(CLOSED) NSF National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes: Accelerating Research, Transforming Society, and Growing the American Workforce (NOI)

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 

This is a forecasted opportunity. It is expected that NSF will release the final RFP in the coming weeks. This description is based on the previous NSF request for proposals. Changes in the details are expected and will be reflected in a full downselect competition once the RFP is released.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has advanced tremendously and today promises personalized healthcare; enhanced national security; improved transportation; and more effective education, to name just a few benefits. Increased computing power, the availability of large datasets and streaming data, and algorithmic advances in machine learning (ML) have made it possible for AI research and development to create new sectors of the economy and revitalize industries. Continued advancement, enabled by sustained federal investment and channeled toward issues of national importance, holds the potential for further economic impact and quality-of-life improvements.

The 2019 update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, informed by visioning activities in the scientific community as well as interaction with the public, identifies as its first strategic objective the need to make long-term investments in AI research in areas with the potential for long-term payoffs in AI. The President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology has published Recommendations for Strengthening American Leadership in Industries of the Future, including AI, and calls for new and sustained research in AI to drive science and technology progress. The National AI Research Institutes program enables longer-term research and U.S. leadership in AI through the creation of AI Research Institutes.

This program is a joint government effort between the National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology Directorate (S&T), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). New to the program this year are contributions from partners in U.S. industry who share in the government’s goal to advance national competitiveness through National AI Research Institutes. This year’s industry partners are Accenture, Amazon, Google, and Intel Corporation. This program solicitation invites proposals for full institutes that have a principal focus in one or more of the following themes, detailed in the Program Description:

  • Theme 1: Human-AI Interaction and Collaboration
  • Theme 2: AI Institute for Advances in Optimization
  • Theme 3: AI and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure
  • Theme 4: Advances in AI and Computer and Network Systems
  • Theme 5: AI Institute in Dynamic Systems
  • Theme 6: AI-Augmented Learning
  • Theme 7: AI to Advance Biology
  • Theme 8: AI-Driven Innovation in Agriculture and the Food System

AI Research Institutes Scope

The vision of the National AI Research Institutes program is broad and ambitious. It is expected that each AI Research Institute will pursue this vision in ways that are uniquely suited to its selected research focus, facilities, collaborations, and other unique circumstances. Proposers are encouraged to convey the unique qualities of the proposed Institute, while addressing the following desiderata common to all AI Research Institutes proposed to this program:

  • Advance foundational AI research;
  • Conduct use-inspired research;
  • Actively build the next generation of talent;
  • Include coherent multidisciplinary groups of scientists, engineers and educators;
  • Are comprised of multiple organizations working together to create significant new research capabilities;
  • Are nexus points for collaborative efforts
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Dec 04, 2021
OSVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Submit your notification using the button at the right to provide your contact information no later than 4:00 p.m. on the internal submission deadline. Notice of Intent should include

  • Information Page to include:

    • Project title
    • Contact information for PI and all identified co-PIs
    • Identified institute collaborators
    • External collaborating organizations

Following the release of the final FRP by the NSF, OSVPR will coordinate an internal downselect. Materials to be submitted to the downselect will include:

  • Cover Page
  • Project Description (5 page max.)
  • List of project personnel, their affiliations, and their roles in the center
  • 2-page CV of PI and co-PI's

Questions concerning the limited submissions process may be submitted to limitedsubs@psu.edu.

To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
Penn State OSVPR NOI Deadline: 
Friday, September 3, 2021 - 4:00pm
This limited submission is in downselect: 
Penn State may only submit a specific number of proposals to this funding opportunity. The number of NOIs received require that an internal competition take place, thus, a downselect process has commenced. No Penn State researchers may apply to this opportunity outside of this downselect process. To apply for this limited submission, please use this link: