NSF EPSCoR Track 2 2023 and 2024: Climate Change

UM ORSP RD Solicitation of Notice of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLE) NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (FEC)
Program Solicitation: 22-633
Funding Opportunity for Research towards advancing climate change research and resilience capacity to expand opportunities for disproportionately affected communities
For 2023-24 Competition Cycles

UM Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) Research Development (RD) solicits Phase 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to Lead NSF EPSCoR Track-2 research infrastructure improvement (RII) proposals in response to solicitation 22-633[1].

NOTE: The NSF Track-2 solicitation is for both the 2023 and 2024 competition cycles. This UM ORSP RD solicitation is intended to cover both competition cycles. An internal competition will be held in fall 2022. The winning UM proposal/team will be invited to form an IDRUM Strike Team[2] to develop a full proposal to submit in Jan 2023 or Jan 2024. If there is an especially strong runner up proposal/team, they will be invited to form an IDRUM Strike Team to submit in the other year’s slot. If the fall 2022 competition does not result in a Strike Team for 2024, another UM internal competition round will be held in spring 2023 to select an idea/team to submit in 2024. If the fall 2022 competition does not yield a promising proposal for 2023, the 2023 slot will go unfilled.

Institutional Limitations: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 grants fund research capacity-building  collaborations among two or more EPSCoR RII eligible jurisdictions (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, US Virgin Islands, West Virginia, and Wyoming)[3].  A collaborative proposal that includes researchers/institutions from two or more of these states will be required.  UM (Oxford) can submit only one proposal. UMMC can also submit a proposal. This announcement applies to UM (Oxford) only.

PI Limitations: An individual may serve as a PI or co-PI on no more than one proposal to the NSF solicitation (but may participate in multiple internal pre-proposals in response to this UM solicitation). An investigator may serve as Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on only one RII Track-2 FEC award at any given time. However, the investigator may serve as Senior Personnel on any number of RII Track-2 FEC submissions or awards.

Each proposal will have one PI, and must identify at least one co-PI from an institution in another EPSCoR jurisdiction/state.

Fall 2022 Internal Competition: To determine which (if any) team will be selected to develop a full proposal for UM/Oxford’s submission in 2023 or 2024, a two-phase  process will be conducted. This ORSP RD announcement invites Phase 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLEs) UM EPSCoR RII Track 2 proposals for the 2023 or 2024 competition cycle(s), followed by Phase 2 Internal Pre-Proposals. The internally winning proposal(s)/team(s) will be invited to form an IDRUM Strike Team to apply in 2023 or 2024.

Spring 2023 Internal Competition: If necessary, an additional competition will be held in spring 2023 to select a team/idea for submission in 2024.

Limited Submission Selection Process: For Phase 1, individuals or teams proposing to lead a collaboration project must submit to ORSP RD a non-binding 2-page internal Notice of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLE). These NICLEs will help ORSP RD plan (and find reviewers for) the competition. All NICLE submitters will then be invited to submit a longer Phase 2 Internal Pre-Proposal. ORSP RD will coordinate a process to review, score, provide feedback on, & assess the relative potential of each investigator/team/proposal to deliver a competitive proposal around the concept presented. The Phase 2 competition winner will be invited to form an IDRUM Strike Team for submission to NSF in the competition year 2023 or 2024. Both the Phase 1 NICLE and Phase 2 Internal Pre-Proposal submissions should be uploaded via the Ole Miss InfoReady Review portal[4], by the due dates given below.

Budget: The maximum budget request allowed per four-year project/proposal is :

·      up to $1.0M/year for collaborations involving two RII-eligible jurisdictions, or up to $4M total over four years; OR
·      up to $1.5M/year for collaborations involving 3 or more eligible jurisdictions, or up to $6M total over four years.

EPSCoR Track-2 Discovery Circles

IDRUM Discovery Circles are gatherings where UM faculty can learn about interdisciplinary funding opportunities and other research resources, and share ideas and capabilities with other faculty who might be future collaborators. Ahead of the Phase 1 deadline, ORSP RD will conduct an Zoom Information Session to provide a high-level overview of both the NSF EPSCoR RII Track 2 funding opportunity, and the internal competition/selection process, as well as to answer questions for both. A separate In-Person Networking/Resourcing Session will facilitate networking among potential collaborators and support providers, and share resources available to search for additional collaborators in other jurisdictions.

