Limited funding opportunity – NSF Science & Technology Center (STC)

We are pleased to announce the launch of the 2019 National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center (STC) Letter of Intent competition. Click on the link below to view more information. Thank you!

The VP for Research has announced the internal process for selecting the UVA candidates for ­­­­the NSF Science and Technology Centers (STCs) Limited Submission Opportunity. This program supports innovative, potentially transformative, complex research and education projects that require large-scale, long-term awards. STCs conduct world-class research through partnerships among academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations, and/or other public/private entities, and via international collaborations, as appropriate. They provide a means to undertake significant investigations at the interfaces of disciplines and/or fresh approaches within disciplines. STCs may involve any areas of science and engineering that NSF supports. STCs investments support the NSF vision of advancing discovery, innovation and education beyond the frontiers of current knowledge, and empowering future generations in science and engineering.

The National Science Foundation established the Science and Technology Centers Program in 1987. The objective was to mount an innovative, interdisciplinary campaign in important areas of basic research. STCs have grown from a new idea into a vital network of programs. They have catalyzed breakthroughs, built bridges of exchange with industry, spun off new technologies and businesses, and trained young scientists and engineers.

While the FY2019 solicitation is not yet out, we expect that the NSF may place special emphasis on the NSF Big Ideas, particularly Convergence. Other NSF Big Ideas include Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR), The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (HTF), Navigating the New Arctic (NNA), Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (WOU), The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution (QL), Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype (ROL), NSF INCLUDES, Mid-Scale Infrastructure, and NSF 2026.

Note: If the NSF posts a new solicitation for the STC, it will be available via their website so please check back at a later date. The deadlines in this call for internal letters of intent are subject to change, based on the dates in the new solicitation. The previous STC solicitation can be found here: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2014/nsf14600/nsf14600.htm

The Science and Technology Centers (STC): Integrative Partnerships program supports innovative, potentially transformative, complex research and education projects that require large-scale, long-term awards. STCs conduct world-class research through partnerships among academic institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations, and/or other public/private entities, and via international collaborations, as appropriate. They provide a means to undertake significant investigations at the interfaces of disciplines and/or fresh approaches within disciplines. STCs may involve any area of science and engineering that NSF supports. STC investments support the NSF vision of creating and exploiting new concepts in science and engineering and providing global leadership in research and education.

Centers provide a rich environment for encouraging future scientists, engineers, and educators to take risks in pursuing discoveries and new knowledge. STCs foster excellence in education by integrating education and research, and by creating bonds between learning and inquiry so that discovery and creativity fully support the learning process.

NSF expects STCs to demonstrate leadership in the involvement of groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering at all levels (faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers) within the Center. Centers use either proven or innovative mechanisms to address issues such as recruitment, retention and mentorship of participants from underrepresented groups.

Centers must undertake activities that facilitate knowledge transfer, i.e., the exchange of scientific and technical information with the objective of disseminating and utilizing knowledge broadly in multiple sectors. Examples of knowledge transfer include technology transfer with the intention of supporting innovation, providing key information to public policy makers, or dissemination of knowledge from one field of science to another.

Each STC must:

  • be focused on research and education at the frontier of an area of science, engineering or education supported by NSF;
  • have scope and scale to justify funding through a center mechanism;
  • be based at an academic institution;
  • be directed by a faculty member;
  • demonstrate institutional commitment to achieving strategic goals that are shared by the lead and partnering institutions;
  • establish multi-institutional collaborations or linkages with other universities/colleges, national laboratories, research museums, private sector research laboratories, state and local government organizations, and international collaborations, as appropriate;
  • develop a management plan that integrates the research, education, broadening participation, and knowledge transfer activities across all partners and affiliates;
  • include diverse teams at all organizational levels of the Center, inclusive of women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities;
  • provide research and education opportunities for U.S. students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty that will result in outcomes consonant with the Center’s goals.
  • facilitate knowledge transfer through significant intellectual exchange among various types of institutions and organizations (e.g., nonprofit organizations; national laboratories; industry; Federal, state, and local governments); and
  • establish and convene annually an External Advisory Committee to provide guidance, advice, and oversight.

Total Funding, Award Size, and Estimated Number of Awards: TBD; Based on previous solicitations, roughly four (4) STC awards are expected, each of five (5) years in duration with a yearly budget of $4M-$5M.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 3

External Deadline: TBD

Instructions for Submitting a Letter of Intent (LOI): To apply, click on View Letter of Intent. You will login to the system using NetBadge. If the PI is submitting the Letter of Intent, the PI’s name and email will already be filled in. If you are submitting the proposal on behalf of the PI, please fill in the PI’s name and email address (use the PI’s UVA ID, not an email alias). Enter the proposal title, the list of participating faculty (name and Department), and a short (no more than 1 paragraph) description of the planned proposal. This information will be used to help develop the internal review panel, if necessary. Letters of Intent must be received by 5:00pm on November 29, 2018.

Faculty submitting LOIs will be contacted regarding an internal competition, if necessary. If a competition is necessary, the internal application will be due on or around January 3, 2019 and must include (one pdf file):

  1. Project Description (8-pages single spaced, references do not count toward the page limit). The Project Description should articulate a vision for the proposed Center that clearly outlines the grand challenges being addressed or breakthroughs being sought. The proposed research should be sufficiently complex, large-scale, and long-term to justify a Center and flexible enough to permit change as the research proceeds. The proposed approaches must be innovative, and it must be clear how they will transform or significantly impact the research area. The Project Description must describe how the integration of research, education, and knowledge transfer in a center-level activity will advance the proposed research in a way that other funding mechanisms cannot. A justification for the focus of the education programs and activities should be included and described in the context of current knowledge of teaching and learning. Include a description of the team members and why each is essential to the project plan (must not be more than 2 of the 8 pages). In addition to an outline of research themes, some illustrative examples of specific research directions with sufficient detail to be evaluated by reviewers should be included. Results from Prior NSF Support should not be included. Links to URLs may not be used.
  2. List of Partner Institutions, with names and Depts of PIs, Co-PIs, and other core participants;
  3. 2-page CV for the PI only;
  4. A one-page budget outline (in column format) showing major budget categories for the project period and justifications if necessary;
  5. Endorsement letters from Department Chair(s) and/or Dean(s).

Limited Submission Alerts, Process, and Review

To sign up for direct email alerts for all limited submission opportunities, send an email to lso_announce-request@virginia.edu with the word subscribe as the only word in the Subject heading (do not use capital letters or other punctuation in the Subject heading).

More information on the limited submission review process can be found here: https://virginia.infoready4.com/limited-submissions, and in the documents found therein. To summarize, reviewers for individual limited submission opportunities are drawn from a standing committee of tenured faculty members who are nominated by the Schools and appointed by the VPR. Ad hoc committee members may also be invited to serve on specific panels based on their subject expertise and/or their experience with a particular sponsor or program. The internal review committee provides critical reviews of internal pre-proposals and makes recommendations for the pre-proposals that should go forward for external submission. The VPR office follows the best practice of many foundations and agencies and does not disclose the names of individual reviewers who contribute to a specific review panel. The limited submission team notifies individual internal applicants of their pre-proposal review results via email. The limited submission team notifies the Department, School, and Office of Sponsored Programs of the proposal(s) that will go forward for external submission via email.

Program URL:  https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/programs/stc/

Questions: email limited-submission-vpr@virginia.edu