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NSF Seeking Grantees for Research-Focused Cyberinfrastructure Improvements

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U.S. colleges and universities and other nonprofit education organizations have until Jan. 21, 2020 to apply for big grants from the National Science Foundation for improving multi-campus networking and cybersecurity infrastructure that specifically support science applications and distributed research projects.

The NSF said it expects to issue grants in fiscal year 2020 worth $14 million and $20 million to between 29 and 53 recipients.

The "Campus Cyberinfrastructure­Network Infrastructure and Engineering" (CC­NIE) program originally kicked off in 2012 and 2013 to focus on upgrading and redesigning campus networks to exploit new networking capabilities for supporting research. The "campus cyberinfrastructure" program eventually grew beyond data networking to also encompass funding for projects involving campus-level computing, storage, multi-institution integrated cyberinfrastructure and learning and workforce development.

Those same areas are covered in the latest grant program too, which has six categories of applications:

  • Data-driven networking infrastructure for the lone campus and its science researchers (up to $500,000 in total over two years);
  • Regional connectivity for small (read: "under-resourced") institutions willing to work with other small schools and "regional entities" that have experience in high-performance research and education (R&E) networking (up to $800,000 over two years);
  • Network integration that involves new networking capabilities for applied research (up to $500,000 or $1 million over two years);
  • Campus computing and "computing continuum" awards for projects that seek to share unused compute cycles and resources across multiple areas of the institution (up to $400,000 over two years);
  • Cyber team research and education regional facilitation awards for projects involving the sharing of expertise among professionals, researchers and students among groups of institutions for cyberinfrastructure (up to $1.4 million over three years); and
  • Planning grants and cyberinfrastructure research alignment awards for those schools that don't already participate in an R&E network (up to $100,000 or $250,000 over two years).

According to the instructions, all of the proposals need to cover the relevant cybersecurity issues and challenges related to their proposed activities, whether that's "data integrity, privacy, network security measures, federated access and identity management [or] infrastructure monitoring."

It's also expected that students will get the chance to participate in the projects in active ways.

Learn more about NSF 20-507 on the NSF website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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