National Science Foundation

Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Program Solicitation
NSF 18-520

Summary

Communities in the United States (US) and around the world are entering a new era of transformation in which residents and their surrounding environments are increasingly connected through rapidly-changing intelligent technologies. This transformation offers great promise for improved wellbeing and prosperity, but poses significant challenges at the complex intersection of technology and society. The goal of the NSF Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) program solicitation is to accelerate the creation of the scientific and engineering foundations that will enable smart and connected communities to bring about new levels of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and overall quality of life. This goal will be achieved through integrative research projects that pair advances in technological and social dimensions with meaningful community engagement.

For the purposes of this solicitation, communities are defined as having geographically-delineated boundaries—such as towns, cities, counties, neighborhoods, community districts, rural areas, and tribal regions—consisting of various populations, with the structure and ability to engage in meaningful ways with proposed research activities. A “smart and connected community” is, in turn, a community that synergistically integrates intelligent technologies with the natural and built environments, including infrastructure, to improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of those who live, work, or travel within it.

A proposal for an S&CC Integrative Research Grants must include the following:

  • Integrative research that addresses the technological and social dimensions of smart and connected communities;
  • Meaningful community engagement that integrates community stakeholders within the project;
  • A management plan that summarizes how the project will be managed across disciplines, institutions, and community entities; and
  • An evaluation plan for assessing short-, medium-, and long-term impacts of the proposed activities.

S&CC is a cross-directorate program supported by NSF’s Directorates for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences (GEO), and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE). Awards may be requested for total budgets ranging from $750,000 to $3,000,000 for periods of up to four years.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award

Standard Grant or Continuing Grant or Cooperative Agreement

Estimated Number of Awards

7 to 15

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

Anticipated Funding Amount

$19,250,000

Subject to the quality of proposals received and availability of funds.

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals

The categories of proposers eligible to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation are identified in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Chapter I.E.

Who May Serve as PI

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization

There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI

2

An individual may appear as PI, Co-PI, Senior Personnel, or Consultant on no more than two proposals submitted in response to this solicitation.

In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission (i.e., the first two proposals 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 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: Submission of Letters of Intent is required. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

  • 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

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

         January 30, 2018

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

         February 28, 2018

Dear Colleague Letter: STEM Workforce Development Utilizing Flexible Personal Learning Environments

Thursday, December 13, 2018

December 4, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks new proposals and supplemental funding requests to existing awards that support flexible personalized learning to prepare the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce of the future. NSF envisions projects that collectively apply to all learners, from young children to those already in the workforce. In particular, we would like to support research that complements an anticipated future funding opportunity made possible by a gift from the Boeing Corporation, which was announced on September 24, 2018 (https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=296700).

The Boeing gift established a partnership between NSF and Boeing to accelerate training in crucial skill areas for the future U.S. workforce. It will be used to support design, development, implementation, and analysis of online courses in model-based engineering, model-based systems engineering, mechatronics, robotics, data science and sensor analytics, program management, and artificial intelligence. These courses will use personalized learning systems to maximize their effectiveness for diverse learners.

There will be two parallel funding opportunities to support STEM workforce preparation. One will be made possible by the Boeing gift and the other involves the efforts funded in response to this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL). For the opportunities in response to this DCL, NSF seeks proposals that will broadly inform development of personalized learning systems or generalize the research results generated during the deployment of online courses. This could be accomplished either by using the data generated by those systems or by studying the systems themselves. NSF encourages innovative educational research and development proposals that will help the nation educate the STEM workforce of the future.

NSF invites proposals to existing programs listed below and requests for supplemental funding to existing awards that engage a convergent science approach (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/convergent.jsp). Such an approach often benefits from interdisciplinary teams representing multiple fields. Such teams can make learning a convergent experience and accomplish learning goals that are not otherwise achievable.

