Announcement of Requirements and Registration for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) Prize Competition, 33204-33207 [2016-12265]

Download as PDF 33204 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 101 / Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / Notices Estimated Annual Number of Responses per Respondent: 1. Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 1,105 hours. Comment is invited on: (1) Whether this collection of information is necessary for the stated purposes and the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical or scientific utility; (2) the accuracy of the Agency’s estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. All comments received in response to this notice, including names and addresses when provided, will be a matter of public record. Comments will be summarized and included in the submission request toward Office of Management and Budget approval. Dated: May 19, 2016. Leslie A.C. Weldon, Deputy Chief, National Forest Systems. [FR Doc. 2016–12314 Filed 5–24–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE National Institute of Food and Agriculture Announcement of Requirements and Registration for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I–FAST) Prize Competition Authority: 15 U.S.C. 3719. National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is announcing the I–FAST prize competition (the ‘‘I– FAST Competition’’ or the ‘‘Competition’’) to develop and implement the Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (I– FAST) Pilot Program. USDA NIFA will partner with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (ICorps) to provide entrepreneurship training to USDA NIFA grantees under this I–FAST pilot program. The goals mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 May 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 are to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from NIFA supported academic research. Selected USDA NIFA I–FAST project teams will have the opportunity to concurrently participate in the educational programs with NSF I-Corps awardees. Over a period of six months the USDA NIFA supported teams in the I–FAST program will learn what it will take to achieve an economic impact with their particular innovation. The final goal of the I–FAST Competition is to facilitate technology transfer of innovations that can make an impact in the marketplace and the global economy. Competition Submission Period—Pre-Application Phase: May 26, 2016 to July 22, 2016. Evaluation and Judging—PreApplication Phase: July 25, 2016 to July 29, 2016. Competition Submission Period—Full Application Phase: August 8, 2016 to September 2, 2016. Evaluation and Judging—Full Application Phase: September 5, 2016 to September 9, 2016. Verification of Winners: September 16, 2016. Announcement of Winner(s): September 23, 2016. NSF I-Corps Training for Winner(s): Various dates in October and November 2016. Winning team(s) will need to be available to travel to and attend the Washington DC NSF I-Corps training sessions in October and November 2016. The Pre-Application Phase Competition Submission Period begins May 26, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. ET and ends July 22, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. ET. USDA NIFA’s receiving computer set to Eastern Time is the official time keeping device for the Competition. The Full-Application Phase Competition Submission Period begins August 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. ET and ends September 2, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. ET. USDA NIFA’s receiving computer set to Eastern Time is the official time keeping device for the Competition. Competition dates are subject to change. Entries submitted before or after the Competition Submission Period will not be reviewed or considered for award. For more details please visit the www.challenge.gov Web site. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Changes or updates to the Competition rules will be posted and can be viewed at www.nifa.usda.gov. Questions about the Competition can be directed to Scott Dockum at sdockum@nifa.usda.gov, or phone 202–720–6346. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Subject of Challenge Competition The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) mission is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and extension to solve societal challenges. As part of this mission NIFA is charged with providing grant funding for research, education, and extension that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. A majority of NIFA grant funding is provided to academic institutions to focus on developing research in the areas of farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding. USDA NIFA will partner with the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) who will provide an Entrepreneurial Immersion course and training to USDA NIFA grantees through this I–FAST Competition. The goals of this Competition are to spur translation of fundamental research to the market place, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, and to train NIFA-funded faculty, students and other researchers to understand innovation and entrepreneurship. The purpose of the I–FAST Competition is to identify NIFA-funded research teams who will receive additional support, in the form of mentoring, training and funding, to accelerate the translation of knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and services that can attract subsequent third-party funding. NIFA-funded research teams will be required to participate in Entrepreneurial Immersion course provided by the NSF I-Corps program. Each team will that receives an I–FAST award is required to participate in the following NSF I–CORP activities: (1) Attendance by the entire team at an onsite three-day NSF I–CORP Entrepreneurial Immersion course; (2) Participation in five Webinars following the completion of the course; (3) Complete approximately 15 hours of prep per week for at least five weeks; (4) Attend two days of demonstrations at the end of the training; (5) Teams are expected to engage in at least 100 contacts with potential customers during the seven week period that ICorps training takes place and (6) Provide a 5 page summary report back to USDA NIFA on the outcome of the training and milestones to be established for commercialization. The E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 101 / Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / Notices major focus of I–FAST is for the selected teams (an I–FAST team includes the Principal Investigator, the Entrepreneurial Lead, and the Mentor) to participate in an Entrepreneurial Immersion course provided by the NSF I-Corps program. The NSF I-Corps is a program specifically designed to broaden the impact of select, basicresearch projects by preparing scientists and engineers to focus beyond the laboratory. Leveraging experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs and a targeted curriculum within the NSF I-Corp program, USDA I–FAST teams will learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge from USDA NIFA supported academic research. The I–FAST Competition will help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development to address agricultural and societal needs. