SecureAmerica Fellowship Program
The SecureAmerica Institute Fellowship (SAIF) program will provide selected applicants an opportunity to gain experience in manufacturing and supply chain resiliency, to work closely with SecureAmerica expert mentors, and to develop relevant research activities for the benefit of the membership and mission of the Institute. Where possible, the institute will identify potential partnership opportunities beyond the scope of the fellowship program.
Call for Applications & How to Apply
Synopsis of Program
The inaugural SAIF program awardee will be selected from applicant proposals submitted in response to the 2021program requirements, which will be announced on April 1. Current funding provides for at least one awardee during the 2021 award cycle. However, if more program funds become available, additional awards may be given at the discretion of the SAIF program director and in accordance with the intent of the program and its sponsors.
The SAIF program will provide awardees with up to $25,000 to support research project expenses. These expenses may include equipment access costs, materials, supplies, appropriate small equipment purchases, and institutional overhead costs if required. Award funds may NOT be used for personnel costs or compensation of any kind. Additionally, budgeted personal expenses of up to $5,000 may be proposed. Allowable travel expenses shall be reimbursable up to the allowable expenses under General Services Administration (GSA) rates. Allowable expenses for travel more than 50 miles from the awardee’s home may include:
- Meal costs for overnight travel (up to GSA per diem rate)
- Hotel accommodations (up to 150% of GSA rate per night)
- Personal vehicle mileage (GSA rate)
- Airfare (coach fare)
- Parking, tolls, and misc. as appropriate
This fellowship opportunity is open to graduate students or leadership-track industry professionals in manufacturing-related fields. Applicants must affirm that they are able to allocate the required time away from work/school to complete the work of their proposed research.
- April 26 – Informational webinar / Q&A
- June 1 – Proposals due by 5:00PM CDT
- July 15 – Announcement of award
- Sept. 1 – Earliest project start date. Exact project timeline to be proposed/approved.
- Dec. 15 – Latest project initiation
- June 1, 2022 – Latest project completion
Each awarded Fellow must agree to:
- Submit monthly progress reports detailing: (1) progress towards project aims; (2) any obstacles faced and how they were overcome (if relevant)
- Present results or preliminary findings at the SAI 2022 Winter Summit or next SAI member gathering. Note: If findings are preliminary, final results must be presented at next SAI member gathering
- Submit a written report for dissemination to the SAI membership one month after project closeout (Proprietary results must be discussed / approved prior to project award)
This fellowship opportunity is open to graduate students or leadership-track industry professionals in manufacturing-related fields. Applicants must affirm that they are able to allocate the required time away from work / school to complete the work of their proposed research.
The application packet must be compiled into a single PDF file with the content arranged as follows:
- Application Form
- Project Proposal
- Project Timeline
- Project Budget
- Project Budget Narrative
- Applicant CV or Resume
- Applicant Personal Statement
- Project Letters of Support
- Applicant Letter of Support from Employer or Academic Institution
- Mentor Letter of Commitment
- Mentor CV or Resume
I. Application Form
Each applicant must submit a completed application form as the cover page to their application packet. Please download fillable form here.
II. Project Proposal (5 pages)
Projects will be considered from broad aspects of the manufacturing security and resilience landscape. Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that build upon their background and personal experience while leveraging resources and expertise available to them through their mentor and the SAI network of members and experts.
The proposed work should represent original research. It may be complementary to ongoing research activities, but it should not fall within the scope of work of any funded research effort. Special consideration will be given to projects that seem likely to support follow-on funding for the awardee and/or mentor to continue SAI-relevant research.
(5-page maximum, excluding attachments, 12 pt., Times New Roman, 1-inch margins)
Project proposals must use 12 pt., Times New Roman font, and 1-inch margins. Proposals must include:
- Human Subjects Research Statement (if applicable)
- Intellectual Property Statement (if applicable)
- Project Overview
- Relevance to the SAI mission and the broad manufacturing community
- Technical Narrative
- Technical or systemic issue being addressed
- Anticipated outcomes
If the applicant anticipates any work that might involve human subjects research (this includes any surveys, questionnaires, or interviews), the applicant must address this explicitly in their proposal with a section entitled “Human Subjects Research Statement.” All human subjects research will be required to be approved by the Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) or equivalent at each participating organization. If applicable, applicants should explain their familiarity and experience with human subjects research protocols.
If the applicant anticipates any work that involves previously developed IP or that would involve disclosure of sensitive IP, this must be addressed in a section entitled “Intellectual Property Statement.” Applicants should take care not to disclose any sensitive information in the proposal. IP issues should be discussed generally. If additional, confidential discussion is required for proposal evaluation, the applicant will be contacted.
III. Project Timeline (1 page)
Proposals must include a project timeline. Projects may not begin before September 1, 2021 and must be concluded no later than June 1, 2022. Must begin no later than December 15, 2021.
IV. Project Budget (1 page)
A detailed budget is required. The project budget should cover not only how the applicant plans to spend the $25,000 research support funds, but also an estimate budget for personal travel expenses. Please refer to Award Funding section on page 1.
V. Project Budget Narrative (2 pages)
Provide basis and rationale for requested budget.
VI. Applicant CV / Resume (no page limit)
Applicants should include a full resume or academic CV highlighting their qualifications for the program.
VII. Applicant Personal Statement (1 page)
Applicants are asked to comment on the significance of this opportunity to their own personal career aspirations. They are further asked to explain how they would use this opportunity to enhance their engagement in the SAI member community and provide value back to the Institute and membership.
VIII. Project Letters of Support
A minimum of three (3) letters of project support should be included with the application. These letters should speak to the value of the proposed project to the needs of the manufacturing community. They should also address the qualifications of the applicant and/or mentor to execute the proposed effort.
IX. Letter of Support from Employer or Academic Institution
SAIF proposal applicants should include a letter of support from their academic institution and / or employer. SAIF awardees are expected to allocate significant effort to their proposed projects for the duration of the project. In most cases, this would be expected to include some portion of full-time onsite work with the project mentor. Neither the awardee, nor the mentor, may be compensated from SAIF funds. As such, it is imperative that the awardee, mentor, and their respective employers / institutions are aware of and supportive of this professional development activity.
Please note, employers and institutions that provide paid employee time (awardee, mentor, and support personnel) in support of this program shall be eligible to claim the value of that time as an in-kind contribution to the SecureAmerica Institute. These contributions should be tracked and submitted for credit toward SAI membership.
X. Letter of Commitment from Project Mentor
Project mentors will serve as a critical resource in support of these fellowship opportunities. They will provide domain expertise to help guide the proposed project. They may also have access to critical resources required for project execution. Though project mentors may not be directly compensated through this award, they may be incentivized by the opportunity to count the value of their time on this project as an in-kind contribution toward SAI membership. Additionally, it is hoped that the work done through this project will provide preliminary results to help them to explore a new area of relevant research activity in support of the SAI mission. Project mentors are encouraged to consider how this project can be structured to position them for follow-on funding. Also, they are encouraged to consider how they might continue their collaboration with the fellowship awardee and expand collaboration through the SAI network.
Each project mentor must provide a letter of commitment for the project. Mentors should clearly express:
- their interest in the project
- its relevance to their expertise
- how they plan to expand their role / contribution to SAI through this effort
XI. CV of Project Mentor
In addition to a letter of commitment, a current resume or academic CV must be submitted for each project mentor.
Applicant packets shall be submitted by email to email@example.com. Subject line should read: SAIF Application- Last Name
Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals early to avoid any errors in submission. Any application received after the submission deadline may be considered unresponsive and may not be eligible for funding.
Proposers are asked not to include any sensitive information in their applications to this solicitation. Intellectual property developed through this program shall be handled under the terms of the SAI IP Management Plan. Previously developed IP shall remain the property of its respective owners.
With limited funding available, not all interesting project ideas will be able to be funded through this solicitation. However, SAI is committed to furthering the mission of security and resilience through all best means possible. To that end, all applicants to the SAIF program are asked for explicit permission to share their proposals with prospective funders. Where relevant funding opportunities are found, possible project sponsorship will be explored. However, should an applicant decline to allow sharing of the submission, that submission will not be presented for additional funding opportunities.
Applications will be judged based on the following criteria:
- alignment of proposed research to SAI strategic priorities
- quality of proposed research
- qualifications of applicant and mentor to complete the proposed work
- anticipated benefit of research outcomes to SAI member community
- likelihood of research to support follow-on funding opportunities