2011 Request for Proposals (RFP)

Release Date: Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Texas A&M University-CONACYT: Collaborative Research Grant Program

Deadlines
Letter of Intent (Required): Thursday, March 10, 12:00 p.m. (CST)
Full Proposal: Thursday, April 28, 12:00 p.m. (CST)

Introduction
Texas A&M University and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) entered a five-year agreement of cooperation in higher education and research in April 2001. This collaboration was extremely beneficial, leading to a new two-year agreement in September 2008. The program grew from mutually recognized interests in topics important to the U.S. and Mexico. The overall objective is to stimulate significant international research cooperation by providing seed money for collaborative research between Texas A&M University and higher education institutions in Mexico or CONACYT research centers.

The agreement provides unique opportunities for scientists and scholars from Mexico and Texas A&M University to work together in addressing issues that span our common border. Both CONACYT and Texas A&M University are dedicated to long-term, collaborative approaches to issues facing the United States and Mexico. Under this agreement, Texas A&M University and CONACYT have each dedicated $200,000 per year for the Collaborative Research Grant Program. These monies fund inter-institutional research proposals between Texas A&M University and higher education institutions in Mexico or CONACYT research centers. The purpose of this competitive, peer-reviewed Collaborative Research Grant Program is to advance inter-institutional cooperation in science, technology, and scholarly activities that have a direct application to industry or government through the complementary efforts of scientists and scholars from Texas and Mexico.

The two main objectives for the Collaborative Research Grant Program are to provide seed funding to:

  1. Support the completion of 12-month inter-institutional projects, and
  2. Promote and support the development and submission of proposals for external funding of research from competitive granting agencies, both domestic and international (e.g., NSF, NIH, DOE, CONACYT, World Bank, NATO, Inter-American Development Bank and USAID, etc.), and from industry.

While collaborative, inter-institutional project development is the basis for this research grant program, the importance of building upon progress made by the research teams to obtain additional external funding is equally important. As part of the reports that are due under this grant, grantees will be asked to identify additional funding opportunities that will extend their research projects beyond the initial accomplishments under this program.

To assist in this effort, the Office of the Vice President for Research at Texas A&M will be available to assist PIs on strategies to identify extramural funding sources and develop proposals that are responsive to funding agency requirements.

Upon completion of the 12-month project, the principal investigators are required to present evidence that they are seeking additional funding from another source. If the PIs have an existing funded project and are applying to this program for additional funding, they will be required to provide an interim progress report as part of the application process.

Priority Areas of Funding
Texas A&M University and CONACYT have agreed upon several research priority areas, listed below. The proposal should demonstrate practical applications of research for broad public benefit and have direct relevance to solving an industrial, governmental, or societal problem. A major portion of the available funds will be directed to proposals in these priority areas:

  1. Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
  2. Health
  3. Telecommunications/Information Technologies
  4. Environment
  5. Advanced Materials and Manufacturing
  6. Energy
  7. Urban Development and Sustainability


A portion of the available funds has been allocated to facilitate funding of other relevant topics that may not directly pertain to the above priority areas. Researchers are advised to contact program coordinators (see page 9) to ensure the appropriateness of a topic for potential funding before submitting a letter of intent.

Funding priorities are jointly established by Texas A&M University and CONACYT and may change from year to year.

Available Funding
The joint fund, totaling $400,000, is awarded annually for grants up to $24,000. The one-year grant awards will be made to support collaborations between researchers at Texas A&M University, a higher education institution in Mexico and/or CONACYT research centers.

Eligibility
A principal investigator (PI) is required from both Texas A&M University and a higher education institution from Mexico or a CONACYT research center. The PI from the United States must be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member at Texas A&M University. The PI from Mexico must: (1) be part of the National System for Researchers (SNI), and (2) be a full-time faculty member from any institution of higher education in Mexico that is registered in the National Registry of Scientific and Technological Institutes and Companies (RENIECYT). Other investigators may include faculty from a higher education institute in Mexico or from The Texas A&M University System, and projects may include postdoctoral students, graduate students, or research staff. In addition to the two lead PIs, up to six other investigators are allowed for each proposal.

PIs are limited to one submission each per year. Any individual PI is precluded from receiving an award in two successive years.

Deadlines
Letter of Intent: Thursday, March 10, 2011. A Letter of Intent must be received by 12:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. It must be e-mailed to conacyt@tamu.edu. A letter of intent (in English) is a requirement for eligibility to submit a full proposal. Only one LOI is required, and it may be signed by only one PI.

Invitation to Submit Full Proposal: Thursday, March 24, 2011. PIs will be notified via email if they are invited to submit a full proposal.

Full Proposals: Thursday, April 28, 2011. Full proposals (in English) must be submitted, routed electronically for appropriate signatures, and received by 12:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. No late applications will be accepted. See “Online Submission Process” instructions on page 6.