The outcomes of successful proposals responding to this DCL will advance evidence-based understanding of STEM workforce development at any level. Successful proposals will include a well-developed research plan that specifies how the project will strengthen the research base that informs investments in STEM workforce preparation and development. For example, proposals may address topics including, but not limited to:

  • effective design of personalized learning systems for STEM education at any level;
  • factors that increase persistence, motivation, self-efficacy, and retention of learners;
  • the influence of public/private partnerships on workforce preparation;
  • the design of educational interventions that meet workplace expectations for knowledge and competencies; and
  • measuring the effectiveness of these interventions for different audiences.

Proposers are encouraged to leverage current and anticipated future NSF investments (e.g., interdisciplinary research centers, large facilities, funded workforce development projects) as research bases. NSF anticipates that coordinated synergistic efforts are likely to be more fruitful than fragmented individual contributions.

RESPONDING TO THIS DCL

Proposals responding to this DCL should be made through one of the existing NSF programs listed below. Supplemental funding requests responding to this DCL for existing awards in the programs listed below are also welcome. To determine whether a research topic is within the scope of this DCL, principal investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the managing NSF Program Officer(s) of the participating program(s) to which they plan to submit their proposal. These programs include:

For new proposals to ensure proper consideration, principal investigators must refer to this DCL in the overview statement of the Project Summary and in the Project Description. Requests for supplemental funding to existing awards must also include a reference to this DCL. The Project Description or supplemental funding request should also include a brief description about how the project supports flexible personalized learning, thus complementing the work funded by the Boeing gift.

In summary, proposals responding to this DCL:

  1. could be high-risk, but have the potential for high reward;
  2. should include multidisciplinary leadership teams;
  3. will advance evidence-based understanding of STEM workforce development at any level (K-12 through workplace);
  4. must inform development of personalized learning systems or generalize the research results generated during the deployment of those systems;
  5. must include a research plan that will contribute new knowledge about STEM workforce preparation and development;
  6. must be submitted to one of the programs listed in this DCL; and
  7. must comply with the relevant program/solicitation-specific requirements.

CONTACTS

For questions about any of the programs listed above, please contact one of the programs officers listed in the respective solicitation. General questions about this Dear Colleague Letter may be addressed to:

  • R. Steven Turley, rturley [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-2207
  • John C. Cherniavsky, jchernia [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-5136
  • David Haury, dhaury [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-5102
  • Ann Rivet, arivet [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-4764
  • Heather Watson, hwatson [at] nsf [dot] gov, (703) 292-7091

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

Podcast on Drought Features a Missouri Transect Plant Team Member

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Missouri is currently facing a drought alert and 30 counties are experiencing extreme drought this summer.  University of Missouri Chancellor, Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright, sat down for an Inside Mizzou podcast with several MU professors, including Dr. Felix Fritschi of the Missouri Transect Plant Team to discuss how drought is understood and felt by communities, how it is studied at MU and how research can help bring about innovation to combat drought and natural disasters. 
 

Plant Genome Research Program

Monday, August 27, 2018

Summary

The Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) supports genome-scale research that addresses challenging questions of biological, societal and economic importance. PGRP encourages the development of innovative tools, technologies and resources that empower a broad plant research community to answer scientific questions on a genome-wide scale. Emphasis is placed on the scale and depth of the question being addressed and the creativity of the approach. Data produced by plant genomics should be usable, accessible, integrated across scales and of high impact across biology. Training, broadening participation, and career development are essential to scientific progress and should be integrated in all PGRP-funded projects.

Two funding tracks are currently available:

  1. RESEARCH-PGR TRACK: Genome-scale plant research to address fundamental biological questions in biology, including economically important processes of societal importance.
  2. TRTech-PGR TRACK: Tools, resources and technology breakthroughs that further enable functional plant genomics.

Award Information

Anticipated Type of Award:
Standard Grant or Continuing Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 10 to 15

Anticipated Funding Amount: $20,000,000
Approximately $20,000,000 will be available for new and continuing awards in FY 2019. Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award number, size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.
 
Limitation of Awards
PGRP proposal budget requests may not exceed $5 million to support up to a 5-year project plan, although most projects are expected to require less.
 

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

Proposal Preparation Instructions

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

Due Dates

  • Full Proposal Deadline(s):
         Proposals Accepted Anytime
 

Proposal Links

Summary of Program Requirements

  1. Introduction
     
  2. Program Description
     
  3. Award Information
     
  4. Eligibility Information
     
  5. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions
    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Due Dates
    4. FastLane/Grants.gov Requirements
       
  6. NSF Proposal Processing and Review Procedures
    1. Merit Review Principles and Criteria
    2. Review and Selection Process
       
  7. Award Administration Information
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements
       
  8. Agency Contacts
     
  9. Other Information

Guide to the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (PRFB) Program

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (PRFB) Program awards fellowships to recent recipients of the doctoral degree for research and training in selected areas supported by Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and with special goals for human resource development in biology. Additional information about the program is available at: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503622

Synopsis

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) awards Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology to recent recipients of the doctoral degree for research and training in selected areas supported by BIO and with special goals for human resource development in biology.  The fellowships encourage independence at an early stage of the research career to permit Fellows to pursue their research and training goals in the most appropriate research locations regardless of the availability of funding for the Fellows at that site.  For FY 2015 and beyond, these BIO programs are (1) Broadening Participation of Groups Under-represented in Biology, (2) Research Using Biological Collections, and  (3) National Plant Genome Initiative (NPGI) Postdoctoral Research Fellowships.  These areas change periodically as new scientific and infrastructure opportunities present themselves. For this reason, this solicitation will be changed as necessary to reflect the areas being funded.

The fellowships are also designed to provide active mentoring of the Fellows by the sponsoring scientists who will benefit from having these talented young scientists in their research groups. The research and training plan of each fellowship must address important scientific questions within the scope of the BIO Directorate and the specific guidelines in this fellowship program solicitation.  Because the fellowships are offered to postdoctoral scientists only early in their careers, NSF encourages doctoral advisors to discuss the availability of these postdoctoral fellowships in biology with their graduate students early in their doctoral programs to ensure potential applicants may take advantage of this funding opportunity. Fellowships are awards to individuals, not institutions, and are administered by the Fellows.

Educational Opportunity

This program provides educational opportunities for  Postdoctoral Fellows. Individuals interested in applying for funding should see the program guidelines above.

Related URLS

  • How to Apply for Fellowship Applicants
  • Sponsoring Scientist Statement Instructions
  • Administrative Guide for the PRFB Program
    • This Guide outlines the administrative policies and procedures for Fellows and PRFB Host Institutions and incorporates all policies found in the Fellowship Offer Letter and the PRFB Program Solicitation. This guide does not supersede the award letter terms and conditions . The current Guide applies to the 2018 Fellowship year forward, unless otherwise noted or superseded by an updated version. It is the responsibility of the Fellow to ensure compliance with the
      terms and conditions of the Fellowship Program.

Dear Colleague Letter: Growing Convergence Research

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Read DCL NSF 18-058 Online

Dear Colleagues:

Growing Convergence Research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) was identified in 2016 as one of 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment. Research relying on convergence is needed to solve complex scientific and engineering problems that require integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and forming novel frameworks to catalyze scientific discovery and innovation. NSF identifies Convergence Research as having two primary characteristics:

  • Research driven by a specific and compelling problem. Research requiring a convergence paradigm is generally inspired by the need to address a specific challenge or opportunity, whether it arises from deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.
  • Deep integration across disciplines. As experts from different disciplines pursue common research challenges, their knowledge, theories, methods, data, research communities and languages become increasingly intermingled or integrated. New frameworks, paradigms or disciplines can form from sustained interactions across multiple communities.

The convergence paradigm builds upon transdisciplinary approaches to research by intentionally bringing together intellectually diverse scientists and/or engineers at a project's inception in new collaborations that can generate multiple solutions to complex problems. Convergence has been discussed in a number of reports. The National Research Council published a series of reports between 2004 and 2014 on topics in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, culminating in the 2014 study, Convergence: Facilitating Transdisciplinary Integration of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Beyond, which included several examples of convergence in action. A comprehensive treatment of convergence in the biomedical sciences, entitled Convergence: The Future of Health, was published in 2016. More recently – in 2017 – the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report entitled A New Vision for Center-Based Engineering Research envisioned convergence becoming the essence of center-based research in the 21st century.

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) seeks to identify potential future research areas that go beyond NSF's Big Ideas, require a convergence approach, cross internal and/or external organizational and disciplinary boundaries, and advance the progress of science as articulated in NSF's mission. NSF encourages the submission of prospectuses to identify these new areas and specific projects within them. NSF may invite the teams submitting the most promising prospectuses to submit proposals to further explore their research strategies. Prospectuses must outline novel approaches and research strategies that are likely to result in a clear demonstration of the potential for transformative advances. The research areas and proposed projects must reflect the characteristics of convergence outlined here.

Interested researchers who would like to compete for FY 2018 and FY 2019 funding must submit a prospectus describing a new area of research and an exploratory research project within it to the convergpro [at] nsf [dot] gov mailbox. A prospectus may be submitted at any time to help NSF identify new areas of research that require convergence, but to be considered for FY 2018 support, the prospectus must be submitted by May 1, 2018, and for FY 2019 funding, by October 15, 2018. All prospectus submissions will be acknowledged via email. The prospectus should not exceed 1,000 words of text and be no more than two pages in length, inclusive of figures and tables. It must include: (i) a description of a potential future research area requiring a convergence approach; (ii) a list of the pertinent disciplines to be integrated; (iii) a brief description of the proposed exploratory research project within the area described in (i); (iv) a brief description of the methods and research strategies that will nurture convergence in the exploratory research project; and (v) a listing of the senior personnel who would be involved in the exploratory project. No references are required in the prospectus.

Researchers describing the most promising research ideas and exploratory projects will be invited to submit a proposal within 60 days after issuance of the invitation. An invited proposal must be prepared in accordance to the guidance for Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (RAISE) proposals, as specified in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG; see Chapter II.E.3). The invited researchers do not need to obtain further approval from NSF program officers to submit the invited proposal. The total proposed budget may not exceed $1 million, and the proposed project duration should not exceed 3 years.

Prospective principal investigators are advised that, based on the portfolio of ideas received, NSF may choose to use internal review for these RAISE proposals or seek advice from external reviewers as to the merits of the full proposals received. Such external review may include review by ad hoc reviewers and/or a panel.

This DCL remains in effect for twelve months from the date of issue, unless superseded by another DCL or a new solicitation.

POINTS OF CONTACT

Researchers should direct questions about this DCL to convergpro [at] nsf [dot] gov.

Questions about convergence should be directed to Dragana Brzakovic at dbrzakov [at] nsf [dot] gov.

Sincerely,

Joanne S. Tornow, Assistant Director (Acting), BIO
James Kurose, Assistant Director, CISE
William J. (Jim) Lewis, Assistant Director (Acting), EHR
Dawn M. Tilbury, Assistant Director, ENG
William E. Easterling, Assistant Director, GEO
C. Suzanne Iacono, Office Head, OIA
Rebecca L. Keiser, Office Head, OISE
Anne Kinney, Assistant Director, MPS
Fay Cook, Assistant Director, SBE

Dear Colleague Letter: STEM Education for the Future

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Read DCL NSF 18-084 Online

Dear Colleagues:

NSF invites proposals to solve educational challenges created by the technology revolution. To effectively respond to many of the problems facing our nation, new scientific advances are needed, as defined in the Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments. Achieving these advances will require changes in what people learn and how they learn it. Through this STEM Education for the Future Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), existing NSF education and workforce development programs encourage innovative proposals to prepare scientists and engineers for work in new contexts created by technology and big data.

Specifically, through this DCL, NSF aims to support STEM educational research and development projects whose results can enable our country to: better prepare its scientific and technical workforce for the future; use technological innovations effectively for education; advance the frontiers of science; and adapt to both new work environments and new education pathways needed to prepare students at all levels for those environments.

Technology, Computation, and Big Data are driving changes to daily life. Computing, sensing, data storage, data access, communication, and hardware technologies continue to change our lives and work. These technologies produce unprecedented volumes of data and vast interconnectivity capabilities, such as data provided by ubiquitous sensing and the Internet of Things. Personal, behavioral, transactional, and environmental data in a myriad of formats (numerical, image, audio, and others) are available at ever greater speeds, propelling innovations such as artificial intelligence-aided automation. Such automation in the home, office, and classroom also challenges long-standing expectations about privacy, security, and the veracity of the underlying data

Although it is expected that technology, computation, and big data will have positive impacts on the human condition, the world still faces persistent societal, cultural, and economic challenges, e.g., hunger, poverty, our dynamic Earth, and energy security. Moreover, we must continue work to ensure equitable access to precisely those technologies that give rise to these changes. Equally important is the challenge of ensuring equitable access to high quality education, which leads directly to questions important to the NSF: How do these new technologies change the way we learn and do science, math, and engineering? How do we navigate such change? How do we use technological innovations to ensure full participation of all groups in the STEM workforce?

To answer these questions related to learning, researchers will need to cross disciplines, define the potential impact of technologies, and develop new technical competencies. Furthermore, all scientific and technical workers will need new knowledge and skills so they can perform new tasks or perform current tasks with new tools.

This DCL seeks proposals related to harnessing the data revolution and the future of work at the human-technology frontier. This DCL encourages educational research and development proposals that are original, creative, and transformative, and that can help the nation educate the STEM workforce of the future, in contexts of:

All proposals responding to this DCL should address education issues related to FW-HTF, HDR, or to both. Proposals can also include activities that are relevant to other NSF Big Ideas.

This DCL will support three categories of proposals:

  1. Proposals focused on educational transformation: These proposals will leverage technology, computation and/or big data to develop, implement, and analyze educational interventions designed to prepare a diverse workforce, researchers, and innovators of the future. Proposals that explore how students learn to integrate knowledge across disciplines to solve complex problems fall into this category.
  2. Proposals focused on the science of teaching and learning: These proposals will leverage technology, computation and/or big data to develop, implement, and analyze new tools for assessing and evaluating convergent education strategies that aim to promote student learning at all levels.
  3. Planning grants, Research Coordination Networks, Conference Proposals: These proposals will create communities of STEM educators to address convergent curriculum and pedagogical challenges across disciplinary boundaries brought about by the human-technology frontier, the data revolution, or both.

This DCL emphasizes proposals that cross departmental and disciplinary boundaries. This DCL encourages original proposals for curricular innovations that cross boundaries, so that students gain the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in the technology revolution and become the creators/innovators of the future.

This DCL encourages proposals that reflect a coordinated effort from interdisciplinary research teams of at least two PIs from different disciplines. Such teams can make learning a convergence experience and accomplish learning goals that are not otherwise achievable. Examples include, but are not limited to: computational skills in an application area such as genetics; automation and sensing in natural and manufactured environments; calculus, modeling and simulation of physical contexts and objects; art, psychology, conceptual design and mechanical design for better product development; or sociology and earth sciences to address adaptation to our environment. Proposals that use convergence approaches to instill the development of needed non-technical abilities for the 21st century are also appropriate, including ones that focus on development of teamwork, higher level thinking, problem solving, creativity, adaptability, and the ability to communicate across disciplinary boundaries.

In summary, competitive proposals will propose an approach that reflects convergence in education and human resource development, using technology and data beyond disciplinary boundaries to create student outcomes that will benefit society.

Responding to the STEM Education for the Future DCL
Proposals responding to this DCL should be submitted by the due date of the applicable funding opportunities listed below.

To determine whether a research topic is within the scope of this DCL, principal investigators are strongly encouraged to contact the cognizant NSF Program Officer(s) of the participating program(s) to which they plan to submit their proposal. These programs include:

Program Program Link and
Solicitation
Due dates
EHR Accelerating Discovery:
Educating the Future STEM
Workforce (AD)
AD (PD 18-1998) April 2, 2018 - January 16, 2019
DUE Improving Undergraduate
STEM Education: Education and
Human Resources [i]
IUSE: EHR (NSF 17-590) Accepted anytime (Exploration and
Development Tier) Dec 11, 2018 (Development and
Implementation Tier)
DUE Advanced Technological
Education [ii]
ATE (NSF 17-568) October 4, 2018
DGE Innovations in Graduate
Education [iii]
IGE (NSF 17-585) September 27, 2018
HRD Historically Black Colleges
and Universities -
Undergraduate Program [iv]
HBCU-UP (NSF 18-522) See solicitation
HRD Tribal Colleges and
Universities Program [v]
TCUP (NSF 16-531) See solicitation
HRD/DUE Improving Undergraduate
STEM Education: Hispanic-
Serving Institutions (HSI Program) [vi]
HSI See program page
DRL Innovative Technology
Experiences for Students and
Teachers [vii]
ITEST (NSF 17-565)

 

August 8, 2018
DRL Advancing Informal STEM
Learning[viii]
AISL (NSF 17-573) November 7, 2018
BIO/EHR Research Coordination
Networks in Undergraduate
Biology Education [ix]
RCN-UBE (NSF 18-510) January 22, 2019
EEC Research in the Formation
of Engineers[x]
RFE (NSF 17-514) February 28, 2019
GEO Ocean Education Program [xi] OCE Contact Elizabeth Rom,
jmeriwet [at] nsf [dot] gov
GEO Polar Special Initiatives
Program [xii]

OPP

Contact Elizabeth Rom,
jmeriwet [at] nsf [dot] gov

To ensure proper consideration, principal investigators must indicate the relevant Big Idea(s) in the title, the overview statement of the Project Summary, and the Project Description. For example, the title of a proposal about the Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier and Rules of Life should begin with "FW-HTF/RoL" and a proposal addressing educational challenges relevant to Harnessing the Data Revolution should precede its title with "HDR." Table 1 lists the NSF Big Ideas and designated acronyms. In summary, proposals responding to this DCL:

  1. Should focus on education and/or workforce development in the context of the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier, Harnessing the Data Revolution, or both.
  2. May intersect with additional Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment.
  3. Should include PIs from different disciplines.
  4. Must be submitted to one of the programs listed in this DCL.
  5. Must comply with the relevant program/solicitation-specific requirements.
  6. Must present novel ideas or approaches (high risk/high reward proposals are encouraged).
  7. Must have titles that adhere to the naming convention noted above.

 

Table 1. NSF's Six Research Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment

The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier FW-HTF
Harnessing the Data Revolution HDR
Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype RoL
Navigating the New Arctic NNA
Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics MMA
The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution QL

Sincerely,

William (Jim) Lewis
Assistant Director (Acting)
Directorate for Education & Human Resources

Joanne S. Tornow
Assistant Director (Acting)
Directorate for Biological Sciences

Dawn M. Tilbury
Assistant Director
Directorate for Engineering

William E. Easterling
Assistant Director
Directorate for Geosciences

___________________________________________

 

[i]The IUSE: EHR program supports projects that have the potential to improve student learning in STEM through development of new curricular materials and methods of instruction, and development of new assessment tools to measure student learning in science and engineering classrooms.

[ii]The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation's economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities.

[iii]The IGE program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative approaches to STEM graduate education and training. IGE projects pilot, test, and validate novel approaches and generate the knowledge required to add to our understanding of graduate student learning, thereby allowing others to adapt/adopt successful, evidence-based approaches.

[iv]HBCU-UP is committed to enhancing the quality of undergraduate STEM education and research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a means to broaden participation in the nation's STEM workforce. The HRD HBCU-UP tracks realize this purpose by providing awards to develop, implement, and study innovative approaches for making dramatic improvements in the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may participate successfully in graduate programs and/or careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

[v]The Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) provides awards to Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska Native-serving institutions, and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions to promote high quality science (including sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, statistics, and other social and behavioral sciences as well as natural sciences and education disciplines), technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, research, and outreach. Support is available to TCUP-eligible institutions.

