Member Initiated Projects Q&A

All member initiated project questions will be posted below. If you need to submit a question please complete the form found on our website.

Question:
I am a researcher working in the field of power electronics. My home institute is University of Minnesota-Duluth. My institution is not a member of Power America. I am interested in the recently announced member initiated project and consider submitting a proposal. I have questions relating to eligibility. Is a membership required before I can submit a proposal for member initiated project? If yes, how to become a member and what is the membership fee? Also, does Open Innovation Fund still available at this time of the year? Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions.
PowerAmerica response:
Non-members can submit an MIP proposal as part of a team.  If a proposal is selected for funding, then any team member that is not a PowerAmerica member must become a member.  Information about PowerAmerica membership can be found in the “membership” section of the PowerAmerica website. Dues for academic members is $2,500 per year.  Questions specific to membership (and not the MIP funding opportunity) should be directed to Jim_LeMunyon@ncsu.edu. With respect to the Open Innovation Fund, no OIF funding is available.
Question: 
It is mentioned in the call that we “must use commercially available SiC or GaN devices”, does it mean the device needs to be on the market when this proposal is being evaluated? We have two candidate device providers, one can provide off-the-shelf die immediately, while the other one expects to provide mechanical samples at the beginning and then product-equivalent die near the end of next year, which option would you recommend?
PowerAmerica response:
Please note item 4.a in Appendix B of the solicitation regarding the importance of rapid commercialization of the results of the project.  PowerAmerica members may seek to commercialize the results of a successful project.  Project proposals are likely to be scored higher based upon the availability of the parts and components needed to commercialize the project’s resulting module. We therefore recommend using off-the-shelf die at the start of the project.
Question:
In the project requirements, the DC current goals of the single phase, double phase and three phase are respectively 1600A, 900A and 560A. Are they defined for a case temperature of 25℃ or at a case temperature of ≥90℃?
PowerAmerica response:
Case temperature of ≥90℃.
Question:
Our legal department is requesting that we place a copyright in the footer of all pages of the proposal. We do not have any proprietary information contained in the proposal or project, but since the proposals can get read by a public audience our legal department is requesting the copyright on the footer of each page. Does this violate the Appendix B section i page 6 of the RFP MIP Round #3 FINAL document and will it cause a deduction in the scoring of the proposal?
PowerAmerica response:
No, provided that the copyright statement makes clear that it applies to the text of the proposal and not to any work product resulting from the proposal should the proposal be selected for funding.
Question:
On page 10 of the RFP is the Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO) Template. In this template the “Abstract” is listed as one of the template elements.  The Abstract was also listed as being on the Cover Page. Is the Abstract to be repeated at the top of the next section, Section B Technical project description and Statement of Project Objectives (SOPO)?
PowerAmerica response:
The abstract should be included on the cover page and the SOPO.
Question:
Is the “Milestone Summary table” and the “Deliverables list” included in the 6 page limit of Section B?
PowerAmerica response:
Yes.
Question:
The RFP mentions double-sided cooling, and double-side mounting as noteworthy items. However, to achieve this, wire bonds cannot be used; the top of the die must be soldered or sintered to achieve the double-sided connection. It is also preferred that we use commercial off the shelf die. These die are only available with aluminum topside metallization, which is not compatible with soldering or sintering. Therefore, these preferences seem to be contradictory. Any clarification would be appreciated. In particular, I am wondering if it is okay for us to re-metallize the COTS die ourselves to make them topside solderable?  If a manufacturer could provide this special topside metallization for us, would that also be acceptable?
PowerAmerica response:
The noteworthy items listed on page 2 of the solicitation are provided for consideration.  It may not be possible to address all of these items in a single proposal.  With respect to re-metallizing the COTS die or using a manufacturer to provide special topside metalization, the answer to both questions is “yes.”
Question:
What cost structure (rates – $/hr) for personnel do you use for PowerAmerica projects?
PowerAmerica response:
Please use your own organization’s cost structures. It can be rates per hour, per month, per year, or based on % effort.
Question:
Can you send a budget example?
PowerAmerica Response:
Please see the required budget information on the bottom of page 9 of the solicitation.  No additional information is required in the proposal submission.  However, additional budget information is likely to be requested after the proposal is reviewed, especially if the proposal will be recommended for funding.
Question:
Do the PowerAmerica MIP programs need to follow Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), if not please specify what accounting system will be used?
PowerAmerica Response:
Follow Cost Accounting Standards and/or the established standards of your organization/institution. Should your proposal be recommended for funding, it is likely you will be asked for an explanation and documentation regarding the cost information provided.
Question:
In a partnering situation, can PowerAmerica issue part of the $200,000 directly to a partner organization to avoid institutional overhead through the subawarding process at a university?
PowerAmerica response:
Yes, a proposal can be submitted that way, but proposed budgets can be revised during the review process prior to funding depending on the details of the proposal and relationship between team members.  Please also note that the $200,000 figure should be considered a guide, as PowerAmerica can fund projects at higher or lower levels.  The budget should reflect the project scope and costs necessary to perform the project successfully, not an arbitrary dollar amount. If you choose to request that PowerAmerica directly fund your partner, please clearly note this arrangement in your proposal so that it can be considered during the review process.
Question:
How does PowerAmerica calculate the cost share percentage? Is it calculated as a percentage of requested funds (cost share amount / requested amount), or as a percentage of total project costs (cost share amount / (cost share amount + requested amount))?
PowerAmerica response:
Cost share is computed as a percentage of total project costs (cost share amount / (cost share amount + requested amount)).