Dear Colleague Letter: Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

This document replaces NSF 12-513.

May 6, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS) and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) wish to notify the community of their interest in stimulating collaboration between academic research institutions and industry.

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) is not a separate program and proposals should not be submitted to this Dear Colleague Letter. An academic scientist or engineer interested in submitting a GOALI-designated proposal to a standing NSF funding opportunity or a GOALI supplemental proposal to an existing NSF-funded award must contact the cognizant NSF program director prior to submission. Special interest is focused on affording opportunities for:

  • Interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct collaborative research projects, in which the industry research participant provides critical research expertise, without which the likelihood for success of the project would be diminished;
  • Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting; and
  • Industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry's perspective and integrative skills to academe.

GOALI-designated proposals and supplements should focus on research that addresses shared interests by academic researchers and industrial partners. The research should further scientific and engineering foundations to enable future breakthrough technologies with the potential to address critical industry needs. Industry involvement assures that the research is industrially relevant. Principal Investigators are expected to integrate their research objectives with educational and industrial needs.

Interdisciplinary research and education projects that enable faculty from different academic departments or institutions to interact with one or more industrial partners in virtual industry-university groups or networks are encouraged. Proposals may include the participation of a "third partner" such as a National Laboratory or a non-profit organization. NSF funding can be used for university research/education activities and may support activities of faculty and their students and research associates in the industrial setting. NSF funds may not be used to support the industrial research partner.

Competitive proposals with the GOALI-designation should follow the guidelines specified below when submitting to a standing NSF funding opportunity:

  • The title of a proposal with a GOALI-designation should start with "GOALI:" (after any other title requirements specified by the funding opportunity to which the proposal is being submitted);
  • At least one industrial co-PI should be listed on the Cover Sheet at the time of submission although the industrial participant cannot use or receive any NSF funds;
  • The university-industry interaction should be presented in the project description;
  • A letter from the industrial partner that confirms the participation of a co-PI from industry maybe submitted with the proposal (if applicable, the letter also should state the degree of industrial participation as well as detail any support that the industry is providing to the academic partner) and must be submitted before an award is issued; and
  • Academic and industry partners should agree in advance as to how intellectual property (IP) rights will be handled. A signed university-industry agreement on IP (including publication and patent rights) must be submitted before an award is issued. NSF will examine this document to ensure that the graduation of students will not be unduly affected. NSF is responsible neither for the agreement reached nor the IP information exchanged between the academic institution and the industry partner.

All GOALI-related commitment letters, industry-university agreement letters on IP, and documentation of collaborative arrangements of significance to the proposal should be provided as supplementary documentation. This supplementary documentation will not be counted towards any Project Description page limitations specified in NSF funding opportunities.

Supplemental funding requests to add GOALI elements to a currently funded NSF research project should be submitted by using the "Supplemental Funding Request" function in FastLane. Such requests should include a brief description of the proposed activity, a budget and a budget justification, in addition to items (3)-(5) above. At least one industrial participant must be included in the GOALI-designated activity and may be included in the budget under senior personnel. Grantees are reminded that the industrial participant cannot use or receive any NSF funds.

Proposals with the GOALI-designation are reviewed by the programs to which they are submitted. Reviewers may be asked to evaluate the degree and extent to which industry will be involved with the proposed research and the extent to which students and/or post-doctoral associates will benefit from the interaction. The proposed research should be transformative, beneficial to industry, and further collaboration between the academic and industry partners.

Principal investigators with questions pertaining to this DCL should contact the program director most closely aligned with the research activities to be proposed.

Agency Website

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students
Junior Faculty
Post Doctoral Fellows


Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences