Partnerships for Innovation in Energy: New Funding Round Announced

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Energy Institute's Partnerships for Innovation in Energy Program seeds new interdisciplinary research programs in sustainable energy science, technology, and policy with funding for a University of Michigan Energy Research Fellowship. This fellowship provides a research team with a postdoctoral position. Successful proposals will combine innovative research plans with concrete timelines for establishing independent funding. Proposals are due on March 31, 2014

Program Structure

• Applications are welcomed for new grants from teams of two or more University of Michigan PIs in sustainable energy science, technology and policy.

• Interdisciplinary post-doctoral fellow must be necessary to pursue the new research direction.
• A joint mentorship plan must be provided with the proposal.
• Teams may include private partners, but funds will be dispersed only to Michigan faculty.
• Funds must be used to appoint Energy Institute Research Fellows.
• The Energy Institute will advertise the position through appropriate vehicles.
• Postdoctoral candidates will be vetted by the PIs and the Energy Institute.

Post-doctoral Fellow Vetting Process

The PIs of approved projects will submit candidate resumes to the Review Board. Selected candidates will be invited to Michigan for an interview including a seminar presentation of past research accomplishments. Consensus of the PIs and Review Board will trigger an offer to the candidate. 

Cost Structure

The Energy Institute will provide $40K towards each fellow appointment. In most cases the PIs will be expected to equally supplement this funding to provide a salary of at least $40K and corresponding benefits package. Instrumentation and infrastructure must be substantially in place for the project as these costs are not allowable under the project although this is a valid cost sharing mechanism for new proposals. PI contributions can come from discretionary funds or other suitable sources. For proposals in fields for which such sources of funds are not typically available, the Energy Institute will consider requests to fund a larger fraction of the project budget, if appropriately documented.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria:

• Research excellence, relevance to energy sustainability and anticipated impact
• Infrastructure and research support available from PIs
• Description of a new research direction distinct from ongoing research programs
• Interdisciplinary nature of the team and appropriateness of the funding mechanism (resumes of potential postdoctoral candidates may be included in the submission.) 
• Potential for follow-on funding based on results to be developed with Energy Institute funds

Projects should be identified with respect to their relationship to current Energy Institute themes and primary projects:
• Carbon-free energy sources
• Energy storage and utilization
• Transportation systems and fuels
• Energy policy, economics and societal impact

Seed projects outside the existing Energy Institute initiatives will also be considered. The decision to add a new seed area to the Energy Institute initiative will be an explicit part of the review in this case. Energy Institute will conduct reviews of proposals in consultation with ad hoc reviewers as needed from within the U-M.

Proposal Deadlines

The next round of proposals for funding are due March 31, 2014
PIs can participate in a maximum of one submission each cycle and may have one funded program at a given time. 

Proposal Structure

• Introduction to the problem: 1 page
• Proposed approach: 2 pages • Description of how this will advance the state of the art: 1 page
• Strategy for attracting external funding: 1 page
• PI profiles and mentorship plan: 1-2 pages

Milestones

Nine months after the postdoctoral fellow's appointment date, PIs and the fellow will present their project progress and detailed discussion of the project's past proposals and future submissions.
New grant activity is expected of this program and projects not on this trajectory may be placed on a ramp- down period of nine months maximum at a reduced funding level.
Proposals using results generated on this multi-investigator, interdisciplinary project can be submitted through and administered by the Energy Institute.