Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2013 (SBIR)
(Release-2)


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National Science Foundation

Directorate for Engineering
      Industrial Innovation and Partnerships

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time):

December 03, 2012

Proposals submitted outside the window of November 3, 2012 - December 3, 2012 will be returned without review.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND REVISION NOTES

Proposals failing to address the items outlined in section A.4. Administrative and Technical Screening will be considered non-responsive and will be returned without review.

SBIR/STTR Funding Agreement Certification is a new requirement and will be required upon notification of an award recommendation. (See the Special Award Conditions section of this solicitation.)

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) Notification is a new requirement. (See the Special Award Conditions section of this solicitation.)

Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) is a new requirement. (See Additional Eligibility Info section of this solicitation.)

A WEBINAR will be held for each topic within 6 weeks of the release date of this solicitation in order to answer any questions about the solicitation and/or topics. Details will be posted on the SBIR/STTR website: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/index.jsp as they become available.

SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

General Information

Program Title:

Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2013 (SBIR)
(Release-2)

Synopsis of Program:

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program stimulates technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting Federal research and development needs, increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results, and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

The SBIR program solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission. The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR legislation by transforming scientific discovery into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization. Accordingly, NSF has formulated broad solicitation topics for SBIR that conform to the high-technology investment sector's interests.

The four broad topics are:

For detailed description of the four topics reference section V. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions, A.10. Research Topic.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Fixed Award Amount

Estimated Number of Awards: 200 (pending availability of funds)

Anticipated Funding Amount: $30,000,000 for SBIR Phase I (pending the availability of funds).

Eligibility Information

Organization Limit:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

PI Limit:

The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of the award. A PI must spend a minimum of one calendar month on an SBIR Phase I project. Primary employment is defined as 51% employed by the small business. NSF considers a fulltime work week to be normally 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours to be in conflict with this requirement.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

An organization can only submit a total of two proposals for this solicitation. If more than two proposals are submitted by a single organization, the additional proposals will be returned without review.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 1

No person may participate as the principal investigator for more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation. It is the responsibility of the submitting organization to ensure that no person is listed as the PI for more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Due Dates

Proposal Review Information Criteria

Merit Review Criteria: National Science Board approved criteria. Additional merit review considerations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Award Administration Information

Award Conditions: Additional award conditions apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

Reporting Requirements: Additional reporting requirements apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Program Description

  • Eligibility Information

  • Budgetary Information
  • FastLane Requirements

  • Review and Selection Process

  • Award Conditions
  • Agency Contacts

  • I. INTRODUCTION

    The National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent agency of the Federal Government, invites eligible small business concerns to submit Phase I proposals for its FY 2013 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. NSF will support high quality projects on important scientific, engineering, or science and engineering education problems and opportunities that could lead to significant commercial and public benefit if the research is successful.

    The SBIR solicitation is issued pursuant to the authority contained in Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). SBIR policy is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the SBA Policy Directive.

    II. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

    The primary objective of the NSF SBIR Program is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high risk, high quality scientific, engineering, or science and engineering education research that would have a high potential economic payoff if the research is successful.

    The fundamental mission of NSF is to promote discoveries and to advance education across the frontiers of knowledge in science and engineering. Consistent with that mission, NSF encourages and supports a wide range of proposals from the research and education community and also from the private small business sector. These proposals are reviewed under NSF's merit review criteria, which cover both the quality of research (intellectual or technical merit) and its potential impact on society (broader/commercial impacts).

    The SBIR program solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission. The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR legislation by transforming scientific discovery into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization. Accordingly, NSF has formulated broad solicitation topics for SBIR that conform to the high-technology investment sector's interests.

    Topics are:

    Successful proposers will conduct Research and Development (R&D) on projects that:

    1. Provide evidence of a commercially viable product, process, device, or system, and/or
    2. Meet an important social or economic need.

    Projects should have the following:

    Projects may also address:

    For more in-depth program information please reference the following web site: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/program.jsp.

    III. AWARD INFORMATION

    Under this solicitation, SBIR Phase I proposals may be submitted for funding up to $150,000. SBIR Phase I projects run for six months. The program expects to make approximately 200 fixed amount awards. Anticipated funding amount for this solicitation is $30,000,000 (pending the availability of funds and quality of proposals). Award notification is typically four to six months from the proposal submission deadline date. Awards will have an effective date of July 1, 2013 for proposals submitted to this solicitation.

