Archive for May, 2010

i3 receives 1,669 proposals

The Department of Education announced it received 1,669 proposals for the new Investing in Innovation (i3) program by the May 12th deadline. Additional proposals from federal disaster areas in Tennessee can be submitted as late as May 19th, and one additional applicant received approval to submit an application by mail that has not yet been received.

The submissions represent 68% of the number of LOIs the department received in April.

If the reduction in applications was distributed proportionally across the three application types, the new odds are better for applicants (but again, the department doesn’t have enough money to fund all the awards it projects, so expect the Validation award rate to be <10% as well):

Development: ~8%
Validation: ~28%
Scale-up: ~9%

It’ll be interesting to see whether the reductions were, in fact, proportional. Of the proposals I’m aware of, ALL initially planned to do Validation, and ALL made decisions to switch to Development and then back to Validation at some point–and all the discussions centered around whether the evidence fit the vague descriptions of what is expected.

I suspect most of the scale-up LOIs resulted in full proposals because those groups likely knew back in November exactly what they wanted to do and how they planned to do it. I also suspect many of the Development groups dropped out after discovering they didn’t have the resources to pull together a competitive proposal or couldn’t get internal agreement about the direction of the proposal. It’s a toss up as to whether Validation groups switched to Development or just dropped out.

But we’ll know much more at some point. This from the department’s announcement:

Being transparent: In the coming weeks, the Department will make an unprecedented amount of information available to the public about each i3 applicant and the funding process.  Specifically, the Department intends to provide detailed information on the applicants, partners, priorities, budgets and descriptions of each i3 application.  The Department will leverage a new user-friendly platform that will allow the public to run customized reports on the application pool.  We believe posting this information will improve the quality of the i3 program, spark the imaginations of the public and further our country’s collective efforts to support innovation in education.


NSF: Data management plans to be required for applicants

Starting in October 2010, applications to NSF must include a supplementary two-page about this over the summer.

The new requirement is designed to help NSF meet its obligations for more open research under the Open Government Directive.


Whew! i3 is over…now what?

The last week has been a real bear finishing up the i3, but it’s over, and the submission receipt is in hand.

The Department of Education granted an extension for folks affected by the flooding in Tennessee–they have till May 19th to get everything done. Except for the folks who truly were affected by the floods, I’m not sure this type of mercy is kind. I know I couldn’t have survived another week.

In other i3 news, the Department is still looking for peer reviewers. Even though the site still says the deadline for applying was April 1st, I queried yesterday and confirmed they’re still desperately seeking help. If you want to apply, do so here.

Now the waiting game begins, but the wait won’t be long. After all, the funds must be committed by September 30th. That’s only 20 weeks away. But the notification date for most folks will come at least 4-6 weeks earlier when groups receive news they’ve scored high and need to confirm (or find and confirm) the 20% match. If some groups can’t get the match, the next groups on the list will possibly get the green light, but they’ll have even less time to meet the match requirement.

So some groups will probably hear somewhere between August 1st and 15th. That’s just 2 1/2 months away…

By the way, next time around I hope they put a page limit on the budget narrative…


NSF, NIH, Commerce Dept. announce i6 Challenge

The three agencies have teamed up to introduce yet another “innovation” competition (PDF)–in this case it’s to support “innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship.”

The 6 in i6 apparently refers to the six teams that will receive $1 million awards for their projects from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) and an additional $6 million that is set aside for related funding through the NIH and NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The deadline for applications to EDA’s part of the program is July 15, 2010. A conference call is scheduled for potential applicants on May 17th.

More information is available at EDA’s i6 site.


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