NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (RII Track-2 FEC

 Funding Opportunity for Research in Harnessing Big Data to solve problems of national importance. Program Solicitation: NSF 18-589[1]

Institutional Limitations: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 grants fund collaborations among two or more EPSCoR RII eligible jurisdictions (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, US Virgin Islands, West Virginia, and Wyoming.)

A collaborative proposal that includes researchers/institutions within at least two of these states will be required—UM (in Mississippi) and at least one institution in another (non-MS) EPSCoR state.  UM (Oxford) can submit only one proposal. The UM Medical Center can also submit one 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 (but may participate in multiple internal pre-proposals). An investigator may serve as PI or Co-PI on only one RII Track-2 award at any given time. Each proposal will have one PI, and must identify at least one co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction/state.

Other Requirements: All proposals must promote collaborations among researchers in EPSCoR jurisdictions, emphasize STEM education and workforce development, and emphasize the recruitment/development of diverse early career faculty.

Limited Submission Selection Process: An internal selection process will be conducted consistent with ORSP’s standard process for Limited Submissions[2]. To determine which (if any) proposal will be developed for UM (Oxford)’s sole submission to NSF, a two-stage selection process will be conducted. For Stage 1, individuals or teams proposing to lead a collaboration project must submit a non-binding 2-page internal Notice of Intent to ORSP. If more than one Notice of Intent is received, those assessed to have reasonable potential will be invited to submit a longer (up to 6 pages) Stage 2 internal Pre-Proposal to ORSP. If multiple Stage 2 Pre-Proposals are received, ORSP will coordinate the selection of the winning pre-proposal, which the proposing PI/team will be invited to develop as a full proposal for submission to NSF. If at either Stage (1 or 2) only one viable submission is received by ORSP, the submitting PI will be invited to develop the full proposal on behalf of the institution. Both the Stage 1 Notice of Intent, and the Stage 2 Pre-Proposal, should be submitted to ORSP via the Ole Miss InfoReady Review portal[3] by the dates below.  The Deans or Associate Deans of Research from the college or school of each Stage 2 proposer will have the opportunity to nominate a non-conflicted[4] representative to provide input into the review/selection process. The leadership of the Big Data Flagship Constellation will also have the opportunity to nominate a non-conflicted representative to provide input into the review/selection process. ORSP may also engage non-conflicted Research Development Fellows and/or external reviewers with experience or knowledge in Big Data and/or the EPSCoR RII Track-2 mechanism to assist with review/selection process.

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 $1.5M/year for collaborations involving 3 or more eligible jurisdictions.

Committed cost sharing is prohibited. Full F&A (on-campus research) is in effect.

Key Dates (dates italics are separate from, but related to, this opp/competition)

08/30/2018     NSF solicitation released
09/13/2018     This UM announcement with Internal Competition Instructions
09/17/2018     3-4pm ORSP Information Session on this funding opportunity @ JAC-B [5].
09/17/2018     4-5pm UM Big Data Constellation Meeting @ JAC-B [6].

10/01/2018     Stage 1 Internal Notices of Intent due to ORSP

10/19/2018     Big Data Constellation seed grant proposals due—separate.
10/22/2018     Stage 2 Internal Pre-Proposals due to ORSP

11/14/2018     ORSP announces winning pre-proposal
11/21/2018     Last day (Wednesday) before Thanksgiving Break.
11/26/2018    UM Offices Reopen (Monday)
11/26/2018    Required Letter of Intent due to NSF.  

12/07/2018     Big Data Constellation seed grant awardees announced—separate.

12/21/2018     Last full day before Christmas/Winter Break
01/02/2019     University reopens

01/14/2019     Full proposal, transmittal, & subaward budgets due to ORSP for review
01/21/2019     MLK Holiday
01/25/2019     Full Proposal due to NSF, must comply with solicitation and
                        Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) NSF 18-1[7].


Instructions for UM Internal Stage 1 (Notice of Intent)

The sole purpose of the Stage 1 Notice of Intent is to learn whether we will need to have an internal competition. If we receive only one Notice of Intent, we probably won't have a competition. Stage 1 Notices of Intent (NOI) should be no more than 1 page long, and should consist of an Abbreviated Project Summary and a list of Prospective Collaborators. The Stage 1 NOI is required, but not binding. That is, to move to the Stage 2 competition, a viable Stage-1 NOI must be submitted; however, the Stage-1 NOI does not commit the PI to submit a Stage-2 Pre-Proposal, and the team/approach can be shuffled between Stages 1 and 2.

Abbreviated Project Summary: 1/2 of 1-page NSF-style Project Summary, including working title.

Prospective Collaborators: 1/2 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), and at least one co-PI from another MRC institution (Mississippi Research Consortium recommendation, not absolutely required). If collaborating with UMMC, please list them here as well. 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 is decided, what is being considered, what hasn’t been decided, etc. No signatures are required at this point.

Instructions for UM Internal Stage 2 (Pre-Proposal)

Stage 2 Pre-Proposals are to see which of multiple competing ideas is the most developed so that we can choose which to move forward to a full proposal. The primary difference between a Stage 1 NOI and a Stage 2 Pre-Proposal is that the collaborators for the Stage 2 Pre-Proposal must be confirmed, whereas at Stage 1, they must only be identified as potential collaborators. Stage 2 Pre-Proposals can also be a little be longer, but should be no more than 6 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 these names.

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

Confirmed Collaborators: Up to 1-page list of proposed collaborating institutions and individuals—the UM PI and up to four 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 of the proposed PI and each co-PI. 

Very Abbreviated Project Description: A short (up to 4 pages) version of the Project Description, containing (extremely abbreviated versions of) all (or as many as you can in the time available) of the required components, including: Status and Overview; Results from Relevant Prior Support; Research Plan; Inter-jurisdictional Collaborations and Partnerships; Workforce Development; Evaluation and Assessment Plan; & Sustainability Plan. Due to the limited space and time, it is not expected that any of these elements will be complete, but you should provide enough to convince internal reviewers that, if selected for UM’s institutional nomination, the ensuing full proposal will be complete and strong.


Big Data Theme

Purpose: Solutions to many of the pressing problems facing society may require the integration of teams of scientists and engineers and the analysis of large and complex data sets arising from multi-disciplinary projects

Research Requirements: Proposals submitted for the FY19 RII Track-2 FEC competition should meet the following requirements:

  • strictly fall under NSF’s “Harnessing the Data Revolution,” one of NSF’s Ten Big Ideas;
  • focus on harnessing Big Data to solve compelling problems of national importance
  • integrate multi-disciplinary teams of scientists and engineers;
  • address the analysis of large and complex data sets arising from multi-disciplinary projects;
  • identify and motivate the importance and relevance of the chosen topic area in the context of complex data sets and the current status of ongoing work in the area;
  • emphasize how new information can be obtained from better connections among data sources, utilization of data (including data from multiple facilities, techniques, and/or instruments), and how this will be used to address the specific problem of national importance;

Social and Educational Requirements: NSF and EPSCoR recognize that STEM talent must be cultivated in underrepresented populations of individuals and that the anticipated needs of the future workforce mandate that data science skills be incorporated broadly across education programs. Therefore, proposals should:

  • develop a strong commitment to building a diverse workforce, which may include but is not limited to the inclusion and involvement of diverse educational institutions (e.g., Primarily Undergraduate Institutions and Minority Serving Institutions) and under-represented minorities in STEM;
  • develop strong educational programs for analysis of complex data sets that can be implemented across institutions of higher learning in participating jurisdictions;
  • comprehend the involvement and mentoring of early-career faculty.

More information on NSF’s commitment to broadening participation can be found in the ‘Framework for Action Report.’”

[3] Ole Miss InfoReady Review portal: https://olemiss.infoready4.com

[4] A potential reviewer is non-conflicted if they are not a member of the department of the PI or any co-PIs or named participants on the proposal, and are not themselves participating on this or any competing Track-2 proposal (internally or externally).

[5] Jackson Ave Center Ballroom B. Sign up at http://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations.

[6] Jackson Ave Center Ballroom B. Sign up at http://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations.