- Author: Kathleen P Nolan
Building on NSF's history of investments in data and computational sciences and USDA/NIFA's history of investments in agricultural science, NSF and USDA/NIFA wish to notify the community of our intention to jointly fund convergent research that combines methods in agricultural, biological, and computer and information science and engineering to address pressing challenges and opportunities in digital agriculture.
Motivated by the increasing volumes of data, faster computation, and algorithmic advances, there is an opportunity to apply transformative, data-driven research methods to the agriculture sector that are responsive to and will yield meaningful insights for farmers, other stakeholders, and society at large. Of interest to NSF and USDA/NIFA are applications focused on economically important plants, animals, and their environments—in particular food, fuel, feed, and health—and where research outcomes in a particular application area may be transferable to, or informative for, other agricultural application areas. Relevant stakeholders can be integrated into the proposed research activities, including as partners in the project, if appropriate for the project. Researchers are encouraged to leverage existing agriculture data sets.
Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Methods for analyzing existing, large datasets, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision, for example, leveraging environmental, imaging, and genomic data;
- Models for genetic x environment x management x socioeconomic interactions (G x E x M x S) in order to predict livestock, aquaculture, and plant phenotypic outcomes and sustainability—such as yield, survivability, resistance to environmental stressors, pest resistance, drought resistance, and nutritional value;
- Data storage, management, and integration across a range of data types to enable a systems-level approach, including integration of big data in real-time systems;
- Wired and wireless networking challenges in rural settings, including computation at the edge;
- Security, privacy, and management for access and sharing of farm and community data; and
- Learning science innovations, which may include development of computational skills for biological and agricultural science majors, and communities of agricultural practice for a diverse and innovative future workforce.
Principal Investigators may also consider the design of instructional materials or workforce development pathways, combining computational and agricultural expertise, in the broader impacts of proposals. The intention is to encourage students in biological, agricultural and engineering programs in two – or four-year colleges and universities, across all education levels, to acquire data and/or computational science skills and, vice versa, to expose students in data and/or computational science to agricultural challenges. Additionally, activities could aim to improve retention and capabilities of a region's agricultural workforce.
The following are participating programs within the Directorate forComputer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE):
- Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program – DUE September 26, 2019 [NSF 19-553]
The CPS program aims to develop the core research needed to engineer these complex CPS, some of which may also require dependable, high-confidence, or provable behaviors. Core research areas of the program include control, data analytics, autonomy, design, information management, internet of things, mixed initiatives including human-in- or on-the-loop, networking, privacy, real-time systems, safety, security, and verification. By abstracting from the particulars of specific systems and application domains, the CPS program seeks to reveal cross-cutting, fundamental scientific and engineering principles that underpin the integration of cyber and physical elements across all application domains.. This program also fosters a research community that is committed to advancing education and outreach in CPS and accelerating the transition of CPS research into the real world. For more information, visit https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503286
- Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS): Core Programs—Information Integration and Informatics (III) program – DUE September 30, 2019 [NSF 19-589]
The III program supports innovative research on computational methods for the full data lifecycle, from collection through archiving and knowledge discovery, to maximize the utility of information resources to science and engineering and broadly to society. III projects range from formal theoretical research to those that advance data-intensive applications of scientific, engineering or societal importance.
For more information, visit https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505667&org=NSF
- Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) program – LOI DUE August 6, 2019 [NSF 19-564]
The S&CC program encourages researchers to work with communities and residents to identify and define challenges they are facing, enabling those challenges to motivate use-inspired research questions. The S&CC program supports integrative research that addresses fundamental technological and social science dimensions of smart and connected communities and pilots solutions together with communities.
For more information, visit https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505364
Kathleen Nolan, Director, ANR Office of Contracts & Grants (OCG)