The National Science Foundation has release a call for proposals for the Partnerships for Innovation program which offers researchers the opportunity to transform new knowledge into societal benefits through translational research and technology development efforts which catalyze partnerships to accelerate innovations that address significant societal needs.

The NSF PFI has six broad goals: (1) identifying and supporting Foundation-sponsored research and technologies that have the potential for accelerated commercialization; (2) supporting prior or current Foundation-sponsored researchers, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations that partner with an institution of higher education to undertake proof-of-concept work, including the development of technology prototypes that are derived from NSF-funded research and have potential market value; (3) promoting sustainable partnerships between Foundation-funded institutions, industry, and other organizations within academia and the private sector with the purpose of accelerating the transfer of technology; (4) developing multi-disciplinary innovation ecosystems which involve and are responsive to the specific needs of academia and industry; (5) catalyzing professional development activities, mentoring, and best practices in entrepreneurship and technology translation for faculty, students and researchers; and (6) expanding the participation of women and individuals from underrepresented groups in innovation, technology translation, and entrepreneurship.

This solicitation offers two broad tracks for proposals in pursuit of the six aforementioned goals:  The Technology Translation (PFI-TT) track offers an NSF-funded researcher the opportunity to advance his or her prior NSF-funded research results towards developing technological innovations with promising commercial potential and societal impact; and the Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track which provides an opportunity to support technology development activities through a multi-organization collaboration.

UCI may submit 2 applications in total in response to this solicitation, which typically requires an internal competition.  However, due to previous years’ experience with the PFI and some internal discussion, the Office of Research does not anticipate the need to conduct an internal review. In order to verify that no internal review is required, interested applicants are asked to send an “Expression of Intent” to the Office of Research by Monday December 4, 2017  if they do intend to submit a NSF PFI application.  This Expression of Intent may consist of an email from the PI(s) with a brief 1-paragraph overview of the proposed program and its participants, and should be sent to OR@research.uci.edu. An expedited internal review and selection process will be held among the respondents if multiple parties express interest. The application to NSF is due February 1, 2018.

Please carefully review the guidelines (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18511/nsf18511.htm) for the specific eligibility requirements of the program prior to replying to this request for notification of intent.  Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at greg.ruth@uci.edu or x4-0372.