National Science Foundation

NSF: Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC)

Program Summary

The Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program supports academe-industry partnerships, which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team with a least one industry partner, to collaborate in building technological and human innovation capacity. This innovation capacity is intended to endure beyond the initial award. Partnerships that build the capacity to innovate are expected to be effective at innovating and able to continue to innovate. They are highly intentional about creating an environment that fosters innovation. These partnerships not only develop new technology but also foster the development of human capital that embraces a culture of change, nurtures the generation of new ideas, and considers feedback an integral part of the innovation processes. Partnership members are diverse, representing a spectrum of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. Partnership activities that drive sustained innovation include the targeted allocation of resources such as capital, time, facilities; and sharing of knowledge in a cross-organizational and interdisciplinary context. 

The PFI:BIC partnership team should focus on technological innovations with potential for significant economic/societal impact. The team collaborates on research, focusing on novel applications motivated by existing research discoveries and based on a platform technology with the potential to achieve transformational change in existing service systems or to spur entirely new service systems. To attain this goal, these partnerships, which inherently require interdisciplinary research, must address what is needed to advance this technology so as to enable a "smart" service system or systems to enter into the commercialization process, succeed in the marketplace, and achieve positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes. Such advancement involves not only engineering, computer science, and other fields of science, but also an understanding of the potential interaction of the technology with customers and the broader public affected by the technology, the "socio-technical system." A full understanding of the socio-technical system will require interdisciplinary teams that include social, behavior, and/or cognitive sciences. Finally, the team should demonstrate an understanding of potential commercial applications and markets, which should contribute to guiding the project activities.
Examples of technology applied to service systems include smart healthcare, smart cities, on-demand transportation, precision agriculture, smart infrastructure, and other technologies enabling self-service and customized service solutions.


Academic institutions are limited to participation on two (2) proposals as a lead institution. A lead academic institution that has submitted a proposal has the option to participate as a subawardee on any other proposal submitted under this solicitation. Lead academic institutions that have submitted a proposal may also provide consultants to other proposals submitted under this solicitation.

The PI cannot concurrently be a PI on more than one active Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity award.  A PI who submits a proposal in response to this program solicitation may not submit a proposal for funding consideration in the same fiscal year to the Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research program.

Award Information

Awards may be up to $800,000, with an award duration of three (3) years. The total budget request to NSF for the lead institution and all others participating in the project cannot exceed $800,000.  As appropriate, awardees have the option to allocate funds for the participation of industrial partners and other primary partners in the project research activities in the form of subawards.  

Internal Selection Procedure
The Office of the Vice President for Research has established an internal review procedure to select the UI nominees. Applications will be reviewed according to the sponsor’s selection criteria. Consideration will also be given to UI institutional strengths and strategic directions. Potential applicants must submit, using the preselection link below, the following information:
1. A two page CV; and
2. A description of the proposed project. It should have the following elements:
The above materials must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 23, 2013. The selected nominees will be asked to complete the required Letter of Intent by the sponsor's Monday, November 18, 2013, deadline and the full application package in accordance with the sponsor's Monday, January 27, 2014, deadline.


Proposal Due to OVPRED09/23/2013 Not open for submission deadline passed
Date Due to DSP or UIF01/20/2014
Date Due to Sponsor01/27/2014
Required LOI Due Date11/18/2013
Non-Required LOI Due DateN/A
Sponsor URL:

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