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MEIF SIC Application Submission Guidelines

Full Application Format and Content

The full application must be prepared according to the format below using standard-size pages (8 1/2″ x 11″), single-sided and submitted in black and white or grayscale to maintain clarity after copying, type size no smaller than 12 point font, 1-inch margins, within prescribed page limits. One complete signed original copy of an application (paper or electronic) must be received by the office of Government and External Affairs at the University of Maine System office no later than 5:00 PM on September 30, 2014. Late submissions will not be accepted. If sent by mail, all pages of the original must be paper clipped together. Applications may also be sent electronically to Ryan Low at ryan.low@maine.edu.

The sections of the application are:
I. Cover Sheet – 1 page
II. Executive Summary – 2 pages

III. Scope of Work/Project Description – up to 20 pages, plus up to 5 pages of technical references and/or citations.  Descriptions that are less than the full allotment of pages are welcomed.

IV. Budget and Justification – up to 8 pages (summary project budget and up to three yearly project budgets plus justification narrative)

V. Attachments
A. Two page curriculum vita of Project Director/Principal Investigator
B. Two page curriculum vitae summaries of other key collaborators
C. Matching Fund Commitment Letters
D. Letters of Matching Intent or Potential Investment
E. Letter of Operational Commitment (for applicants with multiple submissions)
F. Letters of Collaboration
G. Additional Information
H. Letter of Capacity

Please note: Sections I and II (Cover Sheet and Executive Summary) are considered non-confidential and may be shared publicly. Applicants are encouraged to mark all other pages “Confidential”.

I. Instructions for Cover Sheet
A one-page cover sheet is considered non-confidential and must include the following information, in order:

  • Project Title
  • Lead Institution—Include the mailing address, federal ID number, technology sector, phone, fax number, and e-mail address.
  • Project Director—List the name, title, e-mail address and institutional affiliation of the person submitting the application, i.e. the scientific lead and/or project administrator. Identify the appropriate salutation and/or degree
  • Institutional Representative—List name, title, and email address of institutional representative
  • Collaborators—Identify the name, title, e-mail address, affiliation, mailing address, and telephone number of any collaborators in this application who are substantially involved in carrying out the scope of work. A collaborator is an individual, organization, institution, company, or other entity that is outside and independent of the Applicant, has clearly defined, integral role in Work Plan execution; or is contributing matching funds or a sub-award.
  • Proposed Recipient(s) and Amount of Funds Requested—Identify the proposed institutional recipient(s) and show the total amount of funds being requested. If funds will be split between collaborating organizations, indicate the amount requested for each entity.
  • Names of Individuals (i.e. potential reviewers) from Whom to Withhold Application Information
  • If this is a reapplication or connected to MEIF SCI award from previous rounds, please list associated MEIF SCI application(s) by title, year awarded and amount awarded.
  • Project Director’s Signature and Date
  • Signature of Appropriate Institutional Representative

II. Instructions for Executive Summary
The Executive Summary is a 2-page summary of the application and should be placed after the cover sheet. Each application will be reviewed in depth by the Reviewers, who will read the entire application. The Executive Summary should contain enough appropriate detail to communicate the broad outline of the application as a whole.

Note: Information in the Executive Summary may be distributed publicly and proprietary information should not be included.

The Executive Summary should include concise, self-sufficient descriptions for each of the following topics:
A. Description of Application – Summary of Scope of Work, including the funding request and the research, development and commercialization enabled by this investment, as well as project milestones
B. Summary of the contribution of the requested funds
C. Application Team, Institution(s) and Operations
D. Proposed Outcomes and Measures
E. Projected economic benefit (short and/or long term) to Maine, such as job creation, company expansion, job training, increases in external research and development funding, a spin-off company or technology, commercialization, and/or benefit to Maine industries or strategic direction.

III. Instructions for Scope of Work
The Scope of Work is a complete and detailed explanation of the initiative. Sections A-F should not exceed 20 pages, with up to an additional 5 pages of technical references allowed. Sections G and H are not included in the 20 page limit. The Scope of Work must include the following sections in the order below:
A. Background: Scientific and Technical Basis of Application
B. Project Description
C. Team and Institutional Merit and Commitment
D. Nature of Collaboration(s)
E. Relevance to Maine’s Innovation Economy Needs
F. Economic Impact and Measurable Outcomes
G. Project Milestone Schedule

Instructions for completing each of these sections follow.

