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NSF 22-081

Dear Colleague Letter: NRI Sunset Announcement

May 3, 2022

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces the sunset of the National Robotics Initiative 3.0: Innovations in Integration of Robotics (NRI 3.0) program. NRI 3.0 and the preceding National Robotics Initiative (NRI) programs supported fundamental research in the United States to advance the science of collaborative robotics. Over the 12-year lifetime of the program, NSF and its federal NRI partners have invested over $250 million in over 300 pioneering research projects innovating robots to enhance human safety, productivity, and independence. Through this farsighted investment NRI has transformed the state of the art of robotics for the benefit of society and has created a thriving research community in the areas of collaborative robotics and robotic integration.

NSF remains committed to supporting and growing a thriving robotics research community. Building on the success of the visionary NRI program, NSF recently created the Foundational Research in Robotics (FRR) program, jointly managed by the Directorates for Engineering (ENG) and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). The goal of the FRR program is to provide a single home for foundational research in robotics across NSF. This flagship robotics program at NSF welcomes proposals on a broad spectrum of foundational research in robotics, including the topics of collaborative robotics and integration in robotics that were previously supported by NRI.

The NRI program was distinguished by a unique collaboration among multiple federal agencies. The FRR program will continue this tradition and, in accordance with the NSF priority on building partnerships across the federal government, will strategically expand to new agencies. Through these partnerships, the FRR program will provide opportunities for researchers to pursue projects across agency missions. These partnerships will be announced through future Dear Colleague Letters and regularly updated on the FRR program website.

In addition to the flagship FRR program, NSF supports a wide spectrum of funding opportunities also relevant to the robotics community. Researchers are encouraged to visit the Robotics@NSF website at for additional information about the FRR program and guidance on determining the appropriate robotics-related funding opportunities at NSF.

The NSF robotics team will hold an informational webinar to answer questions about the NRI sunset and funding opportunities for robotics researchers. The webinar will take place on June 2, 2022 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. Register in advance for this webinar:

Margaret Martonosi
Assistant Director
Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering

Susan Margulies
Assistant Director
Directorate for Engineering