Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE)

Event date(s): Friday, December 1, 2017 to Thursday, February 8, 2018


PROGRAM SOLICITATION: NSF 18-509

Important Dates

Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

December 01, 2017

First Friday in December, Annually Thereafter

HBCU-RISE

December 01, 2017

First Friday in December, Every Other Year Thereafter

Preliminary CREST Center

Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

February 15, 2018

Third Thursday in February, Every Other Year Thereafter

Preliminary CREST Centers

Supplement Due Date(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

Proposals Accepted Anytime

SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplements

February 08, 2018

Second Thursday in February, Annually Thereafter

CREST Partnership Supplements

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

January 30, 2018

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

February 08, 2018

Second Thursday in February, Annually Thereafter

HBCU-RISE

December 07, 2018

First Friday in December, Every Other Year Thereafter

CREST Centers

December 07, 2018

First Friday in December, Annually Thereafter

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Summary of Program Requirements

Program Title:

Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (HBCU-RISE)

Synopsis of Program:

The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program provides support to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions (MSI) through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. MSIs of higher education denote institutions that have undergraduate enrollments of 50% or more (based on total student enrollment) of members of minority groups underrepresented among those holding advanced degrees in science and engineering fields: African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. CREST promotes the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PRF) awards provide research experience and training for early career scientists at active CREST Centers. HBCU-RISE awards specifically target HBCUs to support the expansion of institutional research capacity as well as the production of doctoral students, especially those from groups underrepresented in STEM, at those institutions.

The CREST program supports the following types of projects:

CREST Center awards provide multi-year support (typically 5-years) for eligible minority-serving institutions that demonstrate a strong research and education base, a compelling vision for research infrastructure improvement, and a comprehensive plan with the necessary elements to achieve and sustain national competitiveness in a clearly defined area of national significance in science or engineering research. Successful Center proposals will demonstrate a clear vision and synergy with the broad goals of the CREST Program and the Human Resource Development Division with respect to development of a diverse STEM workforce. CREST Centers are expected to provide leadership in the involvement of groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM at all levels (faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers) within the Center. Centers are required to use either proven or innovative mechanisms to address issues such as recruitment, retention and mentorship of participants from underrepresented groups.

CREST Partnership Supplements support the establishment or strengthening of partnerships and collaborations between active CREST Centers and nationally or internationally recognized research centers including NSF-supported research centers, and private sector research laboratories, K-12 entities including museums and science centers or schools, as appropriate to enable the CREST Centers to advance knowledge and education on a research theme of national significance.

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PRF) awards recognize beginning CREST Center investigators with significant potential and provide them with research experiences that broaden perspectives, facilitate interdisciplinary interactions and establish them in positions of leadership within the scientific community. Fellows conduct research on topics aligned with the research focus of the host CREST Center. The fellowships are also designed to provide active mentoring to the Fellows by the sponsoring CREST Center scientists who, in turn, will benefit from the incorporation of these talented scientists into their research groups.

HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE) awards support the development of research capability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering disciplines. Supported projects must have a unifying research focus in one of the research areas supported by NSF, a direct connection to the long-term plans of the host department(s), institutional strategic plan and mission, and plans for expanding institutional research capacity as well as increasing the production of doctoral students, especially those underrepresented in STEM.

SBIR/STTR Phase IIa Diversity Collaboration Supplements provide an opportunity for existing SBIR/STTR Phase II projects to initiate collaborations with minority-serving institutions that have active CREST Center or HBCU-RISE awards. These supplemental proposals are administered by and co-funded with the NSF Directorate for Engineering Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (ENG/IIP).

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:

Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Fellowship

Estimated Number of Awards: 40

In fiscal year 2018, 2 newly funded CREST Center awards, up to 5 CREST-PRFs, up to 5 CREST Partnership Supplements, 1 SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplement and up to 4 HBCU-RISE awards will be made. In fiscal year 2019, up to 6 CREST Center awards (new Centers and Phase II Centers), up to 5 CREST-PRFs, up to 5 CREST Partnership Supplements, 1 SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplement and up to 4 HBCU-RISE awards will be made.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $19,300,000

Across fiscal years 2018 and 2019, up to $8,000,000 to support the first year for eight newly funded CREST Centers, up to $2,000,000 to support CREST-PRF Fellowships, up to $300,000 from CREST and $300,000 from ENG/IIP for co-funded SBIR/STTR Diversity Collaborative Supplements, up to $1,000,000 for CREST partnership supplements and up to $8,000,000 for HBCU-RISE standard grants, pending the availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

Preliminary and invited full CREST Center proposals may be submitted by minority-serving institutions of higher education in the United States. This denotes institutions that have undergraduate enrollments of 50% or more (based on total student enrollment) of members of minority groups underrepresented among those holding advanced degrees in science and engineering fields: African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. Eligibility as a minority-serving institution may be determined by reference to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/). Proposals are also invited from institutions of higher education that primarily serve populations of students with disabilities (https://www.nsf.gov/od/broadeningparticipation/nsf_frameworkforaction_0808.pdf). Support may be provided to partner institutions through subawards.