A. Background: Scientific and Technical Basis of Application
Please provide scientific background of the research or effort leading up to this application. Applicants should seek to provide evidence of scientific/technical innovation and quality, as well as a credible plan to achieve commercialization success. Applicants should discuss research, development and commercialization concepts, structure and scale, as well as the overall importance of the scientific discipline. Section A should provide reviewers with a clear understanding of the science/technology being pursued with the application and where the project fits into the research, development and commercialization continuum.

In section A, reviewers should learn whether the project: represents scientific excellence to the degree of being nationally competitive and advancing scientific or engineering knowledge; will continue to attract non-State funding; will lead to other efforts important to Maine; and/or will lead to new services or commercialization within 5 (five) years.
B. Project Description
This is the section for applicants to describe the use of requested funds. Describe the impact of the project and institution or collaborating entities. Include in this section the management plan for the proposed project, including administrative and financial arrangements. Provide information on how the project may impact operational plans and budgets of participating institutions.

If request includes instrumentation or equipment, provide details of impact of equipment on research, development and/or commercialization efforts. Describe why equipment is crucial to effort. Describe research activities that will be enabled by acquisition of the instrument. In the description of the research, indicate how the instrument is essential (as opposed to useful) to successful completion of projects. Provide information on protocols associated with multiple users of the instrument. Include a brief description of how users from outside the institution will gain access to the instrument and on what terms, and how conflicts for access among users will be resolved. If the same or similar instrument is available in Maine or Northern New England explain why the additional instrument is necessary.

If request includes construction and/or facility renovation, describe the proposed facility. Include pertinent elements such as building construction elements, how the building design will facilitate research activities, lab space as part of planning the facility, unique features central to the overall design and safety and biohazard considerations. Describe the appropriateness of the location, suitability, and need of proposed facility or land for the research, development or commercialization effort. Indicate how the capital project is essential to the research, development or commercialization effort.

Describe the impact of the proposed project on the research, development or commercialization activities. Describe the specific deficiencies and limitations remedied by the proposed facility or land.

In section B, reviewers should be able to judge the feasibility of the project to meet project goals, and the impact of the requested assets and their use in the project.

If the applicant institution or department is a previous MEIF-SCI award recipient, please describe how this project builds on or is different from the previously awarded project.

C. Team and Institutional Merit and Commitment
This section allows reviewers to rate the proposed personnel on their experience, skills, and capability to carry out the project, including its scientific, technical, and administrative activities. The competency of the initiative’s key personnel plays a crucial role in the criteria for selecting applications to fund. Please summarize the composition, characteristics and capabilities of the application partners. Use the questions and topics below as guides for your summary:

    • Define the project team. State the names, qualifications and responsibilities.
    • List the names, titles and percentages of work time for all personnel who are critical to the award.
    • What organizations or individuals are participating with you?
    • What skills, areas of expertise or resources will these participants bring to the award activities?
    • If the applicant institution or department or collaborating institutions have received MEIF-SCI in the past, please summarize scientific and economic results of the project.

Section C also rates the quality of the participating institutions’ innovation program and record and potential of productivity, including the organizational strategic and business plans. Please discuss organizational and/or business plans, including planned research, development and commercialization initiatives, planning and commitment to use any capital improvement or new equipment, and adequacy of existing equipment and facilities to support the proposed project. Please also discuss the institutional commitment to the project of applicant organization and/or collaborating institutions. Provide any necessary detail on matching commitment as evidence of commitment to the project.

D. Nature of Collaboration
Discuss the collaborative nature of the proposed project. Include a discussion of linkages between research, development and commercialization, and potential for shared facilities and meeting identified cluster needs. Explain how the project builds on or complements already-existing collaborative initiatives.

Section D should allow reviewers to judge whether the request will enhance collaboration among research institutions and commercial entities, and promote linkages between research, development and commercialization, or increase the use of resources available by individuals from other institutions or commercial entities.

