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Funding Opportunity: Major Announcement Expected on Big Data and Other New Developments on Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering

This entry was posted by on Friday, 16 March, 2012 at

The National Science Foundation (NSF) continues to develop new activities related to the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21)[i] initiative, including:

  • Expected announcement of a major new interagency initiative on challenges related to big data;
  • Release of a new program on Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Network Infrastructure and Engineering (CC-NIE);
  • Release of a new program on Building Community and Capacity for Data-Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and in Education and Human Resources (BCC-SBE/EHR); and
  • Release of a new strategic vision and plan for Advanced Computing Infrastructure.

Details of these activities are below.

Major Interagency Initiative Expected on Big Data

The White House is expected to announce on March 29 a major research initiative to solve challenges related to “big data,” or extremely large data sets that are difficult to manage and analyze with today’s software.  NSF, in concert with other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is planning to release a new solicitation on Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science and Engineering (BIGDATA).  Coordination has reached to the highest levels of the agencies, including meetings between agency leadership at NSF, NIH, and the Department of Energy (DOE).  The solicitation is expected to be modeled after the interagency National Robotics Initiative (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503641), announced in 2011, with various agencies seeking research related to each agency’s specific missions in a single solicitation coordinated by NSF.

According to NSF’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request (http://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2013/pdf/38_fy2013.pdf), the solicitation will support the development of new tools and approaches to “address the challenges of managing, analyzing, visualizing, and extracting useful knowledge from large, diverse, distributed, and heterogeneous data sets.  This includes the development of data analytics, algorithms, and statistical and mathematical methods.”  The initiative is being developed by the Big Data Senior Steering Group (BDSSG) of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program, which coordinates computing research across the government.  BDSSG includes representatives from NSF, NIH, DOE, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Defense (DOD), and National Security Agency (NSA).  

Other NSF-Specific Activities:

Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Network Infrastructure and Engineering Program  (CC-NIE)

On March 1, the NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) released a solicitation entitled, “Campus Cyberinfrastructure – Network Infrastructure and Engineering Program (CC-NIE).”  The program will support advancements to networking capabilities at the campus level to connect researchers to national broadband infrastructure and enable scientific data transfer, as well as network integration to allow for stronger performance of scientific applications.

Letters of Intent: Letters of intent are not required.

Due Dates: No preliminary proposals are required.  Full proposals are due May 30, 2012.

Total Funding and Award Size: OCI plans to award a total of $12 million to $15 million in FY 2012.  Data Driven Networking Infrastructure of the Campus and Researcher awards will be supported at up to $500,000 total over up to two years while Network Integration and Applied Innovation awards will be supported at up to $1 million total over up to two years.

Eligibility and Limitations: Only universities and colleges are eligible to apply to this solicitation.  There are no limits on the number of proposals that can be submitted per organization or principal investigator.

Additional Resources: NSF contacts and additional information about CC-NIE are available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504748.

 

Building Community and Capacity for Data-Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and in Education and Human Resources (BCC-SBE/EHR)

On February 22, NSF’s Directorates of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) and Education and Human Resources (EHR), along with the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) announced a new program called Building Community and Capacity for Data-Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences and in Education and Human Resources (BCC-SBE/EHR).  BCC-SBE/EHR is SBE and EHR’s first involvement in special activities related to CIF21.  The program will support teams to develop visions and prototypes for next generation capabilities and infrastructure for data-intensive science that enables research in SBE and EHR fields.  The issuing of a formal solicitation stands in contrast to the efforts of the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) to develop data infrastructure, which through its Earth Cube initiative has sought to develop a community-wide vision using a call for white papers and a Charette (community planning session), and is now reviewing EAGER proposals for exploratory prototypes.

Letters of Intent: Letters of intent are not required.

Due Dates: No preliminary proposals are required.  Full proposals are due May 22, 2012.

Total Funding and Award Size: SBE and EHR are planning to award 25 to 60 grants up to a total of $5 million.  Grants may vary in size from workshops to larger than normal standard grants.

Eligibility and Limitations: There are no special eligibility requirements or limits on how many proposals a single institution or principal investigator may submit.

Additional Resources: NSF contacts and additional information about BCC-SBE/EHR are available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504747.

 

Advanced Computing Infrastructure Vision and Strategic Plan

On February 23, NSF released a document entitled, “Advanced Computing Infrastructure: Vision and Strategic Plan.”  The document is the first of six planned strategic plans for CIF21.  The other plans will focus on learning and workforce development, grand challenge communities, scientific instruments, data, cybersecurity and campus bridging, and software.  The Vision lays out strategic priorities for NSF in developing and supporting a balanced portfolio of advanced computing activities from core enabling research to partnerships and integration with campuses and scientific communities.  Specific strategic directions include:

  • “Foundational research to fully exploit parallelism and concurrency through innovations in computational models and languages, mathematics, statistics, algorithms, compilers, operating and run-time systems, middleware, software tools, application frameworks, virtual machines, and advanced hardware.
  • Research and development in the use of high-end computing resources in partnerships with scientific domains, including new computational, mathematical, and statistical modeling, simulation, visualization, and analytic tools, aggressive domain centric applications development, and deployment of scalable data management systems.
  • Building, testing, and deploying both sustainable and innovative resources into a collaborative ecosystem that encompasses integration/coordination with campus and regional systems, networks, cloud services, and/or data centers in partnerships with scientific domains.
  • Development of comprehensive education and workforce programs, from building deep expertise in computational, mathematical and statistical simulation, modeling, and computational and data-enabled science and engineering (CDS&E) to developing a technical work­force and enabling career paths in science, academia, government, and industry.
  • Development and evaluation of transformational and grand challenge community programs that support contemporary complex problem solving by engaging a comprehensive and integrated approach to science, uti­lizing high-end computing, data, networking, facilities, software, and multidisciplinary expertise across com­munities, other government agencies, and international partnerships.”

The full plan, including more detail on each strategic direction, can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12051/nsf12051.pdf.


[i] CIF21, first proposed in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 NSF budget request, is an agency-wide effort to develop comprehensive, integrated, sustainable, and secure cyberinfrastructure to accelerate research and education capabilities in computational and data-enabled science and engineering.  The initiative encompasses four components: Data-enabled Science, Community Research Networks, New Computational Infrastructure, and Access and Connections to Cyberinfrastructure Facilities.  The CIF21 initiative is largely influenced by six taskforces of the Advisory Committee on Cyberinfrastructure (ACCI), which were set up in 2009 to investigate long-term challenges related to cyberinfrastructure and issued final reports in April 2011 (http://www.nsf.gov/od/oci/taskforces/).  CIF21 encompasses both agency-wide programs and more targeted investments.

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