IIN Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), in conjunction with the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), is pleased to announce this funding opportunity.

Summer 2023 Funding Opportunity

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A. Program Description

A.1 Background
The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), in conjunction with the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), is pleased to announce this funding opportunity.

IMEC is a team of improvement specialists and technicians dedicated to providing organizations in Illinois with the tools and techniques to create sustainable competitive futures. The experienced hands-on team at IMEC works closely with its clients to plan critical business improvements in the areas of Leadership, Strategy, Customers, Operations, Workforce, and Results.

With more than 50 full-time staff and partners positioned statewide, IMEC delivers the local expertise to not only plan and strategize, but to implement those processes and excel the effectiveness of client improvements. In fact, IMEC assists more than 700 companies each year with successful business improvement projects. As a result, IMEC has demonstrated a return on investment that exceeds 19:1. This is made possible as organizations become more effective and efficient – and together with IMEC – grow their competitive futures.

Manufacturers throughout the state of Illinois have turned to IMEC to help tackle some of the industry’s most difficult topics like: Skilled Labor, Continuous Improvement, Technology, Risk Management, Leadership Development, Supply Chain, Process Design, and much more!

The Illinois Innovation Network is a collaborative effort by the state’s public universities to drive innovation and economic growth throughout the state. Led by the University of Illinois System, the U of I System Office of the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation is the administrative home of the IIN. The IIN is a system of connected university-community-industry-based hubs throughout the state that will work together to drive innovation along with economic and workforce development across Illinois.

A.2 Applications
Successful applications will focus efforts on manufacturing, including program development and/or sector analysis. Projects under this program should focus on small to medium manufacturing (SMMs), which includes manufacturers that employ fewer than 500 people. Example themes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Operational efficiency;
  2. Industry/Manufacturing 4.0 (IOT, cybersecurity, integration of technological innovations);
  3. Manufacturing workforce services, including employee recruitment, retention, and development; and
  4. Supply chain management and resiliency.

If one or more of the investigators has previously received an award from this program, then describe the accomplishments from that project. Additionally, provide an estimate of the project’s completion including which milestones have been achieved and when you expect to finish the work.

B. Funding Information
Funding for this program is from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and authorized by the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) under CFDA 11.611, Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

C. Eligibility Information

C.1 Eligible Organizations
Lead organizations eligible to apply include Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) Hubs and IMEC-affiliated institutions, i.e. Bradley University. Collaborative proposals are not required but are allowed; however, the lead institution must be either an IIN Hub or Bradley University.

C.2 Other Eligibility Information

  • Limit on number of applications per Principal Investigator: 1
  • Limit on number of applications per organization: Multiple submissions are allowed, provided each application is scientifically distinct.

D. Application and Submission Information

D.1 Proposal Content
Funding for these projects is intended to be for one year. No cost extensions will only be granted in extenuating circumstances.

D.1.1 Cover Page
The cover page must include the following information: Project Name, Lead Researcher with contact information, and Co-Principal Investigators with contact information.

D.1.2 Abstract
The abstract should be no more than 250 words.

D.1.3 Project Description
The project description can be no more than two (2) pages, single-spaced at 12-point font.

D.1.4 Scope of Work
The scope of work can be no more than one (1) page, single-spaced at 12-point font. Please note that only the first page will be reviewed for any submissions that exceed this page limitation.

D.1.5 Potential for Future Work
Describe potential for future work and sources of follow-up funding. This section is limited to no more than one-half page.

D.1.6 Team Bios
Provide a biographical sketch of no more than one-half page for each PI and Co-PI.

D.1.7 Budget
Costs for the program are subject to 2 CFR 200 Subpart E, Cost Principles as a cost reimbursable award. A detailed budget is required and must be submitted in accordance with the following template. This program limits indirect (F&A) costs to 8.5% of direct costs; unrecovered indirect (F&A) costs can be used for match.

A budget justification of no more than two pages must accompany the budget. The budget justification should provide more detail of each budget category, including a justification to support the requested amount in each category. The match/cost share costs must also be similarly detailed in the budget and budget justification and include sources and approvals, where applicable.

A separate detailed budget and budget justification, both of which are subject to the same requirements as the prime recipient, is required for each subaward as defined in 2 CFR §200.1.

D.2 Cost Sharing/Match
This program requires a 1:1 match. That is, the application must commit a matching amount for each awarded dollar awarded pursuant to this program. There are no restrictions on whether the source is in-kind or cash; however, unrecovered F&A costs cannot exceed 50% of the overall cost share/match amount.

D.3 Proposal Checklist

  • Cover page
  • Abstract
  • Project description
  • Scope of work
  • Potential for future work
  • Team bios
  • Budget
  • Budget justification

D.4 Submission
Proposals should be submitted via this form. Proposals must be received by 5 P.M. Central Time on July 24, 2023.

E. Application Review Information
The IIN will review the applications and make recommendations for funding. Each compliant applications will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

Criterion Evaluation Points* – Total Max Points Total Score**
Scope of work / project design – 20
Feasibility of effort, including likelihood to complete in one year – 20
Scalability of effort – 20
Budget/Matching Funds – 20
Potential impact on small and medium manufacturing – 20

*Evaluation Points 1=lowest, 20=highest
**Total Score = Evaluation Points

F. Award Administration Information

  • Reporting
    • Technical progress report is due at 6 months, or 03/01/2023.
    • Financial reports detailing expenses by budget category and a separate accounting for cost sharing expenses by budget category, are due on a quarterly basis as follows:
      • 12/01/2023
      • 02/01/2023
      • 05/01/2023
    • Final reports, due within 30 days of award close or 09/30/2024, include the following:
      • Technical report;
      • Financial report in the format listed above; and
      • Invention report (a negative report is required).
  • Commitment to:
    • Submit interim reports and information upon request.
    • Present project to the IIN and to participate in related IIN events as requested.
    • Acknowledge IIN in outcomes and reports with the following statement or something similar: “This material is based upon work supported by the Illinois Innovation Network and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center.”
    • Notify IIN of publications and follow-on funding achieved resulting from this grant.

G. Awarding Contact
Questions about this NOFO should be directed to Brian Rogers, OVPEDI Director of Research and Program Development, bprogers@uillinois.edu, 217-300-9997.

H. Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to frequently asked questions will be posted on this website. Please review the responses in preparation for and prior to submitting your proposal.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can my application include letters of support?

A. Yes. Please append the required components of your application with any applicable letters of support, particularly from SMMs.