Smart Cities Update & NSF Smart & Connected Communities Solicitation Announced

October 4, 2016

Letter to CISE Announcement Listserv sent by CISE AD Jim Kurose on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 at 2:32 PM

On September 26, 2016, the White House announced that the federal government is committing over $80 million – led by NSF with a $60M commitment over two years – toward the Smart Cities Initiative that was launched just over a year ago.
NSF has long supported the fundamental research, education, and community-building activities that are catalyzing the multidisciplinary and cross-sector innovations necessary for the smart and connected communities of the future.  For example, our community has pursued new methods and technologies for leveraging data and turning it into knowledge and action; advances in the modeling and design of complex sociotechnical systems; research on the dynamics, characteristics, and behaviors of our Nation’s cities and communities; and development of new approaches that support education and workforce development, including computer science and computational thinking.  Indeed, advances made by the CISE community have been critical in shaping the foundations for NSF’s leadership of the Smart Cities Initiative.
To continue to support and further this work, we at NSF are pleased to announce a new program solicitation, Smart & Connected Communities (S&CC).  Recognizing that city/community solutions involve deeply interdisciplinary, integrative approaches at the interface of social and technological systems, five NSF directorates are partnering on this effort:  CISE; Education & Human Resources (EHR); Engineering (ENG); Geosciences (GEO); and Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE).  The solicitation seeks robust collaborations that span academic researchers and local city/community stakeholders, and that foster integrative research and research capacity-building grounded by meaningful community engagement.
The S&CC program complements a number of ongoing NSF research programs, such as BIGDATA including the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs and Spokes, Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), Smart and Connected Health (SCH), and US Ignite, just to name a few.
More information about NSF’s strategy to advance discovery and innovation capable of enabling smart and connected communities is available in a Dear Colleague Letter that also posted Sept. 26, 2016 and on the Smart & Connected Communities website.  In addition, a complete list of NSF’s commitments are available in a NSF press release.
The CISE community has enabled advances that are driving the vision for the future of our cities and communities, and your continued efforts in collaboration with community stakeholders are vital for helping to realize this vision.


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The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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