    IV. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

    Organization Limit:

    Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
    • Only firms qualifying as a small business concern are eligible to participate in the SBIR program. Socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns and women-owned small business concerns are particularly encouraged to participate. For an SBIR Phase I Proposal, a minimum of two-thirds of the research, as measured by the budget, must be performed by the small business concern and the balance may be outsourced to a consultant or subcontractor or a combination of the two.

      Proposals from joint ventures and partnerships are permitted, provided the entity created qualifies as a small business concern. Proposing firms are also encouraged to take advantage of research expertise and facilities that may be available to them at colleges, universities, national laboratories, and from other research providers. Such collaborations may include research subcontracts, consulting agreements or the employment of faculty as senior personnel and of graduate or undergraduate students as assistants by the small business.

    PI Limit:

    The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of the award. A PI must spend a minimum of one calendar month on an SBIR Phase I project. Primary employment is defined as 51% employed by the small business. NSF considers a fulltime work week to be normally 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours to be in conflict with this requirement.

    Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

    An organization can only submit a total of two proposals for this solicitation. If more than two proposals are submitted by a single organization, the additional proposals will be returned without review.

    Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 1

    No person may participate as the principal investigator for more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation. It is the responsibility of the submitting organization to ensure that no person is listed as the PI for more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation.

    Additional Eligibility Info:

    Requirements Relating to Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Numbers and Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM)

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a policy directive (September 14, 2010, 75 FR 22706) which requires applicants to provide a Dun and Brad street Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for a new award or renewal of an award under Federal grants or cooperative agreements. In accordance with this mandate, each proposer must have a DUNS number prior to submission of a proposal to NSF. Any subawardees named in the proposal must be registered in FastLane, which requires that they obtain a DUNS number.

    In addition, each proposer also must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database prior to submission of the proposal. Subawardees named in the proposal, however, do not need to be registered in the SAM. The SAM is the primary registrant database for the U.S. Government. The SAM collects, validates, stores, and disseminates data in support of agency acquisition missions, including Federal agency contract and assistance awards. This SAM registration must be maintained with current information at all times during which the organization has an active award or a proposal under consideration by NSF. Failure to comply with the SAM registration requirement prior to proposal submission may impact the processing of the proposal. To register in the SAM, go to https://www.sam.gov/. Proposers are advised that it takes approximately three-to-five business days to complete the registration process.

    Unacceptable objectives: Proposed efforts directed toward systems studies; market research; commercial development of existing products or proven concepts; straightforward engineering design for packaging; laboratory evaluations; incremental product or process improvements; evolutionary optimization of existing products; and evolutionary modifications to broaden the scope of an existing product or application are examples of projects that are not acceptable for SBIR. Projects determined unacceptable will be returned without review to the proposer. Phase I proposals returned without review by NSF are NOT eligible for reconsideration under the same program solicitation; however, proposals may be resubmitted under a subsequent solicitation.

    V. PROPOSAL PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

    A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

    Full Proposal Instructions: Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the guidelines specified in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg. Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-PUBS (7827) or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

    The following instructions supplement the GPG guidelines.

    A.1. Responsiveness to SBIR Program.

    A.1.1. Communication with the SBIR Program Manager. A company considering a proposal submission is encouraged to communicate (via email) with the cognizant program officer to help gauge the responsiveness to the solicitation. When contacting the cognizant program officer, please provide a brief 1-2 page executive summary with background on the: 1) company/team including experience with previous SBIR awards, 2) market opportunity, 3) technology/innovation and 4) competition. You may contact the program officer via email at any time before the submission deadline. Note, however, that communication with the program officer will become increasingly difficult as the deadline nears.

    A.1.2. Designation of Topic and Subtopic. Designate one, and only one, topic and subtopic. The appropriate topic and subtopic MUST be identified on the cover page and in the Project Summary. (Reference section A.10 for the topic descriptions.)

    A.2. Phase I Proposal Objectives. An SBIR Phase I proposal must describe the research effort needed to investigate the feasibility of the proposed scientific or technical innovation. The primary objective of the Phase I effort is to determine whether the innovation has sufficient technical and commercial merit for proceeding into a Phase II project. A secondary objective is to assess potential commercial feasibility of the proposed work.

    A.3. Phase I Project Requirements. The deliverable at the end of an SBIR Phase I grant is a technical report that summarizes the experimental and theoretical accomplishments of the research proposed. This report serves as the basis for a Phase II proposal.

    A.4. Administrative and Technical Screening. All proposals that fail to address the following items will be considered non-responsive and will be returned without review.

    1. A proposal submitted after 5:00 p.m. (proposer's/submitter's local time) on the deadline date. The "proposer's time" is the time zone associated with the company's address, as registered with NSF at the time of proposal submission.