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Competition The I–FAST Competition is open to teams (‘‘Teams’’ or ‘‘Participants’’) that are made up of individuals from academic/university institutions that have received a prior award from NIFA (in a scientific or engineering field relevant to the proposed innovation) that is currently active or that has been active within five years from the date of the I–FAST Team’s proposal submission. The lineage of the prior award extends to the PI, Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, Post Docs, Professional Staff or others who were supported under the NIFA award. The prior award could range from a modest single-investigator award to a large, distributed center and also includes awards involving students. To be eligible to win a prize under the Competition, Teams: (1) Shall have registered to participate in the Competition under the rules; (2) Shall have complied with all the requirements of the Competition rules; (3) May not include a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment; and (4) In the case of a private entity Team member, the member shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States. In the case of an individual Team member, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Makeup of I–FAST Competition Teams: Each Team shall consist of three members: (1) Entrepreneurial Lead (EL). (2) I–FAST Team Mentor. (3) Principal Investigator (PI). VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 May 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 I–FAST teams are made up of individuals from an academic/ university institution except for the Mentor who may reside with an outside organization as described below. The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) could be a postdoctoral scholar, graduate or other student with relevant knowledge of the technology located at the academic/university institution and a deep commitment to investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. The Entrepreneurial Lead should also be capable and have the will to support the transition of the technology, should the I–FAST Teams project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability. The EL will be responsible for: (1) Developing the team to include the mentor and PI, (2) leading the development of the pre-application and full application, (3) starting and completing the training activities in the Entrepreneurial Immersion course provided by the NSF I-Corps program, (4) communicating and coordinating with team members to achieve the goal of commercialization, (5) developing and monitoring team activity milestones from the Entrepreneurial Immersion course, (6) ensuring the team milestones are completed on time and (7) ensuring the team is in communication with the NIFA I–FAST Competition Director and the NSF I-Corps Program Director as needed. The I–FAST Teams Mentor will typically be an experienced or emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the Academic/University Institution and have experience in transitioning technology out of Academic labs. The EL will need to identify a Mentor that has business expertise in the proposed technology sector and has entrepreneurial experience. A Mentor will be someone with the right ‘‘rolodex’’ of contacts in the technology area of commercialization which are critical for ‘‘getting the technology out of the lab’’. The EL of the team should contact their University Technology Transfer Office for ideas of potential Mentors. The I–FAST Teams Mentor will be responsible for guiding the team forward using existing entrepreneurial experience and tracking the team’s commercialization progress through regular communication with the EL, PI and the NIFA I–FAST competition director and the NSF I-Corps Program Director as needed. The Principal Investigator (PI) will have in-depth knowledge of the technology developed under the earlier USDA NIFA Grant and will be responsible for: (1) Coordinating with the university on the transfer of prize funds from NIFA if the team is selected, PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33205 (2) tracking of the prize funding for team activities, (3) reporting to NIFA on disbursements and obligations of the prize funding, (4) guiding the EL and Mentor on technical aspects of the technology, (5) communicating as needed with the NIFA I–FAST Competition Director and the NSF I– Corps Program Director, (6) ensuring the EL meets the required milestones for the NSF I–CORP Course and (7) participating as a team member. The Principle Investigator that received the earlier NIFA grant for the technology is allowed to participate on the team, but cannot be the Entrepreneurial Lead. Amount of the Prize The USDA NIFA I–FAST Competition Prize Purse will be a maximum of $200,000, which will be divided to provide $50,000 each to a maximum of four (4) Teams. Prize Purse funds are required to be used by winning Teams to fully participate in the NSF I–Corps program curriculum. USDA NIFA reserves the right to award less than the maximum number of available prizes. Payment of the Prize Prizes awarded under this Competition will be paid by electronic funds transfer to the academic/ university institution the Team(s) represent(s). Prize winners will be required to complete the required financial documents and forms to be supplied by NIFA to set up the electronic transfer. All Federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner(s). Submission Process for Participants The Competition will have a twophase selection process. Teams initially will submit a pre-application. From the pre-applications, USDA NIFA will select Teams that will be invited to submit full applications. From the full applications, USDA NIFA will select the winning Team(s). Participants will register for the Competition and will submit the preapplication to the Competition via www.challenge.gov. Teams can enter the contest by submitting the preapplication through the ‘‘Enter a Submission’’ function on Challenge.gov, and then send the pre-application, with your name and contact info, to contest@ nifa.usda.gov. The pre-application shall contain the following information: Prepare a two-page Executive Summary that describes the following: (1) Composition of the Team and roles (EL, PI, Mentor) of the members proposing to undertake the commercialization feasibility research. E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1 33206 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 101 / Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / Notices (2) Relevant current/previous NIFA awards. (3) Brief description of the potential commercial impact. (4) Brief description of the current commercialization plan. Teams that are selected to submit a full application will provide the full application via challenge.gov through the ‘‘Enter a Submission’’ function, and then send the application with your name and contact info, to contest@ nifa.usda.gov. The full application shall include the following project description information: 1. I–Corps Team (one page limit) a. Briefly describe the I–Corps team and provide rationale for its formation, focusing on members’ entrepreneurial expertise and relevance to the innovation effort, and members’ experience in collaborating on previous projects. 2. Lineage of the Proposed Innovation (one page limit) a. Provide a table of previous awards with managing program officer (if applicable) identified. b. Briefly describe how this research has led the Team to believe that a commercial opportunity exists for the effort moving forward. 3. Description of the Potential Commercial Impact (two page limit) a. Provide a brief profile of a typical customer of the proposed innovation. b. Describe the customer need that you believe will be met by the proposed innovation. c. Describe how the customer currently meets those needs. d. Your approach—What is the proposed innovation? How does it relate to the fundamental research already conducted under previous award(s)? e. How much do you think a customer would pay for your solution? mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES 4. Brief description of the project plan (one page limit) a. Current Status—In what stage is the development: proof-of-principle, proofof-concept, prototype (alpha, beta), etc. . . . b. Provide a brief description of the proof-of-concept or technology demonstration that will be provided at the end of the project. The total page limit for the project description full application is five (5) pages. From the Teams submitting full applications, a maximum of four Teams will be selected as winners to enter into the I–FAST Program. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 May 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 Judging The information on the Competition will be provided via www.challenges.gov. USDA NIFA will screen all entries for eligibility and completeness. Entries from Teams that do not meet the eligibility requirements and/or that fail to include required submission elements will not be evaluated or considered for award. Eligible and complete entries will be judged by a fair and impartial panel of individuals from USDA NIFA and NSF (the ‘‘Judging Panel’’). Pre-Application Evaluation: The Judging Panel will evaluate the preapplication to determine the following: (1) Did the technology proposed receive past NIFA funding? (2) Does the team have the required team members and are the roles of each team member clearly described? (3) Does the commercialization plan provide a good understanding of the team’s knowledge of the current state of the art and how the technology could enter into a potential market? (4) Were the page limits met? Full-Application Evaluation: The Judging Panel will evaluate the Fullapplication to determine the following and approximately equal consideration will be given to each criterion except for item (3), which will receive twice the value of any of the other items: 1. I–Corps Team: Does the application clearly describe: The I–Corps team, the rationale for the team’s formation, members’ entrepreneurial expertise and relevance to the innovation effort, and members’ experience in collaborating on previous projects? 2. Lineage of the Proposed Innovation: Does the application provide a table of previous awards with a managing program officer (if applicable) identified? Does the application clearly describe how this research has led the Team to believe that a commercial opportunity exists for the effort moving forward? 3. Description of the Potential Commercial Impact: Does the application clearly describe the profile of a typical customer of the proposed innovation? Does the application describe the customer needs to be met by the proposed innovation? Does the application describe how the customer currently meets those needs? Does the application clearly describe the proposed innovation and how it relates to the fundamental research already conducted under previous award(s)? Does the application describe how much a customer would pay for the solution? PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4. Project plan: Does the project plan clearly describe the current status including the stage of development? Does the application provide a description of the proof-of-concept or technology demonstration that will be provided at the end of the project? 5. Page Limits: Did the application meet the required page limits? Additional Rules and Conditions A. General Conditions By entering the Competition, each Team guarantees that its entry complies with all applicable Federal and state laws and regulations. Each Team warrants that its entry is free of viruses, spyware, malware, and any other malicious, harmful, or destructive device. Teams submitting entries containing any such device will be held liable and may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Entries containing any matter which, in the sole discretion of USDA NIFA, is indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, which demonstrates a lack of respect for public morals or conduct, which promotes discrimination in any form, which shows unlawful acts being performed, which is slanderous or libelous, or which adversely affects the reputations of USDA NIFA or NSF will not be accepted. If USDA NIFA, in its sole discretion, finds any entry to be unacceptable then such entry shall be deemed disqualified and will not be evaluated or considered for award. The winning Team(s) must comply with all applicable laws and regulations regarding Prize Purse receipt and disbursement. USDA NIFA’s failure to enforce any term of any applicable rule or condition shall not constitute a waiver of that term. B. Entry Conditions, Release & Liability By entering the Competition, each Team agrees to: (1) Comply with and be bound by all applicable rules and conditions, and the decisions of USDA NIFA, which are binding and final in all matters relating to this Competition. (2) Release and hold harmless USDA NIFA and NSF and all their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents, and representatives (collectively the ‘‘Released Parties’’) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability arising out of or relating to the Team’s entry or participating in the Competition and/or the Team’s acceptance, use, or misuse