[vi]The HSI Program seeks to enhance the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HSIs and to increase retention and graduation rates of undergraduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields at HSIs. In addition, the HSI Program seeks to build capacity at HSIs that typically do not receive high levels of NSF grant funding.

[vii]ITEST is a research and development program that supports projects to promote PreK-12 student interests and capacities to participate in the STEM and information and communications technology (ICT) workforce of the future

[vii]The AISL program seeks to advance new approaches to and evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments.

[ix]The goal of the RCN program is to advance a field or create new directions in research or education by supporting groups of investigators to communicate and coordinate their research, training, and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic, and international boundaries. The RCN-UBE program originated as a unique RCN track to "catalyze positive changes in biology undergraduate education" (NSF 08-035) and is now supported by the collaborative efforts of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). It has been responsive to the national movement to revolutionize undergraduate learning and teaching in the biological sciences. RCN-UBE accepts workshop proposals, incubator proposals, and full RCN proposals in undergraduate biology education.

[x]The RFE program advances research about the underlying processes and mechanisms involved in the formation of engineers by deepening our fundamental understanding of how professional formation is or can be accomplished.

[xi]The OCE Education program supports efforts to integrate ocean research and education. In particular, the program is interested in receiving proposals related to the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI).

[xii]Polar Special Initiatives Program welcomes proposals related to the training of students with "Big Data" tools focusing on polar regions' satellite imagery, digital elevation maps, "3D virtual" ice sheets dynamics and/or proposals related to Navigating the New Arctic.

NSF SBIR/STTR Program Solicitations

Monday, March 19, 2018

Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I (SBIR)

Program Solicitation: NSF 18-550

Award Information

Introduction to the Program:

The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental research, the NSF SBIR program supports startups and small businesses in the creation of innovative, disruptive technologies, getting discoveries out of the lab and into the market.

The NSF SBIR Program funds early or "seed" stage research and development. The program is designed to provide equity-free funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development.

Synopsis of Program:

The SBIR program is Congressionally mandated and intended to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds to build a strong national economy by stimulating technological innovation in the private sector; strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs; increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results; and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

The SBIR program at NSF solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011) and was reauthorized by Public Law 114-328. SBIR/STTR policy is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the SBIR Policy Directive. A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR/STTR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR/STTR legislation by transforming scientific discovery and innovation into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization.

Because the program has no topical or procurement focus, the NSF offers very broad solicitation topics that are intended to permit as many eligible science- and technology-based small businesses as possible to compete for funding. The topics are detailed on the website. In many cases, the program is also open to proposals focusing on technical and market areas not explicitly noted in the aforementioned topics.

Anticipated Type of Award: Fixed Award Amount

Estimated Number of Awards: 150 (pending the availability of funds)

Anticipated Funding Amount: $33,750,000

For SBIR Phase I pending the availability of funds.

 

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Only firms qualifying as a small business concern are eligible to participate in the SBIR/STTR program (see Eligibility Guide for more information). Please note that the size limit of 500 employees includes affiliates. The firm must be in compliance with the SBIR/STTR Policy Directive(s) and the Code of Federal Regulations (13 CFR 121).

Who May Serve as PI:

The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the award, unless a new PI is named. Primary employment is defined as at least 51 percent employed by the small business. NSF normally considers a full-time work week to be 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours per week to be in conflict with this requirement. The PI must have a legal right to work for the proposing company in the United States, as evidenced by citizenship, permanent residency or an appropriate visa. The PI does not need to be associated with an academic institution. There are no PI degree requirements (i.e., the PI is not required to hold a Ph.D. or any other degree). A PI may be primarily employed at another organization at the time of submission, as long as he or she is primarily employed at the proposing small business at the time of award. A PI must devote a minimum of one calendar month of effort per six months of performance to an SBIR Phase I project.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1

An organization may submit no more than ONE Phase I proposal to this SBIR/STTR cycle (where SBIR/STTR cycle is defined to include the SBIR Phase I solicitation and the STTR Phase I solicitation with a June 2018 deadline). This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. In the event that an organization exceeds this limit, the first proposal received will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review.

