10 Big Ideas

Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Core Research (FW-HTF)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Program Solicitation
NSF 19-541

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 https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/index.jsp). 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 the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Office of Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities (ENG/EFMA), once received the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.

The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF), one of the Big Ideas, is one mechanism by which NSF is responding to the challenges and opportunities for the future of jobs and work. The overarching vision is 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.

The landscape of jobs and work is changing at unprecedented speed, enabled by advances in computer and engineering technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, deeper understanding of societal and environmental change, advances in the learning sciences, pervasive, intelligent, and autonomous systems, and new conceptions of work and workplaces. This technological and scientific revolution presents a historical opportunity to the Nation and its people, in the creation of new industries and occupations, enhanced productivity and quality of work life, and the potential for more people to participate in the workforce, ultimately yielding sustained innovation and global leadership. But, as history teaches, such changes also come with risks. Some risks are immediate, such as jobs lost to automation or demand for skills not met by current educational pathways. Other equally important risks include new security threats, algorithmic biases, unanticipated legal consequences including privacy implications, dependence on technology and erosion of human knowledge and skills, inadequate workplace policies and practices, or undesirable impact on the built environment.

The specific objectives of the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier program are (1) to facilitate convergent research that employs the joint perspectives, methods, and knowledge of computer science, engineering, learning sciences, research on education and workforce training, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences; (2) to encourage the development of a research community dedicated to designing intelligent technologies and work organization and modes inspired by their positive impact on individual workers, the work at hand, the way people learn and adapt to technological change, creative and supportive workplaces (including remote locations, homes, classrooms, or virtual spaces), and benefits for social, economic, and environmental systems at different scales; (3) to promote deeper basic understanding of the interdependent human-technology partnership to advance societal needs by advancing design of intelligent work technologies that operate in harmony with human workers, including consideration of how adults learn the new skills needed to interact with these technologies in the workplace, and by enabling broad workforce participation, including improving accessibility for those challenged by physical or cognitive impairment; and (4) to understand, anticipate, and explore ways of mitigating potential risks arising from future work at the human-technology frontier. Ultimately, this research will advance our understanding of how technology and people interact, distribute tasks, cooperate, and complement each other in different specific work contexts of significant societal importance. It will advance the knowledge base related to worker education and training and formal and informal learning to enable all potential workers to adapt to changing work environments. It will advance our understanding of the links between the future of work at the human-technology frontier and the surrounding society, including the intended potential of new technologies and the unintended consequences for workers and the well-being of society.

For the purposes of this solicitation, work is defined as mental or physical activity to achieve tangible benefit such as income, profit, or community welfare. The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier is, in turn, a conceptualization of work in the future that will be enabled or improved by advances in intelligent technology and their synergistic integration with human skill to achieve broad participation in the workforce and improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of society. To reach this goal, research is sought that is anchored in work. Proposals must clearly define the work and work context addressed by the research. Technology should be integrated with learning sciences, research on education and workforce training, and social, behavioral, and economic science perspectives to advance the science of the human-technology team. Potential results should contribute to fundamental advances in the science and technology of future workforce development and education, work environments, and positive work outcomes for workers and society at large. Proposals are encouraged that are oriented toward the future of work at the human-technology frontier and that are not overly couched in current technology or work practices.

A proposal for a research grant in this program must focus on advancing fundamental understanding of future work, and potential improvements to work, workplaces, workforce preparation, or work outcomes for workers and society. It must be convergent research that addresses the technological as well as the human and societal dimensions and potential impact of future work, and in doing so, make significant contributions to both intellectual merit and broader impact. Achieving this goal requires integration and convergence of disciplines across computer science, engineering, learning sciences, research on education and workforce training, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences. A convergent perspective is essential to understand and shape long-term social and economic drivers, so that advanced intelligent technology will strengthen the social fabric. A convergent perspective also provides insights into education and re-skilling, so that the benefits of emerging technology can be conferred upon all citizens.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 30

Up to 15 Planning Grant Awards and up to 15 Research Grant Awards.

The number of awards is dependent upon the proposals received and the degree to which proposals meet the solicitation goals and NSF merit review criteria.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $30,000,000

Two classes of proposals will be considered through this solicitation:

  1. FW-HTF Planning Grants (FW-HTF-P) may be requested for a total budget not to exceed $150,000 for a period of 1 year.
  2. FW-HTF Research Grants (FW-HTF-R) may be requested at two levels:
    1. Medium FW-HTF-R proposals may request support for a period of up to 3 years, with a total budget not to exceed $1,500,000.
    2. Large FW-HTF-R proposals may request support for a period of up to 4 years, with a total budget between $1,500,001 and $3,000,000.

FW-HTF program funding is pending 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.

Who May Serve as PI:

PIs must hold appointments at U.S.-based campuses/offices of eligible organizations (IHEs or Non-profit, non-academic organizations). There are no restrictions, beyond the eligibility outlined in the PAPPG Chapter I.E, on who may serve as Co-PIs, Senior Personnel or Consultant (see Categories of Proposers in PAPPG Chapter I.E).

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 appear as PI, Co-PI, Senior Personnel, Other Personnel, or Consultant on only one proposal submitted in response to this solicitation. This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. In the event an individual exceeds this limit, the first proposal received prior to the deadline will be accepted and the remainder will be returned without review. This limitation includes proposals submitted by a lead organization, collaborative non-lead proposals, and any subawards included as part of a collaborative proposal involving multiple institutions. No exceptions will be made.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

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

         March 06, 2019

Dear Colleague Letter: Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure (Mid-scale RI) Opportunities

Monday, October 22, 2018

NSF DCL 19-013

 

October 15, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure (Mid-scale RI) is an NSF-wide Big Idea designed to address the research community's growing needs for contemporary research infrastructure to support the advancement of science and engineering research, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics education research. Mid-scale RI will fund the implementation of experimental research capabilities in the mid-scale range (i.e., with a total project cost of between $6 million and $70 million). The overall objective of Mid-scale RI is to transform scientific and engineering research fields by making available new capabilities, while simultaneously training researchers in the acquisition, implementation, development, design, and/or construction of cutting-edge infrastructure.

Mid-scale research infrastructure has been identified as critical for scientific advances in many research areas. In recognition of this scientific importance, the 2017 American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA) directed NSF to "evaluate the existing and future needs, across all disciplines supported by the Foundation, for mid-scale projects" and to "develop a strategy to address the needs identified." NSF issued a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 18-0131) and received responses whose execution would require $8 billion to $10 billion in funding for projects in the $20 million to $100 million range.

This fall, NSF intends to announce Mid-scale RI funding opportunities. These will be for research infrastructure that will advance the frontiers of discovery in any of the research domains supported by NSF.2 These forthcoming funding opportunities are intended to encompass research infrastructure broadly defined, from the creation of mid-scale disciplinary instrumentation to the implementation (including acquisition and construction) of mid-scale facilities, cyberinfrastructure and other infrastructure that are demonstrated to be necessary to support specific science, engineering or education research objectives associated with current or future NSF-supported research activities. This portfolio may also include mid-scale upgrades to existing research infrastructure.

NSF anticipates that one solicitation will include an opportunity to propose Mid-scale RI projects with a total project cost of between approximately $6 million and approximately $20 million, pending the availability of funds. A second solicitation is expected to include an opportunity to propose Mid-scale RI projects with a total project cost of between approximately $20 million and approximately $70 million, pending the availability of funds.

Both Mid-scale RI programs will emphasize strong scientific merit, responsiveness to an identified need of the research community, technical readiness for implementation, sound management, and a well-developed plan for training students and involving a diverse workforce in mid-scale facility development and/or data management.

CONTACTS

Information regarding the Mid-scale RI funding opportunities will be available this fall via the NSF website. The funding opportunities will list NSF-wide and directorate-specific points of contact. In the meantime, general questions about this Dear Colleague Letter may be addressed to:

MSRI [at] nsf [dot] gov

Sincerely,

Joanne S. Tornow, Assistant Director (Acting), BIO
James Kurose, Assistant Director, CISE
Karen Marrongelle, Assistant Director, EHR
Dawn M. Tilbury, Assistant Director, ENG
William E. Easterling, Assistant Director, GEO
Anne Kinney, Assistant Director, MPS
C. Suzanne Iacono, Office Head, OIA
Rebecca L. Keiser, Office Head, OISE
Arthur W. Lupia, Assistant Director, SBE


1NSF 18-013, Dear Colleague Letter: Request for Information on Mid-scale Research Infrastructure.

2 See the NSF 18-1, Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide and subsequent revisions for a description of the fields of research supported by NSF.

Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation 2019

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Program Solicitation
NSF 19-502

NSF Logo  

National Science Foundation

Directorate for Engineering
     Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities

Directorate for Biological Sciences

Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering

 
AFOSR logo

Air Force Office of Scientific Research

Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     November 29, 2018

Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

     January 07, 2019

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

     April 25, 2019

 

Synopsis of Program

The Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program of the NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) serves a critical role in helping ENG focus on important emerging areas in a timely manner. This solicitation is a funding opportunity for interdisciplinary teams of researchers to embark on rapidly advancing frontiers of fundamental engineering research. For this solicitation, we will consider proposals that aim to investigate emerging frontiers in one of the following two research areas:

  • Chromatin and Epigenetic Engineering (CEE)
  • Continuum, Compliant, and Configurable Soft Robotics Engineering (C3 SoRo)

This solicitation will be coordinated with the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE).

EFRI seeks proposals with transformative ideas that represent an opportunity for a significant shift in fundamental engineering knowledge with a strong potential for long term impact on national needs or a grand challenge. The proposals must also meet the detailed requirements delineated in this solicitation.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Further information about the EFRI program may be obtained by viewing the slides from the FY18 EFRI informational webinar. Please click here to view the FY18 slides.

 

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Submission of Letters of Intent is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Preliminary Proposals: Submission of Preliminary Proposals is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.
  • Full Proposals:

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Not Applicable

C. Due Dates

  • Letter of Intent Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

         November 29, 2018

  • Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

         January 07, 2019

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

         April 25, 2019

 

New NSF Solicitation: Understanding the Rules of Life, Epigenetics

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Solicitation  18-600

 

DUE DATES

Full Proposal Deadline Date

    February 1, 2019

 

SYNOPSIS

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 https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/index.jsp). 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 the Division of Emerging Frontiers in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO/EF), once received, the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.

The purpose of the Understanding the Rules of Life: Epigenetics (URoL:Epigenetics) program is to enable innovative research and to promote multidisciplinary education and workforce training in the broad area of epigenetics. The URoL:Epigenetics program is a wide collaboration across Directorates/Offices within the National Science Foundation with a focus on understanding the relationship between epigenetic mechanisms associated with environmental change, the resultant phenotypes of organisms, and how these mechanisms lead to robustness and adaptability of organisms and populations.

Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL): Predicting Phenotype is one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas and is focused on predicting the set of observable characteristics (phenotype) from the genetic makeup of the individual and the nature of its environment. The development of new research tools has revolutionized our ability to manipulate and investigate the genome and to measure multiple aspects of biological, physical, and social environments. The opportunity now is to assimilate this new information into causal, mechanistic, and/or predictive relationships between the genomic and epigenetic makeup, the environmental experience, and the phenotypic characteristics of biological systems. These relationships are the basis for the Rules of Life – the theoretical constructs that explain and predict the characteristics of living systems, from molecular and sub-cellular components, to cells, whole organisms, communities and biomes.

The recognition that heritable phenotypic properties can occur without modification of an organism’s genome sequence is changing the understanding of the way heritable traits come about and manifest themselves as observable phenotypes within a particular static or changing environmental context. The impact of epigenetic inheritance occurs at the molecular, cellular, and organismal scales, and may have profound consequences for the higher-order organization of living systems, such as populations, communities, and ecosystems.

Successful projects of the URoL:Epigenetics Program are anticipated to use complementary, interdisciplinary approaches to investigate how epigenetic phenomena lead to emergent properties that explain the fundamental behavior of living systems. Ultimately, successful projects should identify general principles ("rules") that underlie a wide spectrum of biological phenomena across size, complexity (e.g., molecular, cellular, organismal, population) and temporal scales (from sub-second to geologic) in taxa from anywhere within the tree of life. URoL:Epigenetics projects must integrate perspectives and research approaches from more than one research discipline (e.g., biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics, physics, social and behavioral sciences). The interdisciplinary scope of URoL:Epigenetics projects also provides unique training and outreach possibilities to train the next generation of scientists in a diversity of approaches and to engage society more generally.  

The URoL:Epigenetics Program offers two submission tracks: Track 1 - for projects with a total budget of up to $500,000 and an award duration of up to 3 years, and Track 2 - for projects with a total budget of up to $3,000,000 and award duration of up to 5 years.

 

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

 

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program