NSF Funding Announcements: MSII and INSPIRE

Updated NSF funding opportunity: Mathematical Sciences Innovation Incubator (MSII)

NSF 16-023 Dear Colleague Letter: Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE)


From the MSII program page:

The ideas, tools, and language of mathematics and statistics play important roles in every area of science and engineering research supported by the National Science Foundation, and it is widely recognized that interactions between the mathematical sciences and other fields catalyze developments in both.  The NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences wishes to foster the participation of more mathematical scientists, from every area of mathematics and statistics, in such important interdisciplinary work.  In support of this goal, the  Mathematical Sciences Innovation Incubator (MSII) activity provides funding to support the involvement of mathematical scientists in research areas where the mathematical sciences are not yet playing large roles.

The MSII activity emphasizes scientific research areas of high national priority that would benefit from innovative developments in mathematics and statistics.  For example, modern communication, transportation, medicine, manufacturing, security, and finance all depend on the mathematical sciences.  Success in meeting crucial challenges currently facing the nation in these areas will rest on advances in mathematical sciences research.  Collaborative research projects involving mathematical scientists have the potential to transform the nation’s ability to respond to these and many other challenges.

Areas of national high-priority scientific research in fiscal year 2016 identified by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy include:
* Advanced Manufacturing and Industries of the Future
* Clean Energy
* Earth Observations
* Global Climate Change
* Information Technology Research and Development
* Innovation in Life Sciences, Biology, and Neuroscience
* Research and Development for Informed Policy-Making and Management

The MSII activity will support research projects in these and other areas of national priority that are managed by NSF programs outside of DMS and that involve new collaborations among mathematical scientists and other scientists or engineers in the research.  


From the INSPIRE program page:

The Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) pilot continues to support bold interdisciplinary projects in all NSF-supported areas of science, engineering, and education research in FY16. INSPIRE has no targeted themes and serves as a funding mechanism for proposals that are required both to be interdisciplinary and to exhibit potentially transformative research (IDR and PTR, respectively). Complementing existing NSF efforts, INSPIRE was created to handle proposals whose:

Scientific advances lie outside the scope of a single program or discipline, such that substantial funding support from more than one program or discipline is necessary.
Lines of research promise transformational advances.
Prospective discoveries reside at the interfaces of disciplinary boundaries that may not be recognized through traditional review or co-review.
To receive funding as an INSPIRE-appropriate project, all three criteria must be met. INSPIRE is not intended to be used for interdisciplinary projects that can be accommodated within other NSF funding mechanisms or that continue well-established practices.

The implementation of the INSPIRE pilot is based on two overarching goals:

Goal 1: To emphasize to the science, mathematics, engineering and education research community that NSF is welcoming to bold, unconventional ideas incorporating creative interdisciplinary approaches. INSPIRE seeks to attract unusually creative high-risk/high-reward "out of the box" interdisciplinary proposals.

Goal 2: To provide NSF Program Officers (POs) with additional tools and support to engage in cross-cutting collaboration and risk-taking in managing their award portfolios.

INSPIRE supports projects that lie at the intersection of traditional disciplines, and is intended to 1) attract unusually creative high-risk/high-reward interdisciplinary proposals; 2) provide substantial funding, not limited to the exploratory stage of the pursuit of novel ideas (unlike NSF's EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research, or EAGER); and 3) be open to all NSF-supported areas of science, mathematics, engineering, and education research.

NSF support for INSPIRE projects is subject to the availability of funds.


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