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Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water

Grants to USA IHEs, Organizations, Corporations, Agencies,
Individuals for Research on Agricultural Resilience

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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National Science Foundation (NSF) and United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA)

Deadline Date:

09/26/18 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time

Description:

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Grants to USA IHEs, state agricultural research stations, other research organizations, federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations, corporations, groups, and individuals for research addressing agricultural resilience and sustainability. Proposals should advance knowledge of the plant’s food, energy, and water systems and develop cyber-enabled interfaces to understand these systems.

Synopsis of Program:

Humanity depends upon the Earth's physical resources and natural systems for food, energy, and water (FEW).

However, both the physical resources and the FEW systems are under increasing stress. It is becoming imperative that we determine how society can best integrate social, ecological, physical and built environments to provide for growing demand for food, energy and water in the short term while also maintaining appropriate ecosystem services for the future. Known stressors in FEW systems include governance challenges, population growth and migration, land use change, climate variability, and uneven resource distribution. The interconnections and interdependencies associated with the FEW Nexus pose research grand challenges. To meet these grand challenges, there is a critical need for research that enables new means of adapting societal use of FEW systems.

The INFEWS program seeks to support research that conceptualizes FEW systems broadly and inclusively, incorporating social and behavioral processes (such as decision making and governance), physical processes (such as built infrastructure and new technologies for more efficient resource utilization), natural processes (such as biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles), biological processes (such as agroecosystem structure and productivity), and cyber-components (such as sensing, networking, computation and visualization for decision-making and assessment). Investigations of these complex systems may produce discoveries that cannot emerge from research on food or energy or water systems alone. It is the synergy among these components in the context of sustainability that will open innovative science and engineering pathways to produce new knowledge, novel technologies, and innovative predictive capabilities.

The overarching goal of the INFEWS program is to catalyze well-integrated, convergent research to transform understanding of the FEW Nexus as integrated social, engineering, physical, and natural systems in order to improve system function and management, address system stress, increase resilience, and ensure sustainability. The NSF INFEWS activity is designed specifically to attain the following goals:

1. Significantly advance our understanding of the food-energy-water system of systems through quantitative, predictive and computational modeling, including support for relevant cyberinfrastructure;

2. Develop real-time, cyber-enabled interfaces that improve understanding of the behavior of FEW systems and increase decision support capability;

3. Enable research that will lead to innovative and integrated social, engineering, physical, and natural systems solutions to critical FEW systems problems;

4. Grow the scientific workforce capable of studying and managing the FEW system of systems, through education and other professional development opportunities.

This initiative enables interagency cooperation on one of the most pressing problems of the millennium - understanding interactions across the FEW nexus - how dynamics of the FEW Nexus are likely to affect our world, and how we can proactively plan for consequences. This solicitation allows the partner agencies - National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) - to combine resources to identify and fund the most meritorious and highest-impact projects that support their respective missions, while eliminating duplication of effort and fostering collaboration between agencies and the investigators they support.

In addition, NSF and USDA/NIFA promote international cooperation that links scientists and engineers from a range of disciplines and organizations to solve the significant global challenges at the nexus of FEW systems. Proposals including international collaboration are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. The U.S. team’s international counterparts generally should have support or obtain funding through non-NSF sources. To facilitate coordinating research activities between US and international partners, specific collaborative funding opportunities have been developed involving some international partners: list of international opportunities.

Introduction:

Humanity depends upon the Earth's physical resources and natural systems for food, energy, and water (FEW). However, both the physical resources and the FEW systems are under increasing stress. It is becoming imperative that we determine how society can best integrate social, ecological, physical and built environments to provide for growing demand for food, energy and water in the short term while also maintaining appropriate ecosystem services for the future. Known stressors in FEW systems include governance challenges, population growth and migration, land use change, climate variability, and uneven resource distribution. The interconnections and interdependencies associated with the FEW Nexus pose research grand challenges. To meet these grand challenges, there is a critical need for research that enables new means of adapting societal use of FEW systems.

The INFEWS program seeks to support research that conceptualizes FEW systems broadly and inclusively, incorporating social and behavioral processes (such as decision making and governance), physical processes (such as built infrastructure and new technologies for more efficient resource utilization), natural processes (such as biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles), biological processes (such as agroecosystem structure and productivity), and cyber-components (such as sensing, networking, computation and visualization for decision-making and assessment). Investigations of these complex systems may produce discoveries that cannot emerge from research on food or energy or water systems alone. It is the synergy among these components in the context of sustainability that will open innovative science and engineering pathways to produce new knowledge, novel technologies, and innovative predictive capabilities.

The overarching goal of the INFEWS program is to catalyze well-integrated, convergent research to transform understanding of the FEW Nexus as integrated social, engineering, physical, and natural systems in order to improve system function and management, address system stress, increase resilience, and ensure sustainability. The NSF INFEWS initiative is designed specifically to attain the following goals:

1. Significantly advance our understanding of the food-energy-water system of systems through quantitative, predictive and computational modeling, including support for relevant cyberinfrastructure;
2. Develop real-time, cyber-enabled interfaces that improve understanding of the behavior of FEW systems and increase decision support capability;
3. Enable research that will lead to innovative and integrated social, engineering, physical, and natural systems solutions to critical FEW systems problems;
4. Grow the scientific workforce capable of studying and managing the FEW system of systems, through education and other professional development opportunities.
This initiative enables interagency cooperation on one of the most pressing problems of the millennium - understanding interactions across the FEW Nexus - how dynamics of the FEW Nexus are likely to affect our world, and how we can proactively plan for consequences. This solicitation allows the partner agencies - National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) and others - to combine resources to identify and fund the most meritorious and highest-impact projects that support their respective missions, while eliminating duplication of effort and fostering collaboration between agencies and the investigators they support.

In addition, NSF and USDA/NIFA are promoting international cooperation that links scientists and engineers from a range of disciplines and organizations to solve the significant global challenges at the nexus of FEW systems. Proposals including international collaboration are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. The U.S. team’s international counterparts generally should have support or obtain funding through non-NSF sources. To facilitate coordinating research activities between US and international partners, specific collaborative funding opportunities have been developed involving some international partners. These opportunities are listed on the INFEWS international opportunities website.

Program Description:

General Requirements:

Systems Approach: The INFEWS program defines food and energy and water (FEW) systems as inclusive of social and behavioral processes (such as decision making and governance), physical processes (such as built infrastructure and new technologies for more efficient resource utilization), natural processes (such as biogeochemical and hydrological cycles), agricultural and biological processes (such as agroecosystem structure and productivity), and cyber-components (such as sensor networking, computation, visualization of decision-making and assessment). The INFEWS program also recognizes that FEW systems may appropriately be defined at a wide range of temporal and spatial scales; locally to globally.

Although each proposal does not need to examine all processes listed in the previous paragraph, proposals submitted to the INFEWS solicitation must define (especially in the project description and the context statement) the FEW systems intended for study. The FEW systems description should identify the various system boundaries and the primary food and energy and water components that make up the integrated FEW system(s) of the study. Each of the three FEW components must be important and significant in the research proposed from an integrated systems perspective. Proposals that conduct integrated research on two of the three components, while inadequately integrating the third component or treating the third component in a non-research mode (i.e. applying what you already know) will be returned without review. Successful proposals will define appropriate feedback mechanisms and dynamics among the FEW systems components to be studied. Proposals should also identify how the research will account for exogenous inputs to the system, where relevant. PIs should justify their approach in the proposal.

Integration across Disciplines: Proposals submitted to the INFEWS program must demonstrate meaningful integration across disciplines to address the principal objectives outlined below and should go beyond existing approaches that can be addressed within the individual disciplines and usual core-program co-funded research opportunities at NSF and USDA/NIFA. Although many disciplinary challenges remain in FEW systems research, this solicitation intends to bridge significant existing gaps between disciplinary foci, and to foster new lines of research that emerge only in a convergent science context. (See Convergence Research at NSF and the Dear Colleague Letter: Growing Convergence Research at NSF March 2017).

Proposals must document that the proposed research is truly interdisciplinary, that the respective components are fully integrated, necessary, and important for the successful execution of the proposed project, and that the research team contains sufficient expertise to carry out all dimensions of the research plan to enable fully convergent science. Plans for integration of the respective research components must be fully outlined in the proposal.

INFEWS proposals must integrate and engage the disciplinary science from three or more intellectually distinct disciplines that represent scientific areas typically supported (one each) by the three participating NSF directorates (ENG, GEO, SBE) or two (or more) participating directorates and USDA/NIFA. USDA/NIFA may be invoked as a "discipline" if the research focus represents a topical area that is uniquely distinct from disciplines typically supported by participating NSF Directorates (ENG, GEO, SBE). Additional disciplines may be added from participating or non-participating Directorates provided the three required disciplines are in place. The FEW Context Statement should carefully elaborate the three specific disciplines as well as the relevant differences between NSF and USDA/NIFA "disciplines". Proposals that conduct integrated research on two of the three disciplines, while inadequately integrating the third discipline and/or proposing research that integrates the third discipline only tangentially, will be returned without review. See also Frequently Asked Questions at the end of the solicitation.

Leverage existing investments: Multiple agencies and universities have established data collections and measurement programs that provide a significant background of information on many potential FEW systems studies. An INFEWS project should utilize such data sources when appropriate and propose the measurement and collection of new data only if they are critical to the FEW systems under study.

General Options:

Cyber Elements: Pursuing INFEWS research topics may require that novel capabilities be added to new and existing cyberinfrastructure to be successful. Cyber-Human-Physical Systems can be integrated for decision making at multiple spatial and temporal scales with sensing, computation, and networking measurements of the social, natural, physical, and built worlds. This solicitation encourages investments that would introduce new capabilities, advanced computation and novel cyberinfrastructure approaches, especially with respect to (1) fully engaging stakeholders and public outreach, (2) addressing the computational challenges, and (3) data integration challenges inherent in INFEWS research, leading to previously unattainable results. Given that INFEWS proposals require three or more intellectually distinct disciplines that represent scientific areas typically supported (one each) by the three participating NSF directorates (ENG, GEO, SBE) or two (or more) participating directorates and USDA/NIFA, these cyber options will need to be included as a “fourth” discipline but may positively benefit the overall project by providing a higher degree of integration.

Partnerships: INFEWS research has natural linkages to federal agencies and a wide spectrum of other stakeholders. Whenever appropriate, partnerships are encouraged among universities, research centers, federal agencies, national labs, state, local, and tribal governments, private organizations as well as businesses and industries. Such partnerships should be considered for improved definition of underlying scientific problems such that effective and impactful approaches may be developed.

International Cooperation: NSF and USDA/NIFA promote international cooperation that links scientists and engineers from a range of disciplines and organizations to solve significant global challenges at the nexus of FEW systems. Proposals including international collaboration are encouraged (but not required) when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. Research may involve any country/countries, but the U.S. team’s international counterparts generally should have support or obtain funding through non-NSF sources. More information is provided below under “Proposal Preparation Instructions”. For budget requirements for international partners, link to the In are discussed at INFEWS International Opportunities website.

INFEWS Tracks:

This solicitation outlines three tracks of research (numbering differs from previous years): Track 1: Social-Physical Modelling of FEW Systems; Track 2: Research to Enable Innovative Solutions; and Track 3: INFEWS Research Coordination Networks (INFEWS-RCN). A proposal may be submitted to ONLY ONE track per competition. Proposals submitted to more than one track or proposals that fail to specify a track in the title will be returned without review.

Track 1: Social-Physical Modelling of FEW Systems Track 1 aims to significantly advance understanding of FEW systems with advanced modeling that investigates the functioning of coupled social, physical, biotic, abiotic, and engineered systems. The goal is to define and understand the couplings/linkages, feedback mechanisms and processes among the FEW systems components and to elucidate the factors that influence resilience, thresholds and criticalities. Track 1 projects should articulate clear hypotheses and/or describe what anticipated theoretical advancements will likely emerge from the systems modeling efforts. These projects should enable innovative perspectives and advances in understanding and modeling complex systems processes. Development of advanced computational methods and effective means for incorporation of large quantities of disparate data, as implemented in new and novel software and tools, is also appropriate.

Projects might use a wide variety of different systems analyses and modeling approaches to explore the functional dynamics of FEW systems. Some projects might integrate across models from multiple disciplinary domains, including, but not limited to the agricultural, political, social, behavioral, computational, cultural, ecological, economic, energy, engineering, geospatial, hydrological, and mathematical domains. Projects might also explore disparate types of datasets to develop new understandings of FEW relationships, systems and their dynamics. Some of the proposed projects may address additional cyberinfrastructure capabilities that could include advanced computational infrastructure supporting advanced modeling, data integration across multiple scales (including the possibility of real-time sensing) or more fully engaging stakeholders, and public outreach.