Notification of Awards: Thursday, August 4, 2011. Notification of awards will be made electronically.

Availability of Funds: Monday, August 29, 2011. Funds will be made available by this date. Any compliance issues must be cleared and investigators from Mexico must provide wire transfer information before transfer of funds can occur. It is helpful for Mexican investigators to have their financial information ready to submit if awarded. If we do not receive this information when requested, there may be a delay in the transfer of funds.

Formatting Guidelines
The letter of intent, abstract, and project narrative should be prepared using Times New Roman 12-pt font, single spaced, with one-inch margins. Please insert the page number as a footer at ½-inch from the bottom of the page.

Letter of Intent Instructions
To be eligible to submit a full proposal, a letter of intent (LOI) is required (in English). Only one LOI is required, and it may be signed by only one PI. LOIs help the program administrators verify eligibility of the PIs and identify the required numbers and qualifications of reviewers. PIs should submit LOIs as early as possible in advance of the due date.

The LOI shall consist of the following (all in English):

  • Abstract – A brief one-page summary describing the project’s objectives with an emphasis on relevance to industry, governmental, and societal problems; proposed methodology; and anticipated results in layman’s terms.
  • Title – Proposed title of project.
  • PI Information – Detailed contact information for the two (2) lead PIs, including:
    • Names
    • Titles and Positions (National System for Researchers (SNI) for Mexican PI only)
    • University/CONACYT Research Center Affiliation—full name of the higher education institution in Mexico or CONACYT research center, followed by acronym, and the REINECYT registration number of the Mexican institution.
    • Department
    • Mailing Address
    • Phone
    • Fax
    • E-mail
    • Names of other investigators and institutions
    • Partners – List of potential industrial partners or end users and level of involvement in the project (note that early engagement or involvement is encouraged)
    • Priority Area (see information above on page 2)
    • Link to Industry/End User – Describe the project’s importance to solving industrial, governmental, or societal problems.
    • Field of Research, Scholar or Creative Work (see information below on pages 7)
    • Suggested Reviewers (see information below on page 8)

    The letter of intent must be submitted via e-mail to conacyt@tamu.edu no later than 12:00 p.m. Central Standard Time on Thursday, March 10, 2011.

    Full Proposal Instructions
    All proposals submitted for the Collaborative Research Grant Program must be submitted electronically using the online application system at https://eproposal.tamu.edu. A proposal will consist of the information listed below and should be in English. The abstract, project description, investigator resumes, current and pending support, and letters of support should be uploaded in PDF format in the designated location of the application. PIs may submit a proposal that is a revision of an unfunded proposal that was submitted in prior Texas A&M University-CONACYT Collaborative Research Grant Program competition. PIs should specify what changes have been made in the revised proposal that address reviewer comments. Failure to follow the guidelines will automatically disqualify a proposal without a scientific review.

    General Information (online): Contact information for each investigator (limit 6), compliance reporting, key words for project, and report codes must be included.

    • Abstract (upload): A brief one-page summary describing the project’s objectives with emphasis on application to industry, proposed methodology, and anticipated results in layman’s terms is to be included. The abstract will be used for various purposes, including posting on program web sites and promotion materials. Please include the title of the proposal.
    • Project Description (upload): The project narrative is limited to eight pages (note: the average submission is 5-6 pages). The narrative should include any illustrations, figures, data, or other information and should address the following details in the order listed. Literature cited or references are not included within the 8-page limit.


    Use the following bold headings within the proposal text.

