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Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)
National Science Foundation
Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (optional):
June 28, 2006
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):
August 30, 2006
Due by 5 P.M. submitter's local time
Limit on Number of Proposals: Two (2) per institution or organization: An eligible U.S. academic institution (see section on ELIGIBILITY) may submit only one (1) proposal as the lead institution, and may be a non-leading partner on only one (1) other proposal. An eligible U.S. academic institution or other eligible organization that is not the lead institution on any proposal may be a non-leading partner on no more than two (2) proposals.
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 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 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 10-15 promising partnerships among academe, the private sector, and state/local/ federal government that will explore new approaches to support and sustain innovation.
Cognizant Program Officer(s):
Sara B Nerlove, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, telephone: (703) 292-7077, fax: (703) 292-9051/9052, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):
Limitation on the categories of organizations that are eligible to submit proposals: PFI proposals must be submitted by U.S. academic institutions located in the U.S., its territories, or possessions. Academic institutions include universities, colleges and two- and four-year community colleges. PFI proposals submitted by individuals, for-profit organizations or foreign organizations, will not be accepted.
A Partnership proposal must be submitted as a single administrative package by the lead institution. The submitting institution must serve as the lead institution or partner in the proposed partnership, that is, as the institution responsible for overall management of the partnership activity with administrative responsibility for the proposed effort. Partners may include, but are not limited to, other academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, private sector organizations, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, state and local government entities, trade and professional associations, 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. International collaborations that advance the goals of the PFI program are also encouraged.
A senior institutional administrator (dean or higher) at the lead institution must serve as Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator.
This solicitation is being revised to add the following clarification on the Limit on Number of Proposals that may be submitted.
Limit on Number of Proposals: Two (2) per institution/organization: An eligible U.S. academic institution (described above) may submit only one (1) proposal as the lead institution, and may be a non-leading partner on only one (1) other proposal. An eligible U.S. academic institution or other eligible organization that is not the lead institution on any proposal may be a non-leading partner on no more than two (2) proposals.
Research, education and innovation enterprises are increasingly interconnected, and increasingly global. Global collaboration--among scientists, engineers, educators, industry and governments--can speed the transformation of new knowledge into new products, processes and services, and in their wake produce new jobs, create wealth, and improve the standard of living and quality of life worldwide. Innovation is the transformation of scientific and technological advances into new products, processes, systems, and services. Innovation has created astonishing, tangible benefits to society, including improved healthcare, transportation, and computer-communications capacities.
Within the United States, innovation in science and technology has been the dominant source of productivity gains and new enterprises over the last 50 years. Much of the capacity for innovation in the U.S. has resulted from Federal funding of research. For over 50 years, NSF has enabled innovation through its support of discovery and the production of a scientifically and technologically knowledgeable workforce. More recently, NSF has established centers and developed other programs that facilitate knowledge and technology transfer to the private sector. Since businesses and industries today are more dependent on research and technology advances and since the product development cycle in all industry sectors is more rapid than before, NSF's traditional roles are more proximate and relevant to economic development than at any time in our past.
In the Partnerships for Innovation program, NSF seeks to stimulate and capitalize on innovation by catalyzing partnerships among colleges and universities, the private sector, and federal, state, and local governments. 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 in a global context; and an infrastructure that enables innovation. For the purposes of this program, innovation explicitly extends both to developing the people and tools. 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. Students moving into the workplace facilitate the innovation process.
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 and learning and innovation, while broadening the participation of people and institutions in NSF activities. We define innovation 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 as follows:
In order to accomplish these goals, proposals may include any one or a 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 and increased capabilities for continued innovation as the ultimate outcomes. Innovation should be the proposed outcome, not the formation of partnerships. Proposals should also have a plan to ensure that the innovation can be sustained in the long term. 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. Proposals may focus on creating a critical level of innovation activity in a technology area, an industry sector, or a geographical region. Partnership teams may include social scientists with expertise in areas related to organizing and managing innovation, including knowledge creation and transfer, joint ventures, diffusion of innovation, management, marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship. Partnership teams may also include individuals who can provide practical business or marketing expertise since many emerging and small businesses fail for lack of these capabilities. Because many innovation issues should now be addressed in a global context, international collaborations that advance the goals of the PFI program are encouraged.
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. 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 organization must be a U.S. academic institution located in the U.S., its territories or possessions. Academic institutions include universities, colleges and two- and four-year community colleges. Partners may include, but are not limited to, other academic institutions, not-for-profit institutions, private sector organizations, 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: No organization may be a partner in more than two Partnership proposals per competition. An eligible U.S. academic institution may submit only one Partnership proposal as a lead institution.
This solicitation is being revised to add the following clarification on the Limit on Number of Proposals that may be submitted.Limit on Number of Proposals: Two (2) per institution/organization: An eligible U.S. academic institution (described above) may submit only one (1) proposal as the lead institution, and may be a non-leading partner on only one (1) other proposal. An eligible U.S. academic institution or other eligible organization that is not the lead institution on any proposal may be a non-leading partner on no more than two (2) proposals.
NSF will make 10-15 awards totaling approximately $9,000,000 subject to the availability of funds and quality of proposals. Awards may be up to $600,000 with award durations of two or three years.
Letters of Intent (optional):
Submission of Letters of Intent is 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). The LOI must be submitted through FastLane by June 28, 2006. The LOI should briefly describe the proposed activity, the organizations, and senior personnel involved in the PFI Proposal. This description must not exceed 300 words. The LOI allows NSF to prepare for the review process.
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/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
Cost sharing is not required by NSF in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.
Other Budgetary Limitations:
Budget Limitations: Proposed Partnerships may request from NSF, total budgets of up to $600,000 for award durations of two or three years. NSF will not provide salary support for personnel employed by Federal Agencies or Federally Funded Research and Development Centers.
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
Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter'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: https://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 the following:
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.
NSF is striving to be able to tell proposers 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 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 are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC). 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.
Consistent with the requirements of OMB Circular A-16, Coordination of Geographic Information and Related Spatial Data Activities, and the Federal Geographic Data Committee, all NSF awards that result in relevant geospatial data must be submitted to Geospatial One-Stop in accordance with the guidelines provided at: www.geodata.gov.
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/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=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/.
*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at https://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/. Paper copies of these documents may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from email@example.com.
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:
Sara B Nerlove, Program Director, Directorate for Engineering, telephone: (703) 292-7077, fax: (703) 292-9051/9052, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:
Esther M. Bolding, Program Manager, Directorate for Engineering, Division of Engineering Education & Centers, 585 N, telephone: (703) 292-5342, fax: (703) 292-9051, email: email@example.com
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 MyNSF News Service (https://www.nsf.gov/mynsf/) 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.
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