of the Prize Purse or recognition. Provided, however, that Participants are not required to waive claims arising out of E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 101 / Wednesday, May 25, 2016 / Notices the unauthorized use or disclosure by USDA NIFA or NSF of the intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business information of the Participant. The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) Any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Teams, printing errors, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or used in the Competition; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to, malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process for the Competition; (4) technical or human error that may occur in the administration of the Competition or the processing of entries; or (5) any injury or damage to persons or property that may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Team’s participation in the Competition or receipt or use or misuse of the Prize Purse. If for any reason a Team’s entry is confirmed to have been deleted erroneously, lost, or otherwise destroyed or corrupted, Team’s sole remedy is to submit another entry in the Competition. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES C. Termination and Disqualification USDA NIFA reserves the authority to cancel, suspend, and/or modify the Competition, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures, or any other factor beyond USDA NIFA’s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Competition, as determined by USDA NIFA in its sole discretion. USDA NIFA reserves the right to disqualify any Team it believes to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Competition or to be acting in violation of any applicable rule or condition. Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, USDA NIFA reserves the authority to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. D. Verification of Potential Winner(s) All potential Competition winners are subject to verification by USDA NIFA whose decisions are final and binding in all matters related to the Competition. Potential winner(s) must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of the Competition rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements. The potential winner(s) will be notified by email and/or VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:19 May 24, 2016 Jkt 238001 telephone. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, or if the notification is returned as undeliverable, the potential winner forfeits. In the event that a potential winner, or an announced winner, is found to be ineligible or is disqualified for any reason, USDA NIFA may make award, instead, to the next runner up, as previously determined by the Judging Panel. Prior to awarding the Prize Purse, USDA NIFA will verify that the potential winner(s) is/are not suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded from doing business with the U.S. Federal Government. Suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded parties will not be eligible to win the Competition. E. Intellectual Property By entering the Competition, each Team warrants that it is the author and/ or authorized owner of its entry, and that the entry is wholly original with the Team (or is an improved version of an existing project plan the Team is legally authorized to enter into the Competition), and that the submitted entry does not infringe on any copyright, patent, or any other rights of any third party. Each Team agrees to hold the Released Parties harmless for any infringement of copyright, trademark, patent, and/or other real or intellectual property right that may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Team’s participation in the Competition. All legal rights in any materials produced or submitted in entering the Competition are retained by the Team and/or the legal holder of those rights. Entry into the Competition constitutes express authorization for USDA NIFA, NSF, and the Judging Panel to review and analyze any and all aspects of submitted entries, including any trade secret or proprietary information contained in or evident from review of the submitted entries. F. Privacy & Disclosure Under FOIA Personal and contact information is not collected for commercial or marketing purposes. Information submitted throughout the Competition will be used only to communicate with Teams regarding entries and/or the Competition. Teams’ entries to the Competition may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (‘‘FOIA’’). If a Team believes that all or part of its Competition entry is protected from release under FOIA (e.g., if the information falls under FOIA exemption #4 for ‘‘trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33207 person [that is] privileged or confidential’’) the Team will be responsible for clearly marking the page(s)/section(s) of information it believes are protected. Done at Washington, DC, this 18th day of May, 2016. Kim L. Hicks, Branch Chief, Grants and Agreements Management Branch, USDA, ARS, FMAD. [FR Doc. 2016–12265 Filed 5–24–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–22–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service Information Collection Activity; Comment Request Rural Utilities Service, USDA. Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35, as amended), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) invites comments on this information collection for which approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be requested. DATES: Comments on this notice must be received by July 25, 2016. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas P. Dickson, Acting Director, Program Development and Regulatory Analysis, Rural Utilities Service, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., STOP 1522, Room 5159, South Building, Washington, DC 20250–1522. Telephone: (202) 690–4492. Email: thomas.dickson@wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) regulation (5 CFR part 1320) implementing provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) requires that interested members of the public and affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). This notice identifies an information collection that the Agency is submitting to OMB for extension. 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 will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the Agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 101 (Wednesday, May 25, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33204-33207]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-12265]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Announcement of Requirements and Registration for U.S. Department 
of Agriculture (USDA) Innovations in Food and Agricultural Science and 
Technology (I-FAST) Prize Competition

