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Request for Proposals: COVID-19 Public Health and Economic Impacts in North Carolina

Opportunity Closed on Aug. 1, 2022
Contact: collaboratory@unc.edu

The North Carolina Collaboratory, headquartered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill), is requesting collaborative proposals for applied research and technology development for the purpose of monitoring, assessing, and addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19 in North Carolina.

The program is supported by a $15 million appropriation from the North Carolina General Assembly to support applied research for technology development and commercialization. Businesses partnered with an academic research group will be able to request a minimum of $300,000 and a maximum of $3,000,000 using tiers listed in the application instructions.

Important Update

The application instructions and application templates provided below have been corrected as follows:

  • If a university-business agreement describing intellectual property and data sharing cannot be signed before the submission deadline, applicants may submit a letter of intent instead – please see pages 4-6 of the application instructions PDF.
  • For the cover page, the signature of an Authorized Organizational Representative is not mandatory for UNC-Chapel Hill applicants. Instead, a department-level signature is sufficient.

Application Package

Priority Areas

This program does not have any priority areas beyond the need to support business-academic partnerships that seek to develop new, or apply existing, technology for monitoring, assessing, and addressing the public health and/or economic impacts of COVID-19. This broad solicitation is intended to help businesses and academic research partners work together to propose innovative, collaborative projects that can transform applied research and innovation into technological solutions for the benefit of public health and the economy in North Carolina.

  • Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2022.
  • Award announcements: On or before Sept. 30, 2022.
  • Earliest project start date: Oct. 15, 2022.
  • Latest project end date: Dec. 31, 2025.
  • Anticipated project duration: Up to 36 months.
  • Maximum funding request: Up to $3,000,000 per project.
  • Estimated number of awards: Dependent on application budgets received.
This section will be updated during the open call for proposals. Any questions not covered in this section should be directed to collaboratory@unc.edu.
Who is eligible to apply?
Applications will only be accepted from a Business Partner working with an Academic Research Partner, both of which must meet specific criteria listed in the full application instructions. Both the Business Partner and Academic Research Partner must identify separate, independent principal investigators.
Who should submit the application?
The individual serving as principal investigator for the Business Partner must submit the application to the Collaboratory on behalf of both partners. See application instructions for guidance on submission.
Can applicants submit more than one application?
No. Only one application may be submitted by each Business Partner principal investigator.
Is this a limited submission opportunity for universities (i.e. is each university only allowed to participate in one proposal)?
No. There are no limitations on the number of Academic Research Partner teams at any given institution of higher education within North Carolina.
Can the same individual serve as the principal investigator of both the Business Partner and Academic Research Partner?
No. Each partner must identify a separate principal investigator. No reporting, managerial, financial or supervisory relationship may exist between the two principal investigators. Any potential conflicts of interest pertaining to financial relationships among team members MUST be disclosed in the Project Team template provided in the application package.
Are only UNC System campuses allowed to apply?
No. As per Section 8.12 of Session Law 2021-180, the Academic Research Partner is defined as any institution of higher education in North Carolina.

However, NCGS 116-255 states that the Collaboratory:

  • May give funding preference to constituent institutions of the UNC System.
  • Shall support research programs at institutions of higher learning, particularly historically minority-serving institutions (i.e., Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University, North Carolina Central University, UNC-Pembroke and Winston-Salem State University).

Accordingly, the Collaboratory encourages applications involving partnerships with these campuses.

Can the Academic Research Partner team span more than one campus?
Yes. For a single proposal (submitted by a Business Partner principal investigator), members of the Academic Research Partner team may span multiple institutions of higher education in North Carolina.
Does intellectual property need to have been disclosed to a technology transfer office at the time of application?
No, there are no requirements on intellectual property status for this program. However, as described in the instructions, applications must include a signed university-business agreement stating that both partners agree on how intellectual property and data will be handled.

This agreement should be consistent and in compliance with all relevant policies stipulated by both partners’ respective institutions as well as state and federal regulations. The Collaboratory is responsible neither for the agreement reached nor how intellectual property or data are handled by the Academic Research Partner and the Business Partner.

