MACES Call for Research Proposals, Phase II, AY 17/18

 MACES (Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing) serves as a nexus for UC Merced nanomaterials-based research and education. The Center promotes innovative and collaborative research in functional nanomaterials for energy and sensing for NASA missions, while simultaneously addressing terrestrial needs for disease diagnosis and for clean and renewable energy. The Center also aims to develop a pipeline for the STEM workforce through interdisciplinary graduate training, mentored undergraduate research, as well as high school and community outreach. The Center promotes collaboration with NASA.
To sharpen research foci and accomplish the Center’s goals in research and education, MACES is issuing a call for proposals for research projects for AY 2017/18.     
1. Scope:  Although MACES supports two types of projects: core projects (see description in the appendix) and seed projects, only seed projects are considered in this phase.
Seed projects:  The seed program will support high-risk and high-reward projects that promote synergy within a research thrust and/or potentially nucleate new collaborative research directions within the Center and/or new collaborative projects with NASA research facilities.  
2. Proposal call timelines:

1. Proposal call: Oct 10th. 

2. Informational session: 12:30PM, Oct 16th, S&E2 302. 

3. Proposal deadline: Oct 30th. 

4. Award notification: Nov 9th.   

3. Proposal guidelines: Note: All documents should be combined into a single PDF document and sent to
A.  Abstract: 250 words maximum.
B.  Project narrative: maximum of three pages using the template (Appendix 1)
C.  References: please include full author lists and article titles in the bibliography (one page maximum). 

D. Statement on education and outreach: In half a page, describe how the project will advance Center’s mission in STEM work force development and how the project will prepare students for NASA internship programs.

E.  A 2-page NSF- formatted CV for each of the investigators and graduate students involved. Please include current and pending support in the investigator’s CV.
F.  Budget page: Using the budget template (Appendix 2) 
6. Budget guidelines.  Limits apply to each proposed project
•  We expect to fund up to 3 seed projects in Phase II proposal call, depending on the quality of the proposals and availability of funds. 
• Since this is an internal proposal call, indirect costs are not applicable in the budget request.
• All UCM senate faculty are eligible to apply in this phase.    
• As with all federal awards, the standard expectations around the allow abiltiy of individual expenditures will apply to these awards.
• The project may support the stipend, tuition and fees of MACES graduate student fellows (US citizens only) during Spring, 2018 (0.5 AY FTE =1 semester GSR support of a student at 50% effort level, or ~ $ 17 K in direct costs) as well as materials, supplies, facility user fees. 
 • Graduate students who do not receive student support from MACES but will contribute to the project will be included in the proposal as MACES graduate students in the personnel table in the budget request. Any student contributing to a MACES project is eligible to apply for one travel award per year as well as MACES summer fellowships. 
 • MACES may consider exceptions to the budget limits specified in the budget guideline. However, strong justification must be provided. Computer purchases are not allowed per NASA policy. 
 Please refer to Appendix 3 for more detailed budgetary guidelines. 
 7. Responsibilities: Failure to meet the responsibilities described below may lead to suspension, revocation, or recoupment of funding, and/or ineligibility for future funding from MACES. Faculty • Submit materials/information requested for NASA reports on time (three times per year).  • Attend Center meetings, including relevant thrust meetings, advisory board meetings, and Technical Review Committee meetings. • Sign up for education/outreach events.   • Seek Center’s approval for any changes in the scope of work or personnel on the project.  • Fully acknowledge MACES support in publications and presentations reporting work performed with MACES support. Below is a sample acknowledgement: “the work was supported by Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES), a NASA funded research and education center, under award NNX15AQ01.” Investigators should contact the Director or the Executive Committee if any questions arise regarding how to acknowledge the Center.  • Investigators receiving funding must nominate at least one qualified undergraduate student (GPA 3.0 or above and at least one semester of research experience) or a graduate
student in good academic standing for NASA internship in summer 2018. We expect investigators to nominate students who will be successful in the internship program and help establish NASA connections. The investigator’s past and future contributions to the internship program will be considered in funding decisions.  
MACES fellows/graduate students • Attend thrust meetings and Center wide meetings/events. • Submit end-of-semester reports (MACES fellows only) and annual reports (all MACES graduate students).  • Participate in education/outreach event(s), at least one for MACES graduate students and two for MACES fellows.
6. Evaluation criteria and process (Percentages shown below are the relative weights used in evaluating the merits of each proposal. The weight depends on whether the project is a Core or Seed project.)
Criteria • Scientific/technical merit of the proposed research40% for Seed Projects.  § Significance and impact, deliverables, novelty and feasibility.  § Are the resources requested a good match for the scope of the work proposed? • NASA Need (Technical Readiness Level, see description in the linked web page) and Connection (Evidence) of proposed research20% for Seed Projects• Collaboration20% for Seed Projects.  How does the project promote the synergy of MACES’s research agenda? How would the success of the project benefit from the synergies provided by the Center?  To what extent does the collaboration utilize complementary expertise and perspectives to enable innovative (or potentially transformative), high impact research? • Sustainability 20% for Seed Projects. Does the proposal provide a sound plan to leverage the MACES support to secure additional external funding to sustain the research effort?
• Education and NASA workforce development: The academic preparation and research productivity of the students. Involvement of underrepresented groups. Projects that train graduate students for internships will receive a higher priority. 
Other considerations by MACES:  • Fulfillment of faculty responsibilities and contributions to center services such as outreach. 
• MACES will conduct reviews and rank proposals based on the criteria listed above.   Funding recommendations will be considered and approved by the Executive Committee.  Due to budget constraints, MACES may need to reduce the budget, even for wellreviewed proposals.    
Appendix 1. Project Narrative Template
Page limit: 3. The guidelines can be deleted. However, do not change the margins of the template (1”).  Use 12 pt Times New Roman font. 
Proposed work • Background. • Project goal and specific aims.   • Significance, impact and innovation, and NASA relevance.* - Please indicate how research is relevant to NASA mission directorates, roadmaps, and other NASA related standards. It is critical to reference documentation from Mission Directorates or NASA Centers on research paths.  - 2015 Roadmap:,  - 2017 NASA Aeronautics Research: - NASA-Glenn Center: -   - If applicable, please offer evidence of NASA collaboration (collaborator’s name and specific tasks for that collaborator) for the proposed work. • Research methodology. Describe in sufficient detail the methodology that will be used to accomplish the specific aims. Include a clear set of deliverables for the project period that will help evaluate the success of the project.  • Programmatic fit. How does the project strengthen MACES’s research themes? How would the project benefit from the synergies provided by the Center?  To what extent does the collaboration utilize complementary expertise and perspectives to enable innovative (or potentially transformative), high impact research? • Sustainability. Describe how you plan to leverage the MACES support to secure additional external funding to sustain the research effort.
Appendix 2: Budget
Table 1:  List of MACES fellows, whose tuition/fees and stipends are supported by MACES. Please attach their CVs, transcripts, and nomination letters separately. Support level for Spring, 2018 is equivalent to that of 49.9% GSR, or ~ $ 17K in direct costs. NASA regulation prohibits MACES from involving personnel from sensitive countries, including Iran, Iraq, and North Korea in a NASA funded project. 
Table 2: List of MACES graduate students, whose tuition/fees and stipends are supported by other funding sources. Please attach their CVs and transcripts separately. NASA regulation prohibits MACES from involving personnel from sensitive countries, including Iran, Iraq and North Korea in a NASA funded project.  
Table 3: Materials, supplies and user fees. 
Budget justifications: Each of the investigators should provide a detailed justification of the materials, supplies and user fees request. 
MACES fellows Name PI Nationality Start year in the graduateprogram
% effort:  (24.9% or 49.9%)
Specific responsibilities in the project.
MACES graduate student Name PI Nationality Start year in the graduate program
Funding source for student support
Specific responsibilities in the project and percentage of effort committed to the project.                  
 Lead-investigatorCo-investigator 1Co-investigator 2 Name:    Amount of Materials, supplies and user fees   
Appendix 3: Detailed Budget Guidelines
 Seed project budget
 Amount per project Number of graduate students supported (MACES fellow)  1-2, maximum of 1 per investigator. (US citizens required*)  Materials and supplies Single investigator proposal: up to $ 4,000 for one student.  $1000 extra may be requested for each additional student, up to a total of two students.**
Multi-investigator proposal: up to $ 8000 for two students.    $1000 extra may be requested for each additional student, up to a total of two students.** Travel Not included in the budget. All MACES fellows and graduate students giving oral or poster presentations will be eligible to apply for $500 travel award each year.  Undergraduate support Not included in the budget. All investigators are invited to participate in the MACES UC Merced undergraduate research program as well as the summer undergraduate research program.
*NASA encourages support of US citizens due to its mission in workforce development. In addition, NASA internship requires US citizenship. ** Due to limited budget on materials and supplies, MACES may choose to reduce the amount considering the nature of the work (measurement, synthesis, or theoretical) and possibility of sharing supplies between two funded projects.
Appendix 4: Description of Core Projects
 Core projects on the topics listed below will involve meritorious, innovative, and collaborative research that will advance the research goals of MACES detailed in the original Center proposal in the following two thrust areas:  • Energy thrust: integrated photovoltaics, electrocatalysis for energy conversion, energy storage, and low-energy triggered submolecular switches. • Sensing thrust: sensing nanomaterials, single molecule characterization of biosensor molecular recognition, and integrated platforms.            Experimental approaches that significantly deviate from those originally proposed are acceptable if the original approaches are unlikely to accomplish the project goals due to unexpected technical difficulties. However, prior consultation with the Center director is strongly encouraged in these instances. Proposals may be submitted by a single investigator or a small group of faculty. Single investigator proposals will be considered for funding only if they involve NASA in a substantive way or require the synergies of the Center to be successful. Projects that are not collaborative and/or complementary to ongoing efforts in the Center are a better fit for traditional single PI funding mechanisms and hence will not be considered by MACES. In addition, projects should align with the NASA technology roadmap and ideally have target end users at NASA.