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Artificial Intelligence

NSF Creates AI-Powered Innovation Program

The new funding opportunity will distribute approximately $120 million in 2020 to fund planning grants and up to six research institutes focused on advanced research powered by artificial intelligence.

robot hand and human hand

Photo by Andrew Kelly/NY Hall of Science

The National Science Foundation has announced a new joint federal program to fund research focused on artificial intelligence at colleges, universities and nonprofit or nonacademic organizations focused on educational or research activities. The National Artificial Intelligence Research Institutes program expects to award approximately $120 million in 2020 to fund planning grants and up to six research institutes.

The planning track will provide project planning support for up to two years and $500,000 for teams to develop communities and capacity for full institute operations. The institute track will support cooperative agreements between $16 million and $20 million for four to five years. Each institute will receive up to $4 million a year.

Each institute must have a principal focus on at least one of six themes:

  • Trustworthy AI;
  • Foundations of Machine Learning;
  • AI-Driven Innovation in Agriculture and the Food System;
  • AI-Augmented Learning;
  • AI for Accelerating Molecular Synthesis and Manufacturing; and
  • AI for Discovery in Physics.

NSF expects to issue funds for up to six research institutes. Approximately eight planning grants will be awarded.

The program is a NSF-led joint funding opportunity with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Science & Technology Directorate, Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Advances in AI are progressing rapidly and demonstrating the potential to transform our lives," said NSF Director France Córdova. "This landmark investment will further AI research and workforce development, allowing us to accelerate the development of transformational technologies and catalyze markets of the future."

The proposals for the institute track are due by Jan. 28, 2020. Planning grant proposals must be submitted by Jan. 30, 2020.

The full program solicitation is available on NSF's website.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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