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National Science Foundation


NSF 09-065
Dear Colleague Letter: Supplemental Opportunity for SBIR/STTR Memberships in I/UCRCs

MEMORANDUM
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Date:

September 1, 2009

To:

NSF Small Business Innovation Research Grantees (SBIR/STTR)
Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Directors

From:

Dr. Deborah Crawford, Deputy Assistant Director
Directorate for Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE), and

 

Dr. Kesh Narayanan, Division Director
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (ENG/IIP)

Re:

Supplemental Opportunity for SBIR/STTR Memberships in I/UCRCs

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Dear Colleagues:
We invite supplemental requests for Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) grantees to join an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). The supplements are intended to accelerate the innovation process by partnering industry-relevant academic research with commercialization focused small business research. The supplements will enable small businesses to purchase annual memberships in I/UCRCs; thus opening the doors to the benefits of the centers’ collaborative research endeavors, which are directed to the needs of specific industries.

Supplement Submission Window: Proposals may be submitted for consideration throughout the year.

Document Replaced: This document replaces NSF 08-066.

Company Eligibility: Only companies with active NSF SBIR/STTR Phase II and Phase IIB awards are eligible to directly apply to the SBIR program for this membership opportunity in a center that is in “good standing” with NSF. 

I/UCRC Eligibility: Only NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers in good standing are eligible to directly apply to the I/UCRC program for this membership opportunity and then only when a graduated NSF SBIR/STTR grantee wants to join the center. Good standing requires that a center has an updated directory listing, have no outstanding reports, and has sufficient membership participation as outlined in the I/UCRC solicitation. The funds received by an I/UCRC under this opportunity cannot be counted towards meeting the minimum membership requirements as outlined in the solicitation.

Graduated SBIR/STTR and I/UCRC Grantees: NSF graduated I/UCRCs, or graduated SBIR/STTR Phase II and IIB companies may be considered in the supplement request submitted by an eligible institution.  A graduated institution for this opportunity is defined as one which has successfully completed its NSF award within five years of the supplement request.

Estimated Number of Awards: Approximately 20 to 35 awards will be made to grantees.

Limit on the number of supplements: Two one-year membership requests or one two-year membership request per SBIR/STTR Phase II and Phase II B award. NSF SBIR/STTR firms electing to submit a one year membership request to an I/UCRC may opt to join another I/UCRC for a one year membership. Centers can accept multiple NSF SBIR/STTRs.

Anticipated Funding Amount: Annual membership fees generally vary at each center from $25,000 to $100,000 per year. This supplement enables NSF SBIR/STTR grantee firms to purchase one or two year memberships in an I/UCRC at a reduced rate capped at $5,000 per year for centers whose annual membership fee is $50,000 or less. For centers with membership fees greater than $50,000, a reduced rate cap of 10 percent of the I/UCRC’s annual membership may be used. For example, an annual membership fee of $75,000 would require 10 percent or $7,500 from the NSF SBIR/STTR firm with NSF providing the balance. All awards are subject to the availability of funds.

Travel and indirect costs are not allowed under this opportunity.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SUPPLEMENT OPPORTUNITY
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The Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program stimulates entrepreneurship in this country through government support for research in small business.  These small firms often need additional research to commercialize their products. One method of providing this needed research is by enabling small businesses to obtain memberships in an I/UCRC (see http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/iucrc/directory/index.jsp for a list).  A major advantage of I/UCRC membership for many small businesses is access to royalty-free, non-exclusive rights to center generated Intellectual Property (IP) developed during the membership and an opportunity to meet other stakeholders with similar industry and research interests.

 The I/UCRC program develops long-term partnerships among industry, academe, and government.  The centers are catalyzed by a small investment from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and are primarily supported by center members, with NSF taking a supporting role in their development and evolution. I/UCRCs stimulate highly leveraged industry, university, and U.S. government cooperation by focusing on research recommended by Industrial Advisory Boards. A potential list of SBIR/STTR members can be viewed using the NSF award search tool at http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/tab.do?dispatch=4 and confining the search to Element Code 5373 or 1591 for awards whose expiration date is within five years of the anticipated supplement request date. Details about the award and PI are viewable by clicking on the award number.

Supplement Preparation Instructions: Proposals for supplemental funding must be submitted through FastLane as a supplement. The supplement must contain a letter of endorsement from the I/UCRC site director that supports the membership request. The supplement must also contain a letter of commitment from the company wishing to join the center. Proposal supplement requests must be submitted by eligible companies with current NSF awards. I/UCRCs must submit the supplement request when a graduated NSF SBIR/STTR firm seeks membership in the center.

Required of SBIR firms submitting supplement requests: E-mail the SBIR coordinator, Cheryl Albus, at calbus@nsf.gov after submitting the supplement request through FastLane. The mail must provide the the supplement proposal number.

Proposals not following these instructions will be returned without review.  Call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov for user support concerning supplement submissions. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. When contacting FastLane, inform the technician that you are required to apply for this opportunity as a supplement.

Required Reports: I/UCRCs must submit a report prior to the SBIR/STTR membership expiration that describes the interactions and benefits realized by both the firm and center.

Review: Proposals will be reviewed internally by NSF staff.

For More Information:  Please contact one of the following program officials if you have questions about the SBIR/STTR - I/UCRC Membership Supplement.

  • SBIR/STTR companies should contact Cheryl Albus, SBIR/STTR Program Director, telephone (703) 292-7050,
    e-mail calbus@nsf.gov

  • I/UCRCs should contact Glenn Larsen, I/UCRC Program Director, telephone: (703) 292-8383, e-mail: glarsen@nsf.gov

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