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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CENTER

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA TRANSPORTATION CENTER

     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    Request for Proposals

    Mid-America Transportation Center

    United States Department of Transportation

    Region VII University Transportation Center

    Improving safety and minimizing risk associated with increasing multi-modal

    freight movements on the U.S. surface transportation system.

    Fiscal Year 2011 Research Grants

    May 5, 2010

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    Table of Contents Introduction & Timelines…………………………………………………… 2

    Background…………………………………………………………..... 2

    Program Goal………………………………………………………….. 2

    Schedule……………………………………………………………….. 2

    Project Timetable……………………………………………………… 3

    Proposal……………………………………………………………………….. 3

    Eligibility Information………………………………………………….. 3

    Focus Areas ...……………………………………………………...…...3

    Proposal Content………………………………………………..…….. 4

    Proposal Submission………………………………………….……… 4

    Project Duration………………………………………………......…… 5

    Research Policies……………………………………………...……….5

    Funding ……………………………………………………………………….. 6

    Funding Source...…………………………………………………….6

    Matching Requirement…………………………………………………6

    Funding Limitations.…………………………………………....…… 6

    Proposal Review & Selection…………………………….…………...…… 7

    Review Process…………………………………………………………7

    Selection Criteria………………………………………………….. …...8

    Reporting………………………………………………………………….……8

    Progress Reports……………………………………………….………9

    Financial Reporting…………………………………………………….9

    Reporting Requirements………………………………………………9

    Reporting Deadlines…………………………………………………...9

    Contact Information……………………………………………….……….. 10

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    INTRODUCTION AND TIMELINES

BACKGROUND

    The Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) was designated by the United States Department of Transportation as the Region VII University Transportation Center (UTC) in 2006. MATC‟s theme is improving safety and minimizing risk associated with

    increasing multi-modal freight movements. MATC is a consortium comprised of the University of Nebraska Lincoln, University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology (University of Missouri, Rolla), University of Iowa, Lincoln University- Jefferson City, MO, and Prairie View A&M University. MATC‟s

    partners include the Iowa Department of Transportation (IaDOT), the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR), the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), and various private and public sector transportation organizations. The MATC research program is designed to address the United States Department of Transportation strategic objectives of safety, mobility, global connectivity, and environmental stewardship.

PROGRAM GOAL

To achieve the maximum value as the USDOT Region VII UTC designee, MATC‟s vision

    is to become a nationally recognized center of transportation excellence focused on developing new knowledge, innovative solutions, and the next generation of transportation professionals necessary to sustain the U.S. transportation system in a manner that is safer, more effective, more efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable.

    MATC„s research goal is to make fundamental advancements in basic and theoretical research related to improving the safety of and minimizing the risk to the U.S. surface transportation system. Transportation agencies will then use these findings to enhance accessibility and mobility for all components of the multi-modal surface transportation system. The proposals that are selected as part of this RFP process will form the major component of the MATC research program.

SCHEDULE

    Submitted proposals will be sent to external reviewers (consisting of USDOT personnel, state DOT personnel, and private and public sector national experts) within two weeks of

    their receipt, with reviews due to the Mid-America Transportation Center approximately four weeks later. MATC staff will review budgets of proposals recommended for funding for compliance with federal guidelines and USDOT RITA rules and will request budget adjustments if necessary. The external reviews will be evaluated by the MATC Executive Committee and it is anticipated that the final funding decisions will be made by July,

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    2010. The MATC Program Coordinator will then inform all PIs of the status of their proposals via the email address submitted with the proposal.

    The Mid-America Transportation Center operates on an annual funding cycle with starting in July 1 and an end date of June 30, with projects ordinarily funded for the same time period.

    All funds will be housed at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, the lead institution of the Mid-America Transportation Center, with an account assigned for every project. Any expenditures, such as payroll, purchase orders, and/or reimbursements, will be processed through the PI‟s home University following established university policies and procedures.

