Networking Research Program (NR)

Program Solicitation



FULL PROPOSAL DEADLINE(S): August 1, 2002, February 1, 2003



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Program Title: Networking Research Program (NR)

Synopsis of Program: This Networking Research program seeks to establish a sound scientific foundation and technological basis needed to facilitate the efficient transfer of information through large-scale, high-speed networks and enable new kinds of communications-oriented service protocols and architectures in highly heterogeneous and ubiquitous networking and distributed environments. The focus will be on the capability to securely and robustly accommodate extreme ranges of user demands and quality of service requirements. This research is needed to build the next generation communications and networking infrastructure required for a current and future, highly connected, IT-enabled society. The program seeks to fund innovative research that spans the entire spectrum, from network design and performance evaluation to middleware and software frameworks capable of providing the security assurances and adaptability necessary to support various types of distributed applications and application oriented network services, as well as tools and analytical models for managing and analyzing large-scale, highly complex networks.   

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Applicable Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s):




A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

B. Budgetary Information

C. Deadline/Target Dates

D. FastLane Requirements





    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
    2. Budgetary Information
    3. Deadline/Target Dates
    4. FastLane Requirements
    1. NSF Proposal Review Process
    2. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard
    1. Notification of the Award
    2. Award Conditions
    3. Reporting Requirements


The information technology revolution is radically altering our whole world at an ever-accelerating pace. The explosive emergence of the Internet as a global information infrastructure is at the very heart of this revolution. With its ability to support virtually all modes of information generation, transport and use, the Internet has proven to be highly successful in meeting its original vision. 

With the continued evolution of applications and services, the Internet is growing well beyond the intent of its designers. Revolutionary new applications, barely foreseen today, will continue to further expand the growth of the Internet  at even faster rates. One important future driver for further growth of the Internet is the emergence of small, inexpensive and low-powered devices with the capability to support different types of functionalities and perform regular tasks. These devices can be deployed in large numbers and can be embedded, pervasively and unobtrusively, in the environment. Their rapid proliferation creates opportunities for the development of smart spaces that allow users to communicate effectively and interact seamlessly with the surrounding environment.

These advances in computing and communications technology will bring fundamental changes to the next generation networks, including the degree of mobility and dynamism of the hosts and services, the degree of integration with the physical environment, and the heterogeneity of the data to be transmitted. The ability of these networks to sustain vigorous growth, in the number of users to be connected, the number of ways users interact with the network, and the amount of data that each user or device typically transmits, brings about scaling challenges at all levels. Challenges include addressing the functional requirements of new and emerging applications and coping with the highly varying underlying infrastructure, all of which have the effect of compounding the vulnerability of these networks to various security threats and unpredictable emergent behaviors. 

As the size, capability and complexity of future networks grow, it is imperative that we learn how to build and use large, complex, highly reliable, and secure networking systems. This program seeks revolutionary science and technology research needed to address a range of issues, including scalability and complexity, interoperability among heterogeneous network components and devices, flexibility, trustworthiness and emergent behaviors in large scale systems. 

The goal of the Networking Research program is to create and sustain the science and technology needed to enable the next generation networks and information infrastructure. Innovative technical approaches representing a distinct break with current practice and techniques requiring revolutionary paradigm shift are highly encouraged.


The Networking Research program seeks to develop the science and technologies necessary to enable flexible, robust and trustworthy, large-scale networks capable of supporting a wide variety of current and emerging applications. The performance of large-scale networks is difficult to predict, because of both the large number of interacting components and connected devices, and the uncertain patterns of usage exhibited by users, applications and traffic. This raises a host of research challenges and technical issues which either existed in the early days of networking and have now become critical, or arose recently as a result of the increase in scale and the degree of interconnection complexity between different components and communications devices. 

Revolutionary research in a number of areas is required to address these issues and challenges for the realization of large scale network systems that are reliable, robust and able to tolerate security breaches and hostile attacks without failing. Research in this area confronts a range of difficult questions and require a fresh insight into the fundamental design principles undertaken by the research community in developing network infrastructures. 

Some specific research topics include: 

These topics are representative, not exhaustive. Furthermore, the order in which they are listed is completely arbitrary and is not intend to imply any priority ranking. 


The categories of proposers identified in the Grant Proposal Guide are eligible to submit proposals under this program announcement/solicitation.


The estimated program budget is $3,000,000 per deadline for a total of $6,000,000. Approximately 10 awards per deadline are expected, with a duration of 2 to 3 years. Expected award amounts range from $80,000 to $150,000 per year for single- and two-investigator proposals, and for a range of $100,000 to $250,000 per year for collaborative and multi-investigator awards. The number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.


A. Proposal Preparation Instructions

Full Proposal:

Proposals submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG). The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at: Paper copies of the GPG may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from

Proposers are reminded to identify the program solicitation number (NSF-02-123) in the program announcement/solicitation block on the Cover Sheet For Proposal to the National Science Foundation. Compliance with this requirement is critical to determining the relevant proposal processing guidelines. Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

B. Budgetary Information

Cost sharing is not required in proposals submitted under this Program Solicitation.

C. Deadline/Target Dates

Proposals must be submitted by the following date(s):

Full Proposals by 5:00 PM local time: August 1, 2002, February 1, 2003

D. FastLane Requirements

Proposers are required to prepare and submit all proposals for this Program Solicitation through the FastLane system. Detailed instructions for proposal preparation and submission via FastLane are available at: For FastLane user support, call the FastLane Help Desk at 1-800-673-6188 or e-mail The FastLane Help Desk answers general technical questions related to the use of the FastLane system. Specific questions related to this Program Solicitation should be referred to the NSF program staff contact(s) listed in Section VIII of this announcement/solicitation.

Submission of Electronically Signed Cover Sheets. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must electronically sign the proposal Cover Sheet to submit the required proposal certifications (see Chapter II, Section C of the Grant Proposal Guide for a listing of the certifications). The AOR must provide the required electronic certifications within five working days following the electronic submission of the proposal. Proposers are no longer required to provide a paper copy of the signed Proposal Cover Sheet to NSF. Further instructions regarding this process are available on the FastLane website at:


A. NSF Proposal Review Process

Reviews of proposals submitted to NSF are solicited from peers with expertise in the substantive area of the proposed research or education project. These reviewers are selected by Program Officers charged with the oversight of the review process. NSF invites the proposer to suggest, at the time of submission, the names of appropriate or inappropriate reviewers. Care is taken to ensure that reviewers have no conflicts with the proposer. Special efforts are made to recruit reviewers from non-academic institutions, minority-serving institutions, or adjacent disciplines to that principally addressed in the proposal.

The two merit review criteria are listed below. The criteria include considerations that help define them. These considerations are suggestions and not all will apply to any given proposal. While proposers must address both merit review criteria, reviewers will be asked to address only those considerations that are relevant to the proposal being considered and for which he/she is qualified to make judgements.

NSF staff will give careful consideration to the following in making funding decisions:

A summary rating and accompanying narrative will be completed and submitted by each reviewer. In all cases, reviews are treated as confidential documents. Verbatim copies of reviews, excluding the identities of reviewers, are sent to the Principal Investigator/Project Director by the Program Director. In addition, the proposer will receive an explanation of the decision to award or decline funding.

B. Review Protocol and Associated Customer Service Standard

All proposals are carefully reviewed by at least three other persons outside NSF who are experts in the particular field represented by the proposal. Proposals submitted in response to this announcement/solicitation will be reviewed by Panel Review.

Reviewers will be asked to formulate a recommendation to either support or decline each proposal. The Program Officer assigned to manage the proposal's review will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate a recommendation.

NSF is striving to be able to tell applicants whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months. The time interval begins on the closing date of an announcement/solicitation or the date of proposal receipt (whichever is later). The interval ends when the Division Director accepts the Program Officer's recommendation.

In all cases, after programmatic approval has been obtained, the proposals recommended for funding will be forwarded to the Division of Grants and Agreements for review of business, financial, and policy implications and the processing and issuance of a grant or other agreement. Proposers are cautioned that only a Grants and Agreements Officer may make commitments, obligations or awards on behalf of NSF or authorize the expenditure of funds. No commitment on the part of NSF should be inferred from technical or budgetary discussions with a NSF Program Officer. A Principal Investigator or organization that makes financial or personnel commitments in the absence of a grant or cooperative agreement signed by the NSF Grants and Agreements Officer does so at one's own risk.


