Funding Opportunities

Upcoming Submission for EPSCoR Track 1 Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Grant

In 2017, the state of Delaware will be eligible to apply for a new National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Infrastructure Improvement (EPSCoR RII) Grant.

The Delaware EPSCoR State Office hosted meetings in Newark and Dover in May 2016 to present information on the state’s EPSCoR program and on the grant application process and guidelines. View the slide presentation from these meetings, or watch a video recording of the Newark meeting, and download the handout

At the information sessions, we reviewed the purpose and goals of EPSCoR along with details of the application process, including the expected timeline and the guidelines for pre-proposal submissions (download these here or scroll down to view).

Additional information about the pre-proposal process will be posted here as it becomes available.

To review the current RII-3 project description, download a pdf version here.

Pre-Proposal Timeline

1. Letter of intent (see link for format) due to EPSCoR State Office on July 15. 2016 by 5:00p.m. EST to Amy Slocum

2. Pre-proposal due to EPSCoR State Office on September 1. 2016 by 5:00p.m. EST to Amy Slocum

3. Notification to pre-proposal teams selected to make a 20-minute presentation to the EPSCoR State Committee – no later than December 1, 2016 by 5:00 p.m. EST

4. Team presentations to EPSCoR State Committee – December 2016/January 2017

5. State Committee selects final pre-proposal to represent Delaware in the competition. State EPSCoR Office notifies selected team – January/February 2017

Pre-Proposal Guidelines

In 2017, NSF will issue an RFP for Delaware to apply for renewal of the current EPSCoR grant, which expires in 2018. The State EPSCoR Steering Committee, with support from the State EPSCoR Office, is responsible to (1) oversee and guide the execution of the EPSCoR RII Project to ensure completion of all commitments on time and on budget, (2) lead and manage the grant renewal process, and (3) oversee the operational responsibilities associated with execution of the grant. The new grant will begin in 2018 and run through 2023.

The EPSCoR grants are infrastructure-building awards focused on broad areas of endeavor that are aligned with the needs of the State. The substantial investment in physical and human infrastructure in the current Track 1 project, Meeting Delaware’s 21st Century Water and Energy Challenges through Research, Education, and Innovation, has laid important groundwork over the last four years. The State EPSCoR Steering Committee is issuing a call for pre-proposals for the next Track 1 grant that utilize and build upon these investments. The pre-proposal should consist of 10 to 15 pages describing research thrusts that would be applicable for an NSF EPSCoR RII Track 1 project.

There are a number of important guidelines to be considered when applying for an EPSCoR Track 1 program:

The Delaware EPSCoR State Office, located at the University of Delaware, will administer and serve as the fiscal agent for the project.

The Project Director and the Principal Investigators of EPSCoR projects must be affiliated with research universities, agencies, or organizations within the jurisdiction. In addition, the Project Director must be the lead Principal Investigator and be employed by the University of Delaware as the fiscal agent.

The project must involve a network of collaboration among the participating institutions of higher education (IHE) who will share in the budget (state and federal).

Projects are research infrastructure–building awards focused on major areas of endeavor that are aligned with the state’s science and technology interests, e.g., the environment, human health (only in areas supported by NSF, e.g., brain and cognitive sciences), cybersecurity, advanced materials/manufacturing, renewable energy and energy management, and agriculture.

The subject matter of the new grant must:

• Contain sections covering research and education, workforce development, diversity planning, partnerships and collaborations, communication and dissemination, sustainability, and evaluation and assessment.

• Clearly demonstrate that it will provide meaningful impact on research, education and innovation capability and capacity at the state, institutional, and regional levels.

Two key items to note:

The Track 1 is not designed for individual, single institution, or small group faculty research proposals. ‪A proposal that fails to demonstrate broader participation of diverse individuals, institutions, and organizations in the project's science and engineering research, education, and workforce development initiatives will not be considered. ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The selected team will work with the Delaware EPSCoR State Office to develop and submit the final proposal to NSF. If the proposal is selected for funding, the Delaware EPSCoR State Office will manage the project.

