Program Solicitation for NSF 10 Big Ideas, Harnessing the Data Revolution

Event date(s): Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR): Institutes for Data-Intensive Research in Science and Engineering - Frameworks (I-DIRSE-FW)

NSF 19-549

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National Science Foundation

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     May 07, 2019

Synopsis of Program

In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of "Big Ideas," 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering (see The Big Ideas represent unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership by bringing together diverse disciplinary perspectives to support convergence research. As such, when responding to this solicitation, even though proposals must be submitted to CISE/OAC, once received, the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.

NSF's Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) Big Idea is a national-scale activity to enable new modes of data-driven discovery that will allow fundamental questions to be asked and answered at the frontiers of science and engineering. Through this NSF-wide activity, HDR will generate new knowledge and understanding, and accelerate discovery and innovation. The HDR vision is realized through an interrelated set of efforts in:

  • Foundations of data science;
  • Algorithms and systems for data science;
  • Data-intensive science and engineering;
  • Data cyberinfrastructure; and
  • Education and workforce development.

Each of these efforts is designed to amplify the intrinsically multidisciplinary nature of the emerging field of data science. The HDR Big Idea will establish theoretical, technical, and ethical frameworks that will be applied to tackle data-intensive problems in science and engineering, contributing to data-driven decision-making that impacts society.

This solicitation is for Frameworks for Data-Intensive Research in Science and Engineering (DIRSE) as part of the HDR Institutes activity. These Frameworks represent one path of a conceptualization phase aimed at developing Institutes as part of the NSF investment in the HDR Big Idea.

The HDR Institutes activity seeks to create an integrated fabric of interrelated institutes that can accelerate discovery and innovation in multiple areas of data-intensive science and engineering. The HDR Institutes will achieve this by harnessing diverse data sources and developing and applying new methodologies, technologies, and infrastructure for data management and analysis. The HDR Institutes will support convergence between science and engineering research communities as well as expertise in data science foundations, systems, applications, and cyberinfrastructure. In addition, the HDR Institutes will enable breakthroughs in science and engineering through collaborative, co-designed programs to formulate innovative data-intensive approaches to address critical national challenges.

HDR Institutes will be developed through a two-phase process involving conceptualization followed by convergence. The conceptualization phase will be implemented in FY 2019 via two complementary funding opportunities. The first opportunity in FY 2019 will encourage individuals with compelling data-intensive science and engineering problems and/or technical expertise to self-organize into teams with the aim of developing innovative, collaborative research proposals through an Ideas Lab process. The second opportunity in FY 2019, described in this solicitation, will encourage applications from teams of researchers proposing frameworks for integrated sets of science and engineering problems and data science solutions. The conceptualization phase will result in two-year awards aimed at building communities, defining research priorities, and developing interdisciplinary prototype solutions. NSF anticipates implementing the subsequent convergence and co-design phase in the 2021 timeframe with awards that integrate and scale successful prototypes and new ideas into larger, more comprehensive HDR Institutes that bring together multiple science and engineering communities with computer and computational scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, and information scientists around common data science approaches.

The overarching goal of the HDR Institutes DIRSE Frameworks solicitation is to foster convergent approaches to data-driven research in science and engineering. Frameworks will consist of interdisciplinary teams to conceptualize and pilot new modalities for collaboration and convergence that go beyond institutional walls and traditional disciplinary boundaries, to build innovative connections between scientific groups and data scientists and engineers, to integrate research infrastructure and education infrastructure. The Frameworks should focus on science and engineering areas that: (1) are at a "tipping point" where a timely investment in data-intensive approaches has the maximum potential for a transformative effect, (2) have needs that can benefit from interdisciplinary investments in data analytics infrastructure, and (3) represent investment priorities for the participating NSF directorates during, and beyond, the lifetime of the HDR Big Idea. Specific outcomes expected from the Frameworks include identification of frontier science and engineering challenge problems and the associated data and data-science barriers or tipping points, as well as development of new strategies and innovative approaches to foster scientific breakthroughs involving researchers from diverse scientific backgrounds.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 8 to 10

8 - 10 awards in FY 2019 pending availability of funds and the type, scale, and variety of project ideas proposed.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $21,000,000

Up to a total of $21 million is available for 8 - 10 two-year awards stemming from Frameworks proposals.

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.
  • NSF-sponsored Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).

Who May Serve as PI:

Individuals who accept an invitation to participate in the HDR I-DIRSE Ideas Labs will be ineligible to be a PI or co-PI on proposals submitted to the HDR I-DIRSE-FW solicitation. This is to ensure a diversity of ideas and expertise during the conceptualization phase of the HDR Institutes activity.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization:

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 1

An individual may participate as PI, co-PI, or other Senior Personnel in at most one Framework proposal pursuant to this solicitation. Note that any individual whose biographical sketch is provided as part of the proposal will be considered as Senior Personnel in the proposed activity, with or without financial support from the project.

In the event that any individual exceeds this limit, any proposal submitted to this solicitation with this individual listed as PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel after the first proposal is received at NSF will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made. For this purpose, a multi-institution collaborative project is treated as one proposal that is considered submitted when the last component proposal is submitted.

View the full solicitation here