Scientific Infrastructure Support for Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research Funding Program
This infrastructure program was established to continue to strengthen U.S. competitiveness in nuclear R&D and ensure that American universities have the best equipment and tools available to educate the next generation of industry leaders.
The FY 2020 Scientific Infrastructure Support for Consolidated Innovative Nuclear Research (CINR) funding program is administered by the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). Applications were due on November 12, 2020, with the anticipated award announcement by July 2021.
The FOA has two areas for universities to apply for funding.
- Area 1 - University Reactor Upgrades Infrastructure Support
- Area 2 - General Scientific Infrastructure Support for Universities
National laboratory infrastructure support is not covered under this FOA. The NSUF utilizes an annual infrastructure gap analysis as a basis for determining specific needs and locations for addressing national laboratory infrastructure support. National laboratories are encouraged to submit scientific infrastructure needs through the Request for Information (RFI) DE-SOL-0008318. The official copy of the RFI is located at grants.gov.
Technical Point of Contact: Brenden Heidrich
208-526-8117 (office) - working from home
Procurement Questions: Andrew Ford
Related Forms and Documents
- Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
- Budget Information for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424A)
- Certifications and Assurances for Use with SF-424
- Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL)
- Department of Energy Merit Review Guide for Financial Assistance
- Federal Assistance Reporting Checklist (DOE F 4600.2)
Question and Answers
Why does the FOA say that proposals for HPC equipment will not be entertained?
The reason for the preclusion in the university scientific infrastructure FOA is that the Department of Energy – Office of Nuclear Energy makes a significant investment in the High-Performance Computing infrastructure at the Idaho National Laboratory. This investment is intended to support researchers nationwide. Access to this infrastructure is provided through the Nuclear Science User Facilities (nsuf.inl.gov) as well as directly through INL (hpcweb.inl.gov).
Here is a good article about (Idaho) universities accessing the INL resources: https://inl.gov/article/inls-supercomputer-a-boon-for-idahos-students/
- Do the INL computational resources support export-controlled codes?
Yes. INL HPC system allow and protect export-controlled codes.
- Do the INL computational resources support foreign nationals not connected in some way to INL or other NSUF users?
No. INL allows foreign nationals to use INL HPC resources as long as there is a connection to INL or a NSUF program.
As further explanation, INL is a multi-mission laboratory with a variety of research programs, not only nuclear energy (https://inl.gov/research-programs/). HPC resources requested directly from INL can support research in any of these mission areas.
NSUF access is funded through DOE-NE, so applications through an NSUF funding call (https://nsuf.inl.gov/Page/rte or https://nsuf.inl.gov/Page/cinr) must be focused on irradiation effects on nuclear fuels or materials, including sensors, aligned with the DOE-NE missions (https://www.energy.gov/ne/about-us).
Specific access or software requirements are handled by the staff in Advanced Scientific Computing.
A Co-PI involved in computational chemistry research already has a computer with necessary software but needs the updated version, as well as a more powerful computer to run the software. Are purchases of software and computer upgrades allowable?
Software upgrades and computers can be included in an application as long as it supports the objectives of the NEUP stated in the FOA including to support, maintain, or enhance the University's capacity to attract and teach high quality students interested in nuclear energy related studies or to build the University's NS&E basic research and education capabilities.
NSUF encourages applications that will benefit the largest number of users. Starting in FY2016, the NSUF is supporting the FALCON supercomputer at Idaho National Laboratory. If an application could be run on the FALCON machine, NSUF could be inclined to purchase the software for installation there and then grant access to the researchers. Anyone with questions on HPC applications should contact NSUF.
Can you clarify the cost sharing/matching section for all the Infrastructure calls?
For General Scientific Infrastructure, cost sharing is encouraged, but not required for projects below $250,000.
For projects above $250,000, the applicant is required to cost match dollar for dollar up to a limit of $2,500,000 in federal funding.
For Reactor Upgrades, cost sharing is encouraged but not required.
I attempted to follow the link to FedConnect but was unable to locate the FOA documents. Can you direct me to where the documents can be viewed?
The combined Funding Opportunity Announcement for General Scientific Infrastructure and Reactor Upgrades can be found on both Grants.gov. If an applicant has difficulty locating the documents, or has any other questions regarding the FOA, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does this FOA allow proposals involving a suite of instruments (from multiple vendors), or do we need to confine ourselves to a single instrument from one vendor?
Section 1.A.1 of the FOA has the following guidance (in part)
The infrastructure requested should be individual, discrete, and definable items or capabilities that will:
• Focus on a single, synergistic goal or capability. A proposal made of several uncorrelated equipment requests in does not meet the goals of this FOA.
This does not mean that you can’t request a suite of instruments, rather it recommends that they have a relationship to each other and to a goal important to the R&D objectives of the DOE-Office of Nuclear Energy.
I received an award last year and that contract will still be open in FY2021. Am I eligible to submit an application to the open FY2021 Scientific Infrastructure call?
Eligibility requirements are discussed in Part III of the FOA. There is nothing to keep an awardee with an open project from applying to the FY2021 FOA.
Applicants should refer to Section V.A.3 Other Selection Factors for additional guidance. That section says (in part):
Program Policy Factors. The selection official may also consider the following program policy factors in the selection process under all FOA areas, as appropriate (not listed in order of importance)
• The demonstrated ability of the applicant to complete projects in the specified timeframe. This includes prior year DOE applicant awards in progress or not yet completed, as well as any existing or pending no-cost extensions.
In regard to matching funds, can we use some of the non-federal student support funds as matching funds?
Applicants are required to provide support letters for any matching included in the application. It shall be the applicant's responsibility to identify the funds available to support the match and to ensure the use of the funds (to support installation and/or facility upgrades for the equipment included in the application) do not violate any requirements invoked by the funding source and the funds intended use. Non-federal student support funds do not appear to be intended for the purposes required by this FOA. The applicant should make sure to explicitly explain in the application how the cost match will be accomplished.
Is the support limited to instruments related expenses only or can we request any funds to support students/lab assistants and/or research related activities?
For GSI, an application MAY include the purchase, set-up, and vendor installation costs for equipment and instrumentation, as well as building modifications that immediately support the installation and operation of the equipment.
Is this a limited submission opportunity (each university can submit only one proposal)?
Can PIs still link General Scientific Infrastructure and R&D projects together similar to opportunities in previous years?
What qualifies as a vendor under this FOA? Does a vendor have to be a commercial entity or can it be a manufacturing facility at a university?
The NSUF does not make distinctions between different types of vendors. Past applications have involved procurement of commercial equipment and custom-manufactured equipment.
For Reactor Upgrades, applications can be submitted for all equipment and instrumentation and associated facility upgrade requests that support nuclear energy-related R&D or education at university research reactors.
The application CANNOT include hiring or other human capital costs or the operation and maintenance of equipment.
It also CANNOT include non-standard installation costs for equipment and instrumentation that are beyond the vendor's standard installation cost.
Personnel or indirect university costs are NOT allowed.
With that being said, the expectation for vendor quotes is the same regardless of vendor. Any vendor quote submitted to this FOA should have as much detail, and have the same attribute and qualities, as a commercial vendor quote. The ability of the vendor to complete the scope of work defined in the application will be taken into account as part of the project implementation review.