Pre-Proposal Format — 10-15 Pages Maximum

The research and education program is the central piece of the RII Track 1 proposal. The intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activities provide the rationale for the requested infrastructure investments that, in turn, enhance the overall research capacity and competitiveness of the jurisdiction.

Project Description:

Status and Overview (1 page maximum) — Describe the current status of the jurisdiction's academic R&D enterprise and provide a convincing rationale for the project's scientific vision and relevance to the state’s needs. It should also be indicated how the overall strategy, proposed implementation mechanisms, and infrastructure support will improve academic research competitiveness and enhance economic development.

Research and Education Program (5 pages maximum) — Description of the scientific hypotheses, goals, and research and training methods (laboratory, field, theoretical, computational, or other) such that experts in the field of the proposed research or closely related fields may accurately judge the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed research. Any proposed activities to develop, improve, and deploy cyberinfrastructure must be integrated with, and be appropriate to the pursuit of the goals of the RII Track 1 project. Innovative use of cyberinfrastructure and technologies to broadly engage institutions, organizations, and sectors across the jurisdiction are encouraged.Identify the senior leadership and estimate the numbers of postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate research participants.

Workforce Development Plan (2 pages maximum) — Briefly describe planned STEM workforce development activities that are integrated with the research and education program.

Seed Funding and Emerging Areas (1 page maximum) — Briefly describe the mechanisms that will be employed to catalyze research in emerging areas.

Diversity Plan (1 page maximum) — Describe strategies for increasing diversity. The narrative must describe how the full diversity of the jurisdiction's resources will be engaged in the STEM enterprise.

Partnerships and Collaborations (1 page maximum) — Describe any planned activities that demonstrate how the project will enhance partnerships and collaborations to increase research competitiveness, build and strengthen the STEM pipeline, provide opportunities for commercialization of research and education products, or pave the way for economic development.

Communication and Dissemination Plan (1 page maximum) — Briefly describe how the project activities will promote sharing of data and findings, and ways to broadly disseminate results. The proposal should clearly describe plans for two-way communication with stakeholders and broad dissemination of the project's results and impacts.

Sustainability Plan (1 page maximum) — Briefly describe plans for long-term sustainability of the proposed activities and the education and human resources development goals for sustainability.

Post RII Track 1 Extramural Funding (1/2 page) — Briefly describe a vision and specific plans for sustaining the research and education activities beyond the duration of RII Track 1 support.

Project Management Plan (1/2 page) — Describe the ability and experiences of the team in managing large interdisciplinary programs/projects.

Evaluation and Assessment Plan (1 page maximum) — Briefly describe plans for evaluation and assessment of the RII Track 1 project goals, objectives, and milestones.



Seed Grants & Core Fee Waivers

Delaware EPSCoR sometimes provides direct funding opportunities for researchers working on projects related to our mission. These include fee waivers for the use of core scientific instrumentation centers and small seed grants for work designed to set the stage for larger federal funding programs.

For more information about seed grants and core center fee waivers, contact Amy Slocum at the University of Delaware or Venu Kalavacharla at Delaware State University.

The EPSCoR staff will also help to coordinate the grant proposal submission process for large interdisciplinary or multi-institutional grants. If you are interested in pursuing such an opportunity and would like to discuss what assistance is available from EPSCoR, contact Jeanette Miller.

EPSCoR Co-Funding

To accelerate the movement of EPSCoR researchers and institutions into the mainstream of NSF support, EPSCoR co-funding is available to provide joint support for certain meritorious proposals submitted to NSF’s research, education, and cross-cutting competitions. The objectives of the EPSCoR co-funding mechanism are:

  • To increase the number and competitiveness of EPSCoR jurisdiction investigators and institutions who participate in NSF research, technology, and education programs;
  • To increase the participation of EPSCoR jurisdiction researchers and institutions in regional alliances and national collaborations;
  • To broaden participation in science and engineering by institutions, organizations and people within and among EPSCoR jurisdictions.

