NSF “Big Ideas” Proposals Sought

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From the NSF Science directorate via Erwin Gianchandani, NSF Acting Assistant Director for CISE JD Kundu, NSF Acting Deputy Assistant Director for CISE:

“NSF Director Dr. France A. Córdova first unveiled the Big Ideas in 2017 as a means to enable transformative, convergent research that advances the frontiers of science and engineering. Opportunities for research, infrastructure, and workforce development span nearly all of the Big Ideas – and we encourage you to consider taking part in them in the year ahead. Indeed, we believe it’s critical that researchers and educators from the CISE community, including the advanced cyberinfrastructure community, are fully engaged in these activities.

Below we call your attention to open funding opportunities that intersect with a range of disciplines, and that truly demand engagement and expertise from the CISE community. Additionally, keep an eye on the CISE homepage: www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=CISE for announcements about these and other upcoming opportunities and related news.

In chronological order by submission deadline:

1. Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF). The FW-HTF Big Idea encourages the NSF research community to collaborate in fundamental scientific and engineering research at the interaction of humans, society, and technology to help shape the future of work in ways that increase opportunities for workers and productivity for the American economy.

  • Funding Opportunity: Cyberlearning for Work at the Human-Technology Frontier<www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504984> — The Cyberlearning for Work at the Human-Technology Frontier program supports exploratory and synergistic research in learning technologies to prepare learners to excel in work at the human-technology frontier. This program responds to the pressing societal need to educate and re-educate learners of all ages (students, teachers, and workers) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) content areas to ultimately function in highly technological environments, including in collaboration with intelligent systems. – Proposal deadline: January 13, 2020
  • Funding Opportunity: Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Core Research — The FW-HTF: Core Research program aims to support convergent research to understand and develop the human-technology partnership, design new technologies to augment human performance, illuminate the emerging socio-technological landscape, understand the risks and benefits of new technologies, understand and influence the impact of artificial intelligence on workers and work, and foster lifelong and pervasive learning. Proposal deadline: March 9, 2020

2. Growing Convergence Research (GCR). Convergence research is a means for solving vexing research problems addressing societal needs. It entails integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation. Convergence research has two characteristics: (i) it is driven by a specific and compelling problem, and (ii) it features deep integration across disciplines.

  • Funding Opportunity: Growing Convergence Research (GCR) – The GCR program supports multi-disciplinary team research that crosses NSF directorate or division boundaries and is currently not supported by NSF programs and initiatives, including the other Big Ideas. – The GCR program is hosting a webinar, Wednesday, January 8, 2020, at 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST to provide general information and answer questions about the upcoming funding opportunity. All interested researchers are welcome to join the webinar. Register here to receive joining instructions. – Proposal Deadline: February 3, 2020

3. Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL). The URoL Big Idea aims to advance understanding of life across levels of organization and across scales of time and space. It also aims to develop research tools and infrastructure to approach ever more complex questions; to train the next generation of researchers to tackle questions that cross scales and disciplines; and to foster collaboration and convergent research in the life sciences.

  • Funding Opportunity: Microbiome Theory and Mechanisms (URoL:MTM) – The objective of the URoL:MTM program is to understand and establish the theory and mechanisms that govern the structure and function of microbiomes, a collection of microbes in a specific habitat/environment. Topics of interest could include development of new artificial intelligence approaches that can be constrained by mechanisms, models, and/or theories to reveal the underlying principles governing the microbiome and its association with a host or habitat, where applicable. – Letter of Intent: January 17, 2020 – Full proposal deadline: March 2, 2020.
  • Funding Opportunity: Epigenetics (URoL:Epigenetics) – The URoL:Epigenetics program supports the use of complementary, interdisciplinary approaches to investigate how epigenetic phenomena lead to emergent properties that explain the fundamental behavior of living systems. It encourages collaborations among computer and information science, biology, and engineering researchers to assimilate information on genomic data into causal, mechanistic, and/or predictive relationships (e.g., using machine learning tools) to explain and predict the characteristics of living systems. – Proposal deadline: Feb 6, 2020

4. Navigating the New Arctic (NNA). NNA seeks innovations in fundamental convergent research across the social, natural, environmental, and computing and information sciences as well as engineering that address the interactions or connections between natural and built environments and social systems and how these connections inform our understanding of Arctic change and its local and global effects. Sensing and data analytics are critical to furthering this understanding. · Funding Opportunity: Navigating the New Arctic (NNA)<nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505594> – The NNA program invites proposals in two tracks: (i) research grants, which tackle convergent scientific and engineering challenges related to the rapidly changing Arctic; and (ii) planning grants, which develop convergence research team to tackle projects of larger scope in the future. – Proposal deadline: February 11, 2020

5. NSF INCLUDES. NSF INCLUDES aims to transform education and career pathways to help broaden participation in science and engineering. Projects span a number of broadening participation activities from STEM engagement and preparatory experiences for students and other community members to educator training to new academic programs that expand access to STEM education.

  • Funding Opportunity: INCLUDES Planning Grants. INCLUDES Planning Grants are intended to build capacity in the community to undertake the activities necessary to establish future centers, alliances, or other large-scale networks to address a broadening participation challenge at scale. – Proposal deadline: July 13, 2020

6. Quantum Leap (QL). QL aims to stimulate innovation and accelerate development of new quantum-based technologies by answering fundamental questions relating to quantum entanglement, coherence, quantum systems engineering, algorithms, and quantum computing and communication architectures.

  • Open Funding Opportunity: Quantum Leap Challenge Institutes (QLCI), Round II – The QLCI are large-scale, interdisciplinary research projects that aim to advance the frontiers of quantum information science and engineering. Research at these institutes will span the focus areas of quantum computation, quantum communication, quantum simulation, and/or quantum sensing. The institutes are expected to be foster multidisciplinary approaches to specific scientific, technological, and educational workforce development goals in these fields. – Letter of Intent: August 3, 2020 – Preliminary proposal deadline: September 1, 2020 – Full Proposal deadline: February 1, 2021
    CISE actively participates in several other Big Ideas, such as Harnessing the Data Revolution and Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure. While FY 2020 funding opportunities for these Big Ideas have already passed, we encourage you to stay tuned for additional opportunities in the future.

Please Join Us

As we know, investments in CISE research, education, and research infrastructure have returned exceptional dividends to our Nation – driving economic growth and competitiveness. Working together and working in new and emerging areas such as those outlined above, we can ensure that our work continues to profoundly impact the world in which we live. We invite you to continue to work with us in the year ahead to develop the discoveries and discoverers that will transform our society for decades to come.”

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