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University of Wisconsin–Madison

NSF Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) 2022 (Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track)

To:Chairs and Administrators, Departments in the Biological and Physical Sciences; Associate Deans for Research; College/School Research Administrators
From:Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education
Date:October 22, 2021
Subject:NSF Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) 19-506


Deadline for Internal Review:November 17, 2021

Project Description

You will only need to submit your project for internal review if you are pursuing the Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track

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 (“the Act”, S.3084 — 114th CongressSec. 602. Translational Research Grants): (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, PFI-Technology Translation (PFI-TT) and PFI-Research Partnerships (PFI-RP), for proposals in pursuit of the aforementioned goals.

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

Submission deadlines are now available in January and July.

Comparative Requirements of PFI-TT and PFI-RP Proposals

Proposal Item



Funding: Up to $250,000 per award Up to $550,000 per award
Award term 18-24 months 36 months
Who May Submit Proposals All eligible organizations All eligible organizations
Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization None One proposal per submission deadline
Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI 2 PFI-TT, or 1 PFI-TT and 1 PFI-RP 1 PFI-RP, or 1 PFI-TT and 1 PFI-RP
NSF Lineage Requirement Yes Yes
Industrial Partner Encouraged but not required Required
Research Partner Encouraged but not required Strongly encouraged
Collaborative Research Agreement (CRA) Submitting organization’s AOR must determine whether a CRA is needed. Required for Industrial Partner and Research Partners

PFI-RP projects:

Amount per Award: Up to $550,000.00
Duration of Award: 3 Years
Number of Awards: 10-15 Awards


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.

An organization may not submit more than one (1) new or resubmitted PFI-RP proposal to a deadline of this solicitation


Internal Competition Application Instructions

Applications for Internal Review

To submit your application, attach a single PDF to an email to:

Please include the following information:

  • Cover Sheet including team members, partners
  • CV
  • 3 page description of how your program meets the goals of the solicitation.

Sponsor Deadlines

Applications are due to National Science Foundation by January 12, 2022.