July 29, 2011

NSF Announces New Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Grant Program, a Public-Private Partnership

The National Science Foundation has launched a new initiative, the NSF Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps), a public-private partnership that will connect NSF-funded researchers with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that “builds upon fundamental research to guide the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products, and processes that benefit society.”

NSF I-Corps will provide additional support to NSF-funded investigators, in the form of mentoring and funding, to accelerate innovation that can attract subsequent third-party funding. NSF I-Corps grants will give project teams access to resources to help determine the readiness to transition technology developed by previously or currently funded NSF projects.

NSF plans to make 25 awards in fiscal year 2011 and 100 awards in 2012. Awards are for six months and for up to $50,000. The first proposal submission window is August 17, 2011 though September 9, 2011. Subsequent submission windows are quarterly, ending December 15, March 15, June 15, and September 15.

NSF will hold a webinar on the first Tuesday of every month, beginning August 2, 2011, to answer questions about the program.

NSF I-Corps Program Home
NSF Innovation Corps Program (I-Corps) Announcement (NSF 11-560)
NSF I-Corps Q&A
NSF I-Corps Webinars
NSF Press Release I-Corps: To Strengthen the Impact of Scientific Discoveries

July 27, 2011

New Guide to UK Higher Education and Partnerships for Overseas Universities

Universities UK, the representative organisation for universities in the United Kingdom, has recently published a Guide to UK Higher Education and Partnerships for Overseas Universities. The guide serves as a starting point for overseas institutions interested in establishing collaborations with UK higher education institutions.

The guide is aimed at staff working in universities around the world interested in collaborating with the UK, as well as UK university staff looking to attract new partners. Features include a summary of various types of research collaborations and key issues to consider such as visa and immigration laws and the legal regulation of partnerships.

DoD Funding for Social Sciences: Minerva Research Initiative

The U. S. Department of Defense Minerva Research Initiative competition for fiscal year 2012 is now open. Minerva is a university-based social science basic research program initiated by the DoD in 2008 to improve fundamental understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the U.S.; in 2009 seven large university consortia and 17 smaller projects were awarded grants.

White papers and full proposals are solicited for basic research in the following areas:
  1. Strategic Impact of Religious and Cultural Changes
  2. Terrorism and Terrorist Ideologies
  3. Science, Technology and Military Transformations in China and Developing States
  4. National Security Implications of Energy and Environmental Stress
  5. New Theories of Cross-Domain Deterrence
  6. Regime and Social Dynamics in Failed, Failing, and Fragile Authoritarian States
  7. New Approaches to Understanding Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation
Proposals will be considered both for single-investigator awards as well as larger, multidisciplinary and multi-institution teams. The competition is open to institutions of higher education, including DoD institutions of higher education and foreign universities. Non-profit institutions and commercial entities are also eligible to compete as collaborators on university-led proposals.

Due to delays releasing the Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), the DoD is extending the listed deadlines by two weeks (soon to be reflected in online documents):
  • Deadline for white papers: Friday, September 16, 2011
  • Deadline for full proposals: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

July 14, 2011

VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form Revised

To be considered “on time” and in compliance with the Vice Chancellor for Research Policy on Late Proposal Submissions to SPO, proposals must be submitted to SPO five working days before the funding agency deadline with either a final or draft technical section and all other elements of the proposal complete and in final form.

If a proposal cannot be submitted on time, even with a draft technical section, the Principal Investigator should request an exception to the VCR’s late-proposal policy by submitting the VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form.

The VCR Late Proposal Approval Request Form has been revised as of 7/2011. The revised form, available on the SPO web site, should be used for all future requests.

July 01, 2011

Feds Invite Feedback on OMB Circular A-21

A federal interagency task force under the National Science and Technology Council is focusing on possible improvements to OMB Circular A-21, 2 CFR Part 220 (Cost Principles for Educational Institutions), with the goal of recommending revisions and clarifications to reduce administrative burden or costs associated with compliance requirements related to federal support of research.

The A-21 Task Force is seeking input from faculty and staff at educational institutions, members of relevant professional societies, and others including the general public. Comments are due by July 28, 2011.

The Request for Information (RFI): Input on Reduction of Cost and Burden Associated with Federal Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21), was issued by the National Institutes of Health on behalf of the A-21 Task Force on June 28.

The Task Force will consider possible improvements in these and other areas:
  • Effort reporting,
  • Recovery of direct costs associated with administrative and project management support for investigators,
  • Institutional eligibility for the Utility Cost Adjustment,
  • Consistency among agencies that establish government-wide Facilities and Administration (F&A) rates,
  • Programs with F&A reimbursement at other than government-wide rates,
  • Rationalization between agencies of regulations and reporting requirements (e.g. deemed exports, Institutional Review Boards, visas…),
  • Audits of research institutions and awards, and
  • Definitions of general and research equipment.