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Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)
National Science Foundation
Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (optional):
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):
Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)
Synopsis of Program:
The goals of the Partnerships for Innovation Program are to: 1) stimulate the transformation of knowledge created by the national research and education enterprise into innovations that create new wealth, build strong local, regional and national economies and improve the national well-being; 2) broaden the participation of all types of academic institutions and all citizens in NSF activities to more fully meet the broad workforce needs of the national innovation enterprise; and 3) catalyze or enhance enabling infrastructure necessary to foster and sustain innovation in the long-term. To develop a set of ideas for pursuing these goals, this competition will support 15-25 promising partnerships among academe, state/local/federal government and the private sector that will explore new approaches to support and sustain innovation.
Cognizant Program Officer(s):
John C Hurt, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, telephone: (703) 292-5332, fax: (703) 292-9051, email: email@example.com
Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):
A senior institutional administrator (dean or higher) in the lead institution must serve as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator.
In the Partnerships for Innovation program NSF seeks to stimulate and capitalize on innovation by catalyzing partnerships among colleges and universities, state and local governments, the private sector and other relevant organizations. Key factors in the innovation enterprise include creation of and access to new knowledge; a scientifically and technologically literate workforce prepared to capitalize on new knowledge; and an infrastructure that enables innovation. For the purposes of this program, innovation explicitly extends both to developing the people and tools and to creating the necessary organizational conditions to foster the transformation of knowledge into the products, processes, systems and services that fuel economic development, create wealth and generate improvements in the national standard of living. The academic institutions that are NSF's traditional clientele play an essential role in generating new knowledge and creating a scientifically and technologically literate workforce.
Partnerships are an important means for developing an innovation capability that links new knowledge and a knowledge-rich workforce to economic growth and other societal benefits. Partnerships involving various combinations of colleges and universities, private sector firms, and local, state, and federal governments, have the potential to increase the value of each of the partners' portfolios, and to mobilize innovation in a systemic manner. For example, private sector firms gain access to new knowledge and a workforce that can capitalize on it; academe gains financial support, the ability to capitalize on intellectual property, and access to real-world problems for field training; and local and state governments gain sustainable regional and local economic development activities. The innovation process is facilitated by students moving into the workplace.
Some of the nation's colleges and universities have a long tradition of active research and education programs and strong connections to the private sector, and many have offices responsible for enabling knowledge transfer and stimulating the growth of new businesses. However, few academic institutions have all of the necessary capacity to provide the infrastructure to foster innovation. Institutions that have not participated as actively in Federal R&D programs may not have capabilities and infrastructure that are as finely honed.
Likewise, many states have taken action to develop programs that facilitate innovation. Colleges and universities in some states have access to an infrastructure that allows them to tie their research emphases to areas the state regards as important. This infrastructure enables innovation at the state and local level where innovation generally happens; at the same time it enhances the institutions' ability to conduct research. States without this infrastructure may find it more difficult to take full advantage of opportunities for innovation.
The Partnerships for Innovation program is intended to forge connections between new knowledge created in the discovery process to learning and innovation, while broadening the participation of people and institutions in NSF activities. For the purposes of this program, innovation is defined as the transformation of knowledge into the products, processes, systems and services that fuel economic development, create wealth and generate improvements in the national standard of living. The goals of the program are to:
In order to accomplish these goals, proposals may propose any one or combination of the following activities: (1) research, technology transfer, and/or commercialization, (2) workforce education and/or training, and (3) establishing the infrastructure to accomplish or enable innovation. Proposals should show how all activities being proposed are related to innovation as the ultimate outcome. Proposals should also have a plan to ensure that the innovation can be sustained in the long term. Innovation should be the proposed outcome. Formation of partnerships should not be proposed as the outcome. Appropriate activities for projects in the program might also include the planning and/or implementation of new models for innovation that connect scientific and technological discovery to use through knowledge transfer; education and training activities that explicitly address the workforce needs of the innovation enterprise; and the development and deployment of new tools or mechanisms that support the innovation infrastructure. They may focus on creating a critical level of innovation activity in a technology area, an industry sector, or a geographical region. Since many emerging and small businesses fail for lack of sufficient business or marketing expertise, partnerships could include participation of the business or management schools where appropriate.
At a minimum, proposed Partnerships must include academic institutions as the lead and private sector organizations as partners. Partnerships that also include state/local government entities are strongly encouraged. The outcomes for proposed activities must foster economic and/or societal well-being that can be self-sustaining in the long term. In all Partnerships, NSF seeks to optimize the participation of the private sector to foster innovation-driven growth per se, as well as to ensure appropriate workforce development activities. Since innovation is critically dependent upon a diverse workforce poised to innovate, Partnerships led by and involving academic institutions of all types are essential for the program's success. The participation of institutions that serve groups currently underrepresented in the science, engineering and technological workforce, as well as those institutions that serve regions and or sectors not yet fully participating in the innovation enterprise, is strongly encouraged. NSF seeks to enhance the roles such institutions play in contributing to and participating in innovation.
Partnerships for Innovation may:
This competition will support the planning and early implementation of new activities designed to support and sustain innovation in the long-term. Proposed Partnerships may request from NSF total budgets up to $600,000 for total award durations of two or three years. A complete list of all current Partnerships for Innovation awards, with project descriptions is available at: https://www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/pfi/ The list of current awards is not to be interpreted to cover the entire range of activities or goals that can be proposed.
Proposing Partnerships: Each proposed Partnership must designate a lead organization; the lead organizations must be U.S. universities and colleges located in the U.S., its territories and possessions, including universities, two-and four-year colleges and community colleges. Partners may include, but are not limited to, not-for-profit institutions, private sector firms, state and local government entities, trade and professional associations, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and Federal laboratories. At a minimum, proposed Partnerships must include academic institutions and private sector organizations. Partnerships that include state/local government entities are strongly encouraged. A Partnership proposal must be submitted as a single administrative package by the lead institution, which is responsible for overall management of the Partnership activity and has administrative responsibility for the proposed effort.
PI Eligibility Limit: A senior institutional administrator (dean or higher) in the lead institution must serve as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator.
Limit on Number of Proposals: U.S. universities and colleges
located in the U.S., its territories and possessions, including universities,
two-and four-year colleges and community colleges, may participate
in no more than two partnership proposals. Such institutions may submit
only one partnership proposal as the lead institution.
Budget Limitations: Proposed Partnerships may request from NSF, total budgets up to $600,000 for award durations of two or three years.
Cost Sharing: For eligibility purposes, cost sharing is required at a level of 10% of the requested NSF budget. See Section V. B. for details.
NSF will make 15-25 awards totaling approximately $9.0 million, pending availability of funds and quality of proposals. Proposed Partnerships may request from NSF total budgets up to $600,000 for total award durations of two or three years. It is anticipated that award decisions will be publicly announced by October 2004.
Letters of Intent (optional):
The Principal Investigator at the lead institution representing a Partnership intending to submit a proposal is encouraged to submit a letter of intent (LOI) via email ONLY to: firstname.lastname@example.org by March 10, 2004. The LOI should briefly describe the proposed activity, the organizations and senior personnel involved in the Partnership. This description must not exceed 300 words. The LOI allows NSF to prepare for the review process. The LOI is not mandatory and is non-binding.
Full Proposal Instructions:
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 Website at: https://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 email@example.com.
The following instructions supplement or deviate from the GPG Guidelines.
Partnerships for Innovation proposals must include the following information:
Proposers are reminded to identify the program announcement/solicitation number (04-556) 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.
The proposed cost sharing must be shown on Line M on the proposal budget. Documentation of the availability of cost sharing must be included in the proposal. Only items which would be allowable under the applicable cost principles, if charged to the project, may be included as the awardee'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 award. All cost-sharing amounts are subject to audit. Failure to provide the level of cost-sharing reflected in the approved award budget may result in termination of the NSF award, disallowance of award costs and/or refund of award funds to NSF.
Other Budgetary Limitations:
Budget Limitations: Proposed Partnerships may request from NSF, total budgets up to $600,000 for total award durations of two or three years.
Travel: Cost for travel for the PI for one trip to Washington DC per year to report on progress or participate in workshops should be included in the requested budget.
Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):
Letters of Intent (optional):
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):
Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this announcement/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 firstname.lastname@example.org. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program announcement/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
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 National Science Board approved revised criteria for evaluating proposals at its meeting on March 28, 1997 (NSB 97-72). All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two merit review criteria. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.
On July 8, 2002, the NSF Director issued Important Notice 127, Implementation of new Grant Proposal Guide Requirements Related to the Broader Impacts Criterion. This Important Notice reinforces the importance of addressing both criteria in the preparation and review of all proposals submitted to NSF. NSF continues to strengthen its internal processes to ensure that both of the merit review criteria are addressed when making funding decisions.
In an effort to increase compliance with these requirements, the January 2002 issuance of the GPG incorporated revised proposal preparation guidelines relating to the development of the Project Summary and Project Description. Chapter II of the GPG specifies that Principal Investigators (PIs) must address both merit review criteria in separate statements within the one-page Project Summary. This chapter also reiterates that broader impacts resulting from the proposed project must be addressed in the Project Description and described as an integral part of the narrative.
Effective October 1, 2002, NSF will return without review proposals that do not separately address both merit review criteria within the Project Summary. It is believed that these changes to NSF proposal preparation and processing guidelines will more clearly articulate the importance of broader impacts to NSF-funded projects.
The two National Science Board approved merit review criteria are listed below (see the Grant Proposal Guide Chapter III.A for further information). 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 judgments.
NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:
In making the final award decisions, NSF will also consider:
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 panels, three members of which will provide written reviews .
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.
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 names of the 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.
In most cases, proposers will be contacted by the Program Officer after his or her recommendation to award or decline funding has been approved by the Division Director. This informal notification is not a guarantee of an eventual award.
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 date of receipt. 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 their own risk.
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.)
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 Website at https://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 email@example.com.
More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at https://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 Website at http://www.gpo.gov.
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. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for the PI and all Co-PIs. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.
PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. 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.
General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:
John C Hurt, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, telephone: (703) 292-5332, fax: (703) 292-9051, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:
Esther Bolding, FastLane Contact, ENG/EEC, telephone: 703-292-8380, fax: 703-292-9051, email: EBolding@nsf.gov
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 https://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 Website at https://www.nsf.gov/home/ebulletin, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service (https://www.nsf.gov/home/cns/start.htm) to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Awardees 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, although some programs may have special requirements that limit eligibility.
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 GPG Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.
The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements 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 Website at https://www.nsf.gov
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.
An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to an information collection unless it displays a valid OMB control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. 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: Suzanne Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, Division of Administrative Services, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230.
OMB control number: 3145-0058.
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