Are matching funds required?
No, applicants are not required to secure additional funds.
Are indirect (F&A) costs allowed?
No. As set forth in NCGS 116-255(c)(2) and Section 8.12.(a) of Session Law 2021-180, requests for indirect (F&A) costs are not permitted. If written documentation is required for this indirect cost restriction, please email collaboratory@unc.edu for a copy of the relevant legislation.
Are there any federal reporting and/or auditing requirements?
Yes. Award recipients will be required to submit four types of reports to the Collaboratory for subsequent reporting to the State and U.S. Treasury:

  1. Monthly expenditure reports.
  2. Quarterly performance reports.
  3. Final expenditure reports.
  4. Final performance reports.

Any award recipients meeting state/federal thresholds will also be required to participate in a Single Audit, as per federal Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 and the North Carolina Administrative Code. All award recipients may also be expected to participate in internal audits during the project if requested by the Collaboratory.

Will the Business Partner be responsible for all reporting?
No. Business Partners and Academic Research Partners will receive separate funding agreements and be responsible for their own reporting and compliance.
Can a Business Partner work with multiple Academic Research Partners in a single grant application?
Yes. However, rather than proposing multiple, separate Academic Research Partners, we recommend creating a prime/subaward relationship between multiple campuses, with personnel from all campuses consolidated into a single team, led by a single Academic Research Partner principal investigator.
Are there any spending restrictions?
Yes. All spending must adhere to State law and federal Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200. Additionally, as set forth in NCGS 116-255(c)(2) and Section 8.12.(a) of Session Law 2021-180, requests for indirect (F&A) costs are not permitted.
Who should I contact for further information or help?
All questions must be emailed to collaboratory@unc.edu.

Legislation

This program is funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, as per Section 8.12 of Session Law 2021-180 (as amended by Section 2.4 of Session Law 2021-189).

Collaboratory/COVID-19 Research Initiatives

Section 8.12.(a)

Of the funds appropriated in this act from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund to the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to be allocated to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Collaboratory (Collaboratory), the Collaboratory shall facilitate among various entities research and activities related to monitoring, assessing, and addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID‑19, including, but not limited to,

  1. best practices and strategies to maximize resources and achieve a comprehensive research response to COVID‑19 and
  2. commercialization of technologies developed through academic research programs or academic partnerships.

These funds shall not be used for indirect overhead costs.

Section 8.12.(b)

Replaced by Section 2.4 of Session Law 2021-189, provided below.

Section 8.12.(c)

The Collaboratory may assemble an advisory panel of representatives from various entities as necessary to discuss, review, and analyze progress toward meeting research goals and the use of available federal funds. The Collaboratory shall report on the progress of the development of research and activities related to monitoring, assessing, and addressing the public health and economic impacts of COVID‑19 and the use of the appropriated funds received pursuant to this act to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services no later than September 1, 2024.

The following section replaced Section 8.12.(b) of Session Law 2021-180:

Revise Definition of Business Entities Eligible for COVID-19 Research Grants

Section 2.4.

Section 8.12(b) of S.L. 2021‑180 reads as rewritten:

Section 8.12.(b)

Of the funds identified in subsection (a) of this section, fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) shall be used for a comprehensive convergent science grant program administered by the Collaboratory. Convergent science grants awarded pursuant to the program shall meet at least the following requirements:

  1. Grants shall be awarded to the following entities:
    1. Business entities that meet all of the following requirements:
      1. Are organized pursuant to the laws of this State as for‑profit or nonprofit organizations.organizations or have their principal office in this State.
      2. Have their principal office in this State.
      3. Would benefit from academic research partnerships.
      4. Identify in their grant applications one or more academic research partners that are
        1. affiliated with institutions of higher education located in this State and
        2. connected to the applied research and development activities the business entities describe in their grant applications.
    2. Academic research partners identified pursuant to sub‑sub‑subdivision 4. of sub‑subdivision a. of this subdivision.
  2. Grant funds shall support applied research regarding the development of technology that meets the purposes of this section.
  3. No single business entity shall receive grant funds in excess of two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000).
  4. The Collaboratory shall provide smaller grants to business entities, as needed, in amounts per business entity ranging from two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to one million dollars ($1,000,000).
  5. No single academic research partner, including an academic research partner with a multi‑campus team, shall receive a grant in excess of twenty percent (20%) of the total grant funds awarded to its partner business entity pursuant to this section. An academic research partner that is affiliated with multiple business entities may receive multiple grants.