Software and Services (SS)
Proposal Due Date: December 4, 2008
Please direct inquiries for all Software and Services topic to the cognizant Program Manager:
Errol Arkilic (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Historically, advances in software have provided new capabilities that enhance the quality of commerce,
industrial processes, education, work life and personal endeavors. In the future, enhanced computational
capability accessed from the network or Internet-based, residing in the "cloud," will lead to novel
services that will significantly impact these and other arenas. The NSF SBIR Software and
Services topic solicits proposals to develop innovative products and services necessary to transform
markets and enhance the Nation's economic position in the first decades of the 21st century.
The 200-word project summary discussing the intellectual merit and broader impact must specifically
answer the following questions: What is the problem to be solved? How will the problem be solved and what
is the innovation in the proposed approach? Why is your solution better than the competitive technologies?
Who is going to buy your solution? Who are the other key players? If these answers are not addressed, the
proposal may be returned without review. Proposals must address the potential for commercialization of
the innovation and how it would lead ultimately to revenue generation. It is important that the proposed
technology increase the competitive capability of industry, is responsive to societal needs, and is
sensitive to solving "real" problems driven by critical market requirements.
Mandatory Requirement: Letters of Support for the Technology
Inclusion of letters of support for the technology within the proposal is mandatory for proposals
being submitted to this solicitation. Letters of support act as an indication of market validation for the
proposed innovation and add significant credibility to the proposed effort. Letters of support should
demonstrate that the company has initiated dialog with relevant stakeholders (potential customers,
strategic partners or investors) for the proposed innovation and that a real business opportunity may
exist should the technology prove feasible. The letter(s) must contain affiliation and contact information
for the signatory stakeholder.
Note: If appropriate letters of support are not contained within the proposal, the
proposal will be considered non-responsive and may be returned without review for failing to fall within
the scope of the solicitation.
Importance of Communication with Program Officer
A company planning to submit a proposal to one of this solicitation's subtopics is strongly
encouraged to describe the innovation and business opportunity to the cognizant program officer and
receive feedback prior to proposal submission (see above for contact information). You may contact the
program officer at any time before the submission deadline. Note, however, that communication with the
program officer will become increasingly difficult as the deadline nears.
Proposals must address one of the subtopics that are outlined below. Proposals that are not
responsive to the subtopics outlined below will be returned without review. When submitting a
proposal to the SS Topic, code the proposal to the corresponding subtopic under which you are submitting
the proposal, e.g., B.3.d, for proposals in the area of "Real- or non- real time machine learning and/or
statistical-based algorithms." In addition, use the code as the first item in the key
words/phrases portion of the Project Summary of your proposal.
In the current solicitation, proposals in the following subtopics will be accepted.
A. Organizations and Processes
B. Human Computer Interaction
E. Education Applications
A. ORGANIZATIONS AND PROCESSES
The pace of modern business activity has increased considerably as a result of intense competitive
pressure and globalization. Enterprises large and small, for-profit and non-profit must respond to
customer needs, manage internal activities, and adapt to competitive market pressures much more rapidly
than at any other period in history. Enterprises that effectively and efficiently combine computing,
communication, and business process advances become leaders in their respective markets. These
developments have created significant commercial opportunities for software or services that support the
A.1 Security and privacy
A.2 Knowledge discovery, search, data mining, data management and/or visualization
A.3 Digital arts
A.4 Financial services
B. HUMAN COMPUTER INTERACTION (HCI)
A challenge in HCI is to make people more productive by augmenting their capabilities through
information devices and through human-machine interfaces, which provide the mediation environment for
these gains. Human-computer interaction covers the design, evaluation and implementation of interactive
computing systems for human use, specifically interaction among one or more humans and one or more
computational machines. It also deals with the joint performance of tasks by humans and machines, and
innovative HCI techniques that directly relate to HCI performance metrics. This subtopic includes the
development of innovative software or services that enable significant business opportunities in the
B.1 Virtual/Mixed reality environments
B.2 Desktop information and attention management tools
B.3 Human language and communication
- Applications employing speech, touch, vision or biometric technologies
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) including language translation or
- multi-language interfaces
- Spoken language systems – conversational dialog management, semantic language analysis
- Real- or non-real time machine learning and/or statistical-based algorithms
Software and services (both consumer and enterprise) that enable significant business opportunities in
the following will be supported under this solicitation:
C.1 Mobile applications
C.2 Peer-To-Peer applications
C.3 Broadband-enabled applications
C.4 Personalized user services
C.5 Collaboration-enabled applications
C.6 Adaptive manufacturing
- Data mining for manufacturing system analysis
- Tools for real-time self-correcting manufacturing
- Intelligent control of manufacturing processes
- Intelligent process modeling and/or machine diagnostics
C.7 Simulation for manufacturing
- Leveraging multi-processor/multi-core environments
- Predictive modeling (material characteristics, material response, work-piece quality
characteristics, tooling or machine tool performance, mass and heat transfer, and
- Virtual reality-based simulation environment (the development of innovative virtual-reality
based immersive simulation technologies that will improve manufacturing processes; e.g.
simulation environments with human- and hardware-in-the-loop capabilities)
- Discrete event simulation of manufacturing systems
Innovative projects are sought that either improve existing systems or develop new systems and
architectures that would be of wide interest across many market segments. The goal is to significantly
improve the capability of devices to perform their intended tasks or to enable entirely new classes of
functionality or services. The subtopics that will be supported under this solicitation are as follows:
D.2 Real-Time operating systems
D.3 Advanced signal processing algorithms for new computational approaches
D.4 Quantum computing
E. EDUCATION APPLICATIONS
Emerging technologies should play an important role in enhancing student learning, increasing
problem-solving capability, stimulating innovative thinking, and participation of individuals across all
population segments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Software and Services can
contribute to every educational level, from pre-kindergarten through higher and continuing education.
Emphasis is on the development of innovative technologies that: (1) improve the understanding and learning
of scientific and technical principles as well as increase problem-solving capability; (2) facilitate
interactive and collaborative learning; (3) broaden access to high-quality science and technology
education; and (4) promote equal access for those with disabilities.
By being aware of the commercialization history of education-based projects, it is important to be
explicit about how designated staff and/or consultants will determine or monitor in an ongoing way whether
a project's goals are being met and whether the proposed technology is likely to achieve market acceptance
by the education community. It is also important to address issues such as portability, scalability,
compliance with existing and consistent standards for K-12, pedagogical techniques,
developmentally-appropriate content and instructional strategies, educational equity, metrics for
success, and involvement of stakeholders in the educational community.
Responses to this subtopic, should address factors that are unique to the education market and should
include brief reference to case histories of other similar education ventures. In addition to
demonstrating knowledge of content, applicable pedagogical principles, and the proposed technology, the
proposal should discuss business issues that are unique to the education market, viz., issues such as
strategic marketing, finance, distribution channels, IP, and acceptance of the proposed technology.
E.1 Applications in support of teaching and/or learning
E.2 Broadband-enabled applications for the education market
E.3 Assessment technology
E.4 Applications to support the educational needs of individuals with disabilities: vision- and hearing-impaired, cognitive- and motor-related.