    PROJECT TIME TABLE

Proposal Date Requested Date Due

    New Research Proposals May 5, 2010 June 15, 2010

    Project Extension Request June 5, 2011

    Deadline

    Project Extension Decision June 19, 2011

    Date

    PROPOSAL

    ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

    Research project awards will be made to individuals or teams of researchers. The Principal Investigator must be a current faculty member at one of the MATC consortium Universities. Up to four (4) other researchers may be included in the proposal. Other researchers, including visiting scholars, are normally not eligible for funding through the Mid-America Transportation Center, although exceptions may be approved if special circumstances warranting the exception are fully explained in the proposal. No more than two (2) proposals should be submitted by the same PI (or Co-PI) unless written approval from your campus Associate Director, which can be found at: http://www.matc.unl.edu/assocdirector.php.

    FOCUS AREAS

    The Mid-America Transportation Center is seeking research proposals related to its

    theme, improving safety and minimizing risk associated with increasing multi-modal freight movements on the U.S. surface transportation system, which

    addresses at least one of the following focus areas:

    1) Improving linkages among all modes of the transportation system;

    2) Improving the livability of rural and urban environments;

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    3) Developing a systems-based approach for quantifying infrastructure, financial,

    and operating risks that can be utilized by all transportation agencies; and

    4) Increasing the overall safety of the surface transportation system users.

    Researchers will be required to include a discussion of the pertinent completed research and related research in progress when developing their proposals. The TRB research Needs Statements, TRIS, and Research in Progress (RiP) database should be queried to find this information if not already know to the researcher.

As of March 9, 2010 these databases may be found at:

    ; TRB Research Needs Statements Database

    http://www.trb.org/news/blurb_detail.asp?id=8197

    ; TRB RiP Library http://rip.trb.org/

    ; TRIS Library http://ntlsearch.bts.gov/tris/index.do

    It is strongly recommended that Principal Investigators coordinate with their state department of transportation representatives or other organizations that will benefit from the research findings before summiting the proposal.

    PROPOSAL SUBMISSION

    Proposals must be submitted on the MATC website http://matc.unl.edu/rfplogin.php.

    There are detailed instructions on the website on how to log-in and submit a proposal. The following sections will provide an overview of the content required of all proposals. PROPOSAL CONTENT

    Once the submission process is started the following information will be required.

    On the MATC RFP website you will need to enter in the following data:

    ; Project Title

    ; Start Date & End Date

    ; Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator(s) Name(s) and Contact

    Information

    ; Proposal Abstract 300 words max.

    ; Relationship to MATC Research Portfolio

    ; Project Monitor

    ; Total Federal Funds Requested (Including F&A) Amount and Funding Source

    ; Total Matching Funds (Including F&A) Amount and Funding Source

    ; Name & Contact Information of Person Authorizing Matching Funds Once the above information is inputted the following electronic files will need to be uploaded to complete the process. These include:

    1) Attachment A (detailed research proposal description);

    2) Attachment B (budget);

    3) CV‟s (for all PIs and co-PI‟s); and

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    4) Letter of commitment for matching funds.

    Templates for the detailed research proposal description (Attachment A Word

    Document) and budget (Attachment B Excel Document) can be downloaded from the

    website. Do not change the formatting of the attachment files. Please name files

    using 3-4 words of the project title, the PI’s last name, and the letter A for Attachment A and the letter B for Attachment B.

    All CV’s must be in the National Science Foundation (NSF) format. These

    guidelines can be found on the NSF website regarding the biographical sketch(es) section (f): http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf08_1/gpg_2.jsp#IIC2f . The matching funds letter of commitment must include the following information: amount of matching funds, source of matching funds, authorizing party of matching funds, date funds are available, (beginning and end date), and name and contact information of sponsored programs official to contact regarding matching funds.

    It is required of all PI‟s to work with their respective Sponsored Programs office on campus to get approval on their proposals and budgets. It is requested that the Office of Sponsored Programs Personnel log in and authorize your proposals on the MATC website. Please have your sponsored program personnel who will be authorizing your proposal email the MATC Program Coordinator, Ms. Valerie Lefler, at vlefler2@unl.edu

    for their Sponsored Programs Administrator User Name and Password. Note: UNL PIs

    DO NOT need to route these proposals through the NUgrant system.

