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NSF EPSCoR Track-2: Industries of the Future

UM ORSP RD Solicitation of Interest for
NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (FEC)

Funding Opportunity for Research towards Industries of the Future

For 2021 (NSF 21-518[1]) and 2022 (anticipated) Competition Cycles
 

The University of Mississippi (UM) Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) Division of Research Development (RD) solicits Phase 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to Lead, as well as Notices of Interest to Collaborate on, 2021 and 2022 NSF EPSCoR Track 2 research infrastructure improvement (RII) proposals to advance Industries of the Future.

Institutional Limitations: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 grants funds research capacity-building  collaborations among two or more EPSCoR RII eligible jurisdictions (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, US Virgin Islands, West Virginia, and Wyoming)[2].  A collaborative proposal that includes researchers/institutions within two or more of these states will be required.  UM (Oxford) can submit only one proposal. UMMC can also submit a proposal. This announcement applies to UM (Oxford) only.

PI Limitations: An individual can serve as a PI or co-PI on no more than one proposal to this solicitation (but may participate in multiple internal pre-proposals). PIs and Co-PIs on current NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 awards with end dates later than Oct. 31, 2021 are not eligible to submit proposals as a PI or Co-PI in this competition. Each proposal will have one PI, and must identify at least one co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction/state.

Two NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 Funding Cycles, One UM Internal Competition

To determine which (if any) proposals/teams will be developed for UM/Oxford’s sole submission to NSF in 2021 and 2022, respectively, a two-phase selection process will be conducted. While NSF 21-518 is specific to proposals due in January 2021, we anticipate that a subsequent, largely identical EPSCoR RII Track 2 RFP may be be issued in October 2021, again focused on Industries of the Future, and with proposals due in January 2022. Therefore, this ORSP announcement invites Phase 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to Lead (NICLEs), and Notices of Interest to Collaborate (NICs) on, UM EPSCoR RII Track 2 Industries of the Future proposals for both the currently announced 2021 and the anticipated 2022 competition cycle(s). Depending on the number of compelling and viable proposal concepts identified through this UM competition, we may be able to identify proposal leadership teams now for both the 2021 and 2022 slots, without having to run another internal UM competition in 2022. This would have the advantage of providing a long development window for the 2022 proposal. The risk is that the 2022 solicitation might unexpectedly pivot away from Industries of the Future them, and the 2022 concept would have to be internally recompeted next fall.

The internally winning proposal(s)/team(s) will be invited to choose whether they want to apply in 2021, or defer until 2022 and develop a proposal for submission then, assuming the Industries of the Future theme returns in the 2022 NSF solicitation. The runner-up proposal/team, if deemed sufficiently viable, may be invited to lead a proposal for the remaining slot (2021 or 2022)—subject to certain constraints.

Limited Submission Selection Process: For Phase 1, individuals or teams proposing to lead a collaboration project must submit to ORSP a non-binding 2-page internal Notice of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLE). In addition, individual investigators, teams, or support units who do not wish to LEAD a proposal, but who have expertise to collaborate on, or capabilities to SUPPORT, an Industries of the Future proposal or project, may submit a Notice of Interest to Collaborate (NIC).

If more than one NICLE is received, those assessed to have reasonable potential will be invited to submit a longer Phase 2 Internal Pre-Proposal. ORSP RD will coordinate a process to review, score, provide feedback on, & assess the relative potential of each investigator/team to deliver a competitive proposal around the concept presented. The Phase 2 competition winner will be invited develop a full proposal for submission to NSF in the competition year of their choosing (2021 or 2022). The runner-up investigator/team/concept, if compelling and sufficiently thematically distinct from the winner, may be invited lead a proposal for the NSF remaining (2021 or 2022) competition cycle. Both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Pre-Proposal submissions should be uploaded via the Ole Miss InfoReady Review portal[3], by the due dates given below.