Systems chosen for study must be examined to define/quantify spatially heterogeneous FEW systems responses to various internal and external driving factors that occur on both short and long timescales. FEW systems operations must be investigated under the influence of single and multiple driving factors. FEW models should allow for investigation of system(s) resiliency, attempt to identify thresholds, and explore system(s) response to variability among critical parameters singly, in combination, or at extreme values.

INFEWS research topics and projects may also require novel capabilities of existing shared cyberinfrastructure to be successful. Track 1 projects may introduce new capabilities and novel computing cyberinfrastructure and data integration approaches to address the scientific challenges and the engagement and outreach to stakeholders. Here, the emphasis would be upon extending existing, shared cyberinfrastructure resources (at the campus, regional, or national level) to specifically address the computational cyberinfrastructure challenges associated with the proposed INFEWs research.

Proposed Track 1 projects/models must be designed to assess (a) the model’s generalizability through either site-to-site comparisons or within site comparisons at multiple time/space scales, or (b) the model’s ability to evaluate minimization-of-risk with respect to FEW services, the components/couplings that define threshold and resilient FEW systems behavior and the impact of mitigation and adaptation with respect to minimization-of-risk. Alternately, projects where advanced cyberinfrastructure is the focus, must assess performance and strategic potential of the new cyberinfrastructure, as well as its ability to enable INFEWS research advances.

Track 2: Research to Enable Innovative System Solutions

FEW systems are facing multiple stresses, including, but not limited to, shifting social, economic and governance norms, increasing global populations, rapid land use change, and escalating climate variability. Heterogeneous resource distribution and access, increasing resource scarcity, degraded resource quality, and diminished ecosystem services also challenge long-term FEW systems sustainability. Track 2 projects will develop and examine innovative solutions that address specific FEW system challenges and aim to enhance FEW systems’ resilience and sustainability. Research on innovative institutional, behavioral, and technological solutions – and the coupled-combinations of solutions – is needed. Track 2 research might explore sustainable management solutions, examine the drivers of resource consumption, and study the means of extending resources via methods such as reducing, recycling, recovery, and reuse, among other topics.

Track 2 projects must take a systems approach when researching potential solutions. A project that addresses the three components (food, energy, and water) separately, rather than integrating all three in a single system simultaneously, is not appropriate for the INFEWS solicitation. Projects should demonstrate how the envisioned solution will contribute to system-wide improvements across sectors and places accounting for appropriate variabilities across temporal and spatial scales. Solutions may increase stress at certain scales, or during an initial adjustment period, but may prove to reduce key stressors in a broader context or over longer time horizons. Proposers should be cognizant that solutions often imply increased resource investments across differing cultural and legal contexts, and, therefore have the potential to increase systems level stresses and other unintended consequences. Hence, the proposed approaches must identify solutions in a broad systems context beyond the specific proposed solution.

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

-Governance: Research on the cultural, behavioral, institutional, legal, organizational, political, social, and technological innovations that improve the sustainability, efficiency, equity, and resiliency of FEW systems is needed. Managerial, social, and policy innovations may involve intergovernmental relations as well as formal and informal governance structures. The effectiveness of innovations in one domain may depend on complementary innovations in other domains.

-Efficient Use of Resources: One goal of INFEWS is to address production, consumption and waste. Scientific, engineering, institutional, social, and behavioral solutions to improve FEW systems efficiencies should be coupled with new knowledge of how economic, social, ecological and physical systems interact. Projects can address production, consumption, and waste as well as how these aspects of FEW systems interact with each other in technical and non-technical domains to minimize resource consumption and waste at a systems level.

-Conversion and/or Reuse of Waste Materials: New devices, sensors, catalysts, nanomaterials, smart filters, and processes may be required to detect, remove, destroy or convert compounds of concern from waste streams, or to turn waste constituents into valuable primary or secondary products. A FEW systems approach to these problems may also reveal uses for ‘waste’ that do not require complete reversion back to pristine conditions. Proposals should either demonstrate or include plans to examine the expected effects of wide-spread adoption of the proposed innovation on the FEW systems. Projects may also consider the social, cultural, economic and other incentives and obstacles to deployment of such solutions.

-Systems Sustainability: INFEWS aims to enable research on innovative strategies for appropriate management of social, and physical systems. Questions of use, access, and governance will likely be important in this context. Spatial incongruities between the natural and political boundaries of the various component systems and temporal mismatches between decision- making timeframes and systems response and dynamics may also need to be addressed.

-Implementation of a Track 2 project may benefit from novel capabilities added to new and existing cyberinfrastructure. This track encourages investments that would introduce new capabilities, advanced computation and novel cyberinfrastructure approaches, especially with respect to (1) fully engaging stakeholders and public outreach, (2) addressing the computational challenges, and (3) data integration challenges inherent in INFEWS research, leading to previously unattainable results. Given that INFEWS proposals require three or more intellectually distinct disciplines that represent scientific areas typically supported (one each) by the three participating NSF directorates (ENG, GEO, SBE) or two (or more) participating directorates and USDA/NIFA, these cyber options will need to be included as a “fourth” discipline but may positively benefit the overall project by providing a higher degree of integration.

Track 3: INFEWS Research Coordination Networks (INFEWS-RCN)

This track supports the establishment of new networks of interdisciplinary researchers from multiple organizations who will collectively and significantly advance INFEWS concepts, knowledge and new directions through active exchange of ideas, development of new directions in fundamental research and education, and other approaches. Each INFEWS-RCN proposal will request four or five years of support at a level not to exceed $750,000 for the total budget.

An INFEWS-RCN should be designed to identify and address an ambitious, nationally, and/or internationally important theme across INFEWS systems that requires the scale, breadth, facilities, and integration across disciplines and sectors made possible by a large and diverse network.

INFEWS-RCN awards are not meant to support the existing activities of established collaborations/projects, nor should they support the planning or performance of individual or group research projects. Funds from this program may not support independent, individual research projects of the participants; nor are they to be used as a mechanism for a mini-grant awarding program. Rather, an INFEWS- RCN should engage in activities that will facilitate (1) the advancement of fundamental INFEWS research ideas across diverse research communities; (2) building of coordinated, new and novel networks of innovation that go beyond the scope of funded activities conducted by the members of the INFEWS-RCN; and (3) communication with stakeholders on INFEWS concepts and research.

INFEWS-RCN areas of interest may include, but are not limited to, novel participant networking strategies, collaborative technologies for interdisciplinary or distributed work, and the development/discussion of research community standards for data and meta-data. The ultimate goal of an INFEWS-RCN is to nurture and grow the INFEWS research and education ecosystem, cultivate new research directions in this area, and/or otherwise advance the field through effective communication and sharing of ideas between the academic community and affected businesses, communities, and industries.

Implementation of a Track 3 INFWS-RCN project may benefit from novel capabilities added to new and existing cyberinfrastructure. This track encourages investments that would introduce new capabilities, advanced computation, and novel cyberinfrastructure approaches. These new methods and approaches should be targeted to (1) fully engaging stakeholders and public outreach, (2) addressing the computational challenges, and (3) data integration challenges inherent in INFEWS research, leading to previously unattainable results. These cyber options (to be included as a “fourth” discipline) may positively benefit the overall project by providing a higher degree of integration.

International INFEWS-RCNs: This INFEWS Track will also consider RCNs with international participants. NSF encourages international collaboration, and anticipates that RCN projects may include participants, including leadership committee members, from outside the US. International collaborations that clearly strengthen the proposed network activities should be included. As NSF funding is intended to support US participants, network participants from organizations outside the US should seek support from their respective funding organizations. Some opportunities for support of researchers and networks based outside the US are described on the INFEWS international opportunities website.

Additional Required Characteristic of INFEWS-RCNs:

General information about the RCN concept and mechanism can be found at NSF 17-594. However, given the special nature of this INFEWS program solicitation, applicants must follow the instructions and guidance in this INFEWS solicitation to prepare an INFEWS- RCN application. Specifically, an INFEWS-RCN proposal will need to address integrated food and energy and water research and education with engagement of researchers from communities served by the three participating NSF directorates (ENG, GEO, SBE) or two participating Directorates and USDA-NIFA. There is no penalty nor special consideration given to projects that include the disciplinary science of more than the three participating Directorates.

1. Convergent Research: An INFEWS-RCN will transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and bring together social and physical scientists, engineers, educators, managers, and other stakeholders from a range of disciplines, businesses, organizations, and backgrounds. These different groups will, through the proposed network, help to better define both the FEW Nexus problems as well as appropriate approaches to solutions to the defined problems. From the outset, the RCN should promote integration and collaboration with resource managers, policymakers, end-users, and other stakeholders in the private and public sectors through direct involvement. The INFEWS-RCN should be designed to adapt and grow as new opportunities arise. Together, this convergent research network team will foster new knowledge, and tools that significantly advance this network of integration, coordination, and innovation and the convergent science of INFEWS systems.

2. Community Engagement: In addition to the disciplinary research communities defined by the (at least) 3 participating NSF Directorates (or 2 participating Directorates and USDA-NIFA), an INFEWS-RCN should include interactions with lead and other organizations as well as individuals and organizations in the public, private and/or non-profit sectors. Here, community engagement refers to substantive interaction with individuals, institutions, and other organizations in target communities such as community partner organizations and organizations in the public, private, and not-for profit sectors; these organizations include but are not limited to governments, government departments/agencies, schools, libraries, health and social service providers, non-profits, cultural organizations, and businesses/industries. Researchers and community partners will work closely to develop and evaluate creative approaches to achieving meaningful engagement and solutions for mutual benefit across the INFEWS-RCN focal topic.

3. Support for education, outreach, and diversity: The INFEWS-RCN should include a strong program of linked education and outreach activities that support the goals of the INFEWS initiative, increase stakeholder and public engagement, and train the next generation of researchers and the future FEW workforce. The INFEWS-RCN is expected to include a range of research and education training opportunities and promote the development of a diverse, internationally-competitive, and globally-engaged workforce that is well-prepared for a variety of career paths related to FEW Systems sustainability. An INFEWS-RCN is also expected to maintain a significant web-presence in support of convergence science discussions.

4. Growing the INFEWS-RCN: The initial network of participants should be identified in the proposal along with the Executive team comprised of PI, co-PI(s), and Senior Personnel. Additionally, there should be clearly developed mechanisms to maintain openness, ensure access, and actively promote participation by interested parties outside of the initial participants in the proposed network.

Specific Requirements of INFEWS-RCNs:

In addition to the general eligibility rules:

Any individual currently leading an INFEWS (16-524 and/or 17-530) award (the lead PI) may not be the lead PI on a Track 3 INFEWS-RCN proposal.

For any individual who is a lead-PI, coPI or Senior Personnel on an active/funded INFEWS award (16-524 and/or 17-530), s/he may be involved in only one proposal associated with this solicitation (NSF 18-xyz) in any capacity other than an external advisory committee member.

These limitations include PIs, Co-PIs, and Senior Personnel listed on the lead organization or any subaward submitted as part of the proposal.

Management Plan for Track 3 INFEWS-RCNs:
The management plan is part of the 15-page project description for the INFEWS-RCN track (for Tracks 1 and 2, the Management Plan is a separate document and not part of the 15-page project description). The INFEWS-RCN management plan should:

-Describe plans and procedures for the development and assessment of the proposed activity. Include formal mechanisms to ensure fair and equitable allocation of group resources.
-Clearly define the responsibilities for leadership and the role of the PI and the steering committee.
-Delineate the procedures used for the selection of initial network participants, the plans for maintaining an appropriate degree of openness, and for continually encouraging the involvement of additional interested parties.
-Describe means for self-evaluation of progress toward the network goals.
-Describe the plans for coordination and cooperation among the relevant networks, groups, and/or international partners.

Project Personnel Table; Collaborators and Other Affiliations Requirements:

An INFEWS-RCN must define their core member participants in the Project Personnel Table (members of the leadership committee); listed as PI, co-PI(s), or Senior Personnel). As such, each of their biographical sketches must also be provided as per the submission instructions in section “V” below.

Members of the RCN’s (optional) external advisory committee (if already formed) must be named in the Project Personnel Table for purposes of managing reviewer selection (but do not include a biographical sketch) and listed in the Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information spreadsheet; information specified on the "Collaborators and Other Affiliations" website.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183692

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$34,000,000

Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Awards: Track 1 - 5 to 10 awards; Track 2 - 5 to 10 awards; Track 3 - 5 to 10 awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Projects submitted to Tracks 1-2 will request a total budget less than or equal to $2,500,000 per project.

Projects submitted to Track 3 will request a total budget less than or equal to $750,000 per project.

Term of Contract:

Projects submitted to Tracks 1-2 will request three to five years of support.