Co-funding is not a program to which proposals can be submitted. Instead, it is a funding mechanism that operates internally within NSF and does not involve any action on the part of the proposer. The EPSCoR co-funding mechanism focuses on those "Fund-if-Possible" proposals, which the NSF merit review process finds to lie at or near the cutoff for funding by the programs to which they were submitted. EPSCoR co-funds meritorious proposals that would otherwise not be supported due to availability of funds or other overriding program priorities.

For such proposals, the managing program officer first decides whether to make an award recommendation and the amount and duration to be recommended for the award. The decision to recommend an award or declination rests with the managing program. Once these decisions are made, a request for partial support via EPSCoR co-funding can be forwarded to the EPSCoR for consideration. NSF EPSCoR's co-funding mechanism is dependent on the number and quality of proposals submitted from EPSCoR jurisdictions and the availability of EPSCoR funds for co-funding.

Proposal characteristics that will enhance the likelihood of EPSCoR co-funding are (a) researchers who have not previously or recently (e.g., during the last three years) received NSF awards; (b) requests reflecting collaborative efforts within and across participating jurisdictions and at regional, national, and/or international levels; (c) projects submitted to cross-discipline or cross-directorate programs; (d) projects that are synergistic with other NSF investments and funding priorities; (e) projects that increase participation of members of underrepresented groups and/or institutions; (f) requests for instrumentation; (g) student programs that will significantly enhance institutional research capability and competitiveness or provide training opportunities for K-12 students and professional development for K-12 teachers; and (h) programs that exemplify NSF’s commitment to the integration of research and education. Proposals that do not match one or more of these characteristics directly may also be considered for their suitability for co-funding.

Note on award transfer: EPSCoR funds need to be expended in EPSCoR institutions. If a principal investigator (PI) with an EPSCoR co-funded award transfers to a non-EPSCoR institution, the EPSCoR co-funding amount (or a part of it that remains unobligated at the time of PI transfer) cannot be transferred to the non-EPSCoR institution. 


Grant Opportunities

EPSCoR also works to keep Delaware researchers informed of federal grant and fellowship opportunities that are relevant to our mission. Here are some upcoming opportunities of interest:

National Science Foundation

Title: Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I
Despcription: The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program stimulates technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting federal research and development needs, increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results, and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses. The STTR Program requires researchers at universities and other nonprofit research institutions to play a significant intellectual role in the conduct of each STTR project. These researchers, by joining forces with a small company, can spin-off their commercially promising ideas while they remain primarily employed at the research institution. This STTR Phase I solicitation aims at encouraging the commercialization of previously NSF-funded fundamental research (NSF funding lineage). It is highly desirable that the core innovation described in the submitted proposals can in some manner be linked to fundamental research funded by the NSF. The proposals submitted should fall into one the four broad topic areas: Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC); Education Applications (EA); Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EI); and Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, and Manufacturing (NM).
Due: Ongoing

Current National Science Foundation grant information can be found here.

Environmental Protection Agency

Title: National Center for Environmental Research
Agency: EPA
Description: Requests for applications (RFAs) currently planned for the coming months can be found at this site. Please be aware that this list is tentative and may change due to changes in agency priorities, congressional direction, and/or budgetary constraints. The list may change periodically and should only be used as a guide to assist potential applicants. Please check back for updates or sign up for the agency's RFA email list to get announcements when RFAs are posted.

Individuals can sign up for the EPA listserver to be notified when new grant or funding opportunities are available here.

Federal programs that sponsor environmental research: 

National Science Foundation

U.S. Department of Energy

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

U.S. Department of Agriculture

National Aeronautics and Space Administration