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Northern Virginia Region: Industry-Faculty Collaboration Acceleration Program (IFCAP)

Notice of intent to submit proposal: March 1, 2022

Objective

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and intelligence. With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the Commonwealth's economic development and long-term leadership in the cybersecurity sector.

As a means to improve cybersecurity research and development productivity, reduce costs, and accelerate translational research, the CCI’s NoVa Node seeks to facilitate, fund and accelerate collaboration between industry/government entities and university faculty. While academia excels at fundamental research, industry leads in development and delivery of new technologies and processes to market. The Industry-Faculty Collaboration Acceleration Program (IFCAP) will advance the CCI NoVa Node’s strategic goal to develop an ecosystem which fully utilizes existing private sector capabilities, in combination with those of the academic community, in order to pursue and maximize collaborative, commercially viable cybersecurity research and development (R&D) opportunities in the region. With seed funding provided through IFCAP, CCI NoVa Node will facilitate opportunities for industry/government and academia to combine strengths, leveraging respective expertise to accelerate translation and reducing costs to move new cybersecurity advances to market.

Industry/government entities with operations located in the Commonwealth of Virginia are invited to collaborate with CCI Nova Node faculty on existing or new cybersecurity R&D efforts which promise to address Cybersecurity challenges associated with sectors of special interest to the CCI Northern Virginia (NoVa) Node including national defense, infrastructure, transportation, electric/power distribution, manufacturing sectors and resilience of cyber systems to human behavior.

In summary, objectives of this call include:

  • Advance commercially relevant cybersecurity-related technologies, processes, algorithms, prototypes, or inventions to address cybersecurity challenges related to national defense, infrastructure security, transportation, electric/power distribution, manufacturing or resilience of cyber systems to human behavior;
  • Leverage resources across industry/government and academia to reduce costs and accelerate technological advances;
  • Facilitate and accelerate collaboration between CCI NoVa Node university faculty and industrial/government research enterprises within the Commonwealth of Virginia;
  • Expand opportunities for academic faculty to engage in applied research;
  • Expand industry/government awareness of academic expertise within Northern Virginia;
  • Position CCI NoVa Node researchers to be competitive for government and industry funding of research to fortify and secure cyber systems.

 

Schedule

Call released

Jan. 14, 2022

Notice of intent to submit proposal

March 1, 2022

Full proposals due

March 21, 2022

Award announced

May 9, 2022 (approximate date)

Period of performance

May 30, 2022 - May 30, 2023


 

Program Description

Under Industry-Faculty Collaboration Acceleration Program (IFCAP), CCI NoVa Node faculty may apply for and receive up to $80K of funding to support their contributions to R&D efforts identified, curated, and developed with and/or by one or more industry/government partner(s). The industry or government partner will provide guidance on the R&D challenge, market relevance and demand, and supply in kind support for the project such as personnel, equipment, access to laboratory or manufacturing space, or other assets required for the project to advance the desired deliverable(s). The industry/government entity contributions should be quantified and specified in the proposal budget, as well as additive to the overall project and in addition to the $80K provided to the academic partner under IFCAP. Industry or government entity material participation in the project is essential to ensure that the mutual contributions of both the industry/government partner and faculty are strategically and collaboratively applied to advance the commercially relevant commodity. University faculty will provide vision, expertise, time, graduate and/or undergraduate student assistance, equipment, computing time, or other relevant assets to support their contribution to the work as outlined in their $80K budget submission. Desired outcomes of this collaboration will be advancement of cybersecurity R&D, exposure of industry/government to university expertise and resources, and exposure of faculty to applied research opportunities and new perspective on how to apply their expertise, experience and research advances to market driven cybersecurity needs.

Start-up companies, as well as established companies and government entities, with offices and activities in the Commonwealth of Virginia­­­­ are encouraged to serve as partners under the IFCAP. More than one industry/government partner with operations in the Commonwealth of Virginia and/or more than one CCI NoVa Node academic institution of higher ed may participate in a single proposal. Note that no IFCAP funds can be transferred to the industry/government entity(s). Only CCI NoVa Node Institutions of higher ed may receive and spend the resources under the IFCAP award. 

In some instances, it may be desirable or necessary for partners to complete a mutual NDA. There is no requirement for an NDA but, if desired, it may be accomplished either before the proposal is submitted or after proposal award. A template for consideration is attached as an appendix. Please note that universities and industry partners may have varying versions of the template NDA and the final version of an appropriate NDA should be negotiated between the partners. CCI has no interest in such negotiations but provides the template as a resource.

Faculty and industry/government partners who are working jointly to develop new innovations that are supported directly with CCI funds must work with the Office of Technology Transfer at the home academic institution of the faculty PI to develop agreements regarding IP. In general, inventions conceived or first introduced to practice during the course of work under IFCAP shall remain the property of the inventing party. In the event of joint inventions, the parties shall establish their respective rights by negotiations between them and memorialize in a joint Research and Development Agreement. If two or more of the parties are at different institutions, an inter-institutional Agreement may be required. If one or more of the parties work for the Federal Government, the parties may be required to grant license or other rights to the Government to inventions, data, and other information. George Mason University’s Office of Technology Transfer serves as a resource and will make available standard template agreements to streamline the agreement process. However, if the terms of the standard agreement provided are not acceptable to either party, both parties may enter into a longer negotiation to establish a new appropriate agreement. 

Eligibility

Who May Serve as PI:
Researchers and faculty members at public institutions of higher ed in the CCI NoVa Node (i.e., George Mason University, Germanna Community College, James Madison University, Lord Fairfax Community College (becoming Laurel Ridge), University of Mary Washington, NoVa Community College), who are deemed eligible by their home institution to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) on an external grant are eligible to apply.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Academic Institution:
There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI: 
An eligible researcher may participate on at most 3 proposals in this call, and may submit at most 1 proposal as the Principal Investigator.

Limit on Number of Proposals with Industry/Government Partner Entity:
There is no limit to the number of proposals that an industry/government partner entity may participate in, however awards will only be made to a single proposal associated with each entity. Note Industry/government partners must have some operations/offices in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Expressions of intent:

Principal investigators (PIs) intending to submit a proposal must send a brief email Expression of Intent to Submit Proposal to NoVACCI@gmu.edu by February 14, 2022. This email Expression of Intent should contain:

o   The name and academic institution affiliation of the PI, email and address

o   The name of the industry/government partner entity, a POC, email and address

o   The primary R&D topic (e.g., draft working title of proposal if known) addressed by their planned proposal described in 4-8 sentences.

Awards

Total Amount of Funding for this Program:

$400,000

Maximum Award Amount:
$80,000 per proposal

Award Conditions:
Successful applicants are expected to participate fully in the activities of CCI including providing materials needed for periodic reports, participation in CCI meetings, and responding to data collection requests by the CCI. All publications and presentations resulting from the grant should acknowledge support from the NoVa Node of the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI).

 

Proposal Format

Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 12-point font and single line spacing. The required proposal format is outlined below.

●      Title page (1 page)

o   Title of the proposed project, and the name, affiliation, and contact information for the Principal Investigator (PI), as well as co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs) including investigator(s)/participants from industry/government partner.

●      Proposed Research (up to 4 pages)

o   Rationale: Discussion of the technical background, previous findings, scientific, and commercial justification for the R&D. This should include project objectives, outcomes, and intellectual and commercial merit of the proposed work.

o   Justification for Collaboration: Describe the expertise, relevance, importance, and strength of the academic contribution to the R&D effort, including previous related accomplishments, publications, grants, related contributions to the area of interest, and relevant previous collaborations.

o   Research Plan: What exactly will be done? How will the objectives be met? What are the processes, strategies, methods, studies, testing, trials, or development activities required, and milestones and deliverables for the project? IP and other trade secrets may be protected in this narrative, but sufficient information must be provided for reviewers to assess the feasibility and merit of the scope of the project with the time and resources requested

o   Deliverable(s): Summarize the expected deliverables for the project (algorithm, process, testing results, proof of concept, demonstration, intellectual property, policy, or guidance etc.). Ensure that deliverable(s) can be achieved given the quantity of resources provided and the period of performance.

●      Plan for Impact on the commonwealth (up to 1 page)

o   Explain how the work will enhance the competitiveness of the industry/government entity in the national commercial sector and support economic development/impact in the Commonwealth of Virginia (e.g. job growth, contract awards etc.).

●      References (not included in the page count)

●      Letter of Support from industry/government partner including the following components (1 page for each industry/government entity if more than one involved):

o   Industry/Government Entity Name and Address

o   Name of project as designated by Industry/government entity

o   Name of personnel who will participate in the project as partners with the PI and other project personnel

o   Commitment to provide the resources outlined as industry/government entity contributions in the budget

o   Signature of Person with authority to assure the described commitments

●      Budget (not included in the page count)

o   A detailed budget spreadsheet must be included, as well as a budget justification.  A summary of required categories for the budget are provided in the Appendix of the Call for Proposals. The Period of Performance for this grant is May 30, 2022 – May 30, 2023 However, the budget should reflect the ability to utilize all potentially awarded funds before April 30, 2023.  

o   Facilities & Administration (F&A) costs are not allowed.

o   Industry/Government Contributions over and above the University requested resources

●      Bio sketch (up to 2 pages for each academic institution investigator, using NSF format) and brief bio (1 paragraph) for each Industry/government partner participant on team.

Proposal Submission

The proposal must be submitted to NoVACCI@gmu.edu no later than the close of business day (5:00 p.m.) on March 21, 2022. All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF attachment, file name called: CCI IFCAP PIName.pdf to an email with subject line: CCI IFCAP Research Call.

Proposals and budgets need not go through the approval process at the PI’s institution in advance of submission to the program. However, if your proposal is selected for award, the budget must be submitted through the appropriate budget approval process at each of the universities associated with award distribution (including subawards). For instance, many universities require researchers to include a proposal and budget which have been approved in the standard OSP pre-award procedure. The final award will be pending approval of the budget by your University’s processes and procedures.

 

Evaluation Criteria

Priority will be given to proposals with

●      Relevance to cybersecurity in CCI NoVa Node’s strategic focus areas of national defense, infrastructure security, transportation, electric/power distribution, manufacturing or resilience of cyber systems to human behavior

●      Feasibility and soundness of project plan in terms of achieving objectives, with requested and contributed resources, and within period of performance.

●      Strength and relevance of academic expertise and proposed contributions of academic partners to R&D project goals and deliverables

●      Economic impact on industry and Commonwealth of Virginia

 

Contact Information for Questions about this Call for Proposals

Questions regarding this Call for Proposals should be submitted in writing to NoVACCI@gmu.edu

 

APPENDIX

Format for Budget

The following are the minimum categories that must be included in budget however PIs are encouraged to use templates typically used for proposals at their institution, ensuring that the following categories are included as relevant.

Academic Partner Request

Personnel Salary

1.    Faculty, Post-Docs, Admin Faculty

2.    Staff

3.    Graduate Students

4.    Undergraduate Students

5.    Other Wage

Fringe benefits

1.    Faculty, Post-Docs, Admin Faculty

2.    Staff

3.    Graduate Students

4.    Undergraduate Students

5.    Other Wage

Travel

Supplies

1.    Technical Laboratory

2.    Computer/related

Equipment

Participant Support

1.    Subsistence/Per Diem

2.    Stipend

3.    Other

Sub-Contracts (Detailed budgets for all Sub-awards must be provided in additional tabs)

1.    First 25K

2.    Balance

Other Direct Costs

Total Amount Requested by CCI Institution of Higher Ed (not to exceed $80k)

 

Industry/Government Entity(s) Contribution

Personnel

Travel

Supplies

Equipment

Other Direct Contributions

Total Amount Contributed by Industry/Government Partner(s)(no limits)

NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

Between

      UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE

And

     

This Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”), effective      , 201      (the “Effective Date”), is made by and between      , [a      corporation] (hereinafter referred to as "     ”), and       University/College (hereinafter referred to as "     ”), an educational institution and agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Together,       and       shall be referred to as the “Parties”, and individually as a “Party”. 

 

The Parties recognize that it may be necessary or desirable to exchange information for the purpose of discussions on       (“Purpose”).  

 

With respect to such information, the Parties agree as follows:

 

(1)     “Proprietary Information” is any information originated, owned, or controlled by the disclosing Party, that has not been previously published or otherwise disclosed to the general public or previously available without restriction to the receiving Party or others, which the disclosing Party desires to protect against unrestricted disclosure or competitive use, and which is furnished pursuant to this NDA and appropriately identified as being Proprietary Information when furnished. Such Proprietary Information may include by way of example but without limitation, computer source codes, diagrams, processes, designs, sketches, photographs, specifications, reports, studies, findings, electronic files, invention disclosures, patent applications, technical and scientific information, research data, draft publications, technical reports, research plans, business plans, financial reports, projections.

 

(2)     In order for Proprietary Information disclosed by one Party to the other to be protected in accordance with this NDA, it must be: (a) in writing; (b) clearly identified as Proprietary Information at the time of its disclosure by each page thereof being marked with a legend stating “Proprietary Information” by the disclosing Party; and (c) delivered to the individual designated in Paragraph (3) below, or his/her designee. Where the Proprietary Information has not been or cannot be reduced to writing at the time of disclosure and such disclosure is made verbally and with prior assertion of proprietary rights therein, such verbally disclosed Proprietary Information shall only be protected in accordance with this NDA if written summaries of the proprietary aspects of the verbal disclosures are delivered to the individual identified in Paragraph (3) below, within ten (10) calendar days of the oral disclosures. The orally disclosed information shall be treated as Proprietary Information for the ten calendar day period.  Neither Party shall identify information as proprietary which is not, in good faith, believed to be Proprietary Information as defined in Paragraph (1).

 

(3)     In order for either Party’s Proprietary Information to be protected as described herein, it must be submitted in written form as set forth in Paragraph (2) above to the individuals identified below:

                                                                                                                                                           

For:                                                                  For: 

 

Name:                                                              Name:                                                                

Title:                                                                 Title:                                                                   

Address:                                                           Address:                                                             

                                                                                                                                                           

T:                                                                     T                                                                        

F:                                                                     F:

Email:                                                               Email:

 

(4)    For a period of one (1) year from the date of disclosure, the receiving Party shall:

 

a)     Protect received Proprietary Information from disclosure to third parties with at least the same degree of care (but no less than a reasonable degree of care) as it uses to protect its own proprietary or confidential information of like kind from unauthorized use or disclosure;

 

b)     Limit the access to and dissemination of received Proprietary Information only to those employees or agents of the receiving Party who have a need for such information to fulfill the Purpose stated herein and have been notified of and agree to the obligations imposed by this NDA;

 

c)     Use received Proprietary Information only in furtherance of the Purpose; and

 

d)     Not reproduce received Proprietary Information or incorporate it into derivative works or notes unless necessary to fulfill the Purpose.

 

(5)     Each Party shall, notwithstanding the expiration or termination of this NDA, keep in confidence, and prevent the disclosure to any person or persons outside its organization or to any unauthorized person or persons, any and all information which is received from the other under this NDA and has been protected in accordance with paragraphs (2) and (3) above; provided however, that the receiving Party shall not be liable for disclosure of any such information if the information:

 

 

a)     Was in the public domain at the time it was disclosed, or

 

b)     Becomes part of the public domain without breach of this NDA, or

 

c)     Is disclosed with the written approval of the other Party, or

 

d)     Is disclosed after 1 year from receipt of the information, or

 

e)     Was independently developed by the receiving Party, or

 

f)      Is or was disclosed by the disclosing Party to a third Party without restriction, or

 

g)     Is disclosed pursuant to the provisions of a court order or as otherwise required by law, including, but not limited to, the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (“VFOIA”).

 

The provisions of this paragraph shall supersede the provisions of any inconsistent legend that may be affixed to said data by the disclosing Party, and the inconsistent provisions of any such legend shall be without force or effect.

 

(6)     All Proprietary Information disclosed under this NDA shall be and remain the property of the disclosing Party and nothing contained in this NDA shall be construed as granting or conferring any rights to such Proprietary Information on the other Party. Any Proprietary Information provided by one Party to the other shall be, upon request at any time, or upon completion of the Purpose, returned to the disclosing Party, or destroyed within ten (10) days of the request. Upon request by the disclosing Party, the receiving Party shall provide a certification of destruction of such Proprietary Information.

 

(7)     Proprietary Information shall not be used for any purpose or in any manner that would constitute a violation of any laws or regulations, including without limitation, the export control laws of the United States.  The receiving Party and its affiliates will not export or re-export any information furnished hereunder unless it complies fully with all regulations of the United States relating to such export or re-export.  This information shall be handled in strict accordance with the U.S. export administration regulations, and the receiving Party agrees to comply, and do all things necessary to cause its affiliates to comply, with all applicable federal, state and local laws including, but not limited to, the Regulations of the U.S. Department of Commerce relating to the Export of Technical Data, insofar as they relate to activities to be performed under this NDA.

(8)     Neither Party shall be liable for the inadvertent or accidental disclosure of Proprietary Information if such disclosure occurs despite the Party complying fully with the terms of this NDA.  If either Party loses or makes an unauthorized disclosure of the other Party’s protected information, it shall notify such other Party immediately and take all steps reasonable and necessary to retrieve the lost or improperly disclosed information. 

(9)     The Recipient of Proprietary Information shall promptly notify the disclosing Party of any subpoena, VFOIA request, or other legal process requiring production or disclosure of Proprietary Information and provide reasonable cooperation in opposing the disclosure of the Proprietary Information as requested by the disclosing Party.

 

(10)   In providing any information hereunder, the disclosing Party makes no representations, either express or implied, as to the information’s adequacy, sufficiency, or freedom from defect of any kind, including freedom from any patent infringement that may result from the use of such information.

 

(11)   Notwithstanding the termination or expiration of any Teaming Agreement executed in conjunction with this NDA, the obligations of the Parties with respect to Proprietary Information shall continue to be governed by this NDA.

 

(12)   This NDA contains the entire agreement relative to the protection of information to be exchanged hereunder, and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous oral or written understandings and agreements regarding this issue. This NDA shall not be modified or amended, except in a written instrument executed by the Parties.

 

(13)  Nothing contained in this NDA shall, by express grant, implication, estoppel or otherwise, create in either Party any right, title, interest, or license in or to the inventions, patents, technical data, computer software, or software documentation of the other Party.  Nothing in this NDA shall create an agency, partnership, joint venture, or other similar relationship between the Parties.

 

(14)   Nothing contained in this NDA shall grant to either Party the right to make commitments of any kind for or on behalf of any other Party without the prior written consent of that other Party.

 

(15)  This NDA shall begin on the effective date stipulated at the beginning of this NDA, and shall run for a term of one (1) year.  Either Party may terminate this NDA at any time by providing notice the person identified in Paragraph (3).  Upon termination of this NDA, the Parties shall return or destroy all disclosed Proprietary Information of the other Party within ten days of the termination.

 

(16)   This NDA shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Nothing in this NDA shall be deemed a waiver of the sovereign immunity of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

 

(17)   The Parties agree that the disclosing Party may be irreparably harmed by the disclosure of its Proprietary Information in breach of this NDA and that the disclosing Party may seek injunctive relief against a threatened breach or continuation of any such breach.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties represent that this NDA is executed by duly authorized representatives of each Party as set forth below on the date first stated above.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                  

 

                                                                                

By:                                                                            By:                                                                     

 

Name:                                                                       Name:                                                                 

Title:                                                                          Title:          

                                                                                                                                                           

Date:  ___________________________________      Date: ____________________________________          

 

                                                                                               

                                                                                 Proprietary Information Recipients:

                                                                                 I have read and agree to comply with the requirements herein

 

                                                                                 _________________________________________

                                                                                 Name:    

                                                                                

                                                                                 Date:  ___________________________________