Budget: The maximum budget request allowed per four-year project/proposal is:

·      up to $1.0M/year for collaborations involving two RII-eligible jurisdictions, or up to $4M total over four years; OR
·      up to $1.5M/year for collaborations involving 3 or more eligible jurisdictions, or up to $6M total over four years.

Discovery Circles

Ahead of the Phase 1 deadline, ORSP RD will conduct two different Information Sessions to provide a high-level overview of both the NSF EPSCoR RII Track 2 funding opportunity, and the internal competition/selection process, as well as to answer questions for both. In addition, ORSP RD will conduct two or more Networking/Resourcing Sessions to facilitate networking among potential collaborators and support providers (including those who submitted NICs), and to share resources available to search for additional collaborators in other jurisdictions. The exact format of these sessions is TBD, but may include one or more of: a virtual networking reception, elevator pitch sessions, or a speed networking session.

Key Dates and Schedule (Expected to Apply to Both 2021 and 2022 Competitions)

10/23/2020     Industries of the Future theme announced by NSF
10/26/2020     This UM announcement with Internal Competition Instructions
11/02/2020     First ORSP Information Session
11/05/2020     Repeat ORSP information Session[4]
11/09/2020     1st Networking/Resourcing Session
11/09/2020     Stage 1 NICLEs and NICs due to ORSP
11/13/2020     2nd Networking/Resourcing Session (tentative)
12/04/2020     Stage 2 Internal Proposals due to ORSP
12/10/2020     ORSP announces which UM Pre-Proposal(s) to move forward
                        for 2021 and/or 2022 competitions, if applicable

2021 NSF Competition Dates and Schedule

10/23/2020     NSF 21-518 solicitation released
12/14/2020     Required Letter of Intent due to ORSP for Review
12/18/2020    Letter of Intent due to NSF (submitted by AOR)
12/20/2020     First Draft of Full Project Descr. due to ORSP RD for Enhanced Review
12/21/2020     Last full day before Winter Holiday Break
01/04/2021     University reopens
01/04/2021     Enhanced Review of Project Description Completed/Returned
01/08/2021     Most other proposal documents complete and ready for upload
01/08/2021     2nd draft of Summary & Project Desc. due to ORSP RD for Review
01/15/2021     All other proposal documents completed and uploaded to sponsor portal
01/15/2021     ORSP/Enhanced Review of 2nd Draft Completed/Returned
01/15/2021     Transmittal due to ORSP for Review
01/18/2021     Holiday/University Closed
01/22/2021     Target Date for Proposal Submission
01/25/2021    Full proposal due to NSF

2022 NSF Competition Dates and Schedule (TBD)

TBD                  NSF solicitation released (anticipated October 2021)
TBD                 Letter of Intent due to NSF (submitted by AOR)
TBD                 First Draft of Full Project Description due to ORSP for Enhanced Review
TBD                 Most other proposal documents complete and ready for upload
TBD                 2nd complete draft of Summary & Project Desc. due to ORSP for Review
TBD                 All other proposal documents completed and uploaded to sponsor portal
TBD                 Transmittal due to ORSP for Review
TBD                 Target Date for Proposal Submission
TBD                 Full proposal due to NSF (anticipated January 2022)

Instructions for UM Internal Stage 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLE)

Investigator/teams wishing to lead a proposal must submit a Stage 1 NICLE. The NICLE should consist of an NSF-style Project Summary and a list of Prospective Collaborators The Stage 1 NICLE is required, but not binding. That is, to be invited to submit a Stage 2 pre-proposal, a viable Stage-1 NICLE must be submitted; however, the Stage-1 NICLE does not commit the PI to submit a Stage-2 Pre-Proposal, and the team or approach can be shuffled between Stage 1 & Stage 2.

(1)    Project Summary: NSF-style Project Summary, including working title, and the Industries of the Future theme(s) to be advanced. Max 1-page (shorter ok).

