SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team Industry neXt Feasibility ... SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team Industry

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  • SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team Industry neXt Feasibility Grants


    ANNOUNCEMENT: Notice of Solicitation for Grant applications as funded by the SCRA Academia Collaboration Team (SACT)

    AWARD TYPE: Grant

    ESTIMATED NUMBER OF AWARDS: up to 3 awards

    MAXIMUM GRANT AMOUNT: up to $100,000, inclusive of 20% indirect costs (if applicable)

    SOLICITATION PERIOD: February 1st, 2019 to March 29, 2019

    PERFORMANCE PERIOD: Not to exceed 12 months

    SUBMISSION DEADLINE: The deadline for receipt of applications under this Solicitation is March 29th, 2019 at 5:00 PM EDT. No applications or supplemental materials submitted in response to this solicitation will be accepted after the deadline.


    SCRA fuels South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in academia, entrepreneurship and industry. SCRA works with industry to identify market trends and validate the commercial relevance of academic research that it funds. SCRA and the Comprehensive Research Universities (CRUs) executed a Strategic Collaboration Agreement to build the State’s innovation economy (Collaboration Agreement), which is located in Appendix A. The Collaboration Agreement outlines the services SCRA will provide to deliver the following goals:

    • Increase research funding via multi-institutional grants and other new funding vehicles • Create and advance early-stage, technology-based companies • Increase total capital investment • Form public/private partnerships generating growth of the state’s industry.

    The signatories of the Collaboration Agreement agreed that it would serve as the foundation for SCRA’s support to not only the CRUs but to all public academic institutions within the state. The SACT was formed to design and implement programs to fulfill the Collaboration Agreement. The SACT is a nine-member committee with representatives from the CRUs, public primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs), the public technical college system, industry and SCRA.

    The initial efforts of the SACT have focused on the formation of Research Alliances (RAs) to expand the economic impact of academic research in South Carolina. The RAs are founded on a critical mass of high caliber talent, infrastructure, financial resources, intellectual property and research with translational relevance. The RA primary objectives are to cultivate national recognition as a leading research center, foster industry engagement, and create high-wage jobs. The SACT defined the key criteria for qualifying as an RA as the following:

  • SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team Industry neXt Feasibility Grants


    • Addresses industry needs in a growing market with economic significance for the state • Brings together existing resources across multiple institutions to rise to a level of national

    repute • Has a clear path to attracting follow-on funding and resources • Creates an opportunity for jobs, workforce development and business growth

    In furtherance of its mission, the SACT is evaluating the feasibility of establishing a Research Alliance in advanced manufacturing. SCRA and its academic partners are branding this potential Research Alliance as Industry neXt. As part of the feasibility assessment, the SACT is issuing this solicitation to ascertain engagement, sustainability, and potential impact of the Research Alliance.

    In addition to SACT funding, the SCRA Academic Programs division awards grant funding through the Academic Startup Assistance Program, the SBIR/STTR Matching Grant Program, and the Maturation Fund Matching Grant to advance technologies or enable academic engagement with industry.


    Industry neXt is the convergence of digital information and communications technologies with manufacturing processes to drive real-time control of energy, productivity, and costs across factories and companies. Smart manufacturing and the digital thread are encompassed within this scope. SCRA’s academic constituents prioritized ten sub-programs within Industry neXt that draw upon the expertise and infrastructure available within South Carolina. For this RFA, proposals must entail research in at least one of the following fields:

    • Robotics, Sensors, and Control Systems

    • IIoT: creation of innovations including smart products, smart production systems, smart factories, and smart logistics running in a decentralized and dynamic fashion

    • Additive Manufacturing: enabled by IIoT or smart manufacturing

    • Digital Manufacturing, Design, and/or Visualization

    • Human/Machine Interface

    • Artificial Intelligence: includes machine learning

    • Human/System Training: includes innovative training modalities (virtual, augmented, or mixed reality)

    • Logistics/Risk Management/Supply Chain Management: enabled by IIoT or smart manufacturing

    • Big Data and Cloud Computing for manufacturing

    • Cybersecurity for manufacturing

    Applications must either advance commercially relevant research or acquire equipment that will be used by multiple Constituent Institutions and made available on a state-wide basis. Applications must establish how the funding will contribute to the state-wide Industry neXt Research Alliance and lead to obtaining follow-on funding from sources such as industry and the federal government to continue development. The SACT is requesting applications from collaborative teams involving multiple Constituent Institutions and industry that will provide near-term, measurable outcomes and create potential commercial viability

  • SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team Industry neXt Feasibility Grants


    or industry validation in this field. Priority will be given to applications that address challenges presented by a South Carolina-based industry partner. For applications engaging with an industry partner, applicants must provide an accompanying Letter of Support verifying the unmet need.


    Applications will be accepted only from degree-conferring, public institution of post-secondary education in South Carolina, including CRUs, PUIs and technical colleges (defined herein as “Constituent Institutions”).

    All applications must include collaboration between or among: 1) at least two Constituent Institutions or 2) one Constituent Institution and at least one industry partner.

    Previous recipients of SACT Feasibility Grant funding are not eligible to submit under this solicitation during the performance period of their previous grant.


    The deadline for submitting applications is 5:00 PM EDT, March 29th, 2019. Applicants who fail to complete an application in accordance with this solicitation and the application guidelines are subject to disqualification at the outset of the review period or any time during the review period.

    SCRA will undertake a preliminary review for alignment with the strategic criteria (see “Review Criteria”) and compliance with this solicitation. Compliant applications that meet the strategic criteria will be sent for external technical review. The SACT will convene in May 2019 to determine the awards based on the results of the external technical review and the strategic review conducted by the SACT. Approval for projects will be based on the vote of SACT members in attendance (in person or via phone).


    SCRA will host a Question and Answer webinar on February 14, 2019 at 10:00 AM EST. During the webinar, there will be an opportunity for manufacturers to share their Industry neXt challenges with academic researchers to enable collaboration for this solicitation. The session will also be recorded and subsequently posted on the SCRA website at Below is the link to register for the webinar:

    SCRA will send information on how to join the webinar upon registration.


    Applications will be evaluated pursuant to the Technical and Strategic Criteria. SCRA engages external subject matter experts to conduct the technical review, the results of which are provided to the SACT. The SACT then conducts a review of the strategic criteria, which has been informed by the results of the technical review, to determine each application’s score.

  • SCRA-Academia Collaboration Team Industry neXt Feasibility Grants


    Technical Criteria:

    The external technical review will be conducted substantially in accordance with the National Science Foundation Merit Review Criteria on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the highest score and 1 being the lowest. The criteria are as follows: Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and

    Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

    1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to:

    a. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different