Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 11/20/2023

National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes: Accelerating Research, Transforming Society, and Growing the American Workforce

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has advanced tremendously and today promises personalized healthcare; enhanced national security; improved transportation; and more effective education, to name just a few benefits. Increased computing power, the availability of large datasets and streaming data, and algorithmic advances in machine learning (ML) have made it possible for AI research and development to create new sectors of the economy and revitalize industries. Continued advancement, enabled by sustained federal investment and channeled toward issues of national importance, holds the potential for further economic impact and quality-of-life improvements.  

The 2023 update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, informed by visioning activities in the scientific community as well as interaction with the public, identifies as its first strategic objective the need to make long-term investments in AI research in areas with the potential for long-term payoffs in AI. AI Institutes represent a cornerstone Federal Government commitment to fostering long-term, fundamental research in AI while also delivering significantly on each of the other eight objectives in that strategy.  The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) identifies AI Institutes as a key component of a bold, sustained federal push to scale and coordinate federal AI R&D funding and to reinforce the foundation of technical leadership in AI.

This program is a multisector effort led by the National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the Simons Foundation (SF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Defense (DOD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E)), Capital One Financial Corporation (Capital One), and Intel Corporation (Intel). 

This program solicitation expands the nationwide network of AI Research Institutes with new funding opportunities over the next two years. In this round, the program invites proposals for institutes that have a principal focus in one of the following themes aimed at transformational advances in a range of economic sectors, and science and engineering fields:

  • Group 1 - Awards anticipated in FY 2024:
    • Theme 1: AI for Astronomical Sciences
  • Group 2 - Awards anticipated in FY 2025:
    • Theme 2: AI for Discovery in Materials Research
    • Theme 3: Strengthening AI

For the institute themes listed in Group 1, NSF anticipates awards to start in FY 2024; and for themes listed in Group 2, NSF anticipates awards to start in FY 2025. Each group has a specific set of due dates and review timeline pertaining only to that group. 

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2. 

Duke Internal Deadline: Aug. 31, 2023

Deadline for Themes listed under Group