NSF Partnerships for Innovation – Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary 

The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program funds technology translation and development based on prior NSF-funded research projects from all science and engineering disciplines supported by NSF. This limited competition is for the PFI-Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track. The PFI-RP track requires the creation and implementation of new multidisciplinary, multi-organization partnerships between academia, industry and other public and private entities to pursue new innovative technology development projects. The PFI-RP supports complex, multi-faceted technology development projects that are typically beyond the scope of a single researcher or institution and require a multi-organizational, interdisciplinary, synergistic collaboration. A PFI-RP project requires the creation of partnerships between academic researchers and third-party organizations such as industry, non-academic research organizations, federal laboratories, public or non-profit technology transfer organizations or other universities. Such partnerships are needed to conduct applied research on a stand-alone larger project toward commercialization and societal impact. In the absence of such synergistic partnership, the project’s likelihood for success would be minimal.

The intended outcomes of the PFI are: a) the commercialization of new intellectual property derived from NSF-funded research outputs; b) the creation of new or broader collaborations with industry (including increased corporate sponsored research); c) the licensing of NSF-funded research outputs to third party corporations or to start-up companies funded by a PFI team; and d) the training of future innovation and entrepreneurship leaders.

Proposals must include at least one (1) letter of support from potential commercialization partners (not associated with the proposal) that validates the claim of market potential and broader societal impact for the proposed technology. Resubmission of significantly improved revisions of a previously declined PFI proposal is strongly encouraged. The PI must include the previous proposal number and a 1-2-page supplementary document that summarizes prior reviewer comments and the changes that have been made in response.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST April 16, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST July 10, 2019

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (2-3 pages): Please address the following: societal need and customer, value proposition, innovation description, project team and partnerships, training and leadership development in innovation and entrepreneurship, NSF lineage. Make sure to include a description of the required industrial partner. (See solicitation for a description of these components).
  • Project Team (up to 2 pages): List and short descriptions (title, institutional affiliation, project role) of the PI, co-PIs or senior personnel, and industry partner.
  • Budget Overview (Up to 1 page): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://colorado.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/6345


PFI-RP proposals must include, without exception, a co-PI who is a member or employee of the required Industrial Partner organization. PFI-RP proposals without an Industrial Partner co-PI may be returned without review.

The PFI program has an NSF Lineage Requirement under one of the following two paths: (1) NSF-supported research results or (2) NSF-supported customer discovery results through the NSF Innovation Corps (I-CorpsTM) Teams program. The NSF lineage requirement applies now to both proposal tracks PFI-TT and PFI-RP. The only allowed exception is for resubmission of PFI-RP proposals previously declined under solicitation NSF 18-511. An I-Corps Node award, training at an NSF I-Corps Site, or any I-Corps-related training imparted by federal agencies and organizations other than NSF do not meet the NSF Lineage Requirement.

Limited Submission Guidelines

An organization may submit no more than one (1) proposal to the PFI-RP track per submission deadline.

Award Information

Award Amount: $550,000

Award Duration: 36 months

Number of Awards: Approximately 10-15 expected