The National Science Foundation is inviting requests for funding in the area of smart service systems under the Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) solicitation. The hallmark of PFI:BIC is an academe-industry partnership crafted to collaborate on research to advance and adapt key technology for integration into a specified human-centered smart service system. Service systems are socio-technical configurations of people, technologies, organizations, and information designed to deliver services that create and deliver value. A “smart” service system is a system capable of learning, dynamic adaptation, and decision making based upon data received, transmitted, and/or processed to improve its response to a future situation. The system does so through self-detection, self-diagnosing, self-correcting, self-monitoring, self-organizing, self-replicating, or self-controlled functions. These capabilities are the result of the incorporation of technologies for sensing, actuation, coordination, communication, control, etc. The system may exhibit a sequence of features such as detection, classification, and localization that lead to an outcome occurring within a reasonable time. Smart service systems of interest are those that could yield positive social as well as economic outcomes resulting from entering the commercialization process. Click here for more details

Please note: A minimum of one (1) industry partner of any size is required. This partner (i.e., the one that fulfills the minimum requirement) must be U.S.-based and have commercial revenues that include sales, services, or licensing. Grants and government contracts may contribute to its revenues but may not constitute the entirety of its revenues. The project must involve research tasks that demonstrate a highly collaborative research plan with participation of the primary industrial partner with the academic researcher during the life of the award. Note that in regard to industrial partners, subawards only can be allocated to those business partners defined as small business concerns ( See the Additional Eligibility Information section for details. Note also that in regard to academic partners, subawards may be allocated to other academic institutions.

Awards may be up to $1,000,000 with a duration of three (3) years.

Academic institutions are limited to participation on two (2) proposals as a lead institution preferably involving distinct application areas (there is no restriction on participation as a subawardee of another institution). \

Interested applicants are asked to submit a preliminary application to my office by October 29, 2014 (via email to, with the following information:

  • Brief proposal (up to three pages),
  • Preliminary budget,
  • Bio sketches (no more than two pages each) of the primary researchers,
  • Support letter from the Dean (or the equivalent in units without a Dean)

If necessary, an ad hoc committee will convene to review the preliminary proposals.  The selected PI(s) will be notified in time to meet NSF’s December 3, 2014, deadline for required letters of intent. The deadline for full proposals is January 28, 2015

For the complete NSF guidelines, including detailed information about Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity, please refer to  Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at or x4-0372.

John C. Hemminger
Vice Chancellor for Research