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Science Policy & Funding

Let policymakers know why STEM conferences are important!

Anyone who has ever been to a scientific or technical meeting knows the value of attending one: advancing research; learning about the latest in the field; networking with peers and other professionals; finding collaborators, students, and mentors; and participating in scientific discussions, to name just a few of the benefits.

While we know of the many and varied advantages of scientific meetings, it’s time to convince federal policymakers of the same. Since 2012, federal science agency employees and contractors have been subject to significant regulations and burdensome approval processes stipulated by government-wide policies. It has been shown by the Government Accountability Office and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that this has reduced overall conference participation by scientists and researchers at government agencies.

In order to help spotlight this issue, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has launched a campaign to elicit anecdotes that highlight the important role of STEM conferences from participants such as yourself. This is part of a larger community advocacy to loosen conference travel restrictions. Read the rest of this entry »

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NSF Unsolicited Proposals for Quantitative Approaches to Biomedical Big Data (QuBBD)

From the NSF:

Dear Colleagues:

The explosion in the availability of health- and disease-related data from biological, biomedical, behavioral, social, environmental, and clinical studies is creating new opportunities for collaborative research. Innovative methodology for visualization, modeling, and analysis of biomedical big data is imperative to address the challenges posed by complex data structures such as images, networks, and graphs, missing and sparse data, and complex dependence structures and interaction effects.

One of the critical application areas at the interface of the biomedical and data sciences is precision (or personalized) medicine. The goal of precision medicine is to develop a targeted treatment (or prevention) regimen that takes into account unique characteristics of an individual such as genetic makeup, environmental factors, and lifestyle. Achieving the goal of precision medicine will require combining data across multiple formats and developing novel, sophisticated mathematical, statistical, and computational methods that facilitate high-confidence predictions for individuals. Read the rest of this entry »

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SIAM joins call to action for American Innovation Imperative

Philadelphia, PA–SIAM today joined scores of other organizations as well as leaders of American business, industry, higher education, science, and engineering in an urgent call to action for stronger federal policies and investment to drive domestic research and development. Ten CEOs and 252 organizations signed “Innovation: An American Imperative,” a document aimed at federal decision makers and legislators.  It underscores the findings—and warnings—contained in The American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American DreamRead the rest of this entry »

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Updated NSF funding opportunity in Big Data program

From the NSF: 

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 15-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after December 26, 2014. The PAPPG is consistent with, and, implements the new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) (2 CFR § 200). Please be advised that the guidelines contained in NSF 15-1 apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

The full proposal deadline date is May 20, 2015.  Read the rest of this entry »

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DARPA issues solicitation for Fast Lightweight Autonomy program

From DARPA: 

DARPA aims to give small unmanned aerial vehicles advanced perception and autonomy to rapidly search buildings or other cluttered environments without teleoperation.

Military teams patrolling dangerous urban environments overseas and rescue teams responding to disasters such as earthquakes or floods currently rely on remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles to provide a bird’s-eye view of the situation and spot threats that can’t be seen from the ground. But to know what’s going on inside an unstable building or a threatening indoor space often requires physical entry, which can put troops or civilian response teams in danger.

To address these challenges, DARPA issued a Broad Agency Announcement solicitation today for the Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. FLA focuses on creating a new class of algorithms to enable small, unmanned aerial vehicles to quickly navigate a labyrinth of rooms, stairways and corridors or other obstacle-filled environments without a remote pilot. The solicitation is available here.

The program aims to develop and demonstrate autonomous UAVs small enough to fit through an open window and able to fly at speeds up to 20 meters per second (45 miles per hour)—while navigating within complex indoor spaces independent of communication with outside operators or sensors and without reliance on GPS waypoints.

Read full details about the UAVS envisioned for troops in urban missions.

The complete solicitation and other details are here.

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NSF Funding Opportunity: The math and stats of cyberspace and cybersecurity

From the NSF:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Mathematical Sciences encourages the mathematical sciences community to participate in cybersecurity research.  This crucial national priority area is replete with challenges that can be addressed by the mathematical sciences.

Traditionally, mathematics has played a central role in computer security, first in the design of computers and the background for network communications, and then in pioneering the field of modern cryptography, both in terms of designing and implementing cryptographic schemes and also in terms of defeating cryptographic schemes.  Although the area of cryptography is still one of considerable interest and importance, mathematical challenges have arisen in many other areas as well.  Similarly, statistics plays a new, vital role in many aspects of security, for example, in event detection and in determining sources of vulnerabilities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Benchmarks of Realistic Scientific Application Performance of Large-Scale Computing Systems

From the NSF: 

The NSF is interested in supporting activities by the NSF Cyberinfrastructure community in the analysis of existing benchmarks, and in the development of new benchmarks, that measure real-world performance and effectiveness of large-scale computing systems for science and engineering discovery.

NSF welcomes benchmarking proposals in the following general areas: (1) the analysis, evaluation, and assessment of the effectiveness of one or more existing benchmarks used in industry and academe today; (2) the development (including algorithm development and prototype implementation) and experimental use of one or more new benchmarks; or (3) workshops and community engagement events to advance discussion, dissemination, and community building around benchmarks.  Proposals focused in areas 1 and 2 must include some work in area 3.  Industry engagement is encouraged.

Proposals should be submitted via this Program Description NSF 15-7685 on or before February 2, 2015.  The requested starting date should be no earlier than May 1, 2015.

Please view full details on the NSF site here.

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DARPA seeks programs mathematically proven to be highly secure

The goal of the Pentagon’s research arm is to stay ahead of threats and keep abreast of the constantly changing cybersecurity landscape. Hence, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking help in developing programs that are mathematically proven to be extremely secure: research that offers mathematical proof that a program is extraordinarily difficult to hack.

According to the announcement, the agency is looking for “revolutionary advances in science, devices or systems.”

Read the complete announcement. Submissions are due by November 18.

 

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Funding Opportunity: DOD Releases FY 2015 MURI BAA

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – September 24, 2014

On September 22, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the broad agency announcement (BAA) for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) as part of the larger University Research Initiative (URI) aimed at institutions of higher education.  MURIs remain one of the signature DOD research programs for the university community and stand as the benchmark for building a defense-oriented research capability on campus.  DOD’s continuous increase of basic research budgets has slowed recently due to DOD leadership’s concern that these increases have subsequently diminished investment in more applied accounts.  The overall funding amount for FY 2015 MURI awards reflects this shift, though some in Congress have advocated for restoration of proposed cuts to basic research accounts in future DOD policy and spending legislation.

Through the MURI program, DOD seeks to fund basic research bringing together more than one scientific discipline focused on enhancing fundamental knowledge across fields related to national security.  DOD seeks to leverage its investment in basic research and notes that MURI research will have defense as well as commercial applications further downstream.  As in years past, DOD funds MURI research across a wide range of disciplines that vary by branch needs.  This year’s topics include: Read the rest of this entry »

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CNSF statement on Senate introduction of America Competes Act

From CNSF: 

The Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) thanked Chairman Jay Rockefeller and his colleagues on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee for introducing legislation for reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. CNSF states that it is pleased with the proposed five-year budget growth for the National Science Foundation (NSF), which acknowledges the importance of NSF and its dedication to funding research and education across all fields of science, engineering, and mathematics at all education levels.

View the full statement on the CNSF website.

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