    2. A proposal that does not contain all the required components uploaded into the appropriate module within FastLane. See the required components below that make up a complete proposal. All proposals must have each of the items listed below, without exception.

    A complete proposal consists of the following:

    1. Project Summary (reference section A.9.2)

    2. Project Description (15 page limit) and all 7 parts (reference section A.9.3)

    3. References Cited (reference section A.9.4) - required by NSF for all proposals

    4. Biographical Sketches (reference section A.9.5)- required by NSF for all proposals

    5. Budget and Sub-budgets (reference section A.9.6)

    6. Current and Pending Support - the proposal being submitted is considered pending support" and must be listed (reference section A.9.7). This means that ALL submitted proposals MUST contain this document, without exception.

    7. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources - (reference section A.9.8) required by NSF for all proposals

    8. Supplementary Documents (reference section A.9.9)
    1. A proposal with items in the Supplementary Documents section other than the following:

      1. Letters of Support for Technology (no more than 3 letters; reference section A.9.9.1)

      2. Post Doc Mentoring Plan (required if funds are included on line "B.1 Post Doctoral Scholars" on the proposer's budget or a subaward budget; reference section A.9.9.2)

      3. Company Commercialization History must be provided using the NSF template if Phase II SBIR/STTR awards have been received previously (reference section A.9.9.3)

      4. Data Management Plan (reference section A.9.9.4) - required by NSF for all proposals

      5. Letters regarding Use of Human subjects e.g. Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval of animal use (if applicable; reference section A.9.9.5)

    2. A SBIR proposal with a budget exceeding $150,000.

    3. A proposal missing a Company Commercialization History, if a company has certified on the Cover Page that it has previously received SBIR/STTR Phase II awards. A Company Commercialization History must be submitted using the NSF template (reference section A.9.9.3).

    4. A proposal with documents placed in the "Additional Single Copy Documents" module in FastLane.

    5. A collaborative proposal (defined as simultaneous proposal submissions from different organizations, with each organization requesting a separate award) is prohibited. Note - Small business concerns are encouraged to collaborate with research institutions; however, only one proposal, with subawards, should result.

    6. A proposal lacking sufficient technical/commercial potential substance to justify review.

    7. A proposal that does not fall within the scope of the topic or subtopic as delineated in the topic or subtopic description.

    8. A proposal not containing research proposed in science, engineering, or education.

    9. Unacceptable objectives as defined in Section IV.

    A.5. Marking Proprietary Information. To the extent permitted by law, the Government will not release properly identified and marked technical and commercially sensitive data. If the proposal contains proprietary information, check the box at the bottom of the proposal cover page and identify proprietary technical data in the proposal by clearly marking the information and also providing a legend. Typically, proprietary information is marked in the text either with an asterisk at the beginning and end of the proprietary paragraph, underlining the proprietary sections, or choosing a different font type. An entire proposal should not be marked proprietary.

    A.6. Human Subjects and Animal Use. Please refer to Chapter II, Sections D.5 and D.6 of the GPG (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg). Note that in some cases, product testing involves human subjects. In addition to the information in the GPG, please refer to (http://www.dnb.com/us/). Look for federal-wide assurances under the Office of Human Research Protection website.

    If human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is indicated, and it is not in hand at the time of submission, there must be a plan for such approval; a supporting letter regarding IRB approval should be provided under supplementary documents. The approval must be readily attainable within six weeks of informal notification of recommendation for award to ensure continued processing for funding. The small business has three basic options with regard to human subjects review: 1) establish your own IRB (see Office of Human Rights Protection (OHRP) at Health and Human Services (HHS) http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/assurances/index.html#registernew; 2) use the review board of a (usually local) university or research institution, either via consultants to the project, a project subcontract, or directly through its own contacts; and 3) use a commercial company (for a listing, see http://www.advamed.org/MemberPortal/About/.

    Animal use in funded projects requires approval of the company or collaborating institutions' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Please refer to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ for additional information.

    A.7. Debriefing on Unsuccessful Proposals. When a proposal is declined, verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, summaries of review panel deliberations, if any, and a description of the process by which the proposal was reviewed will be available electronically.

    Phase I proposals that have been declined or returned without review by NSF are NOT eligible for reconsideration under the same program solicitation; however, proposals may be resubmitted under a subsequent solicitation, after suitable revisions have been made, conditional upon their falling within the scope of the subsequent topic or subtopic offerings.

    A.8. General Requirements

    A.8.1 Sample Limitations. Samples, videotapes, slides, appendices, or other ancillary items will not be accepted. Websites containing demonstrations, etc., may be cited in the proposal, but reviewers are not required to access them.

