NSF has announced plans for the Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) to become a division within the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) in order to maximize NSF’s science and engineering outcomes and improve operational agility. This planned transition is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2012, pending fulfillment of any statutory or other obligations.
NSF acknowledges the great achievements of OCI over the past years. Cyberinfrastructure has increasingly become a critical component of the R&D ecosystem and is essential in accelerating the pace of discovery and innovation in all fields of inquiry. As a result, the deployment and use of cyberinfrastructure across the entire spectrum of science, engineering, and education continues to grow each year.
Many opportunities exist today to foster scientific discovery and engineering innovation, both of which are pushed by advances in computing, communication and information technologies, and pulled by the expanding complexity, scope, and scale of today’s national and global priorities.
The planned realignment would:
Strengthen the Commitment to Cyberinfrastructure and Multi-disciplinary Collaborations: NFS will strengthen its commitment to creating secure, advanced, and global cyberinfrastructure through which multi-disciplinary collaboration networks can effectively address science and engineering grand challenges in an increasingly computational- and data-intensive world.
Build on Shared Strengths, Interests, and Expertise: This planned integration will enable a more comprehensive approach – combining research, education, and infrastructure – for advancing and integrating cyberinfrastructure across all disciplines. In the long run, the many areas of synergy (e.g.,data, software, advanced computing infrastructure, workforce development, collaboration networks) will be deepened.
Ensure Continuity of Staff, Budget, and Programs: A seamless integration will ensure continuity of existing programs and operations, and will also help identify new opportunities as programs naturally evolve. The new division will continue to provide leadership and long-term sustainability for cross-foundational and cross-institutional partnerships as well as for its research and education activities.
Accelerate Transition to Practice and Benefit Society: Enabling the transition of new concepts and technologies into practice will accelerate the deployment and use of advanced cyberinfrastructure to benefit all areas of science and engineering with potential broader societal impact.
With this planned realignment, it is also expected that many long-term opportunities will be leveraged. NSF will more tightly couple foundational research in computing, communications, and information with advanced cyberinfrastructure; will promote a more comprehensive and balanced portfolio for advancing and integrating cyberinfrastructure across all disciplines; will use cyberinfrastructure to empower and enable knowledge environments and distributed collaboration; and will address long-term sustainability of advanced cyberinfrastructure through cross-foundational and cross-institutional partnerships.
NSF will continue to engage and communicate with stakeholders as the transition progresses. For more information, please visit the NSF site.