Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Advancing Cognitive and Physical Capabilities (FW-HTF)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The landscape of jobs and work is changing at unprecedented speed, driven by the development of new technologies that have moved from the factory floor to an expanding array of knowledge and service occupations. These changes promise benefits to the Nation in the creation of new industries and occupations, increased productivity, opportunity for innovation, and sustained global leadership. But there are risks as well. Technological advances scale back the need for some workers, and in some cases, eliminate job sectors, with consequences to displaced workers who must adapt to emerging new technologies and the changing economy through retraining and reskilling.

The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) is one of 10 new and far-sighted Big Ideas for Future Investments announced by NSF in 2016. NSF aims to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the changing landscape of jobs and work by supporting convergent research to: understand and develop the human-technology partnership; design new technologies to augment human performance; illuminate the emerging socio-technological landscape and understand the risks and benefits of new technologies; and foster lifelong and pervasive learning with technology. In order to be nimble and responsive to new opportunities and challenges as they are recognized, focus areas for the FW-HTF solicitation, the centerpiece of the FW-HTF Big Idea, may change from year to year. 

This solicitation focuses on advancing cognitive and physical capabilities in the context of human-technology interactions.  The solicitation will support two themes:  Theme 1 will focus on Foundations for Augmenting Human Cognition and Theme 2 will focus on Embodied Intelligent Cognitive Assistants. In shaping projects responsive to these two themes, PIs consider the importance of understanding, anticipating, and shaping the larger implications at the individual, institutional, corporate, and national levels, including issues arising from the needs or consequences for training and education. In addition, projects should be framed in terms of their focus on the potential contribution toward (a) transforming the frontiers of science and technology for human performance augmentation and workplace skill acquisition; (b) improving both worker quality of life and employer financial metrics; (c) enhancing the economic and social well-being of the country; and (d) addressing societal needs through research on learning and instruction in the context of augmentation. Projects must include a Collaboration Plan which outlines the way in which the project will leverage and integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives. 

Two classes of proposals — differing in scope, duration, and team size — will be considered through this solicitation:

  • Small projects may be requested for a total budget ranging from $750,000-1,500,000 for a period of 3 to 5 years; and 
  • Large projects may be requested for a total budget ranging from $1,500,001-3,000,000 for a period of 3 to 5 years. 

Deadlines:

  • Required Letter of Intent Deadline Date: April 16, 2018

  • Full Proposal Deadline Date: June 4, 2018

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

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.

Amount

$3,000,000

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Interdisciplinary
Medical
Medical - Basic Science
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational
Social Sciences

External Deadline

April 16, 2018