    • Project Overview
        1. Scientific or Scholarly Merit and Impact. State the specific objectives of the project. Explain the scientific or technological significance of the work and its possible importance in economic, social, or other terms.
        2. Bi-national Problems. Provide evidence that project has direct application to solving bi-national problems.
        3. Anticipated Results.  Describe the anticipated results of the project.
      • Qualifications and Balance of PIs and Research Team/Existing Inter-Institutional Relationships. Identify the role of both PIs and any other members of the research teams involved in the project. If applicable, the PIs should demonstrate evidence of an existing inter-institutional relationship. If graduate or post-doctoral students are involved, list their names and university/program affiliations. Also describe how the project is relevant to their graduate study and what provisions have been made to supervise their participation. Students already funded by CONACYT are not eligible for additional funding through this program.
          1. Methods. Describe the work to be performed, the tasks of each person, and the timeline for the project.
          2. Link to Industry/End User. Describe the project’s importance to solving industrial, governmental, or societal problems.
          3. Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer. Unless otherwise agreed, Texas A&M University and CONACYT will each have the nonexclusive right to use research findings and related intellectual property developed under this grant for research and educational purposes. If applicable, describe relevant plans.
          4. Future Funding Potential. Include a plan for continued cooperation for research and plans to seek additional funding from other sources.
          5. Matching Support. Investigators are strongly encouraged to obtain matching funds. Investigators should provide all information regarding the availability of institutional or industrial support, or identify evidence of potential leveraging impact. During the review process, 15% of the overall score is dedicated to proposals that show evidence of institutional or industrial matching support or leveraging potential.
          6. Previous CONACYT Funding: PIs who have previously been funded through CONACYT must include the award year, grant title, names of other PIs and investigators, and a brief description of the results; including any additional funding requested or received, ongoing collaborations and results from the initial project.
        • References Cited: Please list publications or literature cited. This is not included within the project narrative 8-page limit.
        • Investigator Resumes (upload): Resumes (two-page maximum) for all investigators should be attached to the application. Resumes should not exceed the two-page limit.
        • Funding: Current and Pending (upload): List the source, title, date, and amount of internal and external funding support received or pending during the previous three years (for all investigators) relevant to the project.
        • Industry Partner or End User (online): List contact information for all industry partners and/or end users whose letters of support will be uploaded with application. It is important to describe the level of involvement of the industry partner(s) and/or end user(s).
        • Budget (online): Not to exceed $24,000 (see budget criteria below).
        • Budget Justification (online): Specifically itemize each budgeted item, especially graduate participation. The PIs must agree upon and specify how funding will be spent at their respective institutions. If there are matching funds, please include details in this section.
        • Financial Contacts (online): Include the contact name, phone number, and email address for financial contacts at Texas A&M (departmental business administrator) and the Mexican higher education institution or CONACYT research center. Mexican investigators must provide wire transfer information before transfer of funds can occur. It is helpful for the Mexican investigators to have their financial information ready to submit if awarded. If we do not receive this information when requested, we cannot guarantee funds will be transferred by posted date.
        • Letters of Support (upload):  Letters of support are encouraged but not required. Submit no more than six (6) letters of support. Some examples of supporting organizations include:
          • Mexican higher education institution or CONACYT research center.
          • Texas A&M University
          • Industry partner(s) and/or end user(s).

        All letters of support should be addressed to the following and uploaded with the full proposal using the online application system:

        Review Committee
        Texas A&M-CONACYT: Collaborative Research Grant Program
        c/o Texas A&M University
        1112 TAMU
        312 Jack K. Williams Administration Building
        College Station, Texas 77843-1112

        Online Submission Process
        All proposals submitted for the Collaborative Research Grant Program must be submitted in English electronically using the online application system, which is available to submit proposals at: https://eproposal.tamu.edu. This site is password protected.

        Texas A&M University tenure or tenure track faculty PIs may use their NetID to access the system.

        PIs from Mexico will be given instructions on how to create a logon ID and password once a letter of intent is submitted and accepted. The PI from Mexico must set up an account in the online system. If the Mexican PI has previously submitted a proposal through this system, the same username and password is valid, and they will not receive instructions.

        More information can be found here: http://conacyt.tamu.edu/how-to-use-igps

        Field of Research, Scholarly or Creative Work
        Identification of a Field of Science is useful in the selection of reviewers. From the list below, please provide the Field of Science most closely related to the proposed project.

        A. Engineering

        1. Aeronautical and Astronautical
        2. Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
        3. Civil  Engineering
        4. Electrical Engineering
        5. Mechanical Engineering
        6. Metallurgical and Materials Sciences
        7. Bioengineering
        8. Industrial Engineering
        9. Other


        B. Physical Sciences

        1. Astronomy
        2. Chemistry
        3. Physics
        4. Other

        C. Environmental Sciences

        1. Atmospheric
        2. Earth Sciences
        3. Oceanography
        4. Advanced Ocean Drilling Program
        5. Other


        D. Mathematical Sciences

        E. Computer Science

        F. Medical Sciences

        G. Agricultural Sciences

        H. Biological and Other Life Sciences

        I. Psychology

        J. Social Sciences

        1. Economics
        2. Political Science
        3. Sociology
        4. Other (Archeology and History)


        K. Other Sciences- Interdisciplinary

        L. Arts and Humanities

        M. Business Administration

        N. Education

        O. Law and Public Administration

        P. Other Non-Science Activities

        Evaluation of Proposals
        A joint review committee will evaluate all proposals according to the following review criteria:

        • Evidence of scientific or scholarly merit and impact (40 percent)
        • Qualifications of and balance between the PIs and/or research teams, including graduate student participation (25 percent)
        • Evidence that projects are linked to the private sector, government and/or other end user (20 percent)
        • Evidence of institutional or industrial matching support or leveraging potential (15 percent)

        Please note that failure to meet any of the above criteria may result in disqualification.

        The Review Committee
        The Review Committee will consist of representatives from both Texas A&M University and CONACYT. Reviewers representing CONACYT will be drawn from the “Registro CONACYT de Evaluadores Acreditados” officials, who are selected by the Deputy Director General for Science. Texas A&M University administrators and faculty are selected for the Review Committee by the Vice President for Research. The Review Committee is scheduled to meet in May/June 2011.

        Suggested Reviewers
        PIs are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review their proposal, as well as names of persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Review Committee’s discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the PIs. Suggested reviewers may be included in the letter of intent.

        Notification of Award
        Recipients will be notified via e-mail on Thursday, June 4, 2010.

        Transfer of Funds
        The transfer of funds, awarded in U.S. dollars, will be made by Monday, August 29, 2011, assuming all financial information is provided by the PIs and all compliance issues have been cleared by the appropriate compliance committee(s). Failure to provide timely and accurate financial contact information will result in delayed transfer of funds.

        Budget
        Grants issued under this agreement will fund research projects up to $24,000 with a project duration of up to 12 months. The budget should clearly indicate how the funds will be distributed between Texas A&M University and the Mexican higher education institution or CONACYT research center in the budget justification section. Eligible costs are limited to:

        • Travel: This includes travel-related expenses for PIs and/or other members of the research teams to visit partner institutions or potential funding sources and registration fees for professional conferences and meetings. As one of the underlying aspects of this cooperative program, bi-directional travel by the PIs, or senior members of the research team, is expected. Each home institution is responsible for providing medical insurance during travel. Expenses incurred on behalf of the State and submitted for payment should be reasonable, necessary and appropriate. Employees or prospective employees may be reimbursed for the actual cost of meals and lodging on overnight travel. Other allowable expenses include: transportation costs (both ground and air). Expenses for incidental lodging costs should be excluded, such as for laundry care or movie rentals.
        • Graduate student support: The award money can be used to fund graduate students’
          salaries and tuition payments; however, this project will not fund salaries for
          investigators, undergraduate students, or postdoctoral students. The funds for these grants are not fringe-bearing. Fringe benefits must be included for all U.S. graduate student
          salaries listed in the budget. Instructions for calculating fringe benefits are located at: http://agcg.tamu.edu/PreAward/fy11-fringe-rates.pdf In addition, graduate students
          may be eligible for the OGS tuition plan, please see guidelines at http://ogs.tamu.edu/current/tuition-for-grad-assistants. Students already receiving tuition and fee support from another source are not eligible.
        • Symposia/Workshops: Expenses related to hosting focused symposia and workshops on topics fall within the scope of this initiative.
        • Scientific equipment and supplies: Personal computers cannot be purchased with this award.
        • Facilities and Administrative Costs (F&A Costs/Indirect Costs) are not allowed.
        • Matching support is not required, but it is strongly encouraged.


        Reporting Requirements

        Award recipients are required to submit two reports. The first report is due after the 12-month funding period and should:

        • describe accomplishments, findings, or discoveries that may be of interest to decision makers and the general public,
        • identify additional funding that has been received or requested as a result of this grant,
        • identify the granting agencies, industry sponsors, or end users to which a future proposal has been or will be submitted and the date of submission, and
        • identify any publications that have resulted from this grant.


        The Report form is available at: http://conacyt.tamu.edu/finalreport.doc.

        The second report is due nine months after the first report. It should update all information submitted on the first report, and indicate if any award(s) have been received, as well as the source of funding.

        PIs who fail to submit the final reports showing evidence that they have submitted a proposal to an external granting agency or sponsor may not be eligible to participate in future applications to the Collaborative Research Grant Program.

        Additionally, PIs are required to attend one symposium after the 12-month funding period to present theresults of their research, where groups of experts from research, industry, financial and public sectors relevant to the research topics will be assembled to work with the PIs to explore potential commercial applicability. Funding for this meeting will come from the Texas A&M University-CONACYT Research Agreement pool of funds and is not required to be included in the project budget. The symposiums are held in alternating locations between Texas A&M University, College Station, and the Texas A&M University Center in Mexico City. In addition, during the project period, grant recipients may be asked to participate in seminars, conferences, and educational activities as part of this program.

        Program Coordinators
        Questions concerning the CONACYT-Texas A&M University Collaborative Research Grant Program should be directed to:

        Texas A&M University:  Ms. Monica Holder (m-holder@tamu.edu or conacyt@tamu.edu; 979.847.9391)

        CONACYT: Dr. Luis Humberto Fabila Castillo (lfabila@conacyt.mx (55) 5322 770 Ext. 6100)

        Information on Internet: Information about the CONACYT-Texas A&M Agreement and the Collaborative Research Grant Program is available on the Web at:


        Both of these websites will have the following information easily and readily available, including:

        • Request for Proposals
        • Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
        • Official Agreement
        • Administrative Support
        • Online Help