Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)

Limited Submission Funding Opportunity for Texas A&M University

Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Institutional Eligibility
Your proposal will need to be submitted in the name of Texas A&M University. The proposal will be prepared and submitted by the Office of Sponsored Research Services (OSRS)
At least two or more existing small business concerns must participate in the proposal.

Limit on Number of Proposals: 1
Eligible institutions may submit only one (1) proposal for BIC part of PFI.

PI Eligibility
The PI cannot be a PI on a Partnership for Innovation award that will be active after June 1, 2012.

One of the Co-PIs must be a Senior Administrator (at the level of dean or above), who has a demonstrated commitment to knowledge transfer of university research. The senior administrator must have an active role that is explicitly described, along with a specification of a time commitment on the project.

PFI: Building Innovation Capacity. One of the general goals of the subprogram, Building Innovation Capacity (BIC), is to stimulate the transformation of knowledge created by the research and education enterprise into innovations that create new wealth and build strong local, regional, and national economies. Aligned with this goal, the funds will provide support for innovation capacity building to dynamic interactive knowledge-enhancing partnership (KEP) groups composed of academic researchers and small business practitioners focused on intense exploration, re-definition, and re-creation of one research platform with the intention of moving toward market-accepted innovations. The basic organizational core of each proposed knowledge-enhancing partnership group must be composed of an academic lead institution and, at a minimum, two small businesses. The hallmark of these partnerships is a collaboration in which research and its translation paths are shaped and expanded from both the research and the business perspectives. While the center-piece of this group is academe and small business, large businesses and non-profits may participate in this knowledge-enhancement partnership core, which in turn may be embedded in a broader network of the project partnership. An important purpose of these knowledge-enhancing partnerships is to develop researchers more agile in adapting their research for use in new applications and to increase the potential viability of existing small businesses.

The ideal project would consist of exploration, re-definition, and re-creation of a single research platform (versus de novo development of a platform). The research platform is one that can be applied to more than one market and problem/opportunity. In this early stage work, the focus is on the "re-discovery" of discovery research with an eye towards applications so that at the end of the day, the knowledge-enhancing partnerships can address whether or not the research has garnered any advantage in the market place.

This competition will support promising partnerships between academic researchers and small business practitioners that engage in the important process of dynamic knowledge enhancement to build capacity to generate and sustain innovation. Partnerships may also include other academic institutions, other private sector organizations (such as large businesses and not-for-profit organizations), and state/local/federal government. Bearing in mind that it is important not to inhibit the spirit of collegiality in the core KEP group, NSF will require a signed written cooperative research agreement (CRA) between the lead institution and the small businesses at the time of the award. The CRA outlines any issues surrounding the intellectual property that each party may bring to the table or intellectual property that maybe an outcome of the relationship. For an example of a CRA model, reference

The competition will support awards of up to $600,000 per award for a 2-year duration. Awarded funds may be allocated appropriately to the knowledge-enhancement partner companies - in the form of subawards or consultancies - as well as to the lead institution. It should be clear how resources are shared by the partnership.

December 13, 2011, 5:00 p.m.:
Deadline for an email of intent. Include the names of the PI and co-PIs, title of internal proposal and a 1-3 sentence description of the project.

Send email of intent to

December 19, 2011, 5:00 p.m.: Deadline to submit an internal preproposal.

All proposals submitted for the Limited Submissions Awards must be submitted electronically using the on-line application system, which is available at:

Instructions for internal proposal:  Be prepared to upload a preliminary… executive summary, cv’s. budget.

This site is password protected. Texas A&M University tenure or tenure track faculty may use their neo password to access the system. To change your password go to:, click on "Forget your password?" and enter the email account you used to setup your account.  If you need to setup a new account go to:, click on "Need an eProposal Account," fill in the pertinent information and an account will be created for you.

If you have any questions, please contact or 979.845.1811.

December 22, 2011: The Internal Selection Committee will notify PIs of the result of the internal competition.

January 4, 2012: Deadline to submit Letter of Intent by 5:00 pm local time.

March 1, 2012: Deadline for the Full preliminary proposal, by 5:00 pm local time of applicant organization

Internal Selection Procedures
Texas A&M University has established a procedure to identify limited submission opportunities and internally select proposals for Texas A&M submissions.