Fall 2022 UM Internal UM Competition Cycle


09/19/2022     NSF 22-633 solicitation released
09/22/2022     This UM announcement with Internal Competition Instructions
09/28/2022     ORSP NSF EPSCoR Track-2 Information Session, 3pm, Zoom[5]
10/04/2022     Stage 1 NICLEs due to ORSP
10/06/2022     UM Discovery Circle: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 (In-Person Networking)
10/15/2022     Stage 2 Internal Proposals due to ORSP
10/31/2022     ORSP RD announces which UM Pre-Proposal(s) to move forward
11/01/2022     SPAN form submitted for 2023 proposal
11/28/2022     Transmittal created for 2023 NOI
12/01/2022     First Draft of Full Project Descr. due to ORSP RD for Enhanced Review
12/06/2022     Transmittal Routed for 2023 NOI
12/08/2022     Enhanced Review of Project Description Completed/Returned
12/15/2022     2nd draft of Summary & Project Desc. due to ORSP RD for Review
12/20/2022     Letter of Intent to Due NSF (submitted by AOR)
12/22/2022     Enhanced Review of Project Description Completed/Returned
01/07/2023     3rd draft of Summary & Project Desc. due to ORSP RD for Review
01/10/2023     All other proposal documents completed and uploaded to sponsor portal
01/11/2023     Transmittal routed
01/14/2023     Enhanced Review of Project Description Completed/Returned
01/17/2023     Transmittal Ready for SPA Review (all unit-level approvals complete)
01/24/2023     Full proposal due to NSF

Spring 2023 UM Internal Competition Cycle (abbreviated)


02/27/2023     ORSP NSF EPSCoR Track-2 Information Session, 3pm, Zoom
03/06/2023     Stage 1 NICLEs due to ORSP
03/13/2023     UM Discovery Circle: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 (In-Person Networking)
04/01/2023     Stage 2 Internal Proposals due to ORSP
04/15/2023     ORSP RD invites winning Pre-Proposal/Team to form IDRUM Strike Team

01/23/2024     Full Proposal due to NSF

Instructions for UM Internal Stage 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLE)

Investigators/teams wishing to lead a proposal must submit a Stage 1 NICLE. The NICLE should consist of an NSF-style Project Summary and a list of Prospective Collaborators. The Stage 1 NICLE is required, but not binding. That is, to be invited to submit a Stage 2 pre-proposal, a viable Stage-1 NICLE must be submitted; however, the Stage-1 NICLE does not commit the PI to submit a Stage-2 Pre-Proposal, and the team or approach can be shuffled between Stage 1 & Stage 2.

(1)    Project Summary: NSF-style Project Summary, including a working title. Max 1-page .

(2)    Prospective Collaborators: 1-page max list of institutions and individuals that a UM PI/team is considering collaborating with, including at least one institution/co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction (NSF requirement). While it is not necessarily expected that those proposed collaborators would have confirmed their intention to collaborate on a proposal at this stage, please provide some idea of the state of discussions: what has been decided, what is being considered, what hasn’t been decided, etc. No signatures required.


Instructions for UM Internal Stage 2 (Pre-Proposal)

Shortly after the Stage 1 deadline, the Stage 1 competition in the InfoReady Review portal will be converted to a Stage 2 Internal Pre-Proposals competition. These Pre-Proposals should be 5 to 10 pages, in 11 or 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font, single-spaced with one-inch margins, and include the following sections, in order, with the names given.

(1)    Project Summary: 1-page NSF-style Project Summary, including working title.

(2)    Confirmed Collaborators: 1-page max list of proposed collaborating institutions and individuals—the UM PI and up to 4 co-PIs, including at least one co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction (NSF requirement). This page should summarize the specific role/contribution of each proposed collaborating investigator, and why each is critical to the project. If known, tell whether co-PIs from other institutions will be involved as subawardees, or whether they will submit their own collaborative proposal with UM as lead. Include the contact information and signatures (ink or electronic) of the proposed PI and each co-PI. 

(3)    Abbreviated Project Description: A short (up to 6 pages) version of the Project Description, containing (very abbreviated versions of) all of the required components, including: Status and Overview; Results from Relevant Prior Support; Research, Collaboration, and Workforce Development, including Research Impact in Affected Populations, Inter-jurisdictional Collaborations and Partnerships, Sustainability of the Team, and Workforce Development; Evaluation and Assessment Plan; & Management and Implementation Plan. Due to the limited space and time, it is not expected that any of these elements will be complete, but proposers should provide enough detail to convince internal reviewers that, if selected to lead a UM proposal, the ensuing full proposal will be complete and strong.