    A.8.2 Page Format. Multiple column formats are not accepted. Use the NSF required fonts; reference the GPG - Chapter II Proposal Preparation Instructions(http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg).

    A.9. Required Format.

    The required format of a Phase I proposal is described in the following paragraphs. Each proposal submitted to the NSF SBIR program shall have the following components:

    Cover Sheet
    Project Summary
    Table of Contents (automatically generated by FastLane)
    Project Description
    References Cited
    Biographical Sketches
    Budgets and Budget Justification (also required for each subaward)
    Current and Pending Support
    Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources
    Supplementary Documents (including Data Management Plan and Post-Doc Mentoring Plan)

    A.9.1. Cover Sheet and Certification. Complete topic and subtopic fields must be included on the cover sheet. All proposals must be electronically signed. For information regarding electronic signature, reference the Place of Performance.)

    Note: In SBIR proposals, the use of Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) can only be used as subawardees with a waiver from the Small Business Administration. Additional information relative to FFRDCs may be found at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf05306/. Contact the cognizant SBIR Program Officer for further information on obtaining a waiver.

    Note: If a subawardee includes funds for Post Doctoral Scholars on line B.1 on the subaward budget, a Post Doc Mentoring Plan must be provided. For more information on what is required for a Post Doc Mentoring Plan reference http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/gpg_2.jsp#IIC2j. The plan must be uploaded into the supplementary documents module in FastLane. A Post Doc Mentoring Plan template can be obtained at: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/Sample_Postdoc_Mentoring_Plan.doc

    Part 6. Equivalent or Overlapping Proposals or Awards to/from Other Federal Agencies. A firm may elect to submit proposals for equivalent or overlapping work under other Federal solicitations or may have received or expect to receive other Federal awards for equivalent or overlapping work. The firm must certify on the proposal cover page whether another Federal Agency has received this proposal (or an equivalent or overlapping proposal). In addition, the proposer must inform NSF of overlapping or equivalent proposals and awards as follows: (a) related federal awards (ongoing or completed); (b) proposals that have been submitted under other government solicitations; and (c) anticipated submissions (within the upcoming calendar year) to other agencies of related proposals. For all such cases, the following information is required:

    If no equivalent or overlapping proposals are under consideration, explicitly state: NONE. NSF will not make awards that duplicate research funded or expected to be funded by other agencies, although in some cases NSF may fund portions of work described in an overlapping proposal provided that the budgets appropriately reduce costs and allocate costs among the various sponsors. If a proposer fails to disclose equivalent or overlapping proposals or awards as provided in this section, the proposer could be liable for administrative, civil or criminal sanctions.

    Part 7. Lineage of the Innovation. NSF supports basic/fundamental research. A large portion of the research NSF funds finds its way to the market place. Many of the technology/science/education projects that the NSF SBIR program supports had origins from previously funded NSF academic/non-profit projects. If the proposed SBIR project has connections to previously NSF funded academic/non-profit research, please provide the following information:

    Directorate Name:
    Division Name:
    Award Number:

  • A.9.4. References Cited. Provide a comprehensive listing of relevant references, including patent numbers and other relevant intellectual property citations. A list of References Cited must be uploaded into the system. If there are no references cited in the proposal, please indicate this by putting the statement "No References Cited" into this module.

    A.9.5. Biographical Sketches. (A maximum of two pages per person.) Provide relevant biographical information for the Principal Investigator (PI) and key personnel (including consultants and key members of the subaward team). Biographical Sketches must be uploaded into the appropriate module within Fastlane.

    A.9.6. Budget. The total budget shall not exceed $150,000 for the SBIR Phase I proposal. Budget line items must be shown in detail in the budget justification.

    List the principal investigator and senior personnel by name with their time commitments budgeted in person-months and the dollar amount for the performance period. The PI must be budgeted for a minimum of one month to the proposed project.

    Do not list company employees under B.1. Post Doctoral Scholars.

    The reimbursement rates for consultants are a direct cost that cannot exceed the daily equivalent of the rate paid to an Executive Level IV Federal employee. As of January 2009 that amount is $600 per day. The maximum consulting rate under this solicitation is $600 per day (NSF defines a day as 8 hours.) Indicate the number of days proposed per consultant. Consultant travel should be shown under the domestic travel category, E-1, but counts as an outsourcing expense.

    The budget justification should provide a line by line description of each budget item (including the signed consultant letter).