E. Relevance to Maine’s Innovation Economy Needs
Discuss the project’s relevance to research, development or commercialization needs and opportunities identified as priorities for the State of Maine. This discussion could include any or all of the following areas of relevance:

  • alignment with State science and technology plans;
  • benefits to traditional industries and/or emerging technologies or applications of particular importance to Maine;
  • growth, protection or sustainability of existing or emerging high-impact clusters or industries;
  • degree to which the project builds on or complements previous investments in research, development, and/or commercial activity;
  • positive impact on Maine’s research, development and commercialization capacity;
  • capitalizing on national research priorities

Discuss why funds from the MEIF-SCI are needed and appropriate for this project.
F. Economic Impact and Measurable Outcomes
Describe the potential positive economic impact of the proposed project. This scoring area accounts for up to 20% of the total score. Applicants are encouraged to include data to support economic impact assertions. Please be specific as to how the proposed project leads to positive economic impact for the State, using measures such as:

  • new jobs in Maine, including at the applicant institutions and collaborators;
  • preservation of existing jobs in Maine;
  • new businesses started in Maine, especially those based on the innovations from the R&D;
  • Maine businesses succeeding or expanding as a result of new products and/or services;
  • new products and/or services introduced;
  • new invention disclosures, intellectual property protection (patents, copyrights, trademarks, plant rights, etc.), licenses;
  • and/or new dollars coming into the Maine economy including sales revenue, grants and contracts from federal sources, grants and contracts from other external sources (e.g. sponsored research), debt or equity investments from capital sources outside Maine, joint ventures with companies from outside Maine, or companies moving to Maine, or workforce training and development, especially in fields where skills are needed to support the targeted clusters.

Reviewers will also judge research, development and commercialization impact demonstrated by expanding research, development and/or commercialization activity; creating or attracting additional workforce to further research, development or commercialization goals of the project; or creating or enhancing linkages with research/commercialization partners and/or commercialization of the research outcomes. Describe the methodology used to determine your economic projections, so reviewers can judge the financial feasibility of the project to meet its economic goals. Also include a brief description of the outcomes in measurable terms that indicate how the award will be judged successful in terms of near-term accomplishments and future directions, capacity building, and economic benefit to Maine.

G. Project Milestone Schedule
Milestones serve as clear indicators of progress that measure concrete, discrete outcomes such as a deliverable. Project should include several milestones but not so many that they become trivial or burdensome to manage. Milestone progress is reported on progress reports submitted by the Project Director. Milestones do not have to be completed for payment to be made, but progress towards milestone completion must be clear and definite. Complete the Project Milestone Schedule to provide a timetable for project activities and milestones, including research, development and/or commercialization activities. Milestone start and end dates should not overlap. In other words, work on Milestone 2 should not begin until work on Milestone 1 has been completed.


IV. Instructions for Budget and Budget Format

Complete the Budget Form for the project. If the scope of work is longer than one year, submit separate budget worksheets for each year and a summary total budget worksheet.

Be sure to identify each institutional source of matching funds. For example, if you are working with a University that has agreed to provide matching funds in the form of researcher’s time, the fund source is the University. Applicants may attach a supporting budget narrative with justification of no more than two pages.

Funds counted as matching funds should relate directly to the proposed project. Applicants should not use grants for other non-related projects as matching funds. Matching funds do not have to be spent concurrently with awarded funds, but must be verified as spent by the end of the agreed upon award period.

The Budget Form is available here. Please feel free to add columns for additional collaborating institutions, and sub line-item rows as necessary. Unallowable line items have been “grayed out” of the MEIF SCI column, so applicants cannot assign an unallowable line item to MEIF SCI funding.

Instructions Specific to the Budget Form

Proposal Title - Enter the proposal title
Start and End Dates - Enter from your milestone schedule.

The total budget must be broken out into the following categories: Facilities, Equipment, Shared Infrastructure, Personnel, Consultants/Subawards, Other Direct Costs, and Overhead. The Budget Worksheet provides a line item for each category. Applicants should add sub-line item rows to provide appropriate detail as needed.

COLUMNS: Columns reflect income sources, including MEIF-SCI, for the Project.

MEIF SCI Column- Direct expenses to MEIF SCI funds. Overhead should not be included within the MEIF SCI column.

Match Fund Source Columns– Each Match Fund Source Column should provide information about the matching contribution of that organization or institution.

LINE ITEMS (Rows): Rows reflect projected expenditures. Please do not list an income/revenue source as a line item.

Personnel Costs - Record the name and titles of individuals involved. Distribute the cost of their time to the appropriate Fund Source. The team personnel section of the application should indicate the role each individual will play in the project. Costs should be based on actual institutional salaries. Indicate academic year or summer salary.
Record the cost of “Benefits”, based on appropriate UMS rate, as an aggregate total for all personnel for each column.

Facilities, or Facility Improvement – Enter the total cost of capital facilities or facilities improvement. All costs associated with the facility or improvement should be incorporated into this line item.

Equipment Costs - Enter the total cost of equipment, including associated set-up costs, including delivery, insurance, warranties, etc.

Shared Infrastructure – Enter the total cost of shared infrastructure. Shared Infrastructure is defined as infrastructure that may be shared among collaborating institutions, such as fiber optics, shared space, etc.

Consultant Costs - Enter the total cost of consultants.
Sub-award Costs – Enter total cost of sub-award. Detailed subaward budget may be required if project is selected.

Other Direct Costs - Enter the total of other costs directly related to the proposed project. This includes supplies and raw materials.

Overhead - Enter the total overhead allocated to the project. Make sure that costs detailed elsewhere, such as supplies and other direct costs, are not also counted in the overhead rate. MEIF-SCI funds cannot be used for overhead expenses.

V. Instructions for Application Attachments

Please clearly label each attachment by specified letter.

A. Curriculum Vitae – Principal Investigator or Project Director
A two page curriculum vita for the principal investigator or project manager is to be included as Attachment A.

B. Curriculum Vitae – Others
Curriculum vitae summaries, not to exceed 2 (two) pages each, are to be included for all other key researchers and collaborators as Attachment B.

C. Matching Funds and Commitment Letters
Each source of matching fund support must document its commitment to providing resources with a letter attached as Attachment C. Matching fund resources cannot be counted unless a Commitment Letter is provided in the proper form.

Letters from sources providing matching funds must be on organizational letterhead, must be signed by an authorized representative of the organization, and must include the following information:

  • Application title;
  • Acknowledgment of the participant’s commitment to contribute a
    specified amount of resources during the term of the award;
  • Statement of commitment to abide by award contract;
  • Time period for which funds will be provided (not to exceed three years);
  • Name of primary contact.

Notices of Award for federal contracts can be accepted instead of a Commitment Letter. Please submit the federal award letter and the page that includes the Project Director’s name, title, dates, and amount of award.

D. Letters of Matching Intent or Letters of Potential Investment
UMS will allow an applicant to have identified potential funding partners, such as banks or investors, at the time of application, with a 6 (six) month window from the time of an award decision to secure the additional matching funds. Letters of matching intent or potential investment from funders must be on organizational letterhead and signed by an authorized representative of the organization, and must outline the intended amount and the conditions of the potential investment or contribution of matching funds. Please include these letters as Attachment D.

E. Letters of Operational Commitment
For multiple applications from the same institution, a commitment letter from the institution addressing how the project fits within the overall institution’s strategic research and development plan must accompany each application. Please include this as Attachment E.

F. Letters of Collaboration
If a collaborating partner is not providing matching funds, and is therefore not providing a matching funds commitment letter, then the partner should provide a letter to certify its collaboration in the project. Letters must be on collaborating partner’s organization letterhead, and should outline the level of involvement with the project. Please include this as Attachment F.

G. Additional Information
The application may contain up to 8 additional pages with information relevant to the application, including letters of support. Please include this as Attachment G.

H. Letter of Capacity
For applications associated with a previous MEIF SCI award, include a letter from the project director or principal investigator outlining their involvement with each project. Please include this as Attachment H.