(CLOSED) NSF 19-506 Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)

Sponsor Name: 
NSF
Amount: 
$20,000,000.00
Description of the Award: 

WEBINARS: Webinars will be held to answer questions about the solicitation. Registration will be available on the NSF Partnerships for Innovation website (https://www.nsf.gov/PFI). Potential proposers and their partners are encouraged to attend.

The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) offers researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering funded by NSF the opportunity to perform translational research and technology development, catalyze partnerships and accelerate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace for societal benefit.

PFI has five broad goals, as set forth by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2017 (“the Act”, S.3084 — 114th CongressSec. 602. Translational Research Grants): (1) identifying and supporting NSF-sponsored research and technologies that have the potential for accelerated commercialization; (2) supporting prior or current NSF-sponsored investigators, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations that partner with an institution of higher education in undertaking proof-of-concept work, including the development of technology prototypes that are derived from NSF-sponsored research and have potential market value; (3) promoting sustainable partnerships between NSF-funded institutions, industry, and other organizations within academia and the private sector with the purpose of accelerating the transfer of technology; (4) developing multi-disciplinary innovation ecosystems which involve and are responsive to the specific needs of academia and industry; (5) providing professional development, mentoring, and advice in entrepreneurship, project management, and technology and business development to innovators.

In addition, PFI responds to the mandate set by Congress in Section 601(c)(3) of the Act (Follow-on Grants), to support prototype or proof-of-concept development work by participants, including I-Corps participants, with innovations that because of the early stage of development are not eligible to participate in a Small Business Innovation Research Program or a Small Business Technology Transfer Program.

Finally, PFI seeks to implement the mandate set by Congress in Section 102(c)(a) of the Act (Broader Impacts Review Criterion Update) by enhancing partnerships between academia and industry in the United States, and expanding the participation of women and individuals from underrepresented groups in innovation, technology translation, and entrepreneurship.

This solicitation offers two broad tracks for proposals in pursuit of the aforementioned goals:

The Technology Translation (PFI-TT) track offers the opportunity to translate prior NSF-funded research results in any field of science or engineering into technological innovations with promising commercial potential and societal impact. PFI-TT supports commercial potential demonstration projects for academic research outputs in any NSF-funded science and engineering discipline. This demonstration is achieved through proof-of-concept, prototyping, technology development and/or scale-up work. Concurrently, students and postdoctoral researchers who participate in PFI-TT projects receive education and leadership training in innovation and entrepreneurship. Successful PFI-TT projects generate technology-driven commercialization outcomes that address societal needs.

The Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track seeks to achieve the same goals as the PFI-TT track by supporting instead complex, multi-faceted technology development projects that are typically beyond the scope of a single researcher or institution and require a multi-organizational, interdisciplinary, synergistic collaboration. A PFI-RP project requires the creation of partnerships between academic researchers and third-party organizations such as industry, non-academic research organizations, federal laboratories, public or non-profit technology transfer organizations or other universities. Such partnerships are needed to conduct applied research on a stand-alone larger project toward commercialization and societal impact. In the absence of such synergistic partnership, the project’s likelihood for success would be minimal.

The intended outcomes of both PFI-TT and PFI-RP tracks are: a) the commercialization of new intellectual property derived from NSF-funded research outputs; b) the creation of new or broader collaborations with industry (including increased corporate sponsored research); c) the licensing of NSF-funded research outputs to third party corporations or to start-up companies funded by a PFI team; and d) the training of future innovation and entrepreneurship leaders.

Award Information:

Anticipated Funding Amount: $20,000,000

Estimated Number of Awards: 50 to 65

PFI-TT projects will be funded for up to $250,000 for 18-24 months per award; approximately 40-50 awards are anticipated. PFI-RP projects will be funded for up to $550,000 for 36 months. Approximately 10-15 awards are anticipated.

Eligibility Information:

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Academic / Research U.S. institutions; includes universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the United States, acting on behalf of their faculty members;
  • Public or Non-profit, Non-academic U.S. organizations located in the United States that are directly associated with technology transfer activities (“Technology Transfer Organizations”);
  • Non-profit U.S. organizations located in the United States that partner with an institution of higher education; or
  • A U.S. consortium of 2 or more of the organizations described above.

Technology Transfer Organizations interested in submitting proposals to PFI are strongly encouraged to partner with an Academic / Research U.S. institution to strengthen the technical component of their projects.

Who May Serve as PI:

The PI must have the technical skills required to lead and execute the proposed research project.

In addition to the PI, PFI-TT proposals must include a Senior Personnel or co-PI who brings technology commercialization experience in the targeted fields of application or industry sector. The technology commercialization expert must have an active role in the project.

PFI-RP proposals must include, without exception, a co-PI who is a member or employee of the required Industrial Partner organization. PFI-RP proposals without an Industrial Partner co-PI may be returned without review.

The technology commercialization expert cannot use NSF-funded time and effort to perform any “Objectives Not Responsive to this Solicitation” listed in Section II.E of this solicitation. However, the expert may participate in any mandatory I-Corps training that will be provided during the term of the PFI award. Additional collaborators or organizations that bring needed multidisciplinary expertise or commercialization experience may be involved as co-PI, Senior Personnel, Other Professional, subawardee, consultant, etc.

NSF Lineage Requirement: All proposals submitted to the PFI program must meet a lineage requirement under one of the following two paths: (1) NSF-supported research results, or (2) NSF-supported customer discovery results through the NSF I-Corps Teams Program. Please refer to "Additional Eligibility Information" under Section IV of this solicitation for details.

NSF 10 Big Ideas.

In 2016, NSF unveiled a set of "Big Ideas" -- 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/). The Big Ideas represent unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge -- indeed to define that cutting edge -- of global science and engineering leadership, and this will require collaborations among academe, industry, and public and private institutions. The PFI program strongly encourages projects with NSF Lineage aligned with one or more of the 10 Big Ideas.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There is no limit on the number of PFI-TT proposals an organization may submit to a deadline of this solicitation. However, an organization may not submit more than one (1) new or resubmitted PFI-RP proposal to a deadline of this solicitation. This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. If an organization exceeds this limit, the first PFI-RP proposal received will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review. An organization may not receive more than two (2) awards from a submission deadline of this solicitation.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 2

A PI or co-PI may submit up to two (2) proposals to each solicitation deadline. These could be two (2) proposals to PFI-TT or one (1) proposal each to PFI-TT and PFI-RP, subject to the organizational limits described above. A PI or co-PI will not receive more than one (1) award per solicitation deadline. PIs with currently active PFI awards are requested to complete their then-current project before submitting a new PFI proposal. Any duplicate, substantially similar or equivalent proposal submitted concurrently for review to the solicitation will be returned without review.

A PI or co-PI may resubmit a proposal that was previously declined under a previous PFI solicitation or under a previous submission deadline in this solicitation; however, the new proposal must be significantly improved and be responsive to the major comments or concerns resulting from the prior NSF review. A resubmission must include a supplemental document that includes the previous proposal number, a summary of the NSF reviewers’ comments and the PI's response to those comments (see Section V.A.J. below). The revised proposal will be subject to a new NSF merit review.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
1
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jan 17, 2019
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should send the following documents in sequence in one PDF file (File name: Last name_NSF 19-506_2019 no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline:

Cover Page:

  • Principal Investigator’s (PI's) names and departmental affiliation
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)

  • A list of possible participating organizations (if applicable)

  • Proposal Title

Project Description (no more than two pages):

  • Identify the project scope that addresses the key aspects and elements outlined in the NSF solicitation, principal investigators, collaborators, and partner organizations.

General Timeline for Proposal Development.

2-page current NSF Bio-sketch for all PIs and Co-PIs.

Completed Current & Pending Support Document (template attached to this competition)

Formatting Guidelines and Page Limit:

  • Font/size: Times New Roman (12 pt.)

  • Document margins: 1.0” (top, bottom, left and right)

  • Standard paper size (8 ½” x 11)

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 4:00pm
Notes: 
TT Track: No Applicants RP Track: Bradley Rogers (ECoS, Chemistry) 12/10/18