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 3719.

AGENCY: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is 
announcing the I-FAST prize competition (the ``I-FAST Competition'' or 
the ``Competition'') to develop and implement the Innovations in Food 
and Agricultural Science and Technology (I-FAST) Pilot Program. USDA 
NIFA will partner with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation 
Corps (I-Corps) to provide entrepreneurship training to USDA NIFA 
grantees under this I-FAST pilot program. The goals are to identify 
valuable product opportunities that can emerge from NIFA supported 
academic research. Selected USDA NIFA I-FAST project teams will have 
the opportunity to concurrently participate in the educational programs 
with NSF I-Corps awardees. Over a period of six months the USDA NIFA 
supported teams in the I-FAST program will learn what it will take to 
achieve an economic impact with their particular innovation. The final 
goal of the I-FAST Competition is to facilitate technology transfer of 
innovations that can make an impact in the marketplace and the global 
economy.

DATES: Competition Submission Period--Pre-Application Phase: May 26, 
2016 to July 22, 2016.
    Evaluation and Judging--Pre-Application Phase: July 25, 2016 to 
July 29, 2016.
    Competition Submission Period--Full Application Phase: August 8, 
2016 to September 2, 2016.
    Evaluation and Judging--Full Application Phase: September 5, 2016 
to September 9, 2016.
    Verification of Winners: September 16, 2016.
    Announcement of Winner(s): September 23, 2016.
    NSF I-Corps Training for Winner(s): Various dates in October and 
November 2016. Winning team(s) will need to be available to travel to 
and attend the Washington DC NSF I-Corps training sessions in October 
and November 2016. The Pre-Application Phase Competition Submission 
Period begins May 26, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. ET and ends July 22, 2016 at 
12:00 a.m. ET. USDA NIFA's receiving computer set to Eastern Time is 
the official time keeping device for the Competition.
    The Full-Application Phase Competition Submission Period begins 
August 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. ET and ends September 2, 2016 at 12:00 
a.m. ET. USDA NIFA's receiving computer set to Eastern Time is the 
official time keeping device for the Competition.
    Competition dates are subject to change. Entries submitted before 
or after the Competition Submission Period will not be reviewed or 
considered for award. For more details please visit the 
www.challenge.gov Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Changes or updates to the Competition 
rules will be posted and can be viewed at www.nifa.usda.gov. Questions 
about the Competition can be directed to Scott Dockum at 
sdockum@nifa.usda.gov, or phone 202-720-6346.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Subject of Challenge Competition

    The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) mission 
is to invest in and advance agricultural research, education, and 
extension to solve societal challenges. As part of this mission NIFA is 
charged with providing grant funding for research, education, and 
extension that address key problems of national, regional, and multi-
state importance in sustaining all components of agriculture. A 
majority of NIFA grant funding is provided to academic institutions to 
focus on developing research in the areas of farm efficiency and 
profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and 
agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, 
human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding.
    USDA NIFA will partner with the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) who 
will provide an Entrepreneurial Immersion course and training to USDA 
NIFA grantees through this I-FAST Competition. The goals of this 
Competition are to spur translation of fundamental research to the 
market place, to encourage collaboration between academia and industry, 
and to train NIFA-funded faculty, students and other researchers to 
understand innovation and entrepreneurship.
    The purpose of the I-FAST Competition is to identify NIFA-funded 
research teams who will receive additional support, in the form of 
mentoring, training and funding, to accelerate the translation of 
knowledge derived from fundamental research into emerging products and 
services that can attract subsequent third-party funding. NIFA-funded 
research teams will be required to participate in Entrepreneurial 
Immersion course provided by the NSF I-Corps program. Each team will 
that receives an I-FAST award is required to participate in the 
following NSF I-CORP activities: (1) Attendance by the entire team at 
an on-site three-day NSF I-CORP Entrepreneurial Immersion course; (2) 
Participation in five Webinars following the completion of the course; 
(3) Complete approximately 15 hours of prep per week for at least five 
weeks; (4) Attend two days of demonstrations at the end of the 
training; (5) Teams are expected to engage in at least 100 contacts 
with potential customers during the seven week period that I-Corps 
training takes place and (6) Provide a 5 page summary report back to 
USDA NIFA on the outcome of the training and milestones to be 
established for commercialization. The

[[Page 33205]]

major focus of I-FAST is for the selected teams (an I-FAST team 
includes the Principal Investigator, the Entrepreneurial Lead, and the 
Mentor) to participate in an Entrepreneurial Immersion course provided 
by the NSF I-Corps program. The NSF I-Corps is a program specifically 
designed to broaden the impact of select, basic-research projects by 
preparing scientists and engineers to focus beyond the laboratory. 
Leveraging experience and guidance from established entrepreneurs and a 
targeted curriculum within the NSF I-Corp program, USDA I-FAST teams 
will learn to identify valuable product opportunities that can emerge 
from USDA NIFA supported academic research. The I-FAST Competition will 
help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples 
scientific discovery with technology development to address 
agricultural and societal needs.

Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Competition

    The I-FAST Competition is open to teams (``Teams'' or 
``Participants'') that are made up of individuals from academic/
university institutions that have received a prior award from NIFA (in 
a scientific or engineering field relevant to the proposed innovation) 
that is currently active or that has been active within five years from 
the date of the I-FAST Team's proposal submission. The lineage of the 
prior award extends to the PI, Co-PIs, Senior Personnel, Post Docs, 
Professional Staff or others who were supported under the NIFA award. 
The prior award could range from a modest single-investigator award to 
a large, distributed center and also includes awards involving 
students.
    To be eligible to win a prize under the Competition, Teams:
    (1) Shall have registered to participate in the Competition under 
the rules;
    (2) Shall have complied with all the requirements of the 
Competition rules;
    (3) May not include a Federal entity or Federal employee acting 
within the scope of their employment; and
    (4) In the case of a private entity Team member, the member shall 
be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the 
United States. In the case of an individual Team member, shall be a 
citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
    Makeup of I-FAST Competition Teams: Each Team shall consist of 
three members:
    (1) Entrepreneurial Lead (EL).
    (2) I-FAST Team Mentor.
    (3) Principal Investigator (PI).
    I-FAST teams are made up of individuals from an academic/university 
institution except for the Mentor who may reside with an outside 
organization as described below.
    The Entrepreneurial Lead (EL) could be a postdoctoral scholar, 
graduate or other student with relevant knowledge of the technology 
located at the academic/university institution and a deep commitment to 
investigate the commercial landscape surrounding the innovation. The 
Entrepreneurial Lead should also be capable and have the will to 
support the transition of the technology, should the I-FAST Teams 
project demonstrate the potential for commercial viability. The EL will 
be responsible for: (1) Developing the team to include the mentor and 
PI, (2) leading the development of the pre-application and full 
application, (3) starting and completing the training activities in the 
Entrepreneurial Immersion course provided by the NSF I-Corps program, 
(4) communicating and coordinating with team members to achieve the 
goal of commercialization, (5) developing and monitoring team activity 
milestones from the Entrepreneurial Immersion course, (6) ensuring the 
team milestones are completed on time and (7) ensuring the team is in 
communication with the NIFA I-FAST Competition Director and the NSF I-
Corps Program Director as needed.
    The I-FAST Teams Mentor will typically be an experienced or 
emerging entrepreneur with proximity to the Academic/University 
Institution and have experience in transitioning technology out of 
Academic labs. The EL will need to identify a Mentor that has business 
expertise in the proposed technology sector and has entrepreneurial 
experience. A Mentor will be someone with the right ``rolodex'' of 
contacts in the technology area of commercialization which are critical 
for ``getting the technology out of the lab''. The EL of the team 
should contact their University Technology Transfer Office for ideas of 
potential Mentors. The I-FAST Teams Mentor will be responsible for 
guiding the team forward using existing entrepreneurial experience and 
tracking the team's commercialization progress through regular 
communication with the EL, PI and the NIFA I-FAST competition director 
and the NSF I-Corps Program Director as needed.
    The Principal Investigator (PI) will have in-depth knowledge of the 
technology developed under the earlier USDA NIFA Grant and will be 
responsible for: (1) Coordinating with the university on the transfer 
of prize funds from NIFA if the team is selected, (2) tracking of the 
prize funding for team activities, (3) reporting to NIFA on 
disbursements and obligations of the prize funding, (4) guiding the EL 
and Mentor on technical aspects of the technology, (5) communicating as 
needed with the NIFA I-FAST Competition Director and the NSF I-Corps 
Program Director, (6) ensuring the EL meets the required milestones for 
the NSF I-CORP Course and (7) participating as a team member. The 
Principle Investigator that received the earlier NIFA grant for the 
technology is allowed to participate on the team, but cannot be the 
Entrepreneurial Lead.

Amount of the Prize

    The USDA NIFA I-FAST Competition Prize Purse will be a maximum of 
$200,000, which will be divided to provide $50,000 each to a maximum of 
four (4) Teams. Prize Purse funds are required to be used by winning 
Teams to fully participate in the NSF I-Corps program curriculum. USDA 
NIFA reserves the right to award less than the maximum number of 
available prizes.

Payment of the Prize

    Prizes awarded under this Competition will be paid by electronic 
funds transfer to the academic/university institution the Team(s) 
represent(s). Prize winners will be required to complete the required 
financial documents and forms to be supplied by NIFA to set up the 
electronic transfer. All Federal, state and local taxes are the sole 
responsibility of the winner(s).

Submission Process for Participants

    The Competition will have a two-phase selection process. Teams 
initially will submit a pre-application. From the pre-applications, 
USDA NIFA will select Teams that will be invited to submit full 
applications. From the full applications, USDA NIFA will select the 
winning Team(s).
    Participants will register for the Competition and will submit the 
pre-application to the Competition via www.challenge.gov. Teams can 
enter the contest by submitting the pre-application through the ``Enter 
a Submission'' function on Challenge.gov, and then send the pre-
application, with your name and contact info, to contest@nifa.usda.gov. 
The pre-application shall contain the following information:
    Prepare a two-page Executive Summary that describes the following:
    (1) Composition of the Team and roles (EL, PI, Mentor) of the 
members proposing to undertake the commercialization feasibility 
research.

