NSF Announces Science and Technology Centers Program Funding

Date: 
1 May 2000

The National Science Foundation has announced a new round of solicitations
for the Science and Technology Centers (STC) program.
The entire program description is available in various formats at:
http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf0067
Questions can be directed to the Office of Integrative Activities at
(703) 306-1040 or stc@nsf.gov
---

Deadline dates:
Notice of Intent: June 15, 2000
Preproposal: August 11, 2000
Full Proposal: April 2, 2001

Science and Technology Centers (STC): Integrative Partnerships
Program Solicitation

NSF 00-67

OFFICE OF INTEGRATIVE ACTIVITIES

DEADLINE DATES:
Notice of Intent Deadline: June 15, 2000
Preproposal Deadline: August 11, 2000
Full Proposal Deadline: April 2, 2001

Next Competition Expected to Start: June 2003

Description/Synopsis of Program:

The Science and Technology Centers (STC): Integrative Partnerships
Program supports innovation in the integrative conduct of research,
education and knowledge transfer. Science and Technology Centers
build intellectual and physical infrastructure within and between
disciplines, weaving together knowledge creation, knowledge
integration, and knowledge transfer. STCs conduct world-class
research through partnerships of academic institutions, national
laboratories, industrial organizations, and/or other public/private
entities. New knowledge thus created is meaningfully linked to
society.

STCs enable and foster excellent education, integrate research and
education, and create bonds between learning and inquiry so that
discovery and creativity more fully support the learning process.
STCs capitalize on diversity through participation in center
activities and demonstrate leadership in the involvement of groups
underrepresented in science and engineering.

Contact at NSF: Contact the Office of Integrative Activities at
(703) 306-1040 or stc@nsf.gov

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

* Limitation on the categories of organizations that are eligible to
submit preproposals and proposals:

Preproposals and proposals may be submitted by U.S. academic
institutions with significant research and degree-granting education
programs in any area of science and engineering normally supported by
NSF. Preproposals and proposals involving integrated partnerships
(i.e., multi-institutional arrangements including other
universities/colleges, national laboratories, research museums,
private sector research laboratories, state and local government
laboratories, and international collaborations) are encouraged. Note
that the number of participating institutions is not necessarily a
measure of quality. Preproposals and proposals must make clear that
all institutions involved as partners are necessary to the goals and
function of the Center. Preproposals and proposals must describe
effective management of all partner institutions. A partner is an
institution or organization that invests intellectual resources in
the Center, backed by financial commitment to the Center to ensure
vital participation in an integrative effort incorporating research,
education, and knowledge transfer.

* PI eligibility limitations: None

* Limitations on existing STCs:

Existing STCs or group members from such STCs who propose to focus on
radically different research topics or themes from those they are
currently pursuing may participate in this open competition. To be
radically different, the proposers would need to focus on a different
topic, not simply extend the methods and intent of the current STC to
a slightly larger purview or just incorporate a new geographic area.
If successful, the new awards will not commence until the end of the
Center's current term of support.

The STC Program will not normally provide simultaneous support for
more than one STC led by any one institution from this competition.

The STC Program complements the NSF Engineering Research Centers
(ERC), the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers
(MRSEC), and other programs that support group research and education
activities. Simultaneous consideration of duplicate center proposals
by other NSF programs is not permitted. However, participation in a
Center does not preclude individuals from receiving NSF support for
their individual research in complementary areas.

* Limitation on the number of preproposals that may be submitted by
an organization:

A single institution may submit no more than five preproposals as
lead institution, and may be involved as a partner in additional
preproposals submitted by other institutions.

* Cost sharing requirements:

For eligibility purposes, cost sharing at a level of at least, but no
more than 30% of the requested total amount of NSF funds is required
for all preproposals and proposals submitted in response to this
solicitation.

* Budgetary limitations:

Proposed STC annual budgets may range from $1.5M to $4.0M per year of
NSF support, but preproposals and proposals outside this range will
be ineligible.

AWARD INFORMATION

* Type of award anticipated: Cooperative Agreement with an initial
commitment of five years and a potential maximum duration of ten years.

* Number of awards anticipated in FY 02: 8-10 awards.

* Amount of funds available: Approximately $30 million will be available
for the STC program in FY 2002 pending availability of funds.

* Anticipated date of award: August 2002.

I. INTRODUCTION

The STC Integrative Partnerships Concept

The Science and Technology Centers (STC): Integrative Partnerships
Program supports innovation in the integrative conduct of research,
education and knowledge transfer.

Science and Technology Centers build intellectual and physical
infrastructure within and between disciplines, weaving together
knowledge creation, knowledge integration, and knowledge transfer.
STCs conduct world-class research through partnerships of academic
institutions, national laboratories, industrial organizations,
and/or other public/private entities. New knowledge thus created is
meaningfully linked to society.

