Designing Accountable Software Systems  (DASS)

Name Email Phone Room
Nina  Amla (703) 292-7991   
Anindya  Banerjee (703) 292-7885   
Daniel  R. Cosley (703) 292-8832   
Jeremy  J. Epstein (703) 292-8338   
Darleen  L. Fisher (703) 292-8950   
Sol  J. Greenspan (703) 292-8910   
Sara  Kiesler (703) 292-8643   
Reggie  S. Sheehan (703) 292-5389   


Solicitation  21-554

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after June 1, 2020. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 20-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Society is becoming highly dependent on software applications, systems, and platforms, as functionality in all aspects of business, government, and everyday life is increasingly implemented through software. At the same time, there has been an increase in the laws and regulations whose implementation and effectiveness depend on software. Whereas organizations and individuals throughout our history have been expected to comply with laws and regulations, now software systems also must be accountable and comply with them. Software systems need to be designed with legal and regulatory compliance in mind, and should be adaptable to changing laws and regulations, which themselves evolve with changing citizen expectations and social norms.

The Designing Accountable Software Systems (DASS) program solicits foundational research aimed towards a deeper understanding and formalization of the bi-directional relationship between software systems and the complex social and legal contexts within which software systems must be designed and operate. The DASS program aims to bring researchers in computer and information science and engineering together with researchers in law and social, behavioral, and economic sciences to jointly develop rigorous and reproducible methodologies for understanding the drivers of social goals for software and for designing, implementing, and validating accountable software systems. DASS will support well-conceived collaborations between these two groups of researchers. The first group consists of researchers in software design, which, for the purposes of this solicitation, is broadly defined as formal methods, programming languages, software engineering, requirements engineering and human-centered computing. The second group consists of researchers in law and the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, who study social systems and networks, culture, social norms and beliefs, rules, canons, precedents, legal code, and routine procedures that govern the conduct of people, organizations, and countries.

Proposals for this program must create general advances in both (1) understanding the social, behavioral, economic and/or legal context of software design; and (2) improving the methodology for designing accountable software beyond specific use cases. Each proposal must have at least one Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI with expertise in software design and at least one PI with expertise in law or a social, behavioral, or economic science. All proposals must contain a detailed collaboration plan that leverages the complementary expertise of the PIs/co-PIs in the designated areas and describes the mechanisms for continuous bi-directional collaboration. Projects are limited to $750,000 in total budget, with durations of up to three years.

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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program