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National Science Foundation

Innovation through Institutional Integration (I 3) FAQs
(NSF 10-007)

Innovation through Institutional Integration (I 3) challenges faculty, students, and others in institutions of higher education, including two- and four-year colleges, to think strategically about the creative integration of NSF-funded awards, with particular emphasis on awards managed by programs in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). For Fiscal Year 2010, I 3 appears in the EHR solicitations for nine programs:

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST)

Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE)

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP)

Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST)

Alliances for Broadening Participation in STEM: Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP)

Math and Science Partnership (MSP)

Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

Research in Disabilities Education (RDE)

Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP)


The next due date for proposals is April 7, 2010. Given the focus on institutional integration, an institution may submit only one proposal to the I 3 competition for this deadline.

The following questions and answers are intended to address some of the specifics that may arise in planning and preparing proposals for I 3.

  1. I 3 appears in the EHR solicitations for CREST, GSE, HBCU-UP, ITEST, LSAMP, MSP, Noyce, RDE, and TCUP. Can we submit a proposal if we don’t have an existing CREST, GSE, HBCU-UP, ITEST, LSAMP, MSP, Noyce, RDE, or TCUP award on our campus?
  2. Answer: Yes, you may submit a proposal. You don’t need to have an existing CREST, GSE, HBCU-UP, ITEST, LSAMP, MSP, Noyce, RDE, or TCUP award on your campus in order to submit a proposal, although it is expected that your campus(es) will have one or more EHR awards and that these awards will collaborate around one or more of the I 3 integrative themes, unless the proposal is exclusively for research. For proposals exclusively for research, your campus does not necessarily need to have existing awards from EHR. Proposals exclusively for research may be submitted by any eligible organization, as described in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.

  3. Does it matter to which solicitation we submit our proposal?
  4. Answer: No, it does not matter to which solicitation you submit your proposal. The description of I 3 and the review criteria for I 3 proposals are the same in all nine solicitations. All proposals submitted to I 3 through these programs have a common due date (April 7, 2010) and will be reviewed in competition with one another.

  5. I 3 clearly intends to bring together projects funded on a university campus(es) by the EHR Directorate at NSF. Can we include in our proposal other NSF-funded projects? Can we include projects funded by other governmental agencies? Private organizations and foundations?
  6. Answer: In addition to awards funded by EHR on a university campus(es), you may also include in your proposed project other awards/projects with a STEM educational focus, including other NSF-funded awards, as well as STEM educational projects funded by other governmental agencies, private organizations, and foundations. A proposed I 3 project with a focus on critical educational junctures might, for example, bring together on a campus a GK-12 award, an NSF-funded MSP, an ED–funded MSP, and other projects with a common STEM educational purpose.

  7. Are proposals expected to address all five I 3 goals?
  8. Answer: Proposals for STEM educational- or related-research only are expected to address one or more of the I 3 integrative themes of broadening participation, critical educational junctures, globally engaged workforce, or the integration of research and education and to do so in the context of institutional integration; research-only proposals may also focus on institutional integration per se. All other proposals are expected to focus their work on one or more of the integrative themes of the solicitation (broadening participation, critical educational junctures, globally engaged workforce, or the integration of research and education) and, additionally, to articulate a vision and plan of work, along with an evaluation plan, to increase synergy and collaboration across NSF-funded projects and within/between institutions, towards an educational environment where artificial boundaries are significantly reduced and the student experience is more fully integrated; and expand and deepen the impact of NSF-funded projects and enhance their sustainability.

  9. My institution would like to bring related NSF projects together on two integrative themes, broadening participation and critical educational junctures. Can I submit one proposal with a primary theme of broadening participation to CREST and a second proposal with a primary theme of critical educational junctures to RDE?
  10. Answer: An institution may submit only one proposal to I 3 for this deadline. You may bring together the two themes of broadening participation and critical educational junctures in a single proposal, but you may not submit one proposal to CREST and a second proposal to RDE for the same deadline. An institution may not receive more than one I 3 award.

  11. Can we submit a proposal if we don’t have any EHR-funded awards on our campus, but we have several other NSF-funded awards and we want to collaborate and integrate our educational efforts for those awards?
  12. Answer: I 3 calls for (a) proposals for research on institutional integration, commensurate with the I 3 goals stated in the solicitation, and (b) proposals that bring together projects on a campus(es) around a common integrative theme(s) commensurate with the I 3 goals stated in the solicitation. Proposals exclusively forresearch may be submitted by a university or other eligible organization with no EHR-funded awards. All other proposals must bring together some EHR-funded awards on a university campus(es), with or without other NSF-awards, around one or more common integrative themes.

