State Committee Announcement for Track-1 Proposal Process

On behalf of the Vermont Technology Council that serves as the Statewide Board for the NSF VT EPSCoR Program I would like to share that Vermont is eligible to submit a new proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 (RII Track-1) in July 2020[1]. NSF limits EPSCoR-eligible states to a single RII Track-1 proposal submission.
There have been a number of outstanding accomplishments as part of the current award. The Technology Council Board has drafted the 2019 Vermont Science and Technology Plan over the past several months and has identified the following research focus areas in which science and technology will play a pivotal role in Vermont's economy:
  • Protecting the environment
  • Healthcare technology and delivery
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Computing technologies

  • Increase the number of STEM workers through the education of Vermonters or through the relocation of skilled workers to Vermont (Strategies 2,3)
  • Increase continuous workforce training and development to support the transformation of business in Vermont (Strategies 2,3,4)
  • Increase the size and reach of the S&T ecosystem and community with support and mentorship for early career STEM entrepreneurs and professionals (Strategies 2,3,4,5)
  • Increase employment in science and technology-based enterprises (Strategies 3,4)
  • Increase research and development activity in the State of Vermont (Strategies 1,5,6)
  • Increase the number of small to medium manufacturers using advanced digital and intelligent technologies (Strategies 5,6)
  • Increase cross-sector partnerships to leverage investments, support, and expertise (Strategies 1,4,5,6,7,8)

The 2019 draft plan may be found here:
The proposed research theme must be of national importance and have the best potential to improve Vermont's future research and development competitiveness. Proposed research topics must have these features:
  • Alignment with priorities in the 2019 Vermont Science and Technology Plan
  • Alignment with current scientific and engineering grand challenges, either NSF's Big Research Ideas[2] or NSF-relevant grand challenges put forth by other agencies or entities
  • Topics funded by NSF's regular programmatic and cross-cutting areas; and
  • Leverage the strengths of Vermont's research institution

Dr. Arne Bomblies, VT State EPSCoR Director and Project Director, will manage the process moving forward as outlined in the document below.
Please contact Dr. Bomblies or me for any additional information.
John Evans, Ph.D.
Vermont Technology Council
Dr. Bomblies' contact information:
Arne Bomblies, Ph.D., P.E.
VT State EPSCoR Director and Project Director
(802) 656-2215

April 4, 2019

Vermont EPSCoR RII Track 1 Proposal Process for Submission in Summer 2020
The Vermont EPSCoR State Board is soliciting new ideas for the next RII Track-1 proposal.
The proposed research program is the centerpiece of the RII Track-1 project. The focal point of an RII Track-1 proposal is hypothesis- and/or problem-driven research that requires a comprehensive and integrative approach to a grand challenge in a scientific area of regional or jurisdictional importance and relevance. The intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activities are expected to provide the rationale for the requested infrastructure investments that, in turn, enhance the overall research capacity and competitiveness of the jurisdiction.
RII Track-1 projects are unique in their jurisdiction-wide scope and complexity. They integrate researchers, institutions, and organizations and play a role in developing the diverse, well-prepared, STEM-enabled workforce necessary to sustain research competitiveness and catalyze economic development.
RII Track-1 funding is intended to add specific value to Vermont's academic infrastructure not generally available through other funding sources, while meeting these specific goals:
  • catalyze the development of research capabilities and the creation of new knowledge that expands the jurisdiction's contributions to scientific discovery, innovation, learning, and knowledge-based prosperity
  • establish sustainable STEM education, training, and professional development pathways that advance jurisdiction-identified research areas and workforce development
  • broaden direct participation of diverse individuals, institutions, and organizations in the project's science and engineering research and education initiatives
  • effect sustainable engagement of project participants and partners, the jurisdiction, the national research community, and the general public through data-sharing, communication, outreach, and dissemination; and,
  • Impact research, education, and economic development beyond the project at the academic, government, and private sector levels.
To see more about the investments and progress of the current Track-1 program, please go to the Vermont EPSCoR website:
To prepare for this next round of NSF EPSCoR RII Track 1 funding, Vermont EPSCoR State Board will conduct a proposal development process as described below. (Please note that timeframes and processes are subject to change.)
  • Informational Meeting (Monday, April 29, 2019): Vermont EPSCoR will hold an information session for interested participants throughout the state in the Livak Room, Davis Center at UVM from 2 - 4 p.m. The session will also be accessible through the Vermont EPSCoR web site after the meeting. Remote meeting access will also be available. To participate remotely please contact VT EPSCoR at (802) 656-7931 or by email at for meeting access instructions.
  • State-wide calls for white papers (multiple calls beginning May 8, 2019).
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) (due June 3, 2019).
  • White Papers (due July 15, 2019): Interested parties will be invited to submit a white paper on key research topics that might be applicable to an NSF EPSCoR RII Track 1 project. (Note that the Track 1 is required to address a comprehensive, integrated, trans-disciplinary statewide focus that creates a substantial academic research infrastructure & involves participants from colleges & universities throughout the state. It is not designed for individual, single institution, or small group faculty research.) The research must be of importance to the state and nation and have an economic impact on the state and region.
An external panel of experts convened by an independent organization will review submitted white papers using NSF-based review criteria and methods. Based on the recommendations of the review panel, the Vermont State Committee will approve the white paper that will be invited for full proposal development.
As per the NSF, the Vermont NSF EPSCoR Project Director must be the lead Principal Investigator of the RII Track-1 proposal. The Project Director, with input by the proposal science leads, will spearhead the development of the full proposal to ensure the proposal is fully responsive to all NSF requirements, including intellectual merit and broader impacts (as defined by NSF); new faculty hires and start-up support; plans for cyberinfrastructure and data management; postdoctoral researcher mentoring; diversity; workforce development and education; partnerships and collaborations; communication and dissemination; management, evaluation and assessment; sustainability, and; integration of all project components. The Vermont EPSCoR office will provide support for budget development and proposal submission.
External review of drafts of the full proposal before submission is essential to ensure the proposal is competitive. An independent organization will convene a panel of external experts in the research topic area(s), and in NSF EPSCoR RII Track-1 programs, to conduct several reviews of the draft proposal prior to submission. With input by the proposal science leads, the NSF EPSCoR Project Director and Project Administrator have sole authority on final decisions regarding proposal content and budget.
  • Review (September 2019): The above white papers will be reviewed by an independent outside group of reviewers.
  • The reviews and responses from the groups will be reviewed by the State EPSCoR Committee for a decision (October 2019).
Proposal Preparation: Vermont EPSCoR works with the research theme group, statewide educational institutions, stakeholders, and other partners to develop a proposal that fully addresses the NSF EPSCoR RII Track 1 solicitation guidelines and intent (solicitation release date unknown - but is anticipated to be May 2020).
Award notification (tentatively May 2021)
Project begins (tentatively summer 2021)

Anticipated Timeline
Informational MeetingApril 29, 2019
Call for White PapersMay 8, 2019
Letters of Intent DueJune 3, 2019
White Papers dueJuly 15, 2019
External review completedSeptember, 2019
White paper team selectedOctober, 2019
Full proposal development beginsNovember, 2019
Solicitation released by NSFearly May 2020*
Proposal due to NSFmid-July 2020*
Notification of AwardsSpring 2021
Awards madeSummer 2021

[1] Based on FY18 dates
     This is desirable, but not required. There are 6 research priorities.
* Based on FY18 dates