NSF EPSCoR Track-2: Industries of the Future

UM ORSP RD Solicitation of Interest for
NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaborations (FEC)
Funding Opportunity for Research towards Industries of the Future
For 2022 (anticipated) Competition Cycle

The University of Mississippi (UM) Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) Division of Research Development (RD) solicits Phase 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to Lead 2022 NSF EPSCoR Track 2 research infrastructure improvement (RII) proposals to advance Industries of the Future.

NOTE: The NSF solicitation for the 2022 Track-2 program has not been released as of this UM ORSP announcement, and is not expected until sometime in October 2021. Since there will only be 90 days between the date the new solicitation drops and the date that the proposal is due to NSF, UM ORSP RD is issuing this “pre-announcement” in anticipation that the solicitation for 2022 will be largely the same as last year’s solicitation, including the theme of “Industries of the Future.” Once the actual 2022 solicitation is issued by NSF, we will review and, if needed, update this announcement. Meanwhile, speculated dates are noted in italics.

Institutional Limitations: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 grants funds 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)[1].  A collaborative proposal that includes researchers/institutions within 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 can serve as a PI or co-PI on no more than one proposal to this solicitation (but may participate in multiple internal pre-proposals). PIs and Co-PIs on current NSF EPSCoR RII Track-2 awards with end dates later than Oct. 31, 2022 (estimated) are not expected to be eligible to submit proposals as a PI or Co-PI in this competition. Each proposal will have one PI, and must identify at least one co-PI from another EPSCoR jurisdiction/state.

Internal Competition

To determine which (if any) team will be selected to develop a full proposal for UM/Oxford’s sole submission to NSF in 2022, a two-phase selection process will be conducted. While NSF 21-518[2] is specific to proposals due in January 2021, we anticipate that a subsequent, largely identical EPSCoR RII Track 2 RFP will issued in October 2021, again focused on Industries of the Future, and with proposals due in January 2022. Therefore, this ORSP announcement invites Phase 1 Notices of Intent to Compete to Lead (NICLEs) UM EPSCoR RII Track 2 Industries of the Future proposals for the anticipated 2022 competition cycle(s).

The internally winning proposal(s)/team(s) will be invited to commit to apply in 2022.

Limited Submission Selection Process: For Phase 1, individuals or teams proposing to lead a collaboration project must submit to ORSP a non-binding 2-page internal Notice of Intent to Compete to LEad (NICLE). If more than one NICLE is received, those assessed to have reasonable potential will 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 to deliver a competitive proposal around the concept presented. The Phase 2 competition winner will be invited develop a full proposal for submission to NSF in the competition year 2022. Both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Pre-Proposal submissions should be uploaded via the Ole Miss InfoReady Review portal[3], by the due dates given below.

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

·      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.


Discovery Circles

Ahead of the Phase 1 deadline, ORSP RD will conduct an 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. The session will be followed later in the month by a Networking/Resourcing Session to facilitate networking among potential collaborators and support providers, and to share resources available to search for additional collaborators in other jurisdictions. The exact format of this sessions is to be determined, but may include one or more of: a networking reception, elevator pitch sessions, or a speed networking session.

Pandemic Meeting Protocols

At the time of this announcement, the Information Session and one of the Networking/Resourcing Session are planned to be in via Zoom, with another Networking Session to be held in-person, in a manner consistent with UM social distancing guidance is in effect at the time. If evolving circumstances and UM guidance limit in-person gatherings, the in-person session will be cancelled or switched to a virtual format.

Key Dates and Schedule


10/23/2020     NSF 21-518 solicitation released

08/05/2021     This UM announcement with Internal Competition Instructions

08/25/2021     ORSP NSF EPSCoR Track-2 Information Session, 3pm, Zoom*[4]

09/08/2021*   UM Discovery Circle: NSF EPSCoR Track-2 (Virtual Networking)[7]

09/15/2021     Stage 1 NICLEs due to ORSP

Oct 2021 *       Updated solicitation from NSF should be available

11/01/2021     Stage 2 Internal Proposals due to ORSP
11/15/2021     ORSP announces which UM Pre-Proposal to move forward

Dec 2021 *       Letter of Intent to NSF (submitted by AOR)

12/17/2021     First Draft of Full Project Descr. due to ORSP RD for Enhanced Review

01/03/2022     Enhanced Review of Project Description Completed/Returned

01/07/2022     2nd draft of Summary & Project Desc. due to ORSP RD for Review

01/17/2022     All other proposal documents completed and uploaded to sponsor portal

01/18/2022     Transmittal due to ORSP for Review

01/14/2022     ORSP/Enhanced Review of 2nd Draft Completed/Returned

01/28/2022     Target Date for Proposal Submission

01/31/22 *      Full proposal due to NSF


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

Investigator/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 working title, and the Industries of the Future theme(s) to be advanced. Max 1-page (shorter ok).

(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). Whilte it is not necessarily expected that those proposed collaborators would have confirmed their intention to collaborate on a proposal at this stage, but 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 no more than 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. 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; Inter-jurisdictional Collaborations and Partnerships; Economic Impact and Sustainability; 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 for UM’s institutional nomination, 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.

Industries of the Future

RII Track-2 FEC 2021 proposals must be aligned with the following focus area:

Advancing research towards Industries of the Future to ensure economic growth for EPSCoR jurisdictions.

From the Solicitation (last year’s): “According to the 2021 OMB/OSTP Research and Development priorities memo, Industries of the Future are a key component to the country’s economic and national security. For the National Science Foundation, these industries have been defined across several categories and include: Advanced Manufacturing; Advanced Wireless; Artificial Intelligence; Biotechnology; Quantum Information Science; and Spectrum Innovation Science. Moreover, these industries will require new advances in and integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning, new cyber infrastructure, new approaches for mathematical and computational modeling, new dynamics and control methodologies, new ways to integrate systems biology, synthetic biology and bioprocessing, and new ways to contribute to influence the economy, workforce, and society. For this solicitation, research focused in these areas is strongly encouraged, however, in rare cases, additional industries relevant to a Jurisdiction’s Science and Technology Plan can be considered for this solicitation with appropriate strong justification.”

MS Science and Technology Plan

Note: The S&T Plan is being updated as of August 2021. NICLE submitters will be provided with the updated plan/link: http://www.MississippiResearchConsortium.org/static/ST-Plan.pdf.

[3] UM InfoReady Review Portal: https://olemiss.infoready4.com

[4] Sign up for Info and Networking session(s) at http://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations

[5] * Originally listed date, location, or format tentative or anticipated. Actual dates were updated with the new solicitation. 

[6] Sign up for Info and Networking session(s) at http://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations

[7] Sign up for Info and Networking session(s) at http://research.olemiss.edu/upcoming-presentations


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