Issued: April 6, 2010

Stage 1 DUE: Noon, October 5, 2010


TO:       Researchers in the Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics  (SEM) at NDSU

FROM:  David R. Givers, Co-Project Director, ND EPSCoR, NDSU office

RE:        FY 2013 ND EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement

              (RII)  Proposal

Printable Version (pdf)

Cover Sheet (pdf format)

NSF Style Budget Sheet (Excel)

Researchers are invited to submit Concept White Papers to compete for inclusion as a Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) in the 2013 ND EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) proposal. A three stage competition, each involving external review, is planned.

Stage 1: Submission of Concept White Papers (7 pages not including budget and bio pages; budget $1.2M/yr for 5 yrs) in any NSF-fundable Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STE) area. Up to four (4) Concept White Papers will be selected to go forward to Stage 2. Failure to submit will preclude further participation.

Stage 2: Submission of White Papers (10 pages not including budget and bio pages; budget $1.2M/yr for 5 yrs) with expanded comprehensive description. Up to two (2) White Papers will be selected for Stage 3. 

Stage 3: Submission of a 15 page pre-proposal with adherence to NSF published guidelines. Submittals should be of such breadth and depth that no major revisions, other than adjustments needed to meet NSF page requirements, would be required to incorporate them into the final RII proposal to NSF. it is likely that no more than two State Research Initiatives (SRIs) will be proposed to NSF. ND EPSCoR anticipates providing seed funding to stage three finalist for preparation of preliminary results to include in the RII 2013 proposal. Seed funding could be up to $300K depending on the availability of funds at that time.


October 5, 2010    Stage 1 Concept White Papers due

October 28, 2010  Up to four (4) Concept White Papers selected to go

                         forward to Stage 2

April 5, 2011         Stage 2 White Papers due

April 26, 2011       Up to two (2) White Paper finalist selected for Stage 3

Background on the NSF Infrastructure Improvement Award

Our current RII award expires August 31, 2013. The ND EPSCoR executive leadership team is expecting to submit a new proposal to NSF sometime in October, 2012. The tenure of the new ND EPSCoR award, if we are successful, is expected to be from September 1, 2013, through August 31, 2018. The maximum anticipated funding level could be up to $5M/yr for five years. To be fiscally conservative, we anticipate five years duration and $4 million/year. The most recent NSF RII Program Solicitation (NSF 10-582) is available at

(For best results, please copy and paste this link into your browser.)

Please refer to it for additional background to understand NSF EPSCoR RII program goals and objectives. Important information about ND EPSCoR is found at

This Call begins the identification process of an important component of the RII proposal—tightly focused Strategic Research Initiatives that address the key points of:

• Collaborative interdisciplinary research in cutting-edge science that becomes nationally competitive and self sustaining.

• Grand Challenges in science and engineering described by NSF.

• Fidelity with North Dakota's Technology Based Economic Developmet goals and programs including Governor Hoeven's Centers of Excellence (ND COE) initiative (, and Senator Dorgan's Red River Valley Research Corridor (

Fidelity with the state's identified research and economic development priorities was an important evaluation criterion in our previous RII competitions. RII is designed to pursue academic excellence and spur R&D, new technology and job creation, and to help broaden the state's economy through science and technology innovation.

Eligibility Information:

Eligibility is limited to North Dakota research institutions that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering (North Dakota State University researchers should respond to this call. The University of North Dakota will issue a separate RFP). The previous ND EPSCoR supported SRIs, FlexEM and SUNRISE, are not eligible.

PI Eligibility Limit:

A researcher can be the PI of only one Concept White Paper. However, researchers may be team members in more than one Concept White Paper.

Primary Evaluation Criteria:

• Standard NSF criteria described in the grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (i.e., intellectual merit, broader impacts, etc.) and NSF 09-570.

State Fidelity, i.e., the relevance to longterm North Dakota research initiatives expressed by the governor, the state legislature, and the congressional delegation.

Cutting edge or transformative research addressing the Grand Challenges of science.

Collaborative efforts between the two research universities are strongly encouraged because NSF traditionally has given them priority. Additional collaborations involving national laboratories or other investigators from within or outside North Dakota are also encouraged. However, funds cannot be requested to support investigators from outside North Dakota or at a national laboratory.

Additional evaluation criteria

• Potential for proposed activities to achieve self-sustaining status within five years.

Nature and quality of the multi-institutional interactions.

Capabilities of the leadership including managerial and organizational ability of the lead PI and the proposed leadership team.

Checklist Requirements—Submit BOTH paper and electronic copy

Proposal Paper Copies: Original + Three (3) copies

Must be double-spaced, one-sided pages, margins = or > 1", with no less than a 10-point font. Staple all copies in the following order:

1. ND EPSCoR Cover Page - Available at the top of this page.

2. Executive Summary (separate one page)

3. Research Concept (no more than seven pages)

4. Management Plan (no more than one page; separate, not a part of the research concept description)

5. Summary Budget (one page) - Available at the top of this page.

  a) budget total not to exceed $6M ($1.2M/yr for five years; includes F&A

      costs at 43.5%

6. Budget Explanation (one page)

7. Appendices (20-page maximum) limited to and in the following order:

a) Interdepartmental support letters if specific collaboration is proposed.

b) Biographical sketches with current and pending support of all participants; two page maximum for each participant.

Proposal Electronic Copy: A complete proposal in a single PDF file to the NDSU Co-Project Director via e-mail attachment.

Submittals not complying with the Checklist, incuding format requirements, may be rejected without review.

Please direct your questions to Mr. David R. Givers at 701.231.7516 or 

For information about ND EPSCoR and other funding opportunities, please visit the Web site at