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Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation - S2I2  (SI2-S2I2)  Crosscutting Programs


Name Dir/Div Name Dir/Div
Daniel  S. Katz CISE/ACI  Rajiv  Ramnath CISE/ACI 
John  C. Cherniavsky EHR/DRL  Almadena  Y. Chtchelkanova CISE/CCF 
Evelyn  Goldfield MPS/CHE  Sol  Greenspan CISE/CCF 
Daryl  W. Hess MPS/DMR  Peter  H. McCartney BIO/DBI 
Bogdan  Mihaila MPS/PHY  Andrew  D. Pollington MPS/DMS 
Barbara  Ransom GEO/OCE  Nigel  A. Sharp MPS/AST 
Mary  Toney ENG/CMMI  Eva  Zanzerkia GEO/EAR 


Solicitation  15-553

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

Conceptualization Proposals


Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) is a long-term investment focused on realizing a portion of the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21, http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504730) vision and catalyzing new thinking, paradigms and practices in science and engineering. CIF21 envisions a linked cyberinfrastructure architecture that integrates large-scale computing, high-speed networks, massive data archives, instruments and major facilities, observatories, experiments, and embedded sensors and actuators, across the nation and the world, and that enables research at unprecedented scales, complexity, resolution, and accuracy by integrating computation, data, and experiments in novel ways.

Software is a primary modality through which CIF21 innovation and discovery will be realized. It permeates all aspects and layers of cyberinfrastructure (from application codes and frameworks, programming systems, libraries and system software, to middleware, operating systems, networking and the low-level drivers). The CIF21 software infrastructure must address the complexity of this cyberinfrastructure, accommodating: disruptive hardware trends; ever-increasing data volumes; data integrity, privacy, and confidentiality; security; complex application structures and behaviors; and emerging concerns such as fault-tolerance and energy efficiency. The programs must focus on building robust, reliable and sustainable software that will support and advance sustained scientific innovation and discovery.

The Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure in the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE/ACI) is partnering with Directorates and Offices across the NSF to support SI2, a long-term comprehensive program focused on realizing a sustained software infrastructure that is an integral part of CIF21. The goal of this program is to catalyze and nurture the interdisciplinary processes required to support the entire software lifecycle, resulting in sustainable community software elements and reusable components at all levels of the software stack. The program addresses software in all aspects of cyberinfrastructure, from embedded sensor systems and instruments, to desktops and high-end data and computing systems, to major instruments and facilities.

The goal of the overall SI2 program is to create a software ecosystem that scales from individual or small groups of software innovators to large hubs of software excellence. It is envisioned that the SI2 program will collectively support vibrant partnerships between academia, government laboratories and industry, including international entities, for the development and stewardship of a sustainable software infrastructure that can enhance productivity and accelerate innovation in science and engineering.

The SIprogram includes three classes of awards:

1. Scientific Software Elements (SSE): SSE awards target small groups that will create and deploy robust software elements for which there is a demonstrated need that will advance one or more significant areas of science and engineering.

2. Scientific Software Integration (SSI):SSI awards target larger, interdisciplinary teams organized around the development and application of common software infrastructure aimed at solving common research problems faced by NSF researchers in one or more areas of science and engineering. SSI awards will result in a sustainable community software framework serving a diverse community or communities.

3. Scientific Software Innovation Institutes (S2I2): S2I2s are an integral part of the SI2 software ecosystems and focus on the establishment of long-term hubs of excellence in software infrastructure and technologies, which will serve a research community of substantial size and disciplinary breadth. The outcomes of S2I2 go beyond the software itself, including the software development infrastructure and process, successfully responding to science challenges, and enabling transformative new science. These institutes will provide expertise, processes and architectures, resources and implementation mechanisms to transform computational science and engineering innovations and community software into robust and sustained software infrastructure for enabling science and engineering, which in turn will transform research practices and productivity. S2I2 proposals will bring together multidisciplinary teams of domain scientists and engineers, computer scientists and software engineers, technologists and educators.

This solicitation is focused on the Scientific Software Innovation Institutes (S2I2) class of awards. S2I2 includes two subclasses of awards: Conceptualization Awards, which are planning awards aimed at organizing an interdisciplinary community and understanding their software requirements and challenges, and Implementation Awards, which will be made to implement community activities that support software infrastructure, for example, such as those developed by the conceptualization awards.

Please refer to (i) A Vision and Strategy for Software for Science, Engineering, and Education (NSF 12-113) and (ii) Implementation of NSF Software Vision (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504817) for further information about NSF's vision for software as part of cyberinfrastructure and the programs that support this vision.

Conceptualization Proposals:

Successful conceptualization proposals must reflect the quality, commitment, and planning that will be needed to lead to full Implementation awards.

