Request for RII 2013 Concept White Papers - UND

Issued: September 6, 2011

    Deadline: Noon, October 14, 2011 



TO:  Researchers in Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics at UND

FROM:  Mark R. Hoffmann, Co-Project Director, ND EPSCoR, UND   Office

RE:   FY 2013 ND EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Proposal


Printed Version

NSF Style Budget Sheet

Cover Sheet

Evaluation Form

Researchers are invited to submit Concept White papers to compete for inclusion as a Strategic Research Initiative (i.e., “cluster”) in the 2013 ND EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) proposal.  A competition of up to three stages, each involving external review, is planned.  Selection at each stage is mandatory for a continuation in the competition. It is likely that no more than two State Research Initiatives (SRIs) will be proposed to NSF; one of these will be strongly aligned with NDSU and the other with UND.

  • Stage 1: Submission of Concept White Papers (7 pages not including budget and bio pages: budget $1.2M/yr (including F&A) for 5 years) on a topic that is appropriate for a research grant in one of the following NSF Program Areas: Biology; Computer Science; Engineering; Environmental Research; Geosciences; Math, Physical Sciences; Polar Research.  Up to four (4) Concept White Papers will be selected to go forward to Stage 2.
  • Stage 2: Submission of White Papers (10 pages not including budget and bio pages).  Up to two (2) White Papers may 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.

Background on the NSF Research Infrastructure Improvement Award

Our current RII award ends August 31, 2013. The ND EPSCoR executive leadership team is expecting to submit a new NSF proposal sometime in Fall 2012. The RII award 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 11-565) is available at Please refer to it for additional background to understand NSF EPSCoR RII program goals and objectives. Important information about ND EPSCoR is found at

White Paper proposals and review are an important component of the final ND EPSCoR RII proposal. Fidelity with the state’s identified research and economic development priorities has been an important evaluation criterion in our previous RII national 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. Important considerations are:

  • Collaborative 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 Development goals and programs including the governor’s Centers of Excellence (ND COE) initiative.

  • NSF traditionally has placed emphasis on collaborative efforts between the two North Dakota research universities. 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.

  • Complementarity of the two SRIs

  • Alignment of UND-based SRI with the UND Research Division Strategic Plan


Eligibility Information:

Eligibility is limited to North Dakota research institutions that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering (University of North Dakota researchers should respond to this call. A separate competition for North Dakota State University researchers was previously released). The previous ND EPSCoR supported research clusters, 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.

Evaluation criteria

I. Research Plan  (60% of Total Score)

II. Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Plan (15% of Total Score)

III. Collaboration and Leadership (15% of Total Score)

IV. Impact (10% of Total Score)

The complete evaluation score sheet is available on the ND EPSCoR website.


Checklist Requirements: Both paper and electronic copies are required

Proposal Paper Copies: Original + Two (2) copies.

Double-spaced, one-sided pages, margins ≥ 1”, with no less than a 10-point font. Staple all copies in the following order:

  • ND EPSCoR Cover Page − Available at the top of this page.

  • Executive Summary (separate one page).

  • Research Concept (no more than seven pages).

  • Summary Budget (one page) − Available at the top of this page.

  • budget total not to exceed $6M ($1.2M/yr for five years; includes F&A costs at 38.0%).

  • Budget Explanation (one page).

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

  • Biographical sketches with current and pending support of all participants. Use NSF style (e.g. two page maximum for each participant’s biographical sketch).

  • Biographical sketches with current and pending support of all

  • Departmental/College support letters if use of specific facilities, space or equipment is proposed.

Proposal Electronic Copy: A complete proposal in a single PDF file to the UND Co-Program Assistant, Cathy Lerud, via e-mail attachment.

Submittals not complying with the Checklist, including format requirements and page limits, may be rejected without review.

Please direct your questions to Dr. Mark R. Hoffmann or Cathy Lerud at 701-777-2492 or or

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