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

If interested in submitting, please contact Karen Drew (-4824) as soon as possible.

  • Internal: 10/14/2019
  • Proposal: 01/08/2020


  • Amount: PFI-TT: up to $250,000; PFI-RP: up to $550,000
  • Duration: up to 3 years


The FAQ for this opportunity is now available here

Important Information and Revision Notes (Please see FOA for full list):

  • Submission deadlines are now available in January and July.
  • The limit on the number of proposals submitted by an eligible organization has been eliminated for the PFI-TT track. However, an organization may submit no more than one (1) proposal to the PFI-RP track per submission deadline.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

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. Concurrently, students and postdoctoral researchers who participate in PFI-TT projects receive education and leadership training in innovation and entrepreneurship. Successful PFI-TT projects generate technology-driven commercialization outcomes that address societal needs.

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. In the absence of such synergistic partnership, the project’s likelihood for success would be minimal.

The intended outcomes of both PFI-TT and PFI-RP tracks 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.

WEBINARS: Webinars will be held to answer questions about the solicitation. Registration will be available on the NSF Partnerships for Innovation website ( Potential proposers and their partners are encouraged to attend.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

An organization may not submit more than one (1) new or resubmitted PFI-RP proposal to a deadline of this solicitation. If interested in submitting, please contact Karen Drew (-4824) as soon as possible and submit a 2 page pre-proposal following the NU Procedure for Programs with Limited Submissions.

A PI or co-PI may submit up to two (2) proposals to each solicitation deadline.

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

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.

NSF Lineage Requirement: All proposals submitted to the PFI program must meet a lineage requirement under one of the following two paths: (1) NSF-supported research results, OR (2) NSF-supported customer discovery results through the NSF I-Corps Teams Program.

  • 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.


Contact Information

Please note that the program contact information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to: