Sustainable Vision grant guidelines
Sustainable Vision Grant Guidelines
Introduction | Program details |Eligible areas of focus | Who may apply | Selection criteria | Institutional representatives | Intellectual property policy | How to apply | The proposal: required and optional components | The review and notification process | If your proposal is approved
Note: Effective Fall 2012, the Sustainable Vision program guidelines have changed in the following ways:
- Sustainable Vision grants now focus on supporting educational programs only. If you are part of a team focused on the development and deployment of a specific technology-based solution to poverty alleviation, we encourage you to apply for NCIIA’s NEW E-Team Program.
- Applicants may not apply for a Course & Program grant and a Sustainable Vision grant for the same idea during the same grant cycle.
Please review these new guidelines prior to preparing your submission.
Sustainable Vision (SV) grants fund transformational education programs in which technologies are created for the benefit of people living in poverty and deployed in an entrepreneurial, scalable way. Projects may focus on opportunities and needs in the US or abroad. Funds may be requested to support the creation of new programs or for the improvement/expansion of ongoing programs.
If you have a proposal for a new course or program that does not focus on developing technologies specifically for people living in poverty,we encourage you to apply for a Course & Program grant.
The goals of the Sustainable Vision grants program are to:
- Create and improve new or existing university courses, certificate programs, minors, majors, and/or extracurricular programs with a focus on technology invention and innovation to address poverty alleviation and basic human needs.
- Support the formation of multidisciplinary and entrepreneurial student teams within courses and programs to develop inventions and innovations to address critical global problems.
- Establish a network of faculty and students in the US and beyond who are working to solve large global problems with technology solutions and an entrepreneurial approach.
Sustainable Vision grants support educational programs that apply technology inventions and innovations and include strong experiential and entrepreneurial components. Program models should be able to be institutionalized beyond the grant period with a mechanism for the most promising E-Team projects to continue and scale. Programs must focus on technology solutions that address poverty and/or environmental degradation and meet basic human needs.
If you are interested in applying for grant funds to strengthen or develop a program that does not focus on the development of technology solutions specifically for people living in poverty, we encourage you to apply for a Course and Program grant.
If you are part of a team focused on the development and deployment of a specific technology-based solution to poverty alleviation, we encourage you to apply for NCIIA’s E-Team Program.
What’s an E-Team?
NCIIA defines an E-Team as a multidisciplinary group of students, faculty, and industry mentors working together to bring a technology-based invention (product or service) to market. The "E" stands for entrepreneurship.
Sustainable Vision grants typically fund programs dedicated to the development of technology inventions and innovations in the following areas of application:
• Health (medical devices, sanitation, etc.)
• Clean air and water
• Nutrition and agriculture
Other compelling applications beyond those listed above that meet the Sustainable Vision program criteria will also be considered.
Who may apply
Faculty and staff from NCIIA member colleges and universities may apply; collaboration with individuals from education, non-profits and NGOs, government and industry is encouraged; however, Sustainable Vision proposals must be submitted by a US college or university as the lead institution.
NCIIA grant funds are awarded to US-based colleges and universities and can then be disbursed to partners (other universities, NGOs, etc.) in the US and abroad.
If you have questions about the status of your institution's NCIIA membership, please contact us.
NCIIA encourages proposals that involve students and advisors from engineering, science, business, design, and liberal arts disciplines, as well as groups traditionally underrepresented in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including women and minorities.
Eligible applications will be evaluated against the following 6 elements:
- Scientific and technological inventions and innovations addressing the needs of people living in poverty
- Positive social and/or environmental impact
- An experiential approach that leads to the formation of student E-Teams
- A focus on entrepreneurial solutions rather than an aid or charity model
- Team composition, commitment, and expertise (including local partners, collaborators, faculty and advisors)
- Sustainability and potential replicability beyond the grant period
Note: Effective Fall 2012, the Sustainable Vision program guidelines have changed. Sustainable Vision grants now focus on supporting educational programs only. If you are part of a team focused on the development and deployment of a specific technology-based solution to poverty alleviation, we encourage you to apply for NCIIA’s NEW E-Team Program.
The following institutional representatives must verify their support of your proposal by responding to an automated email request from the grants system (triggered within the online proposal process) prior to final submission.
Principal Investigator (PI)
The Principal Investigator takes primary responsibility for the proposal and will have overall responsibility for the grant and reporting. Ideally, a tenured or tenure-track faculty and/or staff member serves as the Principal Investigator. Co-PIs are allowed but 1 lead PI must be identified. Students cannot serve as Principal Investigators.
Administrative Contact (AC)
The NCIIA defines the Administrative Contact as a grants administrator or fiscal officer authorized to commit the institution to the terms of the grant. Often, the AC is someone in your institution's Office of Sponsored Research or an administrator able to manage grant funding within a department or school. Neither the Principal Investigator nor students may serve as the AC.
Department Chair (DC)
The Department Chair (or equivalent) will need to indicate his/her awareness of and support for your proposal as a demonstration of institutional commitment to the proposed program or project.
Applicants should contact their Office of Sponsored Grants/Research or the equivalent well ahead (weeks) of our grant deadline to inform them they want to submit a proposal. Many colleges and universities require a full proposal for administrative review and approval before it can be submitted to NCIIA.
Intellectual Property policies
The NCIIA supports programs that lead to the creation of E-Teams as they work toward commercialization of their inventions. Ownership of discoveries or inventions resulting from activities financed by NCIIA grant funds will be governed by grantee institutions’ intellectual property policies. If a school does not have an intellectual property policy, then the institution must develop an E-Team agreement that establishes ownership of ideas resulting from E-Team work. The NCIIA takes no financial or ownership interest in the projects funded by these grants.
How to apply
All program applications must be submitted online. Anyone on the team may serve as the applicant on a submission. ALL proposal deadlines end at 11:59pm eastern time on the specified due date unless otherwise indicated.
To start, you’ll need to have an NCIIA account. Creating an account is easy, and anyone can do it. To access an existing account or to create a new one, click here. You may start, save, stop, and return to your online proposal at anytime before submitting.
You may preview a PDF of the online application here. PLEASE NOTE: this PDF includes screen shots of NCIIA's 5-step proposal process. The proposal content shown may vary slightly from the Sustainable Vision grant proposal, but steps for the application are the same. This PDF is for preview purposes only.
- Required proposal components combined together in a single PDF (includes the proposal narrative, proposed budget, letter(s) of support, and key team member resumes).
- Additional appendices (optional) up to 5 appendices total, combined together in a single PDF.
- Weblinks (optional) up to 4 links can be included (websites, video links, articles, etc.).
Details on each component are provided below in these guidelines.
- Proposal narrative
- Proposed budget (in the NCIIA template, which should be downloaded here or directly from the proposal application)
- Letter(s) of support (at least 1 is required, up to 3 will be accepted)
- Team member resumes (a maximum of 4 resumes, each limited to 3 pages per resume)
Proposed course and/or program description
- What are you proposing to develop? Be specific - For example, is it a course or a program? Is it is a certificate program, a major or minor, or an extracurricular opportunity? Please differentiate between program elements that exist and anything new that you are proposing.
- What is the technology invention/innovation area of focus?
- Is there an experiential component for students and approximately how many students will be involved?
- How will the proposed course or program lead to the creation of student E-Teams? Are these US-based students or are there teams with both US and international students? (US-based students involvement is required). Is the team multidisciplinary (multidisciplinary teams are encouraged but not required)?
- What are the intended educational, social, and/or environmental impacts?
History and context
- Provide a brief background of how the program or project began and what has been accomplished so far (if anything).
- What gap(s) are you addressing on your campus; what do you feel is missing?
- What institutional and financial support have you received for your work?
Team and partners
- In 1-2 sentences (each), describe the role of the key individuals involved with delivering and supporting the proposed course and/or program.
- Have you identified partners (individuals, community leaders, nonprofits or NGOs, etc.) outside of your institution who will provide connections and access to the field and end-users?
- Have you identified partners who will help promising teams commercialize any resulting technologies? Describe the "entrepreneurial ecosystem" on your campus and in your community that teams can access (other faculty members, departments, entrepreneurship centers, incubators, colleges, etc.). This support may go beyond the proposed course or program, but proposals should demonstrate that support is available for some teams to further develop a path to market.
- How will the team address possible language, cultural, and social barriers? Has the team traveled to the community in which you propose to work?
- How many US-based students will be involved and what roles will they play? Is there a role for non-US based students (not required)?
Work plan and outcomes
- What are the program development milestones you hope to achieve during the grant period? Present in a table format with a timeline.
- How will E-Teams be formed and how many do you anticipate working with per year?
Beyond the grant
- How will you evaluate your course/program beyond student evaluations?
- How will your partners measure success, and how will you include your partners in the evaluation process?
- Will the course or program continue beyond the end of the grant period? If so, how will it be funded? Is your program replicable?
- If your program is international in focus and you have requested funds for travel abroad, how will these expenses be supported beyond the proposed grant period?
2. Proposed budget
Your budget demonstrates to reviewers how you intend to achieve the objectives proposed in your 5-page narrative. NCIIA requires you to use the provided SV budget template which you can download here. Including specific budget justifications is critical piece in helping reviewers understand how you intend to spend grant funds. Provide your justifications in the "justifications" section in the budget template or in a separate sheet.
- Faculty stipend up to $20,000 (may be divided or proposed for 1 person and includes the cost of any applicable fringe benefits)
- Graduate student(s) stipend up to $5,000 (total)
- Expenses related to early implementation of program, including materials & prototypes and testing
- Travel expenses related to network development and program plans or attendance at related meetings - be sure to justify travel expenses and how travel expenses will be sustained beyond the proposed grant period
- Up to 5% institutional overhead if required
Ineligible expenses include, but are not limited to:
- Undergraduate student stipends
- Institutional overhead above 5% of the total budget
3. Letter(s) of support
Letters of support should demonstrate to reviewers that there is ongoing institutional support for your project and/or technical competence and market opportunity in the proposed work. Letters can also serve to verify partnerships discussed in your proposal narrative or verify additional funding to complement the proposed budget. At least 1 letter is required, up to 3 will be accepted.
4. Resumes for key team members
Include resumes from the Principal Investigator and any other key collaborators. We do not need resumes for the Administrative Contact or other non-key team members/collaborators. Up to 4 resumes are allowed and they should be no more than 3 pages each.
Optional supporting documents
Up to 5 additional (optional) supporting documents may be combined into 1 PDF file and uploaded as an appendix item. Relevant supporting materials including curricula, photographs, and syllabi are welcome.
Note: Sheer volume of material is not an asset. Reviewers are directed to use supporting materials only to supplement the 5-page narrative. Therefore, key information should be included in the narrative.
Weblinks and/or videos
In addition to supporting documents, applicants may upload up to 4 links to websites, online articles, videos and other relevant online data that will inform and provide context for the proposed program.
- Submitted proposals are reviewed by external panels of reviewers made up of individuals from academia, industry, non-profits, and NGOs and development experts from the US and around the world.
- NCIIA strives to notify applicants of the status of their proposals via email within 90 days of the submission deadline. In some cases, NCIIA may ask for additional information and/or clarification after the proposal has been submitted.
- All applicants and PIs will receive notification via email as to whether or not their proposal has been selelcted for funding. In most cases, proposals are either funded or rejected. If your proposal is rejected, detailed reviewer comments are not shared in writing but applicants may contact NCIIA if they are interested in hearing a summary of reviewer feedback.
- Occasionally, reviewers invite a team to resubmit their proposal in a future cycle for re-consideration, after certain concerns or questions are addressed. Applicants invited by reviewers to resubmit should contact NCIIA to discuss the reviewer feedback in detail and make sure they understand the questions and concerns raised. Resubmitted proposals must specify how previous concerns have been addressed. We strongly suggest teams resubmitting clearly mark a section of the narrative "Addressing Previous Reviewer Concerns."
- Funds are awarded to US-based colleges and universities.
- The Principal Investigator will receive a formal notification letter and approved budget.
- NCIIA will send an award letter contract for signature to the Administrative Contact identified by the team. Once this award letter is signed and returned to NCIIA, funds can be disbursed.
- Sustainable Vision grant recipients are required to attend a 1-time workshop during NCIIA’s Annual Conference in March. The gathering is an opportunity to share your work, learn about periodic program evaluation and follow-through, and discuss the dissemination of transferable models and materials. In addition to the grant, a stipend for travel and other workshop/NCIIA annual conference expenses will be provided to approved grantees.
Reporting for grantees
Reporting requirements will be outlined in the award letter. Principal Investigators for NCIIA grants are responsible for reporting on grant activities within a specified timeframe and are prompted via email (usually once each year) to complete reports online. Failure to submit reports may jeopardize your institution’s eligibility for future grants and pending payments. If you receive a grant, reporting deadlines will be detailed in your award letter. Click here to preview sample interim and final reports.
Congratulations, you read the guidelines!
Please note that applicants may not submit both a Sustainable Vision grant and a Course and Program Grant for the same idea during the same grant cycle.
If you are still unsure about whether your idea is a fit, email a 1-paragraph abstract for feedback to email@example.com or call the grants team at (413) 587-2172.
- About NCIIA
- Meet our grantees
- For students
- For faculty
- Specialty training programs
- Annual conference
- NCIIA in the news
- Contact us