Non-Proprietary Partnering Opportunities for Universities
The primary goal of the Non-Proprietary Partnering Opportunity (NPO) program is to strengthen the U.S. photovoltaic (PV) community by establishing high-impact partnerships with universities that provide access to the National Center for Photovoltaics' (NCPV's) measurements and characterization (M&C) expertise and capabilities. NPOs are limited to non-proprietary research and development (R&D) that will result in joint publications between NREL and the selected university partner.
In the NPO program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides support for M&C personnel to conduct collaborative R&D with universities that will enable cost-competitive PV by 2020. NPOs expand the impact of the NCPV's existing capabilities through projects that advance the DOE SunShot Initiative goals.
Specifically, NPOs must focus on activities that address one or more of the following objectives:
- Increase PV cell and module efficiency, reduce costs, and improve reliability.
- Develop the scientific knowledge base required to advance industrially relevant PV technologies.
- Accelerate PV technology maturation and commercialization.
- Result in high-impact publishable work that advances scientific understanding in PV-related research areas.
NOTE: Electro-Optical Characterization, Surface Analysis, and Analytical Microscopy resources are available to support NPO collaborative research. The NPOs do not provide support for collaboration with the NCPV's Device Performance group. See the M&C website for further information regarding M&C capabilities.
Any U.S. university may apply.
Below is a brief explanation of the NPO application process. See the University-Based NPO Request for Proposals for a full description of the application process if your university is interested in participating in the NPO program.
Universities are encouraged to work with M&C personnel to determine what M&C capabilities are available and to discuss the scope of potential NPO projects. It is, however, the responsibility of the university to write the NPO proposal.
All applicants must submit a proposal that includes:
- Short abstract (less than 300 words).
- Scientific question(s) and/or technological barriers to be addressed.
- Objectives of the proposed collaborative research.
- Summary of the work that will be conducted at the NCPV and preliminary background results that validate the proposed approach.
- The anticipated significance of the results to be obtained, particularly as it relates to DOE SunShot goals.
- Collaborative research project timeline and explanation of M&C resources that will be required to accomplish the proposed research objectives.
- Brief description of the technical team's qualifications and the university's available resources that will be used to support this collaborative research project.
- Brief description of responder's current government-funded projects.
Proposals should be limited to a maximum of 6 pages (this page limit does not include cover letter, references or resumes). Submit the proposal to the NCPV Business Development Manager.
Successful proposals will emphasize how the proposed collaborative research will use M&C expertise and capabilities to investigate innovative solutions to the most critical technical problems currently confronting the PV community. See the M&C capabilities website for further information.
Proposals will be selected according to the following five evaluation criteria, which are equally weighted and scored as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor:
- Scientific merit and quality of proposed collaborative research.
- Relevance of the proposed collaborative research to DOE SunShot goals.
- Alignment of proposed project scope to M&C capabilities and expertise.
- Probability that proposed collaborative research will lead to publishable results.
- Quality of the university team and the likelihood that the university’s resources will be sufficient to achieve the proposed research objectives.
Highly-rated proposals, that meet or exceed all of the selection criteria, will be reviewed to ensure that the required NREL resources are available during the requested period of performance. In the event that the resources required are not available, we will work with the responder to develop a plan to work around these issues. Solutions could include: i) Delaying the start date; or, ii) Restructuring the research plan to accommodate resource availability.
Timeline for Proposal Selection
We will typically evaluate submissions every 12 weeks, starting in March. The duration of partnering will be 3–12 months, with an option to extend for an additional 3 months.
|2013 Proposal Deadlines||For Project Initiation by:|
All proposals should be submitted to the NCPV Business Development Manager.