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NSF 13-107

Dear Colleague Letter: I/UCRC Innovation Fellows (IIF) Supplemental Funding

This document has been archived.

To: Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Directors
From: Dr. Keith Marzullo; Division Director, Division of Computer and Network Systems (CISE/CNS)
Dr. Grace Wang, Division Director, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (ENG/IIP)
Re:  I/UCRC Innovation Fellows (IIF)

Dear Colleagues:

Many of the world's most pressing science and engineering challenges and opportunities are transnational in nature. Moreover, leading scientific and engineering facilities, resources, and expertise are found around the globe. In order to remain at the forefront of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), the United States (U.S.) needs to nurture a globally engaged STEM workforce capable of performing in an international cooperative research environment spanning academe, industry, and government.

To help address this need, the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) Innovation Fellows (IIF) Program provides supplemental support for U.S. students to conduct high-quality, industrially relevant research abroad in collaboration with international investigators at university, public, and private sector labs that support the objectives of an I/UCRC’s research roadmap. Such experiences expose U.S. students to the international research community at a critical early stage in their careers and build the collaborative relationships necessary for the successful establishment of an I/UCRC international site.

Projects must involve U.S. students conducting research at non-U.S. universities and industry sites with appropriate international expert mentorship. Projects are organized and proposed by U.S. I/UCRC-based Principal Investigators, who arrange the specific research topics, site placements, appropriate research mentorship abroad, and necessary local resources, and then recruit and prepare U.S. I/UCRC students to participate in these experiences. A key feature of IIF is that the primary research mentorship must come from the researchers at the non-U.S. host institution and include industry participation.

Supplemental Funding Request Due Date

August 7, 2013 by 5:00 PM, submitter’s local time.


  • Organization Eligibility: Only NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers/Sites in good standing are eligible to apply for the supplement. Good standing requires that a center/site has an updated directory listing, has no outstanding reports, and has sufficient membership participation as outlined in the I/UCRC solicitation (NSF 12-516).
  • Participant (Student) Eligibility: Support must be given to graduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents; the intent of the program is to broaden the international experience of U.S. students.
  • PI Eligibility: U.S. I/UCRC-based Principal Investigators.
  • Anticipated Funding Amount: $20,000 per award.
  • Award Duration: 3 months to 1 year.
  • Limit on Number of Supplemental Funding Requests: An active single-university center is eligible to receive a maximum of 1 supplemental award. For a multi-university center, only 1 site may receive this supplemental funding.
  • Number of Awards Anticipated: Approximately 10.


Because IIF supports U.S. students abroad in industrially relevant research that supports the objectives and international growth of an I/UCRC, an IIF project will often enable students to work within an established collaboration between a U.S.-based I/UCRC and a non-U.S. collaborating research group. However, IIF projects may also be proposed by the U.S.-based PI(s) for new collaborations abroad.

An IIF supplemental funding request must support the objectives of an I/UCRC as demonstrated by the relationship of the student’s work to the research portfolio of the center and a letter of support from the I/UCRC’s Industry Advisory Board (IAB) chair.  The participating student must have an individual research project for which he/she is responsible. The project must further or expand the center’s research portfolio and demonstrably build and strengthen the center’s relationship with the international research mentors and their industry partner(s).

Projects for which the duration of research conducted abroad is less than four weeks should be justified by exceptional conditions or circumstances; longer duration projects are generally preferable. A typical IIF project will support a student abroad for a three-month research experience, but the actual number of students, length of time abroad, and time of year spent abroad, may vary.

Primary research mentorship must be provided by international mentors. The U.S. PI is responsible for recruiting and preparing U.S. student participants in addition to ensuring the quality of the research experience and the appropriateness of the research mentorship abroad. Preparation of selected students to enable maximum benefit during the period spent abroad is particularly important and should include both scientific preparation for the research project as well as more general, location-specific preparation for practical and cultural issues that the student will encounter. It may be necessary for the U.S. PI to spend a short period of time with the U.S. student to help with the transition to the international site and mentor; however, the U.S. PI is not expected to remain on-site and actively engaged with the U.S. student throughout the period abroad.


Proposals for supplemental funding must be submitted through FastLane as a supplement. Supplemental funding requests must include a one-page project summary, a project description not to exceed 5 pages, biographical sketch of the student, and the PI’s current and pending support.  The project description must clearly articulate the following:

  • The research focus of the proposed activity, and its alignment with the I/UCRC’s objectives and endorsement by the IAB;
  • The intellectual collaboration with the international team including both university and industry members;
  • The details on mentoring (including international academic and industry partner time commitment), professional development, and training that students will receive;
  • The student participant or, if a student has not yet been chosen, the recruitment and broadening participation plans; the selection process; the pre-departure preparation of students;
  • Arrangements for housing, health insurance, and other logistics; and
  • How the activity builds and strengthens partnerships with non-U.S. institutions and international industry that can result in the formation of an I/UCRC international site.

Supplemental funding requests not following these instructions will be returned without review. Call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail 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.


Requests for supplemental funding submitted in response to this Dear Colleague Letter will be reviewed by a National Science Foundation Program Officer. The review will focus on both the objectives and strategy in the supplemental funding request.


Annual and final reports submitted by the I/UCRC center/site must describe the interactions and benefits realized by both the student and the international collaboration research group.


Please contact one of the following program officials if you have questions about this I/UCRC supplement:

  • Larry Hornak, I/UCRC Program Director, telephone: (703) 292-2678, e-mail:
  • Shashank Priya, I/UCRC Program Director, telephone: (703) 292-4709, e-mail:
  • Rita Rodriguez, I/UCRC Program Director, telephone: (703) 292-8950, e-mail: