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NSF 13-081

Dear Colleague Letter - FY 2014 Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Program Solicitation

Date: March 27, 2013

Within the next month, we anticipate issuing a solicitation calling for proposals to establish new Engineering Research Centers (ERC) in FY 2014. The solicitation includes two types of proposal submission tracks - Open Topic ERCs (engineered systems vision chosen by the PI) and Nanosystems ERCs (NERC) (topics where the realization of the engineered system vision requires a significant body of new nanoscale research). The actual number of each type of ERC funded center will depend on the scale and scope of the proposed centers, the availability of funds, and the quality of the proposals submitted. Up to four awards are anticipated and there is no preference between the two tracks.

The proposal submission requirements are changing from prior solicitations. Submission of a letter of intent, with an anticipated due date sometime in mid-May 2013, is required. A seven page preliminary proposal is required and, depending on the release date of the solicitation, will be due around the end of June 2013. The preliminary proposal will include only a project description with sections covering the vision, strategic plan, research, workforce development, and innovation ecosystem components of the proposed ERC plus a letter from the Dean of Engineering in support of the proposed center.

Only the PI and up to four co-PIs will be identified. The lead university must submit the preliminary proposal and there may be up to four other partner universities in accordance with the standard ERC program guidelines. However, all of those partners do not have to be in place at this time and the configuration may change after the review of the preliminary proposals.

The preliminary proposals will undergo peer review and we anticipate invitations to submit full proposals will be issued in September 2013. Full proposals may be submitted only by invitation, with an anticipated deadline in January 2014. Full proposals will be reviewed and approximately eight may be selected for site visit. We anticipate site visits taking place in March or April 2014 with a final review panel in May 2014. Up to four new ERCs will be funded with awards planned for no later than September 2014.

Please do not contact program staff until the ERC solicitation is released.

Theresa A. Maldonado
Division of Engineering Education and Centers