STCs enable and foster excellent education, integrate research and
education, and create bonds between learning and inquiry so that
discovery and creativity more fully support the learning process.

STCs capitalize on diversity through participation in center
activities and demonstrate leadership in the involvement of groups
underrepresented in science and engineering.

II. DESCRIPTION OF STC PROGRAM

STC Program Objectives

The objectives of the STC Program are to:

* Support research and education of the highest quality;

* Exploit opportunities in science, engineering and technology where
the complexity of the research agenda requires the advantages of
scope, scale, change, duration, equipment and facilities, that a
Center can provide;

* Support frontier investigations at the interfaces of disciplines,
and/or fresh approaches within disciplines;

* Engage the Nation's intellectual talent, robustly drawn from its
full human diversity, in the conduct of research and education
activities;

* Promote organizational connections and linkages within and between
campuses, schools and/or the world beyond (state, local, federal
agencies, national labs, industry, international);

* Focus on integrative learning and discovery and the preparation of
U.S. students for a broad set of career paths; and

* Foster science and engineering in service to society especially
with respect to new research areas, promising new instrumentation and
potential new technologies.

STC Center Features

STCs must have a unifying research focus involving any area(s) of
research supported by the Foundation. STCs can vary in size and
exhibit diverse forms of organization, participation, and operation.
No single type of Center fits the needs of every field. Rather, the
size, structure, and operation of an STC are determined by the
proposed research, education, and knowledge transfer activities.
While each Center is unique in some respects, each must:

* Be based in an academic institution;

* Be directed by a science or engineering faculty member and
integrated into academic programs;

* Reflect a commitment to achieving strategic goals shared by the
host and partnering institutions as demonstrated by cost sharing and
other institutional commitments;

* Provide a variety of education and research opportunities for U.S.
students and faculty (e.g., undergraduate and graduate students,
postdoctoral researchers, industrial fellows, students from groups
underrepresented in science and engineering, K-12 teachers, and
visiting participants) such that education is infused with the
excitement of discovery and research is enriched through a diversity
of learner perspectives;

* Have significant intellectual exchange and resource linkages among
various types of institutions and organizations to facilitate
knowledge transfer (e.g., schools; colleges and universities such as
minority-serving institutions, community colleges, EPSCoR
institutions, and others; nonprofit organizations; national
laboratories; industry; federal, state, and local governments);

* Include industrial, national or international laboratory
internships, or other career broadening experiences as appropriate to
the research area; and

* Have annual budgets ranging from $1.5M to $4.0M of NSF support.

Center Leadership and Management

The STC Director must have the capacity to develop and lead a team to
fulfill a shared vision. The Director must be supported in this role
by a management team comprised of, for example, a deputy or
co-Director (who will share some of the leadership responsibilities),
leaders of research thrusts, an education coordinator, a knowledge
transfer (industrial liaison) coordinator, and an administrative and
financial manager. In addition, the Center will maintain and convene
annually an external advisory group. The advisors must include
representation from those served by the Center (e.g., academic
institutions, industry, state and local agencies, national
laboratories) and display the diversity of the U.S. citizenry in its
membership. Those with a financial, institutional, or collaborative
connection to the Center may not serve as members of the external
advisory group. The function of the external advisory group is to
provide guidance and advice to the Center as well as to ensure that
the Center's activities are consistent with its vision, goals, and
objectives.

The Center Director is responsible for the management, staffing, and
resource allocation of the STC; for administering the award in
accordance with NSF policies and the terms of the cooperative
agreement, and for serving as the liaison between the Center and the
National Network of STC Directors.

National Network of STC Directors

STC Directors will serve as members of a national liaison team for
the STC Program. The Directors are responsible for developing,
implementing, and maintaining a liaison structure with active
participation of each Center. This network is charged with addressing
common goals, problems and opportunities, and facilitating personnel
and resource exchanges as well as integrated partnerships and
cooperation among Centers.

Annually a chair of this liaison team will be elected by
participating members and will serve a one-year term.

Typical functions of the National Network of STC Directors include:
fostering complementarity and balance among research, education and
knowledge transfer activities, and avoidance of duplication of
effort; facilitating interactions to address research, education, and
management issues and opportunities which transcend individual Center
capabilities; liaison with private sector, state, local and national
laboratories to identify needs/opportunities and to plan joint
implementation strategies, workshops, and other fora; cooperation and
liaison with NSF staff in the development and maintenance of
databases and other effective metrics in response to the requirements
of the Government Performance and Results Act; and preparing
documents to enhance public understanding about the importance of
science, engineering, technology and education advances in service to
society.

For more on the STC program including: Eligibility, Award Information,
Proposal Preparation And Submission Instructions, Award Administration
Information, Contacts For Additional Information, Other Programs Of Interest
visit NSF's description at: http://www.nsf.gov/cgi-bin/getpub?nsf0067.