CREST partnership supplement proposals are invited from current CREST Center awardees.

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship proposals are invited from individuals from active CREST Centers (http://www.crestweb.org). Only three (3) individuals per active CREST Center can submit a CREST-PRF application. Individuals can only submit one proposal per year (maximum 2 proposals per individual). Each candidate must identify one or more CREST Center sponsoring scientist(s) and the host CREST Center institution in the proposal. CREST Center applicants are required to inform the CREST Center Director and/or PIs of their intent to submit a CREST-PRF proposal. CREST Centers should ensure that they do not endorse more than 3 CREST-PRF proposals for each competition.

CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are awards to individuals, and applications are submitted directly by applicants to NSF. To be eligible to submit a proposal to the CREST-PRF Program, an individual must, as of the full proposal target date:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident;
  • Have earned the doctoral degree, or expect to have earned the doctoral degree prior to the required start date of the fellowship;
  • Show proof of CREST Center funding as a graduate student for at least one year;
  • Not have worked for more than a total of 24 full-time-equivalent months in positions that require the doctoral degree;
  • May not have previously been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator of an NSF award (other than a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship);
  • Submit a project plan that falls within the purview of the NSF's CREST Center host institution's research priorities; and
  • Not have submitted concurrently the same project to another NSF program.

The proposal must include the following:

  1. A sponsoring CREST scientist(s) statement
  2. A letter(s) of support from the host institution (Department Chair and/or Dean)
  3. A letter of support from the CREST Center Director or CREST PI at the applicant's institution. Certification of eligibility must be included in the letter of support.
  4. A letter of support from the non-CREST Center sponsor (secondary mentor) only if additional funds are requested to conduct research at a non-CREST Center institution.

HBCU-RISE proposals are invited from Historically Black Colleges and Universities that offer doctoral degrees in science (including social, behavioral, and economic science), technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

SBIR/STTR diversity collaborative supplement proposals are invited from current SBIR/STTR Phase II grantees and their CREST Center or HBCU-RISE institution partners.

Who May Serve as PI:

Principal Investigators for CREST Center, HBCU-RISE or SBIR/STTR awards must be employed by an institution eligible for a CREST Center, HBCU-RISE or SBIR/STTR, respectively.

CREST-PRF. Only doctoral recipients affiliated with a CREST Center may serve as Principal Investigator. Individuals must show proof of CREST Center funding as a graduate student for at least one year. Certification of eligibility must be included in the letter of support from the PI's CREST Center Director or CREST PI.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

Only one preliminary CREST Center proposal may be submitted per eligible institution. Full CREST Center proposals are to be submitted only when invited by NSF. An institution may have only one active CREST Center award, irrespective of focus area. Centers that have completed two prior, consecutive 5-year CREST Center awards may recompete in disciplinary areas that are significantly different from those of the previous award(s).

Only three (3) individuals per active CREST Center may submit a CREST-PRF application per competition. Only one individual can be awarded a CREST-PRF at an active CREST Center per year.

Only one HBCU-RISE proposal may be submitted per eligible institution. An institution may have only one active HBCU-RISE award.

For each active SBIR/STTR Phase II grant, only one SBIR/STTR collaboration with a CREST Center may be submitted. For each CREST center, only one SBIR/STTR collaboration can be active at any given time.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:

Eligible individuals may be listed as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on only one CREST Center or HBCU-RISE proposal. CREST-PRF applicants may submit only one fellowship application to the CREST program per year and may apply in no more than two successive years for CREST-PRF.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Submission of Letters of Intent is required for CREST Centers & HBCU-RISE. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Preliminary Proposals: Submission of Preliminary Proposals is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Full Proposals:

    Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) guidelines apply. The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=pappg.

    • Full Proposals submitted via Grants.gov: NSF Grants.gov Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: https://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide).

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Not Applicable