(4)    Anticipated Outcomes (up to 1 page): what kinds of outcomes are anticipated through this collaboration that would not be possible by the investigators/jurisdictions working separately, including:

a.     workforce development outcomes

b.     benefits to the jurisdictions, (especially Mississippi), the nation, & world

c.     research capability improvements in the designated focus area

(5)    Early Career Development and Diversity Plan (up to 1 page): specific plan for how the project will lead to the recruitment and development of diverse early-career faculty, and how the full diversity of the participating jurisdictions’ resources will be engaged


Combine all pre-proposal sections into one PDF, and submit the single PDF. While 10 pages are available, if you can make a compelling case in less space, feel free to do so.


Some excerpts from the solicitation


Current Topic Focus Area: “All RII Track-2 FEC 202 proposals must be aligned with the topic area of advancing climate change research and resilience capacity to expand opportunities for disproportionately affected communities….As a major societal challenge, climate change has profound consequences for the habitability and sustainability of the planet, while also affecting the nation's food, water, energy, economies, security, and quality of life through its impacts on human health, agriculture, ecosystems and water resources. Disproportionately affected communities are considered more susceptible to these impacts and adaptation and mitigation strategies related to climate change and resiliency must be based on robust scientific findings affecting and involving these communities. Participation in climate change research with disproportionally affected individuals as the centerpiece, will potentially advance science and engineering, enhance the contribution of EPSCoR jurisdictions to the well-being of our nation's citizens, and promote economic stability and recovery in EPSCoR jurisdictions.”


Broadening Participation: “…this solicitation seeks to create a significant and collective impact on targeted jurisdictions by advancing the quality of life of disproportionately affected populations and thus enhancing jurisdictions' awareness of the socio-economic impact of climate change. Proposals submitted for the 2023/2024 RII Track-2 FEC competition could leverage already documented outcomes from any project (or projects) related to previous investments in climate change across multiple jurisdictions and collectively bring those outcomes together to address new opportunities that focus on disproportionately affected communities that are historically more vulnerable to the effects of climate change within the targeted jurisdiction(s). As a result, these projects are expected to create or establish a solid pathway towards benefiting and impacting the jurisdictions in mitigating and adapting to, and/or understanding climate change events in concert with a diverse STEM workforce.”


Social Perspectives: “…to understand the impacts of climate change and its effect on disproportionately affected populations in the jurisdiction(s), it is critical to understand its influence from a social perspective and its potential societal implications. It is expected that projects include components that address understanding and assessing any specific disruptive impacts of the research for the betterment of these populations, the development of innovative educational plans to prepare a skilled technical workforce, at all levels, (K-12, two-year college, undergraduate, and graduate students, as well as university faculty), to adapt to and understand climate change and climate resiliency and the social and economic impacts on the jurisdiction(s). To do this, NSF EPSCoR envisions the convergence of multidisciplinary and diverse teams that span the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and innovation research to understand and build the science, scale it up, and ground it within the perspective of socio-economic implications. Proposals should include a vision for how the project will be sustained and include a description of any plans for technology transfer, if applicable, and innovation education to demonstrate how research activities will help the community in question. In addition, partnerships with companies, innovation experts, non-governmental organization (NGOs), local communities, and relevant local and State government and other stakeholders are expected to allow the project to have a significant impact in the jurisdictions involved. Furthermore, the anticipated needs of the future workforce, projects should develop strong educational programs in the proposed research areas that can be implemented across institutions of higher learning in participating jurisdictions and directly contribute to building a skilled workforce in areas associated to climate change and climate resiliency. Additionally, STEM talent must be cultivated in populations traditionally underrepresented in STEM in order for jurisdictions to keep pace with changing workforce needs. Accordingly, proposals should include a strong commitment to building a diverse workforce. The inclusion and involvement of two- and four-year colleges, Primarily Undergraduate Institutions, women's colleges, and Minority-serving Institutions that serve individuals traditionally underrepresented in STEM is strongly recommended. Involvement and mentoring of early-career faculty is required and a detailed mentoring plan that leverages national best practices for STEM mentoring is expected.”