Specific NSF unit interests follow, though these are not meant to limit potential proposals:

  • The CISE Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure is particularly interested in proposals that address the set of broad issues related to general SI2 software, including sustainability, software lifecycle/ecosystem, governance, verification & validation, reproducibility, etc.
  • The Biological Sciences Directorate is particularly interested in proposals that focus on high priority research problems and that will significantly leverage existing investments in ways that transform the infrastructure in support of BIO and BIO-related research. For further information about BIO's interests in S2I2 see the Dear Colleague Letter of November 22, 2011 (NSF-12-019).
  • The Engineering Directorate is not participating in the conceptualization portion of this solicitation.
  • The MPS/Astronomy Division will consider supporting proposals that would have a clearly demonstrated impact on a significant portion of the astronomy research community.
  • The MPS/Materials Research Division is particularly interested in proposals that advance priorities in the Materials Genome Initiative.
  • The MPS/Division of Mathematical Sciences is particularly interested in proposals that include the creation, development, and application of new mathematical and statistical theories and tools.
  • The MPS/Physics Division will consider proposals that will significantly advance fundamental research in Physics.

The interests of NSF units participating in this solicitation but not listed above (EHR, GEO, MPS/CHE, etc.) are described on their individual web pages.

Please note that successful conceptualization proposals will demonstrate clear and compelling science-driven goals that are responsive to research priorities identified across and within participating units. It is strongly recommended that prospective PIs contact program officers from the list of Cognizant Program Officers to ascertain that the scientific focus of the proposed work is appropriate for this solicitation.

Conceptualization proposals submitted to NSF in response to this solicitation must have a clear relevance to the overall SI2 program and should be responsive to this solicitation and its review criteria. Proposals that are not relevant or not responsive to the solicitation will not be considered for funding and will be returned without review.

Conceptualization proposals must also be in areas not covered by current conceptualization awards. For a list of awards, see Implementation of NSF Software Vision (http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504817). Participants who are interested in areas already covered should contact the relevant current S2I2 team(s) to participate in those ongoing conceptualization activities.

Implementation Proposals:

Implementation proposals may only be submitted in the specific topic(s) listed in this solicitation, which define particular areas in which NSF sees a need for an institute as evidenced by prior community activity, for example, an institute conceptualization award, a Research Coordination Network (RCN) award, etc., and has reserved budget resources from the directorates and divisions that would be impacted by such an institute.

Future versions of this solicitation will permit response in different topics, in response to community activities, such as S2I2 Conceptualization awards.

The specific institute implementation topics for this solicitation are:

1. Chemical and Materials Research Software Institute (CMRSI)

A CMRSI will be a focal point to facilitate the development of a sustainable software ecosystem to catalyze the application of computation and associated data-centric methods across chemical and materials research. A software ecosystem containing reliable, interoperable, verified, and accessible software tools enables scientists and engineers to innovatively use computation and data to engage challenging and transformational problems of chemical and materials research, thus better addressing societal priorities and contributing toward the development of a quantitative and predictive understanding of materials and chemistry. Relevant problems driving algorithm, method, and software development include but are not limited to: the computational design of chemicals and materials for specific functions starting from atoms, molecules, or other fundamental building blocks; the prediction of new synthesis pathways; advancing understanding of how catalysts work; advancing fundamental understanding of systems far from equilibrium with application to biological systems and the synthesis of soft materials; enabling meaningful simulation of polymeric and other materials across scales of length and time leading to insights for synthesis and performance; advancing understanding of quantum dynamics of complex chemical and condensed phase systems; and understanding macroscopic materials or chemical properties from their atomic or molecular origins, such as controlling self-assembly, microstructure evolution, and microscale transport processes. Activities in support of the Materials Genome Initiative are welcome.

2. Science Gateways Software Institute (SGSI)

An SGSI will be a focal point to facilitate the development of a sustainable software ecosystem for science gateways. Science Gateways (also known as portals and hubs) are themselves synergistic focal points where scientists form growing communities; where digital resources, expensive equipment, and collaboration resources are available to those who would otherwise not have access to them; and where the public can participate in the scientific process, spanning science and engineering research and education.  Gateways assemble and integrate some of the most complex components of today’s cyberinfrastructure (CI), making them accessible to a wider spectrum of users through easy-to-use interfaces. They provide researchers with unified human and programmable access to facilities: computing resources (e.g., supercomputers, clouds), instruments (e.g., telescopes, sensor networks), data (e.g., data collections, collaborative spaces), software (e.g., simulation, modeling, and analysis capabilities, workflow systems), and more, thus increasing the value of these facilities. They make the interdisciplinary collaborations needed to solve the most complex problems more feasible. They support CI abstractions that allow scalable, dynamic use of diverse CI without demanding detailed and complex technical understanding of CI components, and provide scalable solutions for solving classes of problems, eliminating the need for thousands of individual infrastructure installations. 

Proposals that are not relevant or not responsive to the solicitation will not be considered for funding and will be returned without review.


Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation - S2I2

Strategic Technologies for CyberInfrastructure


A Vision and Strategy for Software for Science, Engineering, and Education

Implementation of NSF Software Vision

Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastucture (ACCI) Task Forces


What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program

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