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

No person may be listed as the principal investigator for more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation. SBIR proposals submitted to NSF, by definition, do not have co-PIs.

 

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required
  • Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: This solicitation contains information that deviates from the standard NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) proposal preparation guidelines. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Other budgetary limitations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

C. Due Dates

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

         June 14, 2018

 

Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I (STTR)

Program Solicitation: NSF 18-551

Award Information

Introduction to the Program:

The NSF STTR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental research, the NSF STTR program supports startups and small businesses in the creation of innovative, disruptive technologies, getting discoveries out of the lab and into the market.

The NSF STTR Program funds early or "seed" stage research and development. The program is designed to provide equity-free funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development.

Synopsis of Program:

The STTR program is Congressionally mandated and intended to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal research funds to build a strong national economy by stimulating technological innovation in the private sector; strengthening the role of small business in meeting federal research and development needs; increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results; and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.

The STTR program at NSF solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF's mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.

The program is governed by Public Law 112-81 (SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011) and was reauthorized by Public Law 114-328. STTR policy is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) through the STTR Policy Directive. A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR/STTR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR/STTR legislation by transforming scientific discovery and innovation into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization.

Because the program has no topical or procurement focus, the NSF offers very broad solicitation topics that are intended to permit as many eligible science- and technology-based small businesses as possible to compete for funding. The topics are detailed on the website. In many cases, the program is also open to proposals focusing on technical and market areas not explicitly noted in the aforementioned topics.

Anticipated Type of Award: Fixed Award Amount

Estimated Number of Awards: 40 (pending the availability of funds)

Anticipated Funding Amount: $9,000,000

For STTR Phase I pending the availability of funds.

 

Eligibility Information

Who May Submit Proposals:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Only firms qualifying as a small business concern are eligible to participate in the SBIR/STTR program (see Eligibility Guide for more information). Please note that the size limit of 500 employees includes affiliates. The firm must be in compliance with the SBIR/STTR Policy Directive(s) and the Code of Federal Regulations (13 CFR 121). For STTR proposals, the applicant small business must also include a partner Research Institution (RI) in the project, see additional details below.

Who May Serve as PI:

The primary employment of the Principal Investigator (PI) must be with the small business concern at the time of award and for the duration of the award, unless a new PI is named. Primary employment is defined as at least 51 percent employed by the small business. NSF normally considers a full-time work week to be 40 hours and considers employment elsewhere of greater than 19.6 hours per week to be in conflict with this requirement. The PI must have a legal right to work for the proposing company in the United States, as evidenced by citizenship, permanent residency or an appropriate visa. The PI does not need to be associated with an academic institution. There are no PI degree requirements (i.e., the PI is not required to hold a Ph.D. or any other degree). A PI may be primarily employed at another organization at the time of submission, as long as he or she is primarily employed at the proposing small business at the time of award. A PI must devote a minimum of one calendar month of effort per six months of performance to an STTR Phase I project.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1

An organization may submit no more than ONE Phase I proposal to this SBIR/STTR cycle (where SBIR/STTR cycle is defined to include the SBIR Phase I solicitation and the STTR Phase I solicitation with a June 2018 deadline). This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. In the event that an organization exceeds this limit, the first proposal received will be accepted and the remainder will be returned without review.

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

1 (PI), no limit (co-PI)

No person may be listed as the principal investigator for more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation. There is no limit as to the number of proposals for which a given person may act as the co-PI.

 

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

  • Letters of Intent: Not required
  • Preliminary Proposal Submission: Not required
  • Full Proposal Preparation Instructions: This solicitation contains information that deviates from the standard NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) proposal preparation guidelines. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

B. Budgetary Information

  • Cost Sharing Requirements:

    Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.

  • Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

    Not Applicable

  • Other Budgetary Limitations:

    Other budgetary limitations apply. Please see the full text of this solicitation for further information.

C. Due Dates

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

     June 14, 2018

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