(2)    Prospective Collaborators: 1-page max list of institutions and individuals that a UM PI/team is considering collaborating with, including at least one institution/co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction (NSF requirement). Whilte it is not necessarily expected that those proposed collaborators would have confirmed their intention to collaborate on a proposal at this stage, but please provide some idea of the state of discussions: what has been decided, what is being considered, what hasn’t been decided, etc. No signatures required.

Instructions for UM Internal Stage 1 Notices of Interest to Collaborate (NIC)

Individual, teams, or UM units with who have expertise or resources that strengthen on support a proposal or project, but who are not interested in leading a project, are invited to submit a 1-page NIC, briefly describing those capabilities, and preliminary ideas on how they might be plugged into a proposal or project, including any specific Industries of the Future themes they might be especially well matched for.  These NICs will be shared with all of the NICLE submitters. In addition, NIC submitters will be invited to participate in networking/resourcing sessions.

Instructions for UM Internal Stage 2 (Pre-Proposal)

Shortly after the Stage 1 deadline, the Stage 1 competition in the InfoReady Review portal will be converted to a Stage 2 Internal Pre-Proposals competition. These Pre-Proposals should be no more than 10 pages, in 11 or 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font, single-spaced with one-inch margins, and include the following sections, in order, with the names given.

(1)    Project Summary: 1-page NSF-style Project Summary, including working title.

(2)    Confirmed Collaborators: 1-page max list of proposed collaborating institutions and individuals—the UM PI and up to 4 co-PIs, including at least one co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction (NSF requirement). This page should summarize the specific role/contribution of each proposed collaborating investigator, and why each is critical to the project. Include the contact information and signatures (ink or electronic) of the proposed PI and each co-PI. 

(3)    Abbreviated Project Description: A short (up to 6 pages) version of the Project Description, containing (very abbreviated versions of) all of the required components, including: Status and Overview; Results from Relevant Prior Support; Research, Collaboration, and Workforce Development; Inter-jurisdictional Collaborations and Partnerships; Economic Impact and Sustainability; Workforce Development; Evaluation and Assessment Plan; & Management and Implementation Plan. Due to the limited space and time, it is not expected that any of these elements will be complete, but proposers should provide enough detail to convince internal reviewers that, if selected for UM’s institutional nomination, the ensuing full proposal will be complete and strong.

(4)    Anticipated Outcomes (up to 1 page): what kinds of outcomes are anticipated through this collaboration that would not be possible by the investigators/jurisdictions working separately, including:

a.     workforce development outcomes

b.     benefits to the jurisdictions, (especially Mississippi), the nation, & world

c.     research capability improvements in the designated focus area

(5)    Early Career Development and Diversity Plan (up to 1 page): specific plan for how the project will lead to the recruitment and development of diverse early-career faculty, and how the full diversity of the participating jurisdictions’ resources will be engaged

Combine all pre-proposal sections into one PDF, and submit the single PDF. While 10 pages are available, if you can make a compelling case in less space, feel free to do so.

Industries of the Future

RII Track-2 FEC 2021 proposals must be aligned with the following focus area:

Advancing research towards Industries of the Future to ensure economic growth for EPSCoR jurisdictions.

From the Solicitation: “According to the 2021 OMB/OSTP Research and Development priorities memo, Industries of the Future are a key component to the country’s economic and national security. For the National Science Foundation, these industries have been defined across several categories and include: Advanced Manufacturing; Advanced Wireless; Artificial Intelligence; Biotechnology; Quantum Information Science; and Spectrum Innovation Science. Moreover, these industries will require new advances in and integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning, new cyber infrastructure, new approaches for mathematical and computational modeling, new dynamics and control methodologies, new ways to integrate systems biology, synthetic biology and bioprocessing, and new ways to contribute to influence the economy, workforce, and society. For this solicitation, research focused in these areas is strongly encouraged, however, in rare cases, additional industries relevant to a Jurisdiction’s Science and Technology Plan can be considered for this solicitation with appropriate strong justification.”

Mississippi's Science and Technology Plan: http://www.mississippiresearch.org/static/ST-Plan.pdf

 

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