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Start-up fundsThe IFN will provide resources for the assignment of up to five start-up awards per year, of up to $200,000 for a 2-year period during the 3-year duration of the project. The awards will be made to new faculty on a competitive basis. The RII will make special efforts to recruit women nanoscientists through this mechanism, and expect to recruit at least 5 new women nano scientists during the duration of the project. Each applicant will be required to prepare a research and professional development proposal to achieve research competitiveness; the proposal will be externally peer-reviewed; then the RII Task Force will make the final award decision, based on the programmatic needs of the research Clusters and the long range objective of developing the IFN Institute. The dean who has recruited a given faculty member to a tenure track position will be required to demonstrate the college commitment to the fast-track development of the faculty member by contributing 25 percent of the total award as a match. All new faculties in all institutions of higher education in Puerto Rico are eligible for the start-up awards — they must submit a competitive proposal and they must obtain the required institutional support. The objective of this program is to bootstrap the number of competitive nanoscientists in Puerto Rico by recruiting up to 15 new members to strengthen the IFN clusters and their evolution toward interdisciplinary research groups. The effectiveness of this strategy was demonstrated during EPSCoR Phase V, where 10 of the 21 start-up recipients were nanoscientists, in spite of the fact that there were three IFN clusters, two are NSF CAREER Award recipients, one is the director of a PREM, and another has different thrust areas competing for the fund. Further, nine of the nanoscientists are in at least one of the 21 received an NIRT and an NER grant.