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Dear Colleague Letter: Workshop to Inform Development of the NSF Research on Research Security Program (RRSP)
June 29, 2023
Since World War II, the U.S. has been a global leader in science and technology (S&T) research and innovation. The U.S. S&T research model—and that of like-minded allies and partners—emphasizes benefits that accrue to all in an open, transparent research ecosystem. This is possible because most participants share a commitment to the fundamental principles and values essential to the conduct of research. Unfortunately, these principles and values are not shared by some foreign governments which choose to interfere with or inappropriately benefit from U.S. S&T research. These governments do so by using a systems-wide approach to obtain pre-publication data and results, methods and knowhow, intellectual property, and talent. Such violations threaten the security of the U.S. S&T research ecosystem.
To more fully understand the nature, scope, challenges, and potential of research security across all research, particularly in the context of National Security Presidential Memorandum-33 (NSPM-33) and associated supporting documents, NSF is developing a new Research on Research Security Program (RRSP). With this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), NSF is seeking proposals for a workshop1 that will bring together researchers who conduct or have an interest in conducting research in this domain, with the intent of raising awareness of the RRSP and developing a community of practice that includes institutions of higher education, for-profit organizations, governmental entities, and non-profit organizations to conduct this highly interdisciplinary research.
Proposals submitted in response to this DCL will be accepted until September 25, 2023 (5 p.m. submitter’s local time). The award is expected to be made by December 2023, with conference findings synthesized by June 2024.
Areas of Interest
With this DCL, NSF seeks proposals to organize and facilitate a single workshop that will bring together diverse perspectives and stakeholders from all sectors of the research community, particularly those already engaged in research security-related research, to identify:
- Themes and topics that should be studied in the RRSP (see Potential Themes/Topics);
- Special considerations for and/or barriers to conducting research on the themes and topics, especially access to relevant data and associated statutory or regulatory restrictions; and
- Approaches that might be used to study the themes and topics systematically, qualitatively, and/or quantitatively.
These discussions will help build new and strengthen existing relationships that will lead to the collaborations necessary for the RRSP to be successful. Findings from the conference will be shared publicly in the form of an open-source report or other comparable communication mechanisms.
The workshop should engage a diverse array of national and international experts, from an equally diverse array of public and private organizations, in the following domains: social, behavioral, and economic sciences; physical, natural and life sciences; mathematical sciences; engineering, computer science, data science & cybersecurity; international relations; and law enforcement and intelligence. NSF supports Broadening Participation efforts by soliciting and encouraging proposals from the full spectrum of diverse talent that society has to offer. Workshops may be virtual or in-person or contain elements of both. However, to maximize participation at in-person workshops, NSF encourages a virtual option for those who cannot or wish not to travel.