The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a call for Big Data Spoke proposals through the program solicitation Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs: Establishing Spokes to Advance Big Data Applications (BD Spokes, NSF 17-546). The West Big Data Innovation Hub is now accepting requests for Letters of Collaboration from PIs in our region.
Please use the form at bit.ly/WestLOC by JUNE 19, 2017 (earlier submissions will receive letters earlier) to request a letter from us if the proposed lead Principal Investigator’s Institution is located in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming.
Form submissions will be read by the WBDIH Directors, PIs, and CoPIs on a rolling basis and kept confidential. Email us at email@example.com if you require a Letter earlier than July 1, as soon as possible.
To read the program solicitation, visit the program solicitation page at NSF.gov. NSF will be updating their site with a FAQ closer to the deadline. For an overview of the program, visit the program page at NSF.gov.
- June 14-15: Open Office Hours Q&A with West Hub Leadership (details at https://bit.ly/BDHubsCal — please note the time zone)
- June 19th, 2017: Deadline to request a letter of collaboration from the Big Data Hubs. Earlier submissions will receive letters earlier. See the Submissions section below for more information about submitting your request. Proposals should then be sent to the host institution of the PI, which is responsible for selecting one to submit to the NSF. Per the solicitation:
- An organization may participate as submitting organization (or, in the case of collaborative proposals, as the lead organization) for at most one proposal responsive to this solicitation.
- Proposal submissions are limited to 1 per organization (except as non-lead in a collaborative proposal) to maintain a balanced geographic representation of the Regional Hubs and Spokes program and to increase diversity of participating institutions.
- July 1, 2017: Anticipated date by which all West Big Data Innovation Hub Letters of Collaboration will have been provided. If you need a Letter before July 1, due to your institutional processes, please note this on the form and also let us know via email to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP.
- July through August: The West Hub Leadership Team will be available to discuss hub-and-spoke collaboration ideas and details. Please note that our Letters of Collaboration will only include the language,”If the proposal submitted by Dr. [insert the full name of the Principal Investigator] entitled [insert the proposal title] is selected for funding by NSF, it is my intent to collaborate and/or commit resources as detailed in the Project Description or the Facilities, Equipment and Other Resources section of the proposal.” We encourage the proposal writers to include all relevant details about hub-spoke collaborations — how the Spoke relates to existing and emerging BDHub activities, the sharing of resources and infrastructure, and the relationship with the BDHub Steering Committee — in the Project Description submitted to NSF.
- September 18th, 2017: Deadline to submit full Spoke proposals to NSF, which must include the letter of collaboration from a Big Data Hub.
FAQ updated 6/16/2017, 7/17/2017, 9/11/2017.
1. What Hub does my proposal fall under?
This is determined by the institution of the lead Principal Investigator. i.e. If the lead PI on a collaborative proposal is from Virginia Tech the proposal would be submitted to the South Hub (no matter the locations of other collaborators).
|MIDWEST: This region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.|
|NORTHEAST: This region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.|
|SOUTH: This region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.|
|WEST: This region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.|
Proposals which do not fall within the West region should be submitted to the appropriate Big Data Hub:
2. Do you have the Google Form fields for the Request for LOC viewable all at once?
3. What if our team would like to collaborate across regional hubs?
4. What if our team is not selected through our institution’s Limited Submission process?
5. What about Federally Funded Research & Development Center (FFRDC) participation?
- Special Projects. Under exceptional circumstances, research or education projects at other Federal agencies or FFRDCs that can make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives may receive NSF support.
- National and International Programs. The Foundation may fund research and logistical support activities of other Government agencies or FFRDCs directed at meeting the goals of special national and international research programs for which the Foundation bears special responsibility, such as the US Antarctic Research Program.
- International Travel Awards. In order to ensure appropriate representation or availability of a particular expertise at an international conference, staff researchers of other Federal agencies may receive NSF international travel awards.
Proposers who think their project may meet one of the exceptions listed above must contact a cognizant NSF Program Officer before preparing a proposal for submission. In addition, a scientist, engineer or educator who has a joint appointment with a university and a Federal agency (such as a Veterans Administration Hospital, or with a university and a FFRDC) may submit proposals through the university and may receive support if he/she is a faculty member (or equivalent) of the university, although part of his/her salary may be provided by the Federal agency. Preliminary inquiry must be made to the appropriate program before preparing a proposal for submission.”
6. What are the West Hub’s thematic areas / areas of focus and priority?
As noted in the Form, our focus areas are (in no particular order):
- Metro/Urban Data Science: including but not limited to Smart Cities, Transportation, Housing, Safety, Criminal Justice, Economic Development
- Natural Resource Management + Natural Hazards: including but not limited to Water, Energy, Environment, Agriculture, Sustainability, Disaster Response
- Precision Medicine: including but not limited to Diagnostics, Treatment, Prevention, Outcomes, Genomics, Environment/Exposome
- Data-Enabled Scientific Discovery and Learning: including but not limited to Open Science and Reproducibility, Education, Workforce Development
- Big Data Technology
We also support cross-cutting efforts including but not limited to our: Cloud Computing Task Force, Data Hackathons Community of Practice, Data Storytelling Community of Practice, and groups interested in Public Policy, Ethics, Privacy, Security, Infrastructure, and Data Sharing and Licensing.
