Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI: BIC) 2015

To: Chairs and Administrators, Departments in the Biological & Physical Sciences
Associate Deans for Research
School/College Research Administrators
From: Dave Schuster, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education
Date: October 7, 2014
Subject:  Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI: BIC) 14-610

{excerpt}Deadline for Notice of Intent:  October 17, 2014
Deadline for Internal Competition: October 27, 2014{/excerpt}

Project Description:

The Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) program supports academe-industry partnerships, which are led by an interdisciplinary academic research team with a least one industry partner to build technological, human, and service system innovation capacity. These partnerships focus on the integration of technologies into a specified human-centered smart service system with the potential to achieve transformational change in an existing service system or to spur an entirely new service system. These technologies have been inspired by existing breakthrough discoveries.

Amount per award:   Up to $1,000,000
Duration of award:  3 Years
Number of awards:   10 Awards


UW–Madison is allowed to submit 2 Letters of Intent followed by full Proposals as a lead institution.  Please read the full solicitation for PI eligibility.


This contains additional information on the program and specific application instructions.

Internal Competition Application Instructions:

Notice of intent: Send an email to with subject line:

NSF PFI 2015 “PI last name” by October 17, 2014 to inform us of your intention to submit a proposal.

Please include the following in your e-mail:

  • Name and contact information of the PI
  • Names and departments of Co-PIs
  • Names and location of possible participating companies
  • Brief description of the proposed project

Applications for Internal Review: Send a single PDF to with subject line:

NSF PFI 2015 “PI last name” by October 27, 2014 with the following:

(This is the Content/Format requirements taken directly from the NSF solicitation)

Letters of intent have length limitations. The first two sections are entitled, respectively, Synopsis (2500 characters maximum, including spaces); and Other Comments (2500 characters maximum, including spaces), which can be used to convey important aspects of the project, such as information about not only the discipline(s) related to the technology, but also the disciplines to be included in this project: 1) systems engineering or engineering design, 2) computer science/information technology, and 3) human factors/behavioral science/cognitive engineering. The Other Comments section also may be utilized to contain information from the Additional Information field Primary Industrial Partners, if that information cannot be accommodated in the limited space provided.

Under Additional Information, information in only three (3) data fields is permitted. (Each data field can contain a maximum of 255 characters or approximately 30 words for each section.)

For PFI:BIC, these are as follows:

  • For the Service System: Describe briefly the technology-based “smart” service system that is the focus of the project and how the technology will contribute to the creation or transformation of it.
  • For the Primary Industrial Partner(s), provide for each: Name, Founding Date, Number of Employees, Location (City & State), Commercial Revenues for the preceding calendar year, and Project Role (s). Reasonable abbreviations can be used. If you cannot accommodate the information, include the rest of the information under Other Comments (see above).
  • For the Human Factors Tasks to be carried out which are essential to the operation of the Smart Service System: List a few major research activities which illustrate inclusion of human-centered considerations.

For the project selected, the Letter of Intent and Proposal must be submitted using NSF FastLane.  Information about campus procedures for NSF FastLane is posted on the RSP website.  Required Letter of Intent is due December 3, 2014.  Full proposals are due by January 28, 2015.

If you have any questions, contact Dave Schuster (608) 263-7274 or email