    The proposal budget justification should indicate the specifics of the materials and supplies required. Materials and supplies are defined as tangible personal property, other than equipment, costing less than $5,000, or other lower threshold consistent with the policy established by the proposing organization. Each materials and supplies line item should include an estimated cost for that item.

    Letters and supporting documentation from Consultants and Subawardees are NOT considered letters of support and must be uploaded with the Budget Justification and not as a Supplemental Document.

    Permanent equipment, patent expenses, and foreign travel are not allowable expenditures. Tuition costs are not considered research or research and development. Accordingly, they are not acceptable costs and should not be included in the budget.

    One domestic travel trip for up to two persons (normally the PI and an individual associated with business operations) is required to attend a two-day grantee workshop in the DC area. The intent of this workshop is to discuss the research program with a program officer and to learn the mechanics of preparing a Phase II proposal; therefore this trip must be included in the Phase I budget. An explicit statement acknowledging attendance at the grantee workshop is required on the budget justification page. A good budget estimate is $2,000 per person to cover the conference registration fees and travel expenses.

    Indirect costs plus fringe benefits is limited to an effective rate of 150% of salaries and wages; i.e., (line C + line I) should not be more than 150% of (line A + line B).The following expenses will not be funded as part of the indirect cost pools:

    Reasonable fees (estimated profit) will be considered under Phase I. The amount of the fee approved by NSF cannot exceed seven percent (7%) of the total indirect and direct project costs. The proposal bottom line cannot exceed $150,000 for SBIR Phase I proposals.

    Detailed documentation of all budget line items is required and must be documented on the budget justification page.

    A.9.7. Current and Pending Support of Principal Investigator and Senior Personnel. This section of the proposal calls for required information on all current and pending support for ongoing projects and proposals, including subsequent funding in the case of continuing grants. All current project support from whatever source (e.g., Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other commercial organizations) must be listed. The proposed project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the PI and other senior personnel must be included, even if they receive no salary support from the project(s). The total award amount for the entire award period covered (including indirect costs) must be shown as well as the number of person-months per year to be devoted to the project, regardless of source of support. Similar information must be provided for all proposals already submitted or submitted concurrently to other possible sponsors, including NSF. Concurrent submission of a proposal to other organizations will not prejudice its review by NSF. Note the Biological Sciences Directorate exception to this policy, however, delineated in GPG Chapter I.G.2. If the project now being submitted has been funded previously by a source other than NSF, the information requested in the paragraph above must be furnished for the last period of funding. Current and Pending Support must be uploaded into the FastLane system. The proposal being submitted is considered "pending" and therefore MUST appear in the Current and Pending Support module.

    For all ongoing or proposed projects or proposals that will be submitted in the near future -- but excluding any proposals already cited above in the Equivalent or Overlapping Proposals to other Federal Agencies section -- that involve the Principal Investigator or senior personnel, provide the following information:

    A.9.8. Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources. Provide a description that specifies the availability and location of significant equipment, instrumentation, computers, and physical facilities necessary to complete the portion of the research that is to be carried out by the proposing firm in Phase I. Purchase of permanent equipment is not permitted in a Phase I project (reference definition of Permanent Equipment). DO NOT use budget line item D for Phase I proposals. This document must be uploaded into the appropriate module in Fastlane for all proposals.

    If the equipment, instrumentation, computers, and facilities for this research are not the property (owned or leased) of the proposing firm, include a statement signed by the owner or lessor which affirms the availability of these facilities for use in the proposed research, reasonable lease or rental costs for their use, and any other associated costs. Upload images of the scanned statements into this section.

    A.9.9. Supplementary Documents. The supplementary documents permitted in a Phase I proposal are limited to the following (if applicable):

    A.9.9.1. Letter(s) of Support for Technology (no more than three letters). Letters of support act as an indication of market validation for the proposed innovation and add significant credibility to the proposed effort. Letters of support should demonstrate that the company has initiated dialog with relevant stakeholders (potential customers, strategic partners or investors) for the proposed innovation and that a real business opportunity may exist should the technology prove feasible. The letter(s) must contain affiliation and contact information for the signatory stakeholder. Letters and supporting documents from consultants and subcontractors are NOT considered letters of support and are NOT to be included here. Letters and supporting documents from consultants and subcontractors should be included in the Budget Justification section.

