers. This may be accomplished, for example, by supporting research in selected thematic areas by networking with other universities, centers, and national facilities.

II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The aim of this program is to establish International Materials Institutes that enhance international collaboration between U.S. researchers and educators and their counterparts in specific areas of the world such as major subregions of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, or the Pacific region. The objective is to advance materials research by coordinating international projects involving condensed matter and materials physics; solid state and materials chemistry; and the design, synthesis, characterization, and processing of materials to meet global and regional needs. The institutes must be university-based (single or multi-campus), and provide a research environment that will attract leading scientists and engineers. This may be accomplished, for example, by supporting research in selected thematic areas by networking with other universities, centers, and national facilities. An important aspect of the IMI's activities will be to integrate materials research with education.

The scope of activities of an IMI may include some or all of the following:

- Identifying areas of important and innovative research for joint international collaborative programs;

- Organizing and coordinating international exchange programs at all professional levels;

- Establishing mechanisms for long-term international collaborations among academia, industrial and government agencies and laboratories;

- Organizing international workshops and coordinating international research experiences for students and post-doctoral scholars in the materials field;

- Developing internet-based virtual institutes with video capabilities for international conferencing and learning;

- Providing a research environment that will attract leading scientists and engineers in the materials field. This may be accomplished, for example, by supporting excellent research in selected thematic areas and by networking with other universities, centers, and national facilities.

- Developing and supporting a materials world net that will provide access to research and education resources such as searchable databases containing materials properties, publications, facilities, instruments, and information about educational activities and research expertise;

- Enhancing materials education at the international level and increasing the public's awareness of the contributions materials research can make to address societal needs;

- Participating in the creation of a global International Materials Network designed to coordinate the rapidly growing interdependence of regional materials research priorities and related activities carried out in all regions of the world;

- Partnering with states, private foundations, industry, national laboratories, international organizations, other universities, centers, and national facilities to accomplish the stated goals of the IMI;

- Developing a new generation of students, postdoctoral scholars, and materials researchers, educators and practitioners with enhanced international leadership capabilities.

Each IMI 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, nations, global regions and international communities, and in aiding the international materials research community in responding quickly and effectively to new opportunities to advance materials research and education.

III. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

Only U.S. academic institutions are eligible.

IV. AWARD INFORMATION

NSF anticipates funding $2,000,000 in FY 2002, pending availability of funds. Individual IMI awards are expected to range in size from $500,000 to $1,000,000 per year per award. Awards will be made for an initial commitment of up to five years. Funding for the fourth and fifth years will be contingent upon the outcome of a comprehensive review. The number of awards will depend on the availability of funds and the quality of proposals received. The anticipated date of awards is October 1, 2002. NSF plans to expand the IMI program by means of subsequent competitions that will result in additional awards.

V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal:

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

Proposals must be submitted via NSF FastLane. Proposals that exceed the page limitations will be ineligible for consideration and will be returned without review. The proposal must be single spaced in 12-point type and should contain the following items:

1. NSF Cover Sheet

2. Information about the Principal Investigator/Project Director (NSF Form 1225), automatically generated by FastLane.

3. Project Summary

Provide a clear rationale for and description of the proposed IMI and its potential impact. Briefly describe the vision for the Institute, its institutional setting, its proposed international scope and organization, activities in materials research and education and their integration, plans for the development of human resources, and management plan.
Limit: 2 pages.

4. Table of Contents

Generated automatically by FastLane.

5. Project Description

Include the following:

a. List of Participants

List each senior investigator (faculty level or equivalent), by full name, and his/her institutional and departmental affiliation; also enter each name in "Add/Delete Non Co-PI Senior Personnel" FastLane Form.

b. Achievements under Prior NSF Support

Describe achievements under prior NSF support that pertain to the present proposal.
Limit: 2 pages.

c. Education and Training

Describe mechanisms to enhance materials education at the international level and increase the public's awareness of the contributions materials research makes to address societal needs.

d. Exchange Programs

Describe the proposed activities of the institute in human resource development, including plans for international exchange programs involving undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, and scientists from industrial and government laboratories, and nonprofit organizations.

e. International Collaborations

Describe how the institute will identify areas of important and innovative research for joint collaborative programs and establish mechanisms for substantive, long-term collaborations involving academic, industrial and government laboratories. List names and institutions of foreign collaborators.

f. Research Opportunities

Describe how the IMI will attract leading materials researchers as participants. Describe the research themes to be addressed and the research proposed by the IMI, and describe proposed mechanisms for networking with other universities, centers, and national facilities.

g. Partnerships

Describe how the IMI plans to develop partnerships with states, private foundations, industries, national laboratories, and international organizations in order to fully advance the stated goals of the IMI.

h. Internet Resources

Describe how the institute plans to provide capabilities for international conferencing and learning and develop and support a materials world net that will provide access to research and education resources, such as searchable databases containing materials properties, publications, and information about educational activities and professional expertise. Software architectures should address both security and openness issues. If applicable, describe how the IMI would provide access for remote use of instruments and facilities through the internet.

i. International Workshops

Describe the role of the institute in facilitating the advancement of materials research through national and international scientific organizations, international meetings, symposia and workshops , and describe the role of the institute in coordinating international research experiences for students and postdoctoral scholars in materials research.

j. International Materials Research Network

Describe how the IMI plans to work with organizations in other countries and world regions to create a global International Materials Research Network that would coordinate the efforts of regional networks and counterpart institutes or organizations.

k. Management

Describe the plans for administration of the IMI, including the functions of key personnel and the role of any proposed advisory committee, executive committee, and/or program committee or their equivalent. Describe the procedures and criteria used to select, administer and evaluate the programs of the IMI.

6. References Cited (see GPG for details)

References are not included in the proposal length limitation.

7. Biographical Sketches

Include a biographical sketch for each senior participant according to GPG guidelines.

8. Budget pages and budget justification

Complete budget pages for each year of support. The summary budget will be automatically generated. Provide a budget justification up to three pages in length.

9. Current and Pending Support (NSF Form 1239)

List current and pending support for each senior investigator.

10. Letters of Support

Include only official letters of support verifying specific commitments of resources from participating institutions. Scan signed letters into the Supplementary Documents section of FastLane, do not send originals.
Limit: 6 pages

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-096) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the proposal Cover Sheet. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):

Full Proposals by 5:00 PM local time: June 6, 2002

D. FastLane Requirements

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this Program Solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this announcement/solicitation.

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Proposers are no longer required to provide a paper copy of the signed Proposal Cover Sheet to NSF. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov.

VI. PROPOSAL REVIEW INFORMATION

A. NSF Proposal Review Process

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, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the identities of reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Mail Review followed by Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the closing date of an announcement/solicitation or the date of proposal receipt (whichever is later). The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be 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 and Agreements 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 a 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 and Agreements Officer does so at one's own risk.

VII. 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. 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. (See section VI.A. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award 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 award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions;* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/grants/grants_gac.htm. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from pubs@nsf.gov.

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gpm. The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. 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 the expiration of an award, 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 data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system 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. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.

VIII. CONTACTS FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

General inquiries regarding  International Materials Institutes  should be made to:For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

IX. OTHER PROGRAMS OF INTEREST

The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?gp. General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.

Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices. 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, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at http://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service (http://www.nsf.gov/home/cns/start.htm) to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.

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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 proposal 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.

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