Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research- Technology Translation (PFI: AIR-TT)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The NSF Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) is an umbrella for two complementary subprograms, Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR) and Building Innovation Capacity (BIC). Overall, the PFI program offers opportunities to connect new knowledge to societal benefit through translational research efforts and/or partnerships that encourage, enhance and accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship. The subject of this solicitation is PFI: AIR-Technology Translation (PFI: AIR-TT). The PFI: AIR-TT solicitation serves as an early opportunity to move previously NSF-funded research results with promising commercial potential along the path toward commercialization. Projects are supported to demonstrate proof-of-concept, prototype, or scale-up while engaging faculty and students in entrepreneurial/innovative thinking.


  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): Sep. 8, 2016
  • Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. proposer's local time): Oct. 11, 2016

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Lineage Requirement: There are two paths to meet the lineage requirement: through NSF-supported research results, or NSF-supported (National I-CorpsTM) customer discovery results

  1. Principal Investigator (PI) or a co-PI must have had an NSF award that ended no more than 6-years prior to the chosen submission window’s full proposal deadline date or be a current NSF award recipient. The proposed proof-of-concept or prototype/ scale-up must be derived from the research results and/or discoveries from this underlying NSF award -OR-
  2. The Principal Investigator (PI) or a co-PI must have graduated as part of an NSF cohort from an NSF-funded National I- CorpsTM program within the past 3 years. The proposed proof-of-concept or prototype/ scale-up must be based on technology for which customer discovery activities were performed under the I- CorpsTM national training. In other words, it is not sufficient to just have had I- CorpsTM training; rather the customer discovery activities performed under the NSF-funded I- CorpsTM grant need to be based on the technology that is proposed to be translated within the AIR-TT proposal.

Note: a proposal describing sole lineage to any of the following programs is not allowed and may be returned without review: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), PFI: AIR-TT, PFI: AIR-RA, Regional I-CorpsTM, and SBIR/STTR.

The PI must be a faculty member at a U.S. academic / research institution at the time of the award.

In addition to the PI, there must be at least one other participant on the project (e.g., someone listed as a co-PI, Senior Personnel, Other Professional, subawardee, consultant, collaborator, etc.) with explicit business experience (for example, someone from the technology transfer office, the business school, a local/regional development office, a business entity, etc.). This person must have an active role that is explicitly described along with the specification of a time commitment on the project.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 1

No person may participate as the PI for more than one proposal submitted to any submission window of this PFI: AIR-TT solicitation. A PI may submit to consecutive submission windows; however, a resubmitted proposal that has not clearly taken into account the major comments or concerns resulting from the prior NSF review may be returned without review. The Foundation will treat the revised proposal as a new proposal, subject to the standard review procedures.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 45 to 50

The budget for the PFI: AIR Technology Translation is up to $200,000 for 18 months per award; approximately 45 - 50 awards will be made.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $10,000,000

Anticipated Funding Amount is subject to the availability of funds and the quality of proposals received

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
International Opportunities
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

External Deadline

September 8, 2016