    If there any issues related to submitting a proposal please email the MATC Program Coordinator, Ms. Valerie Lefler, at vlefler2@unl.edu.

     PROJECT DURATION

    Projects can be proposed with a twelve month time frame. It is anticipated that initial project funding will be provided on, or about, July 1, 2010. No-cost extensions may be requested, and are awarded at the discretion of the MATC Executive Committee. MATC RESEARCH POLICIES

    All principal investigators who submit MATC research proposals must agree to follow all requirements and guidelines in the seven page document titled “General Provisions of

    Grants for University Transportation Centers” last revised March 2006. Principal

    investigators must also agree to provide the MATC Program Coordinator all information necessary to fulfill the requirements listed in the seven page document titled “Reporting

    Requirements for University Transportation Centers” last revised March 2006. These

    documents can be found on the MATC Research Proposal Submission website http://matc.unl.edu/rfplogin.php.

    Researchers supported by the Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) are expected to become active members in the Mid-America Transportation Center research community. In accepting a MATC grant, recipients commit themselves to provide copies of all research publications, including journal articles, to the MATC staff. Four times a year, researchers must provide a brief synopsis of progress on their grants, for inclusion

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    in required reports to sponsors. We also request that grant recipients submit brief accounts of significant research findings for publication in the twice-yearly MATC newsletter publication. From time to time we will call upon grant recipients (both faculty and graduate students) to participate in MATC-sponsored conferences and symposia, including the annual conference sponsored by MATC, and to serve as reviewers for graduate student applications and UTC research proposals, as applicable. Researchers are expected to acknowledge the support provided by the MATC in all presentations and publications resulting from the research. It is also expected that the MATC Logo will be included on all presentations and publications. Research results may not be provided to other funding agencies or firms without full disclosure of MATC funding. In turn, MATC will not knowingly support research that is being funded or proposed for funding in whole or in part by other agencies or organizations without a specific agreement for joint funding. Failure to disclose other proposed or in-hand research funding for a project substantially similar to a MATC project is grounds for termination of a MATC grant.

    Graduate student contributions to research projects must be acknowledged in any publication resulting from research using MATC funds. Acknowledgment is generally expected to take the form of co-authorship of reports and articles, but could be by footnote depending upon the nature and extent of student contributions. For further information please contact the MATC Director.

    FUNDING

    FUNDING SOURCE

    Funding is provided by the United States Department of Transportation, Research and Innovation Technology Administration.

    MATCHING REQUIREMENTS

    All MATC research projects are subject to 100% non-federal matching funds, which must be provided in accordance with Section E.III Matching Funds found in the document titled “Instructions for Preparing a University Transportation Center Strategic Plan”. This

    document can be found on the MATC Research Proposal Submission website http://matc.unl.edu/rfplogin.php. Note: Because the education and technology transfer

    aspects of the MATC mission typically will not have matching funds it is generally expected that the selected research projects will have more than 1:1 match. However there is no set requirement on the amount of matching funds required for any project. FUNDING LIMITATIONS

    Total budgets (including direct and indirect costs) should be approximately $60,000; smaller requests are encouraged and larger requests are allowed if clearly justified in the proposal or multiple institutions are involved in the proposal.

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    To emphasize the Mid-America Transportation Center‟s commitment to education, all research proposals must include funding for at least one graduate student researcher for at least .49 FTE during the academic year and summer.

    Research proposals may include salary for tenured faculty for one month and assistant professors and researchers for up to two months. Funding support for more than one student is encouraged in the proposal; faculty members who request extra student support will generally be expected to reduce their summer salary to half a month or less (one month or less for assistant professors and researchers).

    Permanent equipment and foreign travel is not allowable. For additional information see the document titled “General Provisions of Grants for University Transportation Centers” last revised March 2006 “which was described in the MATC Research Policies section.

