Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The BIGDATA program seeks novel approaches in computer science, statistics, computational science, and mathematics leading towards the further development of the interdisciplinary field of data science. The program also seeks innovative applications in domain science, including social and behavioral sciences, education, physical sciences, and engineering, where data science and the availability of big data are creating new opportunities for research and insights not previously possible.

The solicitation invites two categories of proposals:

  • Foundations (BIGDATA: F): those developing or studying fundamental theories, techniques, methodologies, and technologies of broad applicability to big data problems, motivated by specific data challenges and requirements; and
  • Innovative Applications (BIGDATA: IA): those engaged in translational activities that employ new big data techniques, methodologies, and technologies to address and solve problems in specific application domains. Projects in this category must be collaborative, involving researchers from domain disciplines and one or more methodological disciplines, e.g., computer science, statistics, mathematics, simulation and modeling, etc.

Proposals are expected to be well motivated by specific big data problems in one or more science and engineering research domains. All proposals are expected to clearly articulate the big data aspect(s) that motivate the research. Innovative Applications proposals must provide clear examples of the impacts of the big data techniques, technologies and methodologies on applications in one or more domains.

In FY 2018, the BIGDATA program continues the cloud option that was introduced in FY 2017, in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure (see Use of Cloud Resources, at the end of Section II, Program Description).​

Full Proposal Window:    May 7, 2018 - May 14, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Before preparing a proposal in response to this BIGDATA solicitation, applicants are strongly urged to review other related programs and solicitations and contact the respective NSF program officers to identify whether those solicitations are more appropriate. In particular:

  • Proposals that focus exclusively on areas of biology supported by NSF’s Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) should be submitted to programs such as Advances in Biological Informatics that are managed by the BIO Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI;;
  • Proposals specific to geosciences that respond to the community needs and requirements expressed by the geosciences community should consider the EarthCube program for Developing a Community-Driven Data and Knowledge Environment for the Geosciences (;
  • For the development of robust and shared data- or software-centric cyberinfrastructure capabilities, applicants should consider the Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation - Data and Software program(CSSI;;
  • Proposals that focus on research in mathematics or statistics that is not tied to a specific big data problem should be submitted to the appropriate program within NSF’s Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS) Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS); see a list of DMS programs at; and

Eligibility Requirements

An individual may participate as Principal Investigator (PI), co-PI, Senior Personnel, consultant, or any other role in no more than one proposal, or related subaward, submitted in response to this solicitation.

In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, any proposal submitted to this solicitation with this individual listed as a PI, co-PI, senior personnel, consultant or any other role after the first proposal is received at NSF will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.

Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation may not duplicate or be substantially similar to other proposals concurrently under consideration by NSF.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 25 to 33

About 25-33 projects will be funded, subject to availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $24,000,000

Up to $24,000,000 will be invested by NSF in proposals submitted to this solicitation, subject to the availability of funds. Additional cloud credits/resources will be provided by AWS, Google, and Microsoft.

Projects will typically receive NSF funding in the range of $200,000 to a maximum of $500,000 per year, for 3 to 4 years of support. The minimum award size will be $600,000 of total NSF funding, reflecting the minimum expected level of effort for BIGDATA projects. The maximum award size will be $2,000,000 of total NSF funding. BIGDATA projects are expected to be multidisciplinary in nature and include significant student involvement. Any allocation of cloud credits/resources from AWS, Google or Microsoft will be in addition to the NSF funding. If additional cloud providers join the program, resources/credits from those providers will be available under the same terms and conditions as described in this solicitation.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

May 14, 2018