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(OPEN) Limited Submission: National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes

The National AI Research Institutes program will fund Institutes comprising scientists, engineers, and educators united by a common focus on advancing the research frontiers in AI.

Summary

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has advanced tremendously and today promises personalized healthcare; enhanced national security; improved transportation; and more effective education, to name just a few benefits. Increased computing power, the availability of large datasets and streaming data, and algorithmic advances in machine learning (ML) have made it possible for AI research and development to create new sectors of the economy and revitalize industries. Continued advancement, enabled by sustained federal investment and channeled toward issues of national importance, holds the potential for further economic impact and quality-of-life improvements.

The 2019 update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, informed by visioning activities in the scientific community as well as interaction with the public, identifies as its first strategic objective the need to make long-term investments in AI research in areas with the potential for long-term payoffs in AI. The President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology has published Recommendations for Strengthening American Leadership in Industries of the Future, including AI, and calls for new and sustained research in AI to drive science and technology progress. The National AI Research Institutes program enables longer-term research and U.S. leadership in AI through the creation of AI Research Institutes.

This program is a joint government effort between the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). New to the program this year are contributions from partners in U.S. industry who share in the government’s goal to advance national competitiveness through National AI Research Institutes. This year’s industry partners are Accenture, Amazon, Google, and Intel Corporation. This program solicitation invites proposals for full institutes that have a principal focus in one or more of the following themes, detailed in the Program Description:

  • Theme 1: Human-AI Interaction and Collaboration
  • Theme 2: AI Institute for Advances in Optimization
  • Theme 3: AI and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure
  • Theme 4: Advances in AI and Computer and Network Systems
  • Theme 5: AI Institute in Dynamic Systems
  • Theme 6: AI-Augmented Learning
  • Theme 7: AI to Advance Biology
  • Theme 8: AI-Driven Innovation in Agriculture and the Food System

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount

  • Anticipated Funding Amount: $128,000,000 – $160,000,000
  • Estimated Number of Awards: 8
  • Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Eligibility

  • An individual may be designated as senior personnel (which includes but is not limited to PI or co-PI) on at most one project team submitting to this solicitation. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, proposals will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission, i.e., the first proposal will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review.
  • An organization may submit no more than two proposals to this solicitation as lead institution. Organizations wishing to contribute to more Institute proposals are encouraged to participate as non-lead organizations in Institute proposals in a manner that helps to create significant new research capabilities in new centers of AI leadership throughout the country. In the event that an organization exceeds these limits, proposals will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission, i.e., the first two proposals will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review.

Selection Criteria

  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

  • How well does the proposed Institute advance foundational AI research in areas of direct relevance to AI, and in areas in clear need of larger efforts over longer timeframes?
  • How well does the proposed Institute conduct use-inspired research that both informs foundational AI advances and drives innovations in related sectors?
  • How well does the proposed Institute actively nurture and grow the next generation of talent for a diverse, well-trained workforce?
  • To what extent is the proposed Institute activity comprised of a multidisciplinary group of scientists, engineers, and educators appropriate to the project?
  • How well does the proposed Institute leverage multiple organizations to create significant new research capabilities in new centers of AI leadership and create a network for broadening participation from underrepresented groups and diverse institutions?
  • How well does the proposed Institute activity serve as a nexus point for collaborative efforts meaningfully integrated into a diverse Institute that is more than just the sum of the parts?

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit 2 proposals as lead institution.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.edu according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:

  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
    • Indicate whether or not you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • Curriculum vitae

Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to limsub@uga.edu by the internal deadline listed above.

Questions?

Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the program officers at AIInstitutesProgram@nsf.gov.


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