7. What if I have a great idea that aligns with your mission to build and strengthen partnerships across industry, academia, nonprofits, and government — but it doesn’t seem to “fit” with one of your thematic areas or the areas stated by NSF?
Please fill out the form! The areas of focus are not meant to be limiting the scope of submissions.
8. Does my project need to be related to previously-funded NSF Spoke Projects?
No. In order to avoid duplication of effort, please note the language from the NSF Solicitation, “If the proposed BD Spoke is on a topic similar to one or more currently funded BD Spokes in any region, the Project Description must describe in what sense the proposed work differs substantially from the existing project(s) or how the proposed BD Spoke activities augment or complement that of the existing project(s) when it does not differ substantially. In the latter case, a Letter of Collaboration(s) from the previously funded BD Spoke(s) is (are) encouraged.”
9. Can I change my list of collaborators and the details about how I anticipate to collaborate with the hub after submitting the form?
Yes! We see the Form as the beginning of a conversation between the Hub and potential funded Spoke project, and fully anticipate discussing details after the June 19 form deadline. As a reference, last year the West Hub helped facilitate new collaborations that resulted in Co-Principal Investigators being added after Letters of Intent but before the final NSF FASTLANE submission. This year there is not a requirement for a Letter of Intent to NSF, and the final NSF FASTLANE submission (hard deadline) is Sept. 18, 2017, 5pm local submitter’s time. With a limited submission this year, please be aware of your Institution’s internal timeline.
10. Do you have additional guidance?
Please refer to the NSF PROPOSAL & AWARD POLICIES & PROCEDURES GUIDE in addition to the original solicitation and webinar. You can also contact Dr. Fen Zhao, NSF Program Officer, as noted on the Solicitation: (703) 292-7344, email: email@example.com
11. I missed the June 19 deadline. Can I still request a Letter of Collaboration?
We are still accepting requests for Letters of Collaboration on the Form, and are replying as bandwidth allows, with priority given to teams that submitted requests by the deadline. If you are filling out the form after the deadline, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, highlighting any institutional deadines or time constraints and we will do our best to provide you a Letter as soon as possible.
12. Are there any extensions due to extreme weather?
Please see the below message from NSF:
Dear CISE Community,
Our thoughts are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. We want to take this opportunity to share important information posted by NSF, which includes a notice announcing NSF’s intent to extend proposal submission and other administrative deadlines for those affected (also included below), as well as a Dear Colleague Letter calling for research to address the challenges related to this storm.
For those affected by Harvey, we in CISE want to assure you that we are prepared to be as flexible and accommodating as possible. NSF plans to extend the end dates of existing awards to institutions in the disaster area for awards that are scheduled to expire before October 1, 2017. There are also a number of CISE programs with forthcoming submission windows/deadlines before October 1, 2017, and we want to encourage those of you who were planning to submit proposals to those programs and affected by Harvey to contact your Program Director to discuss the timing of your submission as soon as practicable. CISE-led programs with forthcoming submission windows/deadlines before October 1, 2017, include:
There are other NSF programs with forthcoming submission windows/deadlines before October 1, 2017, to which CISE principal investigators may be interested in submitting; again, please contact the cognizant Program Director(s).
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your cognizant Program Directors. We are committed to supporting the outstanding science, engineering, and education research efforts from the CISE community and, as always, look forward to working with you.
Jim and Erwin
Jim Kurose, Assistant Director (AD) of NSF for CISE
Erwin Gianchandani, Deputy AD of NSF for CISE
The text of the NSF notice is copied below for your ease:
September 1, 2017
Important Notice to Presidents of Universities and Colleges and Heads of Other National Science Foundation Grantee Organizations
The National Science Foundation and its staff are deeply concerned for the people and institutions in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.
Those of you in the impact area who are served by NSF can be assured that you have our support. We are taking immediate steps to provide assistance to current and potential awardees who are directly affected, and we are prepared to be as flexible, accommodating, and creative as possible in addressing your needs. We understand that the health and safety of you and your loved ones are your top priority, and will work to ensure that proposal submission and other administrative deadlines are extended in order to allow you to focus on more immediate concerns.
NSF will do everything possible to ensure continuity of the research and education projects that we support, and we also will provide frequent updates – on our website and by e-mail to investigators and their institutions – concerning procedures to achieve that goal.
In the short term, NSF will extend the end dates of existing awards to institutions in the disaster area for awards that are scheduled to expire before October 1, 2017. That being said, it is vital that each investigator contact his or her Program Officer as soon as feasible to discuss how each NSF-supported project has been impacted. This is a necessary step in any further action that NSF may take with respect to funding. Program Officers stand ready to hear from you and support your needs.
We also have established an email address – email@example.com – for inquiries by institutions, faculty and students on NSF awards for issues related to Hurricane Harvey.
The Foundation will be posting updated information regarding specific, timely, and relevant research assistance opportunities on NSF.gov. We encourage you to visit the site regularly.
Again, our thoughts are with all of those affected by Harvey.
France A. Córdova