    A.9.9.2. Post Doc Mentoring Plan. If a proposal requests funding to support Post Doctoral Scholars on line B.1 of the proposer and/or a subaward budget, a Post Doc Mentoring Plan must be uploaded to the system The mentoring plan must provide a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. The mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, irrespective of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subawardee organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative project. Proposers are advised that the mentoring plan may not be used to circumvent the 15-page project description limitation. A template for the Post Doc Mentoring Plan can be obtained at: http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/Sample_Postdoc_Mentoring_Plan.doc

    A.9.9.3. Company Commercialization History. A Company Commercialization History is required for all proposers certifying receipt of previous Phase II awards from any Federal agency on the third page of the Cover Page in question # 11. The NSF Commercialization History Template must be used. All items must be addressed in the format outlined in this template. Changes to the NSF template, additional narratives and/or commercialization history documents from other SBIR agencies are not permitted.

    A.9.9.4 Data Management Plan. Proposals must contain a supplementary document labeled "Data Management Plan" which should include the statement, "All data generated in this SBIR Phase I project is considered proprietary." Fastlane will not permit submission of a proposal that is missing the newly required Data Management Plan. See exceptions: http://nsf.gov/eng/general/ENG_DMP_Policy.pdf

    A.9.9.5 Human Subjects and Vertebrate Animals. Please refer to Chapter II, Sections D.6 and D.7 of the GPG (http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=gpg). Note that in some cases, product testing involves human subjects. Look for federal-wide assurances under the Office of Human Research Protection website (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/index.html).

    If human subjects Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is indicated, and it is not in hand at the time of submission, there must be a plan for such approval; a supporting letter regarding IRB approval should be provided under supplementary documents. The approval must be readily attainable within six weeks of informal notification of recommendation for award to ensure continued processing for funding. The small business has three basic options with regard to human subjects review: 1) establish your own IRB (see Office of Human Rights Protection (OHRP) at Health and Human Services (HHS) http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/assurances/index.html#registernew; 2) use the review board of a (usually local) university or research institution, either via consultants to the project, a project subcontract, or directly through its own contacts; and 3) use a commercial company (for a listing, see http://www.advamed.org/MemberPortal/About/.

    Animal use in funded projects requires approval of the company or collaborating institutions' Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Please refer to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ for additional information.

    A.10. Research Topic. The fundamental mission of NSF is to promote discoveries and to advance education across the frontiers of knowledge in science and engineering. Consistent with that mission, NSF encourages and supports a wide range of proposals from the research and education community and also from the private small business sector. These proposals are reviewed under NSF's merit review criteria, which cover both the quality of research (intellectual or technical merit) and its potential impact on society (broader impacts).

    The SBIR program solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission. The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011). A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR legislation by transforming scientific discovery into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization. Accordingly, NSF has formulated a broad solicitation topic for SBIR that conforms to the high-technology investment sector's interests.

    The four broad topics are:

    Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF 12-605) in the program solicitation block on the NSF Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

    B. Budgetary Information

    Cost Sharing: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited

    Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Indirect costs plus fringe benefits are limited to a maximum rate of 150% of direct salaries and wages. (See Section V.A.9.6)

    Other Budgetary Limitations: Other budgetary limitations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

    C. Due Dates

    D. FastLane Requirements

    Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this program solicitation through use of the NSF FastLane system. Detailed instructions regarding the technical aspects of proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: http://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/a1/newstan.htm. For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail fastlane@nsf.gov. The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this program solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this funding opportunity.

    Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane Website at: https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp.

    VI. NSF PROPOSAL PROCESSING AND REVIEW PROCEDURES

    Proposals received by NSF are assigned to the appropriate NSF program where they will be reviewed if they meet NSF proposal preparation requirements. All proposals are carefully reviewed by a scientist, engineer, or educator serving as an NSF Program Officer, and usually by three to ten other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular fields represented by the proposal. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. Proposers are invited to suggest names of persons they believe are especially well qualified to review the proposal and/or persons they would prefer not review the proposal. These suggestions may serve as one source in the reviewer selection process at the Program Officer's discretion. Submission of such names, however, is optional. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts of interest with the proposal.

    A. NSF Merit Review Criteria

    All NSF proposals are evaluated through use of the two National Science Board (NSB)-approved merit review criteria: intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed effort. In some instances, however, NSF will employ additional criteria as required to highlight the specific objectives of certain programs and activities.

    The two NSB-approved merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which the reviewer is qualified to make judgments.

    What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?
    How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields? How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of the prior work.) To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts? How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity? Is there sufficient access to resources?

    What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?
    How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning? How well does the proposed activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)? To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks, and partnerships? Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding? What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

    Examples illustrating activities likely to demonstrate broader impacts are available electronically on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf.

    Mentoring activities provided to postdoctoral researchers supported on the project, as described in a one-page supplementary document, will be evaluated under the Broader Impacts criterion.

    Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

    The SBIR program has additional criteria which reflect the legislative emphasis of the program and complement the standard NSF review criteria listed above.

    "What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?"

    1. Is the proposed plan a sound approach for establishing technical and commercial feasibility?

    2. To what extent does the proposal suggest and develop unique or ingenious concepts or applications?

    3. How well qualified is the technical team (Principal Investigator, key staff, consultants, and subawardees) to conduct the proposed activity?

    4. Is there sufficient access to resources (materials and supplies, analytical services, equipment, facilities, etc.)?

    5. Does the proposal reflect state-of-the-art in the major research activities proposed? (Are advancements in state-of-the-art likely?)

    "What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?"

    1. What may be the commercial and societal benefits of the proposed activity?

    2. Does the outcome of the proposed activity lead to a marketable product or process that warrants significant NSF support?

    3. Given the stage of the proposed effort, is the team well-balanced between technical and business skills?

    4. Has the proposing firm successfully commercialized SBIR or STTR-supported technology where prior awards have been made? (Or, has the firm been successful at commercializing technology that has not received SBIR or STTR support?)

    5. Has the proposer evaluated the competitive advantage of this technology vs. alternate technologies that can meet the same market needs?

    6. Does the proposal lead to enabling technologies (instrumentation, software, etc.) for further innovation?

    7. How well is the proposed activity positioned to attract further funding from non-SBIR sources once the project ends?

    NSF staff also will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

    Integration of Research and Education
    One of the principal strategies in support of NSF's goals is to foster integration of research and education through the programs, projects, and activities it supports at academic and research institutions. These institutions provide abundant opportunities where individuals may concurrently assume responsibilities as researchers, educators, and students and where all can engage in joint efforts that infuse education with the excitement of discovery and enrich research through the diversity of learning perspectives.

    Integrating Diversity into NSF Programs, Projects, and Activities
    Broadening opportunities and enabling the participation of all citizens -- women and men, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities -- is essential to the health and vitality of science and engineering. NSF is committed to this principle of diversity and deems it central to the programs, projects, and activities it considers and supports.

    B. Review and Selection Process

    Proposals submitted in response to this program solicitation will be reviewed by Ad hoc Review and/or Panel Review.

    Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

    After scientific, technical and programmatic review and consideration of appropriate factors, the NSF Program Officer recommends to the cognizant Division Director whether the proposal should be declined or recommended for award. NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later. The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

    A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the names of the reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Officer. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

    In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at their own risk.

    VII. AWARD ADMINISTRATION INFORMATION

    A. Notification of the Award

    Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See Section VI.B. for additional information on the review process.)

    B. Award Conditions

    An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (GC-1); * or Research Terms and Conditions * and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreements also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Financial and Administrative Terms and Conditions (CA-FATC) and the applicable Programmatic Terms and Conditions. NSF awards are electronically signed by an NSF Grants and Agreements Officer and transmitted electronically to the organization via e-mail.

    *These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Website at http://www.nsf.gov/awards/managing/award_conditions.jsp?org=NSF. Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (703) 292-7827 or by e-mail from nsfpubs@nsf.gov.

    More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

    Special Award Conditions:

    SBIR Phase I and Phase II awards are subject to availability of funds. NSF has no obligation to make any specific number of Phase I or Phase II awards based on a solicitation and may elect to make several or no awards under any specific technical topic or subtopic. SBIR Phase I awards are six month, fixed-price grants and shall not exceed $150,000. The SBIR Phase II fixed-priced grants typically will not exceed $750,000 per award. A Phase II award is based on a Phase I award. SBIR Phase II awards normally will be made for a 24-month period of performance. (For information on Phase II, reference Phase II proposal preparation found on the SBIR/STTR web site (Phase II Award Information). Reasonable fees for profit (not to exceed seven percent of the total direct and indirect costs) will be considered under both phases.

    SBIR/STTR Funding Agreement Certification:

    SBIR/STTR prospective grantees will be notified by NSF to provide a signed SBIR/STTR Funding Agreement Certification. The federal government relies on the information provided by grantees to determine whether the business is eligible for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program award. Certification will be used to ensure continued compliance during the life of the funding agreement. (http://www.nsf.gov/eng/iip/sbir/Forms/SBIR_STTR_FUNDING_AGREEMENT_CERT.doc)

    Fraud, Waste, and Abuse (FWA) Notification:

    If at any time you become aware of fraud or any kind of wrongdoing under any award, please contact the NSF Office of Inspector General.

