Seed Fund RFP 2011

August 31, 2011

The 2011 MGHPCC Seed Fund RFP is soliciting research proposals for computer and computational science. Pre-proposals are due October 1st, 2011. A total of $500K is available with anticipated award sizes in the range of $50K – $150K. Proposals must involve investigators from two or more of Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts system.

Program Description.

Proposal responses should be sent and should follow the template outlined in the program description below.


– What costs should be included in my budget?
– Budgets should only include direct charge portions of any costs.
– I have an administrative question who should I contact?
A – Boston University researchers please contact Azer Bestavros (, 617-353-9726).
Harvard University researchers please contact Ken Carson (, 617-495-9829).
M.I.T researchers please contact Ron Hasseltine (, 617-253-0386).
Northeastern University researchers please contact Dave Kaeli (, 617-373-5413).
UMass researchers please contact Jim Kurose (, 413-545-1585).
Q Are there guidelines for preparing follow-up responses.
A Proposers who were encouraged to submit follow-up responses should follow the
guidelines given below.

MGHPCC 2011 research seed-fund response information
Proposers encouraged to submit a follow-up response
should use the guidelines below to produce response
material. Follow-up responses should contain
1) A roughly 5 page description of the project. See the
   Technical Content Guidelines section.
2) A brief (~1 page + short-form CVs) description of the
   project team makeup and its management and
   organization. See the Team Makeup Guidelines
3) A budget statement (~1 page). See the Budget Guidelines
The response material should be submitted by November 15th,
by sending a single pdf file containing the information
requested below to .
The response material will be evaluated using criteria
given in the Selection Criteria section.
Awards to successful proposals will be made using the process
described in the Award Administration section.
O Technical Content Guidelines
  o Scientific/intellectual merit.
  Proposers should address the scientific/intellectual merit of
  their proposed work including
   - how does this work relate to other activities in the proposed
   - how will results and new knowledge be shared
   - how the proposed activities set a technical foundation and/or
     open up new opportunities for collaborative future research in
     the area
  o Computational elements.
  A clear statement of the level of computational resources
  required for the proposal  The MGHPCC building will not be
  complete until late 2012. As such, proposers with substantial
  high-performance computing (HPC) needs should include a
  brief explanation of plans for meeting their resource needs.
  Note - we do not envision paying for the acquisition of
  mainstream computing equipment (for HPC or desktop
  processing) under this seed-fund program.
  o Prospects for larger-scale follow-on activities.
  Proposers should summarize any specific activities they will
  engage in aimed at launching larger-scale follow-on
  activities. This summary should explain how the highlighted
  activities would be expected to improve the chances of
  a substantial follow-on. Plans for targeting future
  funding opportunities are of particular interest.
  o Partnerships and other contributions.
  Proposals that have involvement of non-MGHPCC institutions
  or that involve contributions (either in-kind or financial)
  from other organizations should give some details on the
  envisioned partnership. Material explaining how the
  partnership will further the agenda of enhancing the
  HPC community in the Massachusetts and
  New England region will be particularly welcome.
O Team Makeup Guidelines
  o CVs for key personnel
  Proposers should include short CVs (~2 pages each) that, where
  possible, include details of the level of prior experience and
  activity in the area(s) of work being proposed, including
  highlighting relevant publications as appropriate.  For example a
  two page CV, roughly in the format requested by NSF, but also
  briefly discussing PI background in the area, would be ideal.
  o Project Organization and Team
  A brief statement (~1 page) on how the project team intends to manage
  the proposed activities and ferment collaboration among team
  participants at different institutions. Any plans for student
  involvement in research can be addressed here.
O Budget Guidelines
  Seed-fund projects are one-year in duration with an anticipated
  start date of January 1, 2012.
  Seed-funds are being provided by the individual MGHPCC
  institutions using institutional resources. Each institution has
  committed approximately $100K to fund activities at that institution
  this coming year. Proposers should formulate budget details
  consistently with this arrangement and in reasonable alignment with
  pre-proposal estimates and any pre-proposal feedback. Note:
  o There is no need for formal Office of Sponsored Programs/Grants
    Office approval of budgets,  although proposers should make sure
    budgets are consistent with individual institutional requirements
    such as salary and benefit rates.
  o There are no sub-awards. All awards go directly to PIs, co-PIs in
    the proposal. There should be separate budgets or budget
    items for each institution involved in a proposal.
  o Budgets do not need to include F&A/indirect cost charges. These
    charges will be dealt with implicitly on a per institution basis.
  o Budgets should include direct costs for personnel (i.e. salaries
    and applicable fringe benefits plus any tuition or fee charges),
    any equipment, travel. Proposers are encouraged to explore
    individual institution programs that can defray costs around
    activities such as graduate student research participation.
  o Budgets should make clear the purpose of each budget item.
O Selection Criteria Guidelines
  Evaluation of projects will take into account the following
  o The perceived scientific/technical merits of the proposed
  o Potential for follow-on funding and for developing a longer-term,
    broad collaboration.
  o Participation of regional industry, business and non-MGHPCC
    institution partners.
  o Potential for follow-on impacts on the broad HPC
    computational science and computer science community in the
    Massachusetts and New England region.
  o The degree of student involvement.
  o Alignment of budget with per institution funding availability.
  o The degree of cross-institution collaboration.
  o The balance amongst projects across research disciplines
    and across institutions.
O Award Administration
  o The lead PI at each institution involved in a proposal will
    be responsible for the portion of the proposals budget
    awarded at their institution.
  o Depending on the review committees recommendations and the
    availability of funds some proposals may be awarded funding
    at less than the requested amount, subject to discussions
    with PIs.
  o Every award will be required to provide a report at the end
    of the award period that will be made public. The report
    should summarize project activities and highlight specific
    actions that have led or are leading to funded follow-on

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