Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation - SSE & SSI

Software is an integral enabler of computation, experiment and theory and a primary modality for realizing the Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) vision, as described in 5. jsp.

Scientific discovery and

innovation are advancing along fundamentally new pathways opened by development of increasingly sophisticated software.

Software is also directly responsible for increased scientific productivity and significant enhancement of researchers' capabilities.

In order to nurture, accelerate and sustain this critical mode of scientific progress, NSF has established the Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2) program, with the overarching goal of transforming innovations in research and education into sustained software resources that are an integral part of the cyberinfrastructure.

SI2 is a long-term investment focused on catalyzing new thinking, paradigms, and practices in developing and using software to understand natural, human, and engineered systems.

SI2's intent is to foster a pervasive cyberinfrastructure to help researchers address problems of unprecedented scale, complexity, resolution, and accuracy by integrating computation, data, networking, observations and experiments in novel ways.

NSF expects that its SI2 investment will result in robust, reliable, usable and sustainable software infrastructure that is critical to achieving the CIF21 vision and will transform science and engineering while contributing to the education of next generation researchers and creators of future cyberinfrastructure.

Education at all levels will play an important role in integrating such a dynamic cyberinfrastructure into the fabric of how science and engineering is performed.

It is expected that SI2 will generate and nurture the interdisciplinary processes required to support the entire software lifecycle, and will successfully integrate software development and support with innovation and research.

Furthermore, it will result in the development of sustainable software communities that transcend scientific and geographical boundaries.

SI2 envisions vibrant partnerships among academia, government laboratories and industry, including international entities, for the development and stewardship of a sustainable software infrastructure that can enhance productivity and accelerate innovation in science and engineering.

The goal of the SI2 program is to create a software ecosystem that includes all levels of the software stack and scales from individual or small groups of software innovators to large hubs of software excellence.

The program addresses all aspects of cyberinfrastructure, from embedded sensor systems and instruments, to desktops and high-end data and computing systems, to major instruments and facilities.

Furthermore, it recognizes that integrated education activities will play a key role in sustaining the cyberinfrastructure over time and in developing a workforce capable of fully realizing its potential in transforming science and engineering.

The SI2 program includes three classes of awards:
1. Scientific Software Elements (SSE):
SSE awards target small groups that will create and deploy robust software elements for which there is a demonstrated need that will advance one or more significant areas of science and engineering.

2. Scientific Software Integration (SSI):
SSI awards target larger, interdisciplinary teams organized around the development and application of common software infrastructure aimed at solving common research problems.

SSI awards will result in a sustainable community software framework serving a diverse community.

3. Scientific Software Innovation Institutes (S2I2):
S2I2 awards will focus on the establishment of long-term hubs of excellence in software infrastructure and technologies, which will serve a research community of substantial size and disciplinary breadth.

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S2I2 awards will be competed in a separate solicitation (currently Please refer to (i) A Vision and Strategy for Software for Science, Engineering, and Education (NSF 12-113) and (ii) Implementation of NSF Software Vision ( for further information about NSF's vision for software as part of cyberinfrastructure and the programs that support this vision.Prospective PIs should be aware that SI2 is a multi-directorate activity and that they are encouraged to submit proposals for software with broad, interdisciplinary interest.

PIs are encouraged to refer to core program descriptions, Dear Colleague Letters, and recently posted initiatives on directorate and divisional home pages to gain insight as to the priorities for the relevant area(s) of science to which their proposal may be responsive.

For example, the MPS and ENG directorates have particular interest in proposals related to matter by design.

As not all units are participating at the same level, it is strongly recommended that prospective PIs contact a program officer from the list of Cognizant Program Officers in the division(s) closest to the major disciplinary impact of the proposed work to ascertain that the scientific focus and budget of the proposed work are appropriate for this solicitation.Please note that some NSF units have additional specific information about their participation in this program:Biological Sciences (BIO) is primarily interested in SSI proposals and those are the only class of proposal that will be considered via this solicitation.

PIs wishing to submit Scientific Software Elements (SSE) level projects that focus on biological sciences must submit them to ABI ( for the August deadline.CISE is interested in supporting SSE and SSI proposals that advance software infrastructure to sustain progress in CISE research areas and that advance and adapt Software Engineering research to impact the software sustainability needs of other scientific disciplines.Engineering (ENG) is primarily interested in SSI proposals.Geosciences (GEO) is interested in mid-scale (SSI) software development projects that serve groups within the geosciences or that link the geosciences with other fields.

Successful projects will demonstrate deep embeddedness with geoscience end-user groups and involve a strong and interactive collaboration between geo and cyber/computer scientists.

Priority will be given to projects that serve large numbers of end-users in diverse fields.

The ability to build on previous GEO and/or NSF investments in cyberinfrastructure will be considered a strength.

Proposers of GEO-related projects are strongly encouraged to consult with the cognizant GEO Program Officer.Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS):The Division of Materials Research (MPS/DMR) is particularly interested in projects that develop software tools to enable and support research under the Materials Genome Initiative, such as Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF; see NSF 11-089), and under Sustainable Chemistry, Engineering, and Materials (SusChEM; see NSF 12-097).The Chemistry Division (MPS/CHE) will not participate in funding projects in 2013, but will participate again starting in 201 4. The Physics Division (MPS/PHY) will consider proposals that focus on innovative computational tools that enable advances in the division's research areas.The Division of Astronomical Sciences (MPS/AST) will consider proposals to support the development of sustainable software that will enable broad community progress on key questions in astronomy and astrophysics.The Division of Mathematical Sciences (MPS/DMS) would welcome proposals building computational tools that have broad application in mathematical sciences and related areas.MPS supports education and community development in CI, for example, through proposals that include visitor support (particularly for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers), postdoctoral opportunities, or short training courses that increase interactions of domain scientists and software and/or cyberinfrastructure specialists.
Related Programs

Engineering Grants

National Science Foundation

Mathematical and Physical Sciences

National Science Foundation


National Science Foundation

Computer and Information Science and Engineering

National Science Foundation

Biological Sciences

National Science Foundation

Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences

National Science Foundation

Education and Human Resources

National Science Foundation

International Science and Engineering (OISE)

National Science Foundation

Office of Cyberinfrastructure

National Science Foundation

Office of Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

National Science Foundation

Agency: National Science Foundation


Estimated Funding: $22,500,000

Obtain Full Opportunity Text:
NSF Publication 13-525

Additional Information of Eligibility:
*Organization Limit: Proposals may only be submitted by the following: -Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U. S. associated with educational or research activities.

-Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members.

Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions.

- <span style="font-size: 13px; text-align: justify">FFRDCs may not receive funds directly from NSF under this solicitation.</span>

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