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Designing Accountable Software Systems (DASS)
Society is becoming highly dependent on software applications, systems, and platforms, as functionality in all aspects of business, government, and everyday life is increasingly implemented through software. At the same time, there has been an increase in the laws and regulations whose implementation and effectiveness depend on software. Whereas organizations and individuals throughout our history have been expected to comply with laws and regulations, now software systems also must be accountable and comply with them. Software systems need to be designed with legal and regulatory compliance in mind, and should be adaptable to changing laws and regulations, which themselves evolve with changing citizen expectations and social norms.
The Designing Accountable Software Systems (DASS) program solicits foundational research aimed towards a deeper understanding and formalization of the bi-directional relationship between software systems and the complex social and legal contexts within which software systems must be designed and operate. The DASS program aims to bring researchers in computer and information science and engineering together with researchers in law and social, behavioral, and economic sciences to jointly develop rigorous and reproducible methodologies for understanding the drivers of social goals for software and for designing, implementing, and validating accountable software systems. DASS will support well-conceived collaborations between these two groups of researchers. The first group consists of researchers in software design, which, for the purposes of this solicitation, is broadly defined as formal methods, programming languages, software engineering, requirements engineering, and human-centered computing. The second group consists of researchers in law and the social, behavioral, and economic sciences, who study social systems and networks, culture, social norms and beliefs, rules, canons, precedents, legal code, and routine procedures that govern the conduct of people, organizations, and countries.
Proposals for this program must create general advances in both (1) understanding the social, behavioral, economic and/or legal context of accountable software design; and (2) improving the methodology for designing accountable software beyond specific use cases. Each proposal must have at least one Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI with expertise in software design and at least one PI or co-PI with expertise in law or a social, behavioral, or economic science. All proposals must contain a detailed collaboration plan that leverages the complementary expertise of the PIs/co-PIs in the designated areas and describes the mechanisms for continuous bi-directional collaboration. Projects are limited to $750,000 in total budget, with durations of up to three years.
Full Proposal Deadline Date: Jan. 27, 2023
Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
- 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.
By the submission deadline, any PI, co-PI, or other senior project personnel must hold either:
- a tenured or tenure-track position, or
- a primary, full-time, paid appointment in a research or teaching position
at a U.S.-based campus of an organization eligible to submit to this solicitation (see above), with exceptions granted for family or medical leave, as determined by the submitting organization. Individuals with primary appointments at for-profit non-academic organizations or at overseas branch campuses of U.S. institutions of higher education are not eligible.
All projects must have at least one PI or co-PI with expertise in software design and at least one PI or co-PI with expertise in law or the social, behavior or economic sciences.
Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or co-PI: 1
These eligibility constraints will be strictly enforced in order to treat everyone fairly and consistently. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, only the first proposal received before the deadline will be considered, and the other proposals will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.
Estimated Number of Awards: 10
Anticipated Funding Amount: $7,500,000
Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.