    Internet: http://www.nsf.gov/oig/hotline_form.jsp
    E-mail: oig@nsf.gov
    Phone: 703-292-7100 (during business hours) or 703-244-4443 (to speak to the duty officer)
    Anonymous Hotline: 800-428-2189
    Fax: 703-292-9158
    Mail: 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1135
    Arlington, VA 22230
    ATTN: OIG HOTLINE

    C. Reporting Requirements

    For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the Principal Investigator must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period. (Some programs or awards require more frequent project reports). Within 90 days after expiration of a grant, the PI also is required to submit a final project report, and a project outcomes report for the general public.

    Failure to provide the required annual or final project reports, or the project outcomes report will delay NSF review and processing of any future funding increments as well as any pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

    PIs are required to use NSF's electronic project-reporting system, available through FastLane, for preparation and submission of annual and final project reports. Such reports provide information on activities and findings, project participants (individual and organizational), publications, and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system. Submission of the report via FastLane constitutes certification by the PI that the contents of the report are accurate and complete. The project outcomes report must be prepared and submitted using Research.gov. This report serves as a brief summary, prepared specifically for the public, of the nature and outcomes of the project. This report will be posted on the NSF website exactly as it is submitted by the PI.

    More comprehensive information on NSF Reporting Requirements and other important information on the administration of NSF awards is contained in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=aag.

    The Phase I final report will be due to NSF within 15 days of the expiration of the grant and is limited to 15 pages in length. A Phase II proposal requires the approved Phase I Final Report to be uploaded as part of the Phase II proposal package in Fastlane.

    VIII. AGENCY CONTACTS

    Please note that the program contact information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

    General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:

    For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:

    IX. OTHER INFORMATION

    The NSF Website provides the most comprehensive source of information on NSF Directorates (including contact information), programs and funding opportunities. Use of this Website by potential proposers is strongly encouraged. In addition, National Science Foundation Update is a free e-mail subscription service designed to keep potential proposers and other interested parties apprised of new NSF funding opportunities and publications, important changes in proposal and award policies and procedures, and upcoming NSF Regional Grants Conferences. Subscribers are informed through e-mail when new publications are issued that match their identified interests. Users can subscribe to this service by clicking the "Get NSF Updates by Email" link on the NSF web site.

    Grants.gov provides an additional electronic capability to search for Federal government-wide grant opportunities. NSF funding opportunities may be accessed via this new mechanism. Further information on Grants.gov may be obtained at http://www.grants.gov.

    ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent Federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended (42 USC 1861-75). The Act states the purpose of the NSF is "to promote the progress of science; [and] to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare by supporting research and education in all fields of science and engineering."

    NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the US. The Foundation accounts for about one-fourth of Federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

    NSF receives approximately 55,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded. In addition, the Foundation receives several thousand applications for graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. The agency operates no laboratories itself but does support National Research Centers, user facilities, certain oceanographic vessels and Arctic and Antarctic research stations. The Foundation also supports cooperative research between universities and industry, US participation in international scientific and engineering efforts, and educational activities at every academic level.

    Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities to work on NSF-supported projects. See Grant Proposal Guide Chapter II, Section D.2 for instructions regarding preparation of these types of proposals.

    The National Science Foundation has Telephonic Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) capabilities that enable individuals with hearing impairments to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment or general information. TDD may be accessed at (703) 292-5090 and (800) 281-8749, FIRS at (800) 877-8339.

    The National Science Foundation Information Center may be reached at (703) 292-5111.

    The National Science Foundation promotes and advances scientific progress in the United States by competitively awarding grants and cooperative agreements for research and education in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

    To get the latest information about program deadlines, to download copies of NSF publications, and to access abstracts of awards, visit the NSF Website at http://www.nsf.gov

    • Location:

    4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA 22230

    • For General Information
      (NSF Information Center):

    (703) 292-5111

    • TDD (for the hearing-impaired):

    (703) 292-5090

    • To Order Publications or Forms:

    Send an e-mail to:

    nsfpubs@nsf.gov

    or telephone:

    (703) 292-7827

    • To Locate NSF Employees:

    (703) 292-5111

    PRIVACY ACT AND PUBLIC BURDEN STATEMENTS

    The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; and project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to proposer institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies or other entities needing information regarding applicants or nominees as part of a joint application review process, or in order to coordinate programs or policy; and to another Federal agency, court, or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 69 Federal Register 26410 (May 12, 2004). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, an information collection unless it displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number. The OMB control number for this collection is 3145-0058. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding the burden estimate and any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to:

    Suzanne H. Plimpton
    Reports Clearance Officer
    Division of Administrative Services
    National Science Foundation
    Arlington, VA 22230



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