(CLOSED) NSF 21-556 Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Coordination Ecosystem: Services & Support - Coordination Office (ACCESS-ACO)

Sponsor Name: 
Description of the Award: 


National research cyberinfrastructure (CI) has become essential to computational- and data-intensive research across all of science and engineering (S&E) in the 21st century. It is a key catalyst for discovery and innovation and plays a critical role in ensuring US leadership in S&E, economic competitiveness, and national security, consistent with NSF’s mission. NSF, through the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC), has published a vision that calls for the broad availability and innovative use of an agile, integrated, robust, trustworthy and sustainable CI ecosystem that can drive new thinking and transformative discoveries in all areas of S&E research and education.

National CI coordination services are integral to NSF’s CI vision and ecosystem. Consequently, it is imperative that these services be made broadly available to the Nation’s S&E research community consistent with the goals and intent of the diverse set of NSF-funded resources. These services support critical aspects such as allocation, measurement and user support, and enable researchers across every field of NSF-supported S&E to effectively and efficiently use the CI ecosystem and ensure overall user productivity in spite of rapidly changing application and CI landscapes.

NSF recently published a forward-looking blueprint for future national CI coordination services, “Transforming Science Through Cyberinfrastructure: Coordination Services.” This blueprint was informed by the community through advisory bodies, requests for information (RFIs), workshops and conferences, and national initiatives. In particular, the 2019 NSF-funded National Cyberinfrastructure Coordination Service Conference specifically focused on the CI service ecosystem. As outlined in the blueprint document, NSF envisions a fabric of national coordination CI services that can effectively support a broad and diverse set of requirements, users, and usage modes from all areas of S&E research and education. It is also essential that this fabric of services is agile and can evolve and adapt to respond to emerging requirements and technology landscapes. This solicitation, one of two ACCESS solicitations, focuses on the execution of this blueprint and the creation of the national coordination CI services fabric.

The current NSF-supported CI coordination services landscape includes the following major projects: The eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) and XSEDE Metrics Service (XMS), both part of the eXtreme Digital (XD) Program, and the Partnership to Advance Throughput Computing (PATh), funded as a continuation of the Open Science Grid (OSG). Moving forward, NSF aims to continue to provide these services while also evolving, integrating, and adapting their structures, scopes, and implementations to respond to rapidly-evolving technologies and science needs. This solicitation is part of a pair of solicitations calling for proposals for projects within the ACCESS ecosystem (see Table 1 below). It complements the other ACCESS solicitation, which calls for proposals for five independently-managed yet tightly-cooperative services along the following tracks: 1) Allocation Services; 2) End User Support Services; 3) Operations and Integration Services; 4) Monitoring & Measurement Services; and 5) Technology Translation Service

Program Description

This solicitation requests proposals for an ACCESS Coordination Office (ACO). The goals of the ACO will be to:

  • Facilitate the effective communication and coordination across the ACCESS awardees and the productive collective execution of all ACCESS services in support of end-user requirements and NSF goals;
  • Engage with both existing and future CI user communities in support of ACCESS activities by supplementing and amplifying outreach efforts from the core ACCESS tracks; and
  • Support NSF in its management and oversight of the ACCESS awardees.

The ACO will provide coordination, support services and staffing for the top-level facilitation of governance and communications among the ACCESS awardees and with the public, including support for top-level inter-awardee coordination, coordination of an external advisory board to the ACCESS awardees, and establishment of a common framework of ACCESS community outreach and information dissemination, for example, a common landing page for the ACCESS activities.

The ACO awardee will interface with the PIs for the individual ACCESS Coordination Service track awards. The ACO itself will not engage in overall management responsibilities for the ACCESS program but will enable the other ACCESS awardees to accomplish those activities.

ACO proposals in response to this solicitation must detail plans for the following defined activities: a) management and administration of the ACCESS Executive Council; b) creation and management of an external ACCESS advisory board; c) ACCESS-wide communication, outreach and other community-building activities; and d) management of certain coordinated community building activities. Proposals must also provide detailed staffing plans for the ACO, including personnel to support the executive council, the external advisory board, as well as communication and outreach activities, including web content development and management.

Limit (Number of applicants permitted per institution): 
Sponsor Final Deadline: 
Jun 16, 2021
OVPR Application or NOI Instructions: 

Interested applicants should submit notification to include:

Cover Letter (1 page, pdf):

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • PI name, departmental affiliations(s) and contact information
  • Co-PI's names and departmental affiliation(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Title of this funding opportunity
To be considered as a Penn State institutional nominee, please submit a notice of intent by the date provided directly below.
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:
OVPR Downselect Deadline: 
Monday, May 17, 2021 - 4:00pm
No Applicants