Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)

Brief Synopsis from Sponsor: The Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) Program within the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) offers researchers from all disciplines of science and engineering funded by NSF the opportunity to perform translational research and technology development, catalyze partnerships and accelerate the transition of discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace for societal benefit.

The Technology Translation (PFI-TT) track offers the opportunity to translate prior NSF-funded research results in any field of science or engineering into technological innovations with promising commercial potential and societal impact. PFI-TT supports commercial potential demonstration projects for academic research outputs in any NSF-funded science and engineering discipline. This demonstration is achieved through proof-of-concept, prototyping, technology development and/or scale-up work. Concurrently, students and postdoctoral researchers who participate in PFI-TT projects receive education and leadership training in innovation and entrepreneurship. Successful PFI-TT projects generate technology-driven commercialization outcomes that address societal needs.

The Research Partnerships (PFI-RP) track seeks to achieve the same goals as the PFI-TT track by supporting instead complex, multi-faceted technology development projects that are typically beyond the scope of a single researcher or institution and require a multi-organizational, interdisciplinary, synergistic collaboration. A PFI-RP project requires the creation of partnerships between academic researchers and third-party organizations such as industry, non-academic research organizations, federal laboratories, public or non-profit technology transfer organizations or other universities. Such partnerships are needed to conduct applied research on a stand-alone larger project toward commercialization and societal impact. In the absence of such synergistic partnership, the project’s likelihood for success would be minimal.

Please read full opportunity linked above before submitting your proposal.

Maximum Award Amount: PFI-TT projects will be funded for up to $250,000 for 18-24 months per award; approximately 40-50 awards are anticipated. PFI-RP projects will be funded for up to $550,000 for 36 months. Approximately 10-15 awards are anticipated.

Be aware: There is no limit on the number of PFI-TT proposals an organization may submit to a deadline of this solicitation. However, an organization may not submit more than one (1) new or resubmitted PFI-RP proposal to a deadline of this solicitation. This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. If an organization exceeds this limit, the first PFI-RP proposal received will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review. An organization may not receive more than two (2) awards from a submission deadline of this solicitation. Independent organizations are those entities that have unique DUNS numbers.

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