Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program – Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) Track

  • Limited
  • Anywhere
  • Applications have closed

Website National Science Foundation

Program Summary

The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) offers researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering funded by NSF the opportunity to perform translational research and technology development, catalyze partnerships and accelerate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace for societal benefit.

PFI has five broad goals, as set forth by the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2017:

  1. identifying and supporting NSF-sponsored research and technologies that have the potential for accelerated commercialization;
  2. supporting prior or current NSF-sponsored investigators, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations that partner with an institution of higher education in undertaking proof-of-concept work, including the development of technology prototypes that are derived from NSF-sponsored research and have potential market value;
  3. promoting sustainable partnerships between NSF-funded institutions, industry, and other organizations within academia and the private sector with the purpose of accelerating the transfer of technology;
  4. developing multi-disciplinary innovation ecosystems which involve and are responsive to the specific needs of academia and industry;
  5. providing professional development, mentoring, and advice in entrepreneurship, project management, and technology and business development to innovators.

This solicitation offers two broad tracks for proposals in pursuit of the aforementioned goals:

The Technology Translation (PFI-TT) track offers the opportunity to translate prior NSF-funded research results in any field of science or engineering into technological innovations with promising commercial potential and societal impact. PFI-TT supports commercial potential demonstration projects for academic research outputs in any NSF-funded science and engineering discipline. This demonstration is achieved through proof-of-concept, prototyping, technology development and/or scale-up work.

The Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track seeks to achieve the same goals as the PFI-TT track by supporting instead 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.

  • PFI-TT projects will be funded for up to $550,000 for 18-24 months per award; approximately 15-35 awards are anticipated.
  • PFI-RP projects will be funded for up to $1,000,000 for 36 months; approximately 10-20 awards are anticipated.

Internal Application Process

While there is no institutional limit on the PFI-TT track, UCI may submit only 1 application in response to the PFI-RP track. Therefore PIs interested in applying to PFI-RP are asked to submit a preliminary application to the Office of Research by May 9, 2024 (through the UCI Review application portal), with the following information:

  • 1-page project summary (consistent with the RFP guidelines)
  • 1 page executive summary (consistent with the RFP guidelines)
  • NSF Style biosketch of the PI and any Co-PIs
  • Budget Overview (Up to 1 page): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed budgets are not required.

If necessary, an ad hoc committee will be convened to review the internal applications. The selected PIs will be notified in ample time to meet the NSF preliminary proposal deadline of September 3, 2024. More information about this award opportunity may be found at,

Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to
Mike Gallo at or x4-0372.

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