[[Page 33206]]

    (2) Relevant current/previous NIFA awards.
    (3) Brief description of the potential commercial impact.
    (4) Brief description of the current commercialization plan.
    Teams that are selected to submit a full application will provide 
the full application via challenge.gov through the ``Enter a 
Submission'' function, and then send the application with your name and 
contact info, to contest@nifa.usda.gov. The full application shall 
include the following project description information:

1. I-Corps Team (one page limit)

    a. Briefly describe the I-Corps team and provide rationale for its 
formation, focusing on members' entrepreneurial expertise and relevance 
to the innovation effort, and members' experience in collaborating on 
previous projects.

2. Lineage of the Proposed Innovation (one page limit)

    a. Provide a table of previous awards with managing program officer 
(if applicable) identified.
    b. Briefly describe how this research has led the Team to believe 
that a commercial opportunity exists for the effort moving forward.

3. Description of the Potential Commercial Impact (two page limit)

    a. Provide a brief profile of a typical customer of the proposed 
innovation.
    b. Describe the customer need that you believe will be met by the 
proposed innovation.
    c. Describe how the customer currently meets those needs.
    d. Your approach--What is the proposed innovation? How does it 
relate to the fundamental research already conducted under previous 
award(s)?
    e. How much do you think a customer would pay for your solution?

4. Brief description of the project plan (one page limit)

    a. Current Status--In what stage is the development: proof-of-
principle, proof-of-concept, prototype (alpha, beta), etc. . . .
    b. Provide a brief description of the proof-of-concept or 
technology demonstration that will be provided at the end of the 
project.
    The total page limit for the project description full application 
is five (5) pages.
    From the Teams submitting full applications, a maximum of four 
Teams will be selected as winners to enter into the I-FAST Program.

Judging

    The information on the Competition will be provided via 
www.challenges.gov.
    USDA NIFA will screen all entries for eligibility and completeness. 
Entries from Teams that do not meet the eligibility requirements and/or 
that fail to include required submission elements will not be evaluated 
or considered for award. Eligible and complete entries will be judged 
by a fair and impartial panel of individuals from USDA NIFA and NSF 
(the ``Judging Panel'').
    Pre-Application Evaluation: The Judging Panel will evaluate the 
pre-application to determine the following:
    (1) Did the technology proposed receive past NIFA funding?
    (2) Does the team have the required team members and are the roles 
of each team member clearly described?
    (3) Does the commercialization plan provide a good understanding of 
the team's knowledge of the current state of the art and how the 
technology could enter into a potential market?
    (4) Were the page limits met?
    Full-Application Evaluation: The Judging Panel will evaluate the 
Full-application to determine the following and approximately equal 
consideration will be given to each criterion except for item (3), 
which will receive twice the value of any of the other items:
    1. I-Corps Team: Does the application clearly describe: The I-Corps 
team, the rationale for the team's formation, members' entrepreneurial 
expertise and relevance to the innovation effort, and members' 
experience in collaborating on previous projects?
    2. Lineage of the Proposed Innovation: Does the application provide 
a table of previous awards with a managing program officer (if 
applicable) identified? Does the application clearly describe how this 
research has led the Team to believe that a commercial opportunity 
exists for the effort moving forward?
    3. Description of the Potential Commercial Impact: Does the 
application clearly describe the profile of a typical customer of the 
proposed innovation? Does the application describe the customer needs 
to be met by the proposed innovation? Does the application describe how 
the customer currently meets those needs? Does the application clearly 
describe the proposed innovation and how it relates to the fundamental 
research already conducted under previous award(s)? Does the 
application describe how much a customer would pay for the solution?
    4. Project plan: Does the project plan clearly describe the current 
status including the stage of development? Does the application provide 
a description of the proof-of-concept or technology demonstration that 
will be provided at the end of the project?
    5. Page Limits: Did the application meet the required page limits?

Additional Rules and Conditions

A. General Conditions

    By entering the Competition, each Team guarantees that its entry 
complies with all applicable Federal and state laws and regulations.
    Each Team warrants that its entry is free of viruses, spyware, 
malware, and any other malicious, harmful, or destructive device. Teams 
submitting entries containing any such device will be held liable and 
may be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
    Entries containing any matter which, in the sole discretion of USDA 
NIFA, is indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, which demonstrates 
a lack of respect for public morals or conduct, which promotes 
discrimination in any form, which shows unlawful acts being performed, 
which is slanderous or libelous, or which adversely affects the 
reputations of USDA NIFA or NSF will not be accepted. If USDA NIFA, in 
its sole discretion, finds any entry to be unacceptable then such entry 
shall be deemed disqualified and will not be evaluated or considered 
for award.
    The winning Team(s) must comply with all applicable laws and 
regulations regarding Prize Purse receipt and disbursement.
    USDA NIFA's failure to enforce any term of any applicable rule or 
condition shall not constitute a waiver of that term.

