On March 29, the Obama Administration announced a "Big Data Research
and Development Initiative”.
The Big Data initiative aims to develop new tools and techniques to manage vast
and complex data sets to help address societal challenges in areas such as
environmental and biomedical research, education, and national security.
initiative involves six Federal departments and agencies, including the
National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH),
Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA),
Department of Energy (DOE), and the US Geological Survey (USGS). The agencies will invest more than $200 million to
improve how large data sets are accessed, organized and interpreted through a
number of ongoing and new activities. According to the White House press
release, the initiative aims to:
- Advance state-of-the-art core technologies
needed to collect, store, preserve, manage, analyze, and share huge quantities
- Harness these technologies to accelerate the
pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen our national security,
and transform teaching and learning.
- Expand the workforce needed to develop and use
Big Data technologies.
As part of the initiative, several new competitions were
announced at NSF, NIH, and DARPA. Below is information on selected individual
National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes
for Health (NIH) – Joint Solicitation: Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing
Big Data Science & Engineering
This solicitation will advance
science and technology to manage, analyze, visualize, and extract information
from large data sets. According to the solicitation, proposals should
address one of three areas: data collection and management, data analytics, or
e-science collaborative environments. All proposals should also address
capacity building. NIH seeks proposals that tackle the above issues as
part of data sets related to health and disease, especially imaging, molecular,
cellular, electrophysiological, chemical, behavioral, epidemiological, or
clinical data sets.
Many offices at NSF and NIH are
participating in the solicitation. NSF offices include the Directorates
for Biological Sciences (BIO), Computer and Information Science and Engineering
(CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), Geosciences
(GEO), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and Social Behavioral and
Economic Sciences (SBE); and the Offices of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) and Polar
Programs (OPP). NIH offices include the National Cancer Institute (NCI),
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National
institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of General Medical Sciences
(NIGMS), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS),
National Library of Medicine (NLM), and National Human Genome Research
Letters of Intent:
Letters of Intent are not required.
Due Dates: No preliminary
proposals are required. Full proposals are due June 13, 2012 for
mid-scale projects and July 11, 2012 for small-scale projects.
Total Funding and Award Size:
NSF and NIH plan to award a total of $25 million to 15 to 20 projects.
Small-scale awards will be up to $250,000 per year for up to three years, while
mid-scale awards will be up to $1 million per year for up to five years.
Eligibility and Limitations:
This solicitation uses regular NSF eligibility requirements. There are no
limits on the number of proposals that can be submitted per organization.
Principal investigators are limited to two proposals.
Additional Resources: Contacts
and additional information are available at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504767.
Colleague Letter – IGERT-CIF21 Track
NSF has released a Dear Colleague letter to alert the
community that it will establish a Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st
Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) track in its Integrative Graduate
Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. The CIF21 track aims
to educate and support the next generation of researchers working on big data
issues. NSF will publish a funding opportunity with more details
shortly. The Dear Colleague letter is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12059/nsf12059.jsp.
Colleague Letter – Data-Intensive
Education-Related Research Funding Opportunities
EHR, SBE, CISE, and OCI released a joint Dear
Colleague letter to alert the community that a solicitation on data-intensive
education research will be released shortly. The solicitation will call
for participants in an Ideas Lab to "advance teaching and learning focused on
transforming large datasets into knowledge that leads to actions that can
improve learning environments”. NSF expects to fund a range of research
projects generated at the Ideas Lab. The Dear Colleague letter also highlights
existing NSF funding opportunities in this area. The Dear Colleague
letter is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2012/nsf12060/nsf12060.jsp.
In addition to the new
competitions listed above, NSF, DOE, and USGS announced newly awarded grants
National Institutes of Health
(NIH) – 1,000 Genomes Project Data Available on Cloud
NIH posted the 1000 Genomes
Project data on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) computing cloud. According
to the NIH press release, the
data set is the world’s largest on human genetic variation and will now be available
for use by researchers.
National Science Foundation
(NSF) – New Big Data Awards in Ongoing Initiatives
- The Directorate of Geosciences will award the
first round of grants to support the Earth Cube
initiative, which aims to create a unified data infrastructure for the
- The Expeditions in Computing program will award $10 million for a project
at University of California, Berkeley to integrate machine learning, cloud
computing, and crowd sourcing to convert large volumes of data into useable
- The Research Training Groups in the Mathematical
Sciences (RTG) program will
award $2 million to the University of California, Davis for undergraduate
training in graphical and visualization techniques for complex data.
- The Focused Research Groups in the Mathematical
Sciences (FRG) program will
award $1.4 million to an unnamed group to support statistical and biological
research on protein structures and biological pathways.
- The international Digging into Data Challenge
announced its second round of awards to support humanities and social science
research involving large data sets.
A complete listing of NSF
announcements related to Big Data is available at http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123607.
Department of Energy (DOE) –
New Scientific Discovery Through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) Institute
DOE announced a $25 million award to create a new
SciDAC Institute, the Scalable Data Management, Analysis, and Visualization
Institute (SDAV). SDAV will be led by Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory and will bring together six national laboratories and seven
universities to help scientists manage and visualize data from large and complex
simulations run on DOE supercomputers.
US Geological Survey – Big
Data for Earth System Science Awards
The John Wesley Powell Center
for Analysis and Synthesis
announced its latest round of awards, which will contribute towards the Big
Data initiative. These awards will help improve understanding of a range
of issues including how species respond to climate change, earthquake
recurrence rates, and the next generation of ecological indicators.
The White House also compiled an extensive listing of
ongoing programs across the Federal government that relate to Big Data