  13. Are proposals that focus on integration at one institution preferred over those that emphasize awards at multiple institutions in a region?
  14. Answer: No. Neither inter- or intra-institutional integration is preferred over the other. There is interest in proposals from all types of institutions and from institutional partnerships that incorporate a depth and quality of creative, coherent, and strategic actions that extend beyond commonplace approaches to normal institutional operations.

  15. Are proposals that focus on several integrative themes preferred over those that address a single theme?
  16. Answer: No. Proposals may focus on a single integrative theme or on more than one. There is interest in proposals from all types of institutions and from institutional partnerships that incorporate a depth and quality of creative, coherent, and strategic actions that extend beyond commonplace approaches to normal institutional operations.

  17. If we submit a proposal to I 3, does this affect the number of proposals we can submit to any of the nine programs participating in I 3?
  18. Answer: No. Independent of I 3, some programs participating in I 3 have a limit on the number of non-I 3 proposals that can be submitted and some do not. Those limitations apply. In addition to those limitations, however, an institution may submit a single proposal to the I 3 competition. As an example, ITEST and RDE have no limitations on the number of non-I 3 proposals that an institution may submit. So, an institution might submit four proposals to ITEST and two to RDE. In addition, an institution may submit one proposal to I 3 through any participating I 3 program, for a total of seven submissions.

  19. Can we combine in a single proposal (a) research on, for example, broadening participation in the context of institutional integration, with (b) an implementation project that integrates the work of several awards on our campus around the same theme?
  20. Answer: Yes. The proposal must represent a single submission from your institution, with a request for funding that does not exceed $ 250,000 per year, for a total not to exceed $ 1.25 million over five years. Since your project is not for research only, the university provost or equivalent chief academic officer must be the Principal Investigator.

  21. Our institution plans to bring together five or more projects in our institutional submission. FastLane currently provides for one Principal Investigator and up to four co-Principal Investigators. It would help to solidify our campus partnership if a co-Principal Investigator could be listed from each of the participating projects on our campus. Is it possible to list more than four co-Principal Investigators?
  22. Answer: Your interest in listing more than four co-Principal Investigators is understandable, and we have looked into that possibility. There is a rationale, however, for not expanding the number of co-Principal Investigators for the FastLane submission. Co-Principal Investigators are considered to have the same responsibilities as the Principal Investigator. An overdue NSF Final Project Report will delay any new, pending award to any of the project’s Principal or co-Principal Investigators. NSF has attempted to balance the formal recognition factor for large numbers of co-Principal Investigators against the burden that it may create. NSF does not at this time plan a change in the number of co-Principal Investigators that can be submitted in FastLane.

  23. We have an interest in getting some information about the I 3 awards made from the previous two competitions. How can we find out more?
  24. Answer: Awards from the first competition in Fiscal Year 2008 were made to six institutions of higher education:

    0833338 University of Washington

    0833364 University of Colorado at Boulder

    0833434 Georgia Institute of Technology

    0833439 University of Florida

    0833461 Louisiana State University

    0833482 University of Hawaii: Kapiolani Community College

    Awards from the second competition (spring 2009) were made very recently to seven institutions of higher education:

    0930018 Vanderbilt University 0930067 Fort Belknap College

    0930109 Arizona State University

    0930134 Rutgers University, New Brunswick

    0930182 Michigan State University

    0930242 CUNY New York College of Technology

    0930257 Texas Tech University

    Information on each project, including project abstract, is available at the NSF homepage http://www.nsf.gov, under “Awards.” Additional information on awards from the first competition (Fiscal Year 2008) may be found in NSF News Release “Catalyzing Change” at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=114166&org=NSF&from=news.

    Additional information on awards from the second competition is available at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=116094&org=NSF&from=news .

  25. If we have other specific questions, are there program directors in EHR who we can contact?
  26. Answer: Yes. Any of the program directors below may be contacted:

    Kathleen Bergin, kbergin@nsf.gov, 703-292-5171

    Sylvia James, sjames@nsf.gov, 703-292-5333

    Victor Santiago, vsantiag@nsf.gov, 703-292-4673

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