NSF AI Research Institutes - Information & Advice
UPDATE October 20, 2021
NSF recently released the new National AI Research Institutes (NAIRI) solicitation.
- Like last year, this opportunity is a limited submission - see here for UC Berkeley's limited submissions CALmessages announcement.
- BRDO will hold an Info-Session on November 2, 2021, 12pm, regarding this opportunity; register here.
- NSF's deadline for preliminary proposals (required) is January 14, 2022. Full proposals are due May 13, 2022.
- NSF will hold an informational webinar on November 16, 2021.
Note: This page is being updated with information and resources for the new competition as they become available.
INFORMATION ABOUT THIS OPPORTUNITY
NSF National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes: Research, Transforming Society, and Growing the American Workforce has primary focus on the advancement of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-stakeholder research on large-scale, longer-time-horizon challenges in AI research.
- NSF information on program objectives, expected institute characteristics, and proposal requirements:
- UCB may serve as the lead institution on only TWO proposals. There is no institutional limit on the number of proposals UCB can participate in as a non-lead, but an individual may serve as senior personnel on only ONE proposal.
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- NSF has not released official FAQs for the current round of the competition.
- FAQs for the 2020 round of competition may be found here.
Highlights from the solicitation
- Institute awards are for $4M/year for 4 or 5 years.
- Deadline for preliminary proposals by selected teams is January 14, 2022.
- An industry partner company is not permitted to participate in proposals to the theme(s) in which it is a funding partner. Specific to this year's competition, that means that IBM is not permitted to participate in any way as a collaborator (funded or unfunded) in a proposal to Theme 1.
- Proposals must address one or more of the following themes, as defined in the solicitation:
- Theme 1: Intelligent Agents for Next-Generation Cybersecurity
- Theme 2: Neural and Cognitive Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
- Theme 3: AI for Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry
- Theme 4: AI for Decision making
- Theme 5: Trustworthy AI
- Theme 6: AI-Augmented Learning to Expand Education Opportunities and Improve Outcomes
- Track A: AI-Driven Digital Platforms to Expand and Accelerate STEM Learning in PreK-12 Settings
- Track B: AI-Augmented Learning for Individuals with Disabilities
- Solicitation review criteria specify that the AI research institutes must:
- Advance foundational AI research
- Conduct use-inspired research
- Actively build the next generation of talent
- Consist of multidisciplinary groups of scientists, engineers and educators
- Leverage multiple organizations
- Serve as nexus points for collaborative efforts
Additional ADVICE AND RESOURCES
BRDO has created a NAIRI proposal outline based on the 2020 solicitation.
Tips for building teams and centers (webpage) – This BRDO page contains information and tips on early planning and preparation for research centers that can be helpful as you plan your AI proposal. Resources listed include:
- Annotated presentation on Collaborative Research: Preparing for Centers (ppt) – This BRDO presentation covers key characteristics of a research center; why and when to pursue center funding; and tips for early planning and team-building.
- Notes from the faculty panel discussion on preparing for centers (doc) – This document offers faculty experiences and best practices for bringing a team together and starting the process of collaborative proposal writing, including the importance of team selection and in-person meetings (see especially question 3, on pp. 2-3).
Tips for Broader Impacts, Education and Broadening Participation (webpage) - These BRDO pages provide an overview of NSF's broader impacts expectations in general (consult solicitation for more program specific requirements), as well as advice and resources to help you create a strong plan.