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Dear Colleague Letter - Joint NSF/ENG and AFOSR Funding Opportunity - EAGERs to Energize Innovative Research and Development on Dynamic Data Systems


Friday, September 12, 2014


The Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) of the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation (NSF), in collaboration with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), seek Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals with the potential to transform our ability to understand, manage and control the operation of complex, multi-entity natural or engineered systems, through innovative approaches that consider new dimensions in Big Data, Big Computing, and a symbiotic combination of Data and Computing. NSF's and AFOSR’s interests lie in highly innovative projects in their early stages that address unique challenges and identify fruitful directions for analytics to transform engineering and scientific practice across various relevant disciplines and scales. The joint interests of both AFOSR and NSF include novel research in technical areas fostered by the DDDAS (Dynamic Data Driven Applications Systems) Program.

The present letter aims to identify opportunities for new capabilities along three key, innovative, and intertwined science and engineering directions for Big Data, Big Computing, and the relation between Data and Computing. Specifically:

  • The next wave of Big Data is Dynamic Data arising from ubiquitous sensing and control in engineered and natural systems, through multitudes of heterogeneous sensors and controllers instrumenting these systems. This emerging paradigm calls for seamless and dynamic integration of traditional big data with real-time and archival data relating to ubiquitous sensing and control. The resulting Large-scale Dynamic Data environment makes it imperative to dynamically and adaptively manage and schedule these heterogeneous and distributed large-scale data resources, such that these multimodal and multifidelity data are intelligently collected, correlated, and utilized to optimize the understanding, analysis, and operational conditions of engineered and natural multi-entity systems.
  • Adding to this important dimension of Dynamic Data is an extended view of Big Computing, which includes a new dimension of computing at the sensor and controller levels. The resulting Large-scale Big Computing environment consists of a set of computing platforms ranging from high-end and mid-range computing, to computing on the multitudes of sensors and controllers, with this collective set integrated in a dynamic and seamless manner and viewed as a unified platform.
  • In the context of Large-scale Dynamic Data and Large-scale Big Computing, the present letter seeks to foster innovative ideas for new capabilities which result from dynamic integration between Data and Computing whereby systems instrumentation data and executing models of these systems are dynamically integrated in a feedback control loop, for improved understanding, analysis, and optimized management of operational conditions of engineered and natural multi-entity systems.

The nature and scope of this initiative are multidisciplinary, drawing from theoretical and applied research in signal processing, machine learning, mathematics, statistics, optimization, complex systems modeling and simulation, distributed and fault-tolerant computing, storage, communications and networking, and large-scale systems engineering and integration. The objective of this EAGER call is to engage scientists and engineers experienced in big-scale natural or engineered systems as key drivers for the aforementioned innovative directions, and transform our ability to understand and exploit such innovations to enable new capabilities. Examples of possible topics that researchers may investigate on can be found in Reference 1.


  1. PI Eligibility: EAGER proposal inquiries will be accepted from a Principal Investigator (PI) or any consortium of investigators led by a PI at an eligible U.S. institution. An investigator may be included in only one submission in response to this Dear Colleague Letter; if more than one is submitted, only the first one submitted will be considered.
  2. Deadlines: A) The deadline for submitting EAGER proposals is September 12, 2014. B) No later than August 29, 2014, potential proposers must submit an email , to both of the Program Officers listed below. The email shall include a tentative proposal title, a short abstract, and a list of PI and co-PIs along with their institutions. Use the following subject line in the email: “Intent for Dynamic Data Systems submission.”
  3. Submission procedure: Submission of EAGER proposals must be done via Fastlane or following the NSF's Grant Proposal Guide instructions in GPG Chapter II.D.2. The proposal should clearly indicate the reason that the work is appropriate for EAGER support. Proposers must identify the program announcement number for the ECCS division: PD 13-7564. The project title must begin with the tag “EAGER-DynamicData:”.
  4. Budgetary information: It is anticipated that each EAGER award may range between $80K and $150K per 12-month year, for up to 24 months. The requested budget must be clearly justified and must be commensurate with the goals of the effort. Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.
  5. Proposal processing and review procedure: NSF and AFOSR will convene a joint panel to review the submitted EAGER proposals, and those ideas that best meet the goals of this Dear Colleague Letter will be awarded. Proposers are referred to the website in Reference 1 for additional information.

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