B. Entry Conditions, Release & Liability

    By entering the Competition, each Team agrees to:
    (1) Comply with and be bound by all applicable rules and 
conditions, and the decisions of USDA NIFA, which are binding and final 
in all matters relating to this Competition.
    (2) Release and hold harmless USDA NIFA and NSF and all their 
respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents, and 
representatives (collectively the ``Released Parties'') from and 
against any and all claims, expenses, and liability arising out of or 
relating to the Team's entry or participating in the Competition and/or 
the Team's acceptance, use, or misuse of the Prize Purse or 
recognition. Provided, however, that Participants are not required to 
waive claims arising out of

[[Page 33207]]

the unauthorized use or disclosure by USDA NIFA or NSF of the 
intellectual property, trade secrets, or confidential business 
information of the Participant.
    The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) Any incorrect or 
inaccurate information, whether caused by Teams, printing errors, or by 
any of the equipment or programming associated with or used in the 
Competition; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not 
limited to, malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone 
lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human 
intervention in any part of the entry process for the Competition; (4) 
technical or human error that may occur in the administration of the 
Competition or the processing of entries; or (5) any injury or damage 
to persons or property that may be caused, directly or indirectly, in 
whole or in part, from Team's participation in the Competition or 
receipt or use or misuse of the Prize Purse. If for any reason a Team's 
entry is confirmed to have been deleted erroneously, lost, or otherwise 
destroyed or corrupted, Team's sole remedy is to submit another entry 
in the Competition.

C. Termination and Disqualification

    USDA NIFA reserves the authority to cancel, suspend, and/or modify 
the Competition, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures, 
or any other factor beyond USDA NIFA's reasonable control impairs the 
integrity or proper functioning of the Competition, as determined by 
USDA NIFA in its sole discretion.
    USDA NIFA reserves the right to disqualify any Team it believes to 
be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Competition 
or to be acting in violation of any applicable rule or condition.
    Any attempt by any person to undermine the legitimate operation of 
the Competition may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, 
should such an attempt be made, USDA NIFA reserves the authority to 
seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by 
law.

D. Verification of Potential Winner(s)

    All potential Competition winners are subject to verification by 
USDA NIFA whose decisions are final and binding in all matters related 
to the Competition.
    Potential winner(s) must continue to comply with all terms and 
conditions of the Competition rules, and winning is contingent upon 
fulfilling all requirements. The potential winner(s) will be notified 
by email and/or telephone. If a potential winner cannot be contacted, 
or if the notification is returned as undeliverable, the potential 
winner forfeits. In the event that a potential winner, or an announced 
winner, is found to be ineligible or is disqualified for any reason, 
USDA NIFA may make award, instead, to the next runner up, as previously 
determined by the Judging Panel.
    Prior to awarding the Prize Purse, USDA NIFA will verify that the 
potential winner(s) is/are not suspended, debarred, or otherwise 
excluded from doing business with the U.S. Federal Government. 
Suspended, debarred, or otherwise excluded parties will not be eligible 
to win the Competition.

E. Intellectual Property

    By entering the Competition, each Team warrants that it is the 
author and/or authorized owner of its entry, and that the entry is 
wholly original with the Team (or is an improved version of an existing 
project plan the Team is legally authorized to enter into the 
Competition), and that the submitted entry does not infringe on any 
copyright, patent, or any other rights of any third party. Each Team 
agrees to hold the Released Parties harmless for any infringement of 
copyright, trademark, patent, and/or other real or intellectual 
property right that may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or 
in part, from Team's participation in the Competition.
    All legal rights in any materials produced or submitted in entering 
the Competition are retained by the Team and/or the legal holder of 
those rights. Entry into the Competition constitutes express 
authorization for USDA NIFA, NSF, and the Judging Panel to review and 
analyze any and all aspects of submitted entries, including any trade 
secret or proprietary information contained in or evident from review 
of the submitted entries.

F. Privacy & Disclosure Under FOIA

    Personal and contact information is not collected for commercial or 
marketing purposes. Information submitted throughout the Competition 
will be used only to communicate with Teams regarding entries and/or 
the Competition.
    Teams' entries to the Competition may be subject to disclosure 
under the Freedom of Information Act (``FOIA''). If a Team believes 
that all or part of its Competition entry is protected from release 
under FOIA (e.g., if the information falls under FOIA exemption #4 for 
``trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a 
person [that is] privileged or confidential'') the Team will be 
responsible for clearly marking the page(s)/section(s) of information 
it believes are protected.

    Done at Washington, DC, this 18th day of May, 2016.
Kim L. Hicks,
Branch Chief, Grants and Agreements Management Branch, USDA, ARS, FMAD.
[FR Doc. 2016-12265 Filed 5-24-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3410-22-P