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Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request; Grantee Reporting Requirements for the Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) Program

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AGENCY:

National Science Foundation.

ACTION:

Submission for OMB review; comment request.

SUMMARY:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has submitted the following information collection requirement to OMB for review and clearance under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This is the second notice for public comment; the first was published in the Federal Register, and no comments were received. NSF is forwarding the proposed submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance simultaneously with the publication of this second notice.

DATES:

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAmain. Find this particular information collection by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments” or by using the search function.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Suzanne H. Plimpton, Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation, 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314, or send email to splimpto@nsf.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339, which is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year (including federal holidays).

Copies of the submission may be obtained by calling 703-292-7556.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

NSF may not conduct or sponsor a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number and the agency informs potential persons who are to respond to the collection of information that such persons are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Title of Collection: Grantee Reporting Requirements for the Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) Program.

OMB Number: 3145-0088.

Type of Request: Revision to and extension of approval of an information collection.

Proposed Project

The NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP), within the Engineering Directorate, serves a wide range of grantees across 5 major programs.

The IUCRC program provides a structure for academic researchers to conduct fundamental, pre-competitive research of shared interest to industry and government organizations. These organizations pay membership fees to a consortium so that they can collectively envision and fund research, with at least 90% of Member funds allocated to the direct costs of these shared research projects.

IUCRCs are formed around research areas of strategic interest to U.S. industry. Industry is defined very broadly to include companies (large and small), startups and non-profit organizations. Principal Investigators form a Center around emerging research topics of current research interest, in a pre-competitive space but with clear pathways to applied research and commercial development. Industry partners join at inception, as an existing Center grows, or they inspire the creation of a new Center by recruiting university partners to leverage NSF support. Government agencies participate in IUCRCs as Members or by partnering directly with NSF at the strategic level.

Universities, academic researchers, and students benefit from IUCRC participation through the research funding, the establishment and growth of industry partnerships, and educational and career placement opportunities for students. Industry Members benefit by accessing knowledge, facilities, equipment, and intellectual property in a highly cost-efficient model; leveraging Center research outcomes in their future proprietary projects; interacting in an informal, collaborative way with other private sector and government entities with shared interests; and identifying and recruiting talent. NSF provides funding to support Center administrative costs and a governance framework to manage membership, operations, and evaluation.

Sites within Centers will be required to provide data to NSF and/or its authorized representatives (contractors and/or grantees) annually—after the award expires for their fiscal year of activity—for the life of the Phase I, and if applicable, Phase II, and Phase III award(s).

Information collected are both quantitative and descriptive; they will provide managing Program Directors a means to monitor the operational and financial states of the Centers and ensure that the award is in good standing. These data will also allow NSF to assess the Centers in terms of intellectual, broader, and commercial impacts that are core to our review criteria. Finally, in compliance with the Evidence Act of 2019, information collected will be used in satisfying congressional requests, and supporting the agency's policymaking and reporting needs.

In addition to the agency's annual report requirement, Principal Investigators (IUCRC Center and Site Directors) of the awards are required to provide the following information:

Center-Related Information

• Center Data Reporting

○ A comprehensive annual survey collecting information on structure, funding, membership, personnel, and outcomes of the Center during a given reporting period. A Center must submit data for each fiscal year no later than September 30 of each year of operation, as well as after the award expires to describe its final year of activity.

Certification of Membership

○ A list of members and membership fees collected by the Center and certified by the respective university's Sponsored Research Office (SRO), Total Start Printed Page 38398Program Income collected during the reporting period, In-kind Contributions during the reporting period, Allocation and Expenditures of each Site's research funds by project

Site Research Projects Summary

○ A list all projects in which the Site participated, including each project's goals; research tasks; key milestones, metrics/deliverables; developing results or outcomes; project budgets; and personnel.

• Assessment Coordinator Report

○ An independent assessment of the annual Center activities (this report is done by an independent evaluator, and uploaded by the Principal Investigator as part of the NSF annual reporting requirement).

Logistical Information

• IUCRC Directory

○ IUCRCs must provide accurate and current information for the online IUCRC directory (http://iucrc.org/​centers). Instructions for updating and reporting information can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/​eng/​iip/​iucrc/​directory/​instructions.jsp.

Optional

• IUCRC Impact Stories for Public Distribution

IUCRCs are highly encouraged to submit information on their emerging research highlights and significant breakthrough stories to NSF to showcase their impact to the public and industry (see http://www.nsf.gov/​eng/​iip/​iucrc), including new products, technology creation and/or enhancements, intellectual property of significant commercial relevance, and major improvements in cost-savings, efficiency, sustainability, productivity, and job growth.

Not only do these data provide valuable information on program activities, products, outcomes, and impact, they also help to paint a detailed longitudinal view of the program, provide insights for benchmarking individual Center performance, advancing industry-university engagement approaches, strengthening future workforce, and contribute to the Nation's research and technology ecosystem.

Use of the Information: The information collected is for internal use by NSF, congressional requests, and for securing future funding for continued IUCRC program maintenance and growth.

Estimate Burden on the Public: Estimated at 16 hours per award for 250 sites for a total of 4,000 hours (per year).

Respondents: IUCRC Awardees (Academic Institutions).

Estimated Number of Respondents: One from each IUCRC site (estimated: 250 active sites/year).

Comments: Comments are invited on (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

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Dated: June 23, 2020.

Suzanne H. Plimpton,

Reports Clearance Officer, National Science Foundation.

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[FR Doc. 2020-13797 Filed 6-25-20; 8:45 am]

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