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National Science Foundation: Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI): Data and Software – Elements and Frameworks

Deadline: April 18, 2018

The Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI) umbrella program encompasses the long-running Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) and Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) programs, as the National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to enable funding opportunities that are flexible and responsive to the evolving and emerging needs in data and software cyberinfrastructure.

The CSSI umbrella program is currently accepting requests for two classes of awards:

  1. Elements (either Data Elements or Software Elements): These awards target small groups that will create and deploy robust capabilities for which there is a demonstrated need that will advance one or more significant areas of science and engineering. It is expected that the created elements will be disseminated to the community as reusable resources, with the potential for sustainability. The development approach may support the hardening of early prototypes and/or expanding functionality to increase end-user relevance.
  2. Framework Implementations (either Data Frameworks or Software Frameworks): These awards target larger, interdisciplinary teams organized around the development and application of common infrastructure aimed at solving common research problems faced by NSF researchers in one or more areas of science and engineering, resulting in a sustainable community framework serving a diverse community or communities.
    Proposals should support the goals of the:
  • National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). NSCI is aimed at sustaining and enhancing U.S. scientific, technological, and economic leadership in high-performance computing (HPC) research, development, and deployment, enhancing the productivity of the Nation’s fundamental research ecosystem. Information about the NSCI together with associated strategic plans, results of community workshops, background studies and other relevant resources, which suggest priority areas in both the domain sciences and HPC and software infrastructure, are available at https://www.nsf.gov/nsci/.
  • Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR). HDR is one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for Future Investment (https://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/reports/nsf_big_ideas.pdf). HDR is aimed at fundamental data science research, research data cyberinfrastructure, and the development of a 21st-century data-capable workforce. HDR will enable new modes of data-driven discovery – allowing researchers to ask and answer new questions in frontier science and engineering, generate new knowledge and understanding, and accelerate discovery and innovation.

Proposals are expected to be of interest to multiple directorates/offices participating in the CSSI program, and are expected to be responsive to programmatic areas of interest for these participating directorates/offices. Below are programmatic areas of interest:

  • The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) is primarily interested in the CSSI program as a means to collaborate with other NSF directorates to support proposals that impact a multidisciplinary community that includes BIO-supported researchers.
  • The foundational research divisions within the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) – Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF), Computer and Network Systems (CNS), and Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS) – are interested in software or data engineering and infrastructure projects that support research in all areas that sustain progress in the CISE field or that advance and adapt CISE research to impact the data and software sustainability needs of other scientific and engineering disciplines.
  • The Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) is interested in fostering novel, transformative, multidisciplinary approaches that address the use of large data sets and/or learning analytics to create actionable knowledge for improving STEM teaching and learning environments (formal and informal) in the medium term, and to revolutionize learning in the longer term.
  • The Directorate for Engineering (ENG) seeks proposals for innovative software and data infrastructure that enable major advances in fundamental discovery in the research areas of its Divisions of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET); Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI); and Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS). ENG will support proposals that give the engineering research community broad and sustained access to HPC and data platforms and technologies that support emerging research opportunities.
  • The Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) is interested in the following research fields: atmospheric and geospace science, earth science, ocean science, and polar science. The directorate welcomes proposals that focus on the development and implementation of automated, executable, and optimized workflows.
  • The Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) appreciates that software and data cyberinfrastructure enable scientific advances and discovery across MPS. In all MPS disciplines, there is need for cyberinfrastructure to support innovative scientific inquiry based on software and data that are findable, accessible, reusable, provenance traceable, and sustainably maintainable. Data cyberinfrastructure may additionally combine the elements of algorithms, software, computation, networks, task automation, or custom hardware to support data-centric approaches to MPS science. Data may be derived from experiment, observation, or computation, and may be diverse in kind consistent with science across MPS.
  • The Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) is interested in proposals that support the directorate’s research priorities, such as those outlined in SBE 2020 (https://www.nsf.gov/sbe/sbe_2020/). SBE is particularly interested in using CSSI to support projects building on other infrastructure activities such as Metadata for Long-standing Large-Scale Social Science Surveys (META-SSS; https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504705) and Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (RIDIR; https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505168&org=SES&from=home). SBE also welcomes innovative approaches to big data problems in SBE-focused domains consistent with NSF’s HDR Big Idea. SBE encourages proposals that further the goals of SBE and at least one other participating NSF directorate.

Amount: A total of $9,000,000 is expected to be available for Elements awards to make up to 15 grants ranging up to $6,000,000 for three years. A total of $25,000,000 is expected to be available for Framework Implementation awards to make up to 13 grants ranging from $600,000-$5,000,000 for 3-5 years.


  • Universities and Colleges – Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.
  • 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.
  • NSF-sponsored federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) may apply, provided that they are not including costs for which federal funds have already been awarded or are expected to be awarded.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=300153

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