Funding Agency:
Department of Transportation


The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act, P. L. 114-94, December 4, 2015) authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to make grants to eligible non-profit institutions of higher education1 to establish and operate University Transportation Centers (UTCs or Centers). Non-profit institutions of higher education may include qualifying two-year institutions (20 U.S.C. § 1001(a))2 . The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST-R) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will manage the UTC Program (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number--20.701).

Through this Notice of Funding Opportunity, the Department seeks competitive grant applications for two National UTCs (a detailed description for National Centers is provided in Section B: Award Information). UTCs will be selected by the Secretary, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, and the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration and other modal administrators as appropriate (49 U.S.C. § 5505(b)(4)(B) as amended by P. L. 114-94, Sec. 6016). Funding for these two National Centers is provided through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018; Division L, Title I, Research and Technology (P.L. 115-141, March 23, 2018).

These National Centers will support two of the FAST Act research priorities (49 U.S.C. § 6503(c)(1) as enacted by P.L. 114-94, Sec. 6019). One Center will focus on “Congestion Relief” (Reducing Congestion) and one will focus on “Improving the Durability and Extending the Life of Transportation Infrastructure.” 

A UTC must be located in the United States or its territories. It must be a consortium of two or more universities. Each Center is required to obtain matching funds from non-Federal sources. National UTCs must obtain matching funds in an amount at least equal to the DOT grant amount. The DOT grant funds may be expended up to September 30, 2022, and Centers will have until that date to meet the full match requirement.


  • Required Letter of Intent Due: October 12, 2018
  • Application Due: December 3, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

The two National Centers must focus their efforts on national transportation issues as identified by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 focus areas: Congestion Relief and Improving the Durability and Extending the Life of Transportation Infrastructure. Section D: Application and Submission Information provides additional information on non-exclusive candidate topic areas categorized under these focus areas. National Centers may be based in any region and may include consortium members that are not in the same Federal region as the lead institution.

Eligibility Requirements

Only U.S. non-profit institutions of higher education as defined under 20 U.S.C. § 1001(a) are eligible to apply. Non-profit institutions of higher education may include qualifying two-year institutions that meet the requirements of 20 U.S.C. § 1001(a). Applications submitted by or including an entity other than a U.S. non-profit institution of higher education will not be considered for selection.

Institutions in general may apply for multiple UTC program grants. However, the FAST Act (49 U.S.C. § 5505(b)(2) as amended by P.L. 114-94, Sec. 6016) restricts the type of grants that an institution might receive as a lead institution of a consortium to one in each type of UTC category (National, Regional or Tier 1). Thus, the five institutions that were awarded National UTC grants in 2016 (these are listed at may not receive one of these two additional National UTC grants as the lead grantee institution of that center. 

In this competition, there are no restrictions on the numbers or types of UTCs of which an institution may be a member (not the lead). The lead institutions on the five 2016 National UTCs may be non-lead consortium members of one or both of these two National UTCs led by a different institution.



Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences

External Deadline

October 12, 2018