Projects submitted to Track 3 will request four or five years of support.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

-Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus. Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

-For proposals to be considered for funding under USDA/NIFA: (1) State agricultural experiment stations; (2) colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); (3) university research foundations; (4) other research organizations; (5) Federal agencies, (6) national laboratories; (7) private organizations or corporations; (8) individuals who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents; and (9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in (1) through (8). Eligible organizations do not include foreign and international organizations. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Who May Serve as PI:

There are no restrictions or limits for the allowable organizations listed above. To be considered as an NSF proposal, federal agencies and federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) can participate only as subawardees or unpaid collaborators. FFRDC and federal agency scientists cannot serve as lead PI to be eligible for NSF funding. Non-NSF sponsored FFRDCs are required to provide a letter of support from their agency.

An individual may be lead PI, co-PI, Senior Personnel, or Consultant on:
-No more than two INFEWS proposals.
-No more than one proposal per track.
-If an individual is on 2 proposals in any of these positions, s/he may be a lead PI on ONLY ONE of the two proposals.

Additionally:
-Any individual currently leading an INFEWS (16-524 and/or 17-530) award (the lead PI) may not be the lead PI on a Track 3 INFEWS-RCN proposal.
-For any individual who is a lead-PI, co-PI or Senior Personnel on an active/funded INFEWS award (16-524 and/or 17-530), s/he may be involved in only one proposal associated with this solicitation (NSF 18-xyz) in any capacity other than an external advisory committee member.

These limitations include PIs, Co-PIs, and Senior Personnel listed on the lead organization or any subaward submitted as part of the proposal.

Please be advised that violations of these rules will result in “return without review” for ALL proposals submitted that include the individual in violation of these rules.

Please note: All materials should be submitted to NSF and must conform to NSF PAPPG guidelines (including budgetary/overhead considerations) at the time of submission. NSF will share all submitted materials with USDA/NIFA. If all or a portion of a submitted proposal is determined by NSF and USDA/NIFA to be funded by USDA-NIFA, the lead PI/organization or subawardee will be instructed to update those portions of the proposal that must conform to differing USDA guidelines. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency.

Additional Eligibility Info:

If one participating unit constitutes an FFRDC and/or another US government agency, expenses associated with participation of those scientists should be consolidated into a single subaward (for each agency). Should the proposal be successful, the full FFRDC financial commitment must be met by the FFRDC or agency; therefore FFRDC and agency submissions should be cleared in advance with the relevant agency and the submission should be supported by an email or letter of commitment from that agency (provided in Supplementary Documents).

Projects involving federal agencies or national laboratories will only be considered for co-funding by NSF if they are cooperative efforts that involve non-federally funded organizations. Proposals from FFRDCs must obey NSF budget guidelines and may not include costs already covered by federal funds. To facilitate possible interagency funding of such collaborations, an organization other than the federal agency or national laboratory must serve as the lead organization.

Projects which end up being funded by USDA/NIFA will follow normal operational USDA/NIFA guidelines for agencies and FFRDCs; projects funded under this solicitation by NSF will follow normal operational NSF guidelines for agencies and national laboratories (PAPPG Chapter I.E.7). Under exceptional circumstances, research or education projects at other Federal agencies or FFRDCs that can make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives may receive NSF support. This generally means that other federal agencies and/or FFRDCs should not be the lead organization and specific budgetary restrictions apply per NSF.

Pre-Application Information:

Proposers may opt to submit proposals in response to this Program Solicitation via Grants.gov or via the NSF FastLane system.

Full proposals are due by 5:00 PM (submitter’s local time) on September 26, 2018.

RFA:
https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505241

View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=301132

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

All questions regarding proposal submissions should be directed to INFEWSquestions@NSF.GOV or the program officers listed below.

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Thomas Torgersen, Co-Chair, Directorate for Geosciences
(703) 292-4738
ttorgers@nsf.gov

James W. Jones, Co-Chair, Directorate for Engineering
(703) 292-4458
jwjones@nsf.gov

Deborah Winslow, Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
(703) 292-7315
dwinslow@nsf.gov

Rachel Melnick, USDA/NIFA
(202) 401-4980
rmelnick@nifa.usda.gov

Lara Campbell, Office of International Science and Engineering
(703) 292-7049
lcampbel@nsf.gov

Timothy VanReken, Office of Integrative Activities
(703) 292-7378
tvanreke@nsf.gov

CFDA Number:

10.310 --- USDA-NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative / 47.041 --- Engineering / 47.050 --- Geosciences / 47.075 --- Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences / 47.079 --- Office of International Science and Engineering / 47.083 --- Office of Integrative Activities (OIA)

Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 18-545

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming