Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) and HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE)

Brief Synopsis from Sponsor: The Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program provides support to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions (MSI) through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research. MSIs of higher education denote institutions that have undergraduate enrollments of 50% or more (based on total student enrollment) of members of minority groups underrepresented among those holding advanced degrees in science and engineering fields: African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. CREST promotes the development of new knowledge, enhancements of the research productivity of individual faculty, and an expanded presence of students historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PRF) awards provide research experience and training for early career scientists at active CREST Centers. HBCU-RISE awards specifically target HBCUs to support the expansion of institutional research capacity as well as the production of doctoral students, especially those from groups underrepresented in STEM, at those institutions.

The CREST program supports the following types of projects:

  • CREST Center awards provide multi-year support (typically 5-years) for eligible minority-serving institutions that demonstrate a strong research and education base, a compelling vision for research infrastructure improvement, and a comprehensive plan with the necessary elements to achieve and sustain national competitiveness in a clearly defined area of national significance in science or engineering research. Successful Center proposals will demonstrate a clear vision and synergy with the broad goals of the CREST Program and the Human Resource Development Division with respect to development of a diverse STEM workforce. CREST Centers are expected to provide leadership in the involvement of groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM at all levels (faculty, students, and postdoctoral researchers) within the Center. Centers are required to use either proven or innovative mechanisms to address issues such as recruitment, retention and mentorship of participants from underrepresented groups.
  • CREST Partnership Supplements support the establishment or strengthening of partnerships and collaborations between active CREST Centers and nationally or internationally recognized research centers including NSF- supported research centers, and private sector research laboratories, K-12 entities including museums and science centers or schools, as appropriate to enable the CREST Centers to advance knowledge and education on a research theme of national significance.
  • CREST Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (PRF) awards recognize beginning CREST Center investigators with significant potential and provide them with research experiences that broaden perspectives, facilitate interdisciplinary interactions and establish them in positions of leadership within the scientific community. Fellows conduct research on topics aligned with the research focus of the host CREST Center. The fellowships are also designed to provide active mentoring to the Fellows by the sponsoring CREST Center scientists who, in turn, will benefit from the incorporation of these talented scientists into their research groups.
  • HBCU Research Infrastructure for Science and Engineering (RISE) awards support the development of research capability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities that offer doctoral degrees in science and engineering disciplines. Supported projects must have a unifying research focus in one of the research areas supported by NSF, a direct connection to the long-term plans of the host department(s), institutional strategic plan and mission, and plans for expanding institutional research capacity as well as increasing the production of doctoral students, especially those underrepresented in STEM.
  • SBIR/STTR Phase IIa Diversity Collaboration Supplements provide an opportunity for existing SBIR/STTR Phase II projects to initiate collaborations with minority-serving institutions that have active CREST Center or HBCU-RISE awards. These supplemental proposals are administered by and co-funded with the NSF Directorate for Engineering Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (ENG/IIP).

Please read full opportunity linked above before submitting your proposal.

Maximum Award Amount:

  • Center awards are for 60 months at up to $1,000,000 annually (i.e., a maximum of $5,000,000);
  • Partnership supplements will be made for a maximum amount of $100,000 per supplement, in amounts that vary with need and are subject to the availability of funds. A supplement will be an amendment to an existing award
  • CREST PRF Awards will not exceed $200,000 per Fellow during a two-year period;
  • HBCU-RISE Awards will not exceed $1,000,000 during a three-year period.
  • CREST SBIR/STTR diversity collaborative supplements will not exceed $150,000 in NSF support.

Be aware: Submission of multiple Letters of Intent is not permitted. UofL will decide which to submit via an internal application process determined by peer review.

Anyone interested in submitting for this program must first submit an internal application to with the opportunity title in the subject line and copying the applicable research dean, by 5 p.m. on the date listed above, including the following materials:

  • A summary of the proposal (maximum two pages);
  • A paragraph describing why you would be the most competitive candidate for this program;
  • Your current curriculum vitae;
  • A cover page that contains:
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal;
    • Your name, position, and UofL office contact information;
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if applicable).

Reviewers will judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put forward competitive internal proposals. Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria as well as the UofL strategic goals.

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to by the internal deadline listed above.

If you have any questions, please
Email:
Research Development & Strategic Initiatives
Office of the EVP – Research & Innovation
2301 South 3rd Street, Jouett Hall | Louisville, KY 40292
(Office) 502-852-1708 | (Cell) 502-777-3784