    PROPOSAL REVIEW & SELECTION

    REVIEW PROCESS

    The MATC Review process is illustrated below in Figure 1. The proposals that are received in response will be evaluated through a peer-review process, where at least one of the reviewers for each proposal is a USDOT employee. Once the reviews are complete, the MATC Executive Committee will meet to select the research projects. Figure 1 RFP Diagram

     Request for Proposals

     External Peer Review

    USDOT Personnel;

    State DOT Personnel; and

     National Experts from Private and Public Sector

     Evaluation and Selection by

    MATC Executive Committee

     Assign Project

    Monitors

    Research Subject to Quarterly Review

    Final Review and

    Publication of Reports and Research Papers

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    Each proposal will be reviewed with respect to the selection criteria described in the following section “Selection Criteria”.

    Reviewers will be asked to rate each proposal on a score of one (being excellent) to five (being poor). In view of the diversity of potential topics and the diverse backgrounds of the reviewers, it will be important for the proposal to make its case in terms that can be understood by non-specialists.

    Some proposals may be funded at a reduced level or funding may be contingent on a revision to the proposal. The external review comments will be provided to the applicant at the same time that awards are announced.

    MATC will be building a list of reviewers with expertise in a variety of fields related to the Center‟s theme and will draw upon this list in selecting reviewers. In addition, each applicant is required to submit names of five (5) potential external reviewers submitted

    on the website. Of the five potential external reviewers, the PI must recommend at least one (1) member of the USDOT and one (1) member from the state DOT personnel in Region VII. Reviewers cannot come from the University system your academic appointment is affiliated with. NSF conflict of interest guidelines (found at

    http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf08_1/gpg_3.jsp#IIIB must be followed

    when suggesting reviewers.

SELECTION CRITERIA

    The selection criteria will include:

    1. Relevance to MATC‟s theme and strategic thrust areas;

    2. External peer-review recommendations;

    3. Balance between

     a) match requirements;

    b) thematic thrust areas; and

    c) applied, advanced, and basic research

    4. Relevance to USDOT‟s strategic plan including a) relieving congestion choke

    points, b) emphasis on USDOT‟s Advanced Research Program, and c)

    potential for national impact;

    5. Technical soundness and achievability in proposed time frame;

    6. The documented and established expertise of the principal investigator and

    researchers applicable to the proposed project and the ability to devote

    adequate time to complete the work on schedule;

    7. Adequacy of the proposed technology transfer; and

    8. A significant commitment to graduate student involvement.

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     113 Nebraska Hall Lincoln, NE 68588-0530 (P) 402-472-1974 (F) 402-472-0859 matc@unl.edu

    The MATC Executive Committee members will review the combined rankings and select the research proposals that will be funded based on the criteria listed above. The committee will also assign funding of each selected project based on the amount requested by the researcher and available funding.

    REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

    MATC must submit a semi-annual report and an annual report to the USDOT, Research and Innovation Technology Administration each year. Each report includes a status report on all research projects. The final annual report also must provide data on all students funded by MATC, and all publications stemming from MATC research. Accordingly, in accepting a MATC grant, the PI agrees to the following:

PROGRESS REPORTS

    The PI agrees to submit brief progress reports on the MATC website each quarter for the project until the project is completed (dates may change depending on the timing of the funding cycle).

    The PI also agrees to submit a final summary report and technical brief no later than 30 days following the completion of the research. Please see the attached MATC Final

    Report Template Guidelines for details.

    Failure to submit quarterly progress reports and/or answer any grant-related questions by the MATC Director, MATC Associate Director, or Program Coordinator can result a hold being placed on the account preventing any financial activity or sub-awards being withheld.

FINANCIAL REPORTING

With each quarterly report each PI‟s office of sponsored programs will be submitting

    invoices to MATC, on the invoices faculty may be requested to provide detailed supporting financial information and documentation for the project.

    Failure to provide requested information regarding grant-related transactions requested by the MATC Director, MATC Associate Director, or Program Coordinator can result in payment to sub-awards being withheld.

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Papers and Reports Produced with MATC Support: The PI agrees to provide MATC

    with copies of all papers and reports produced with MATC funding, including items based on the work that are completed after the grant has ended.

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