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Feb 10 -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) invites comments by April 11, 2023 regarding Grantee Reporting Requirements for the Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) Program.

The IUCRC program provides a structure for academic researchers to conduct fundamental, pre-competitive research of shared interest to industry and government organizations. These organizations pay membership fees to a consortium so that they can collectively envision and fund research, with at least 90% of Member funds allocated to the direct costs of these shared research projects.

IUCRCs are formed around research areas of strategic interest to U.S. industry. Industry is defined very broadly to include companies (large and small), startups and non-profit organizations. Principal Investigators form a Center around emerging research topics of current research interest, in a pre-competitive space but with clear pathways to applied research and commercial development. Industry partners join at inception, as an existing Center grows, or they inspire the creation of a new Center by recruiting university partners to leverage NSF support. Government agencies participate in IUCRCs as Members or by partnering directly with NSF at the strategic level.

Universities, academic researchers, and students benefit from IUCRC participation through the research funding, the establishment and growth of industry partnerships, and educational and career placement opportunities for students. Industry Members benefit by accessing knowledge, facilities, equipment, and intellectual property in a highly cost-efficient model; leveraging Center research outcomes in their future proprietary projects; interacting in an informal, collaborative way with other private sector and government entities with shared interests; and identifying and recruiting talent. NSF provides funding to support Center administrative costs and a governance framework to manage membership, operations, and evaluation.

Sites within Centers will be required to provide data to NSF and/or its authorized representatives (contractors and/or grantees) annually—after the award expires for their fiscal year of activity—for the life of the Phase I, and if applicable, Phase II, and Phase III award(s).

Information collected are both quantitative and descriptive; they will provide managing Program Directors a means to monitor the operational and financial states of the Centers and ensure that the award is in good standing. These data will also allow NSF to assess the Centers in terms of intellectual, broader, and commercial impacts that are core to our review criteria. Finally, in compliance with the Evidence Act of 2019, information collected will be used in satisfying congressional requests, and supporting the agency's policymaking and reporting needs.

In addition to the agency's annual report requirement, Principal Investigators (IUCRC Center and Site Directors) of the awards are required to provide the following information:

Center Data Reporting -- A comprehensive annual survey collecting information on structure, funding, membership, personnel, and outcomes of the Center during a given reporting period. A Center must submit data for each fiscal year no later than September 30 of each year of operation, as well as after the award expires to describe its final year of activity.

Certification of Membership -- A list of members and membership fees collected by the Center and certified by the respective university's Sponsored Research Office (SRO), Total Program Income collected during the reporting period, In-kind Contributions during the reporting period, Allocation and Expenditures of each Site's research funds by project

Site Research Projects Summary: A list all projects in which the Site participated, including each project's goals; research tasks; key milestones, metrics/deliverables; developing results or outcomes; project budgets; and personnel.

Assessment Coordinator Report: An independent assessment of the annual Center activities (this report is done by an independent evaluator, and uploaded by the Principal Investigator as part of the NSF annual reporting requirement)

IUCRC Directory: IUCRCs must provide accurate and current information for the online IUCRC directory. The IUCRC program helps awardees to get their information updated on the website.

IUCRC Impact Stories for Public Distribution: IUCRCs are highly encouraged to submit information on their emerging research highlights and significant breakthrough stories to NSF to showcase their impact to the public and industry (see https://iucrc.nsf.gov/​centers/​achievements/​) including new products, technology creation and/or enhancements, intellectual property of significant commercial relevance, and major improvements in cost-savings, efficiency, sustainability, productivity, and job growth.

Not only do these data provide valuable information on program activities, products, outcomes, and impact, they also help to paint a detailed longitudinal view of the program, provide insights for benchmarking individual Center performance, advancing industry-university engagement approaches, strengthening future workforce, and contribute to the Nation's research and technology ecosystem.

The information collected is for internal use by NSF, sharing with the US public, congressional requests, and for securing future funding for continued IUCRC program maintenance and growth. Survey data is collected and published at https://iucrcstats.org. Respondents: 255 active sites.
 
IUCRC Program: https://iucrc.nsf.gov/ and https://www.iucrc.org/
IUCRC Stats: https://iucrcstats.org/
Draft survey instruments and technical documentation requested from NSF.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-02920

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