NSF Announces $17.7M in Awards for Cross-disciplinary Data Sciences Projects

By John Russell

August 24, 2017

Today was a good day for National Science Foundation-funded cross-disciplinary research. NSF announced it will provide $17.7 million in funding for 12 Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) projects, “which will bring together the statistics, mathematics and theoretical computer science communities to develop the foundations of data science.” Conducted at 14 institutions in 11 states, these projects will promote long-term research and training activities in data science that transcend disciplinary boundaries.

NSF also issued the first set of Convergence awards, part of its Growing Convergent Research portfolio intended to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration. These first awards support workshops, summer institutes, and Research Coordination Networks (RCNs). Noted in the announcement was that NSF has a focus on tackling grand challenge problems and that converged research is an increasingly critical component for solving these challenges. Three of the TRIPODS project received $1.1 million in funding from the Convergence portfolio.

Jim Kurose, NSF

Speaking about TRIPODS, Jim Kurose, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), said, “Data is accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and innovation. These new TRIPODS projects will help build the theoretical foundations of data science that will enable continued data-driven discovery and breakthroughs across all fields of science and engineering.”

Here quick listing of award titles, principal investigators and institutions for the TRIPODS Phase I projects:

The Convergence portfolio activities reflect NSF’s ongoing efforts to stimulate cross-disciplinary collaboration.

“NSF has supported cross-disciplinary collaboration for decades,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “Convergence is a deeper, more intentional approach to the integration of knowledge, techniques, and expertise from multiple disciplines in order to address the most compelling scientific and societal challenges.”

The 23 newly awarded projects will foster “Convergence to address grand challenges in the context of five of NSF’s “10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments,” a set of cutting-edge research agendas uniquely suited for NSF’s broad portfolio of investments. Those five ideas are: Harnessing the Data Revolution; Navigating the New Arctic; The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution; Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Shaping the Future; and Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype.

The awards in the 2017 Convergence portfolio, arranged according to their associated Big Ideas:

Harnessing the Data Revolution

Work at the Human Technology Frontier

Navigating the New Arctic

The Quantum Leap 

Understanding the Rules of Life

Link to TRIPODS announcement: https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242888&org=NSF&from=news

Link to Convergence announcement: https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=242889&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click

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