A. Notification of the Award

Notification of the award is made to the submitting organization by a Grants Officer in the Division of Grants and Agreements. Organizations whose proposals are declined will be advised as promptly as possible by the cognizant NSF Program Division administering the program. Verbatim copies of reviews, not including the identity of the reviewer, will be provided automatically to the Principal Investigator. (See section VI.A. for additional information on the review process.)

B. Award Conditions

An NSF award consists of: (1) the award letter, which includes any special provisions applicable to the award and any numbered amendments thereto; (2) the budget, which indicates the amounts, by categories of expense, on which NSF has based its support (or otherwise communicates any specific approvals or disapprovals of proposed expenditures); (3) the proposal referenced in the award letter; (4) the applicable award conditions, such as Grant General Conditions (NSF-GC-1)* or Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) Terms and Conditions;* and (5) any announcement or other NSF issuance that may be incorporated by reference in the award letter. Cooperative agreement awards also are administered in accordance with NSF Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions (CA-1). Electronic mail notification is the preferred way to transmit NSF awards to organizations that have electronic mail capabilities and have requested such notification from the Division of Grants and Agreements.

*These documents may be accessed electronically on NSF's Web site at Paper copies may be obtained from the NSF Publications Clearinghouse, telephone (301) 947-2722 or by e-mail from

More comprehensive information on NSF Award Conditions is contained in the NSF Grant Policy Manual (GPM) Chapter II, available electronically on the NSF Web site at The GPM is also for sale through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402. The telephone number at GPO for subscription information is (202) 512-1800. The GPM may be ordered through the GPO Web site at

C. Reporting Requirements

For all multi-year grants (including both standard and continuing grants), the PI must submit an annual project report to the cognizant Program Officer at least 90 days before the end of the current budget period.

Within 90 days after the expiration of an award, the PI also is required to submit a final project report. Approximately 30 days before expiration, NSF will send a notice to remind the PI of the requirement to file the final project report. Failure to provide final technical reports delays NSF review and processing of pending proposals for that PI. PIs should examine the formats of the required reports in advance to assure availability of required data.

NSF has implemented an electronic project reporting system, available through FastLane. This system permits electronic submission and updating of project reports, including information on project participants (individual and organizational), activities and findings, publications, and other specific products and contributions. PIs will not be required to re-enter information previously provided, either with a proposal or in earlier updates using the electronic system.


General inquiries regarding  Networking Research Program  should be made to: For questions related to the use of FastLane, contact:


The NSF Guide to Programs is a compilation of funding for research and education in science, mathematics, and engineering. The NSF Guide to Programs is available electronically at General descriptions of NSF programs, research areas, and eligibility information for proposal submission are provided in each chapter.

Many NSF programs offer announcements or solicitations concerning specific proposal requirements. To obtain additional information about these requirements, contact the appropriate NSF program offices. Any changes in NSF's fiscal year programs occurring after press time for the Guide to Programs will be announced in the NSF E-Bulletin, which is updated daily on the NSF web site at, and in individual program announcements/solicitations. Subscribers can also sign up for NSF's Custom News Service ( to be notified of new funding opportunities that become available.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering. Awardees are wholly responsible for conducting their project activities and preparing the results for publication. Thus, the Foundation does not assume responsibility for such findings or their interpretation.

NSF welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists, engineers and educators. The Foundation strongly encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to compete fully in its programs. In accordance with Federal statutes, regulations and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NSF (unless otherwise specified in the eligibility requirements for a particular program).

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The information requested on proposal forms and project reports is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. The information on proposal forms will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals; project reports submitted by awardees will be used for program evaluation and reporting within the Executive Branch and to Congress. The information requested may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the proposal review process; to applicant institutions/grantees to provide or obtain data regarding the proposal review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers and researchers and educators as necessary to complete assigned work; to other government agencies needing information as part of the review process or in order to coordinate programs; and to another Federal agency, court or party in a court or Federal administrative proceeding if the government is a party. Information about Principal Investigators may be added to the Reviewer file and used to select potential candidates to serve as peer reviewers or advisory committee members. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, "Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 267 (January 5, 1998), and NSF-51, "Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records," 63 Federal Register 268 (January 5, 1998). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of receiving an award.

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