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CISE invests $7M to support research expansion of Minority Serving Institutions


December 2, 2020

Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), which include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities, are central to inclusive excellence. They foster innovation, cultivate current and future undergraduate and graduate talent, and bolster long-term U.S. competitiveness.

Recognizing the wide range of research capacity and the need to increase the engagement of MSIs in CISE-funded research, CISE has launched a new, focused program to support research expansion for these institutions. The program calls for proposals in CISE’s Core Programs, spanning its Computer and Network Systems, Computing and Communication Foundations, and Information and Intelligent Systems divisions and the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, as well as the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), Smart and Connected Communities and Smart and Connected Health programs. 

With an anticipated $7M in funding over the next year, the CISE-MSI program aims to increase the number of CISE-funded research projects awarded to MSIs. The program anticipates funding 10-16 projects per year pending the availability of funds and quality of proposals received.

Researchers from MSIs are invited to submit proposals to three specific threads:

  • Research Capacity-Building Planning Projects focus on capacity building and research planning and comprises two tracks:

o   The Enhancement and Development Track is intended to help MSIs enhance and develop infrastructure elements to support research; and

o   The Research-Focused Track aims to help MSIs build research capacity through interdisciplinary and/or innovative partnerships around CISE research programs.

  • Demonstration Projects expand current research collaborations or establish new ones that are aligned with CISE programs and involve multiple departments at a single MSI, multiple MSIs, or one or more MSIs and other research-intensive organizations.
  • Research Partnerships Enhancement Projects focus on building integrated and sustained partnerships that include a MSI along with a NSF-funded research center, a research-intensive organization, and/or a national laboratory.

Additionally, proposals may request cloud computing resources to use public clouds such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud computing resources described in proposals may be obtained through an external cloud access entity (CloudBank) supported by NSF's Enabling Access to Cloud Computing Resources for CISE Research and Education (Cloud Access) program.

CISE will host a series of workshops in Fall 2020 through Spring 2021 that will facilitate faculty proposal preparation for each of the three research threads. The activities will be organized recognizing that all MSIs within and across any organization type are not monolithic. CISE will also host a series of virtual webinars for outreach and to inform the broader MSI community about this program.

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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