KY NSF EPSCoR is developing its next statewide Track-1 proposal to NSF and seeking applications from Kentucky groups interested in being included within the proposal.

Ideal applications will:

Emphasize an area of scientific research that is of significance to both Kentucky (see Kentucky’s 2012 Science and Innovation Strategy and also NSF (see NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for Future Investments, with preference for those that also have institutional support;


Propose a plan for improving Kentucky’s research infrastructure statewide within a focused research theme, with preference given for themes with the potential to impact workforce development and the Kentucky economy*;


Include a diverse group of Kentucky academic institutions and individuals, including both faculty and students, working under a collaborative research theme with project-wide objectives that will result in synergistic outcomes;


Integration of research and educational activities as specifically related to STEM workforce development (RII Track-1 RFP Section 4.3.1) must be addressed in the project description and incorporated within the strategic goals and evaluation criteria/metrics;


Establish both strategic goals and criteria/metrics for evaluating them for each year of the project [summers of 2020-2029].

Examples of RII Track-1 Activities

Examples of RII Track-1 activities for research and educational infrastructure improvement include, but are not limited to:

  • Pursuit of hypothesis- and problem-driven research that requires a comprehensive and integrative approach to a grand challenge in a scientific area of global, national, regional, or jurisdictional importance/relevance;
  • Support for competitive levels of “start-up” funding for new faculty (this should connect to the thematic area(s) or new and emerging areas as outlined in the proposal);
  • Support for competitive levels of strategic funding to attract and/or retain established faculty who are active researchers in areas aligned with the thematic areas of the proposal;
  • Development of meaningful partnerships, including jurisdictional and regional collaborations, among EPSCoR jurisdiction-based colleges and universities; strong intellectual engagement of participants from institutions of higher education in EPSCoR jurisdictions and nationally recognized centers of R&D activity (e.g., federal and industrial R&D laboratories, NSF-sponsored research centers, and academic institutions with nationally-recognized research capabilities); and productive partnerships between the jurisdiction’s universities and the private sector in the region. Of special value are those alliances that increase linkages between EPSCoR researchers and their counterparts in research and/or technology-based small businesses and thereby increase the competitiveness of the jurisdiction’s S&T entrepreneurial talent for federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants;
  • Integration of research and education by establishing research training groups for undergraduate or graduate students, or similar appropriate mechanisms, to encourage multidisciplinary research-based educational experiences and connections with the private sector, industry, and national laboratories;
  • Support for faculty and student teams that include persons with disabilities and are diverse in gender, race, and ethnicity that will result in a strong, quantifiable impact on the STEM workforce;
  • Support for the acquisition of equipment for research and other discovery-based learning activities**;
  • Support for projects targeting the full diversity of institutions across the jurisdiction, including 2-year, 4-year, and minority-serving institutions; and,
  • Support for activities that promise extraordinary outcomes including revolutionizing disciplines, creating new fields, or disrupting accepted theories and perspectives.

How to Join this Proposal:

To apply for inclusion in this proposal, please develop your application and submit to by September 15th, 2017.  The application should include the following:

  1. Identify the involved institutions, departments and lead participants.
  2. Develop a project description narrative of no more than 5 pages that outlines the proposed research theme area and activities.
  3. Outline a general budget and budget justification under the proposed project of no more than 3 pages in length. Include applicable institutional F&A costs.  Typical budgets usually range from $1M-$1.5M per year, but this amount could vary with sufficient justification.
  4. Establish (a maximum of 2 pages) strategic plan goals and metrics for evaluating them for each year-end period under the project (summers of 2020-2029).
  5. Any relevant institutional letters of commitment that describe a commitment of resources to the project may also be included. Any cash or in-kind commitments intended as part of the 20% cost share required by this program should be quantified and noted as such within the submitted letter(s).

IMPORTANT NOTE: We are requesting applications that describe a 10-year project but only the first 5 years of these projects would be guaranteed if selected, with the second 5-year period being an “optional renewal.”  Please develop your description, budget and strategic plan goals with this in mind.

* The ideal outcome from an EPSCoR investment is a self-sustaining Research Center of Excellence that produces Kentucky faculty, students and other participants who are subsequently competitive for NSF research funding.


** The award would lead to the establishment of critical state-of-the-art core facilities and tools open to all researchers in the state performing current and future research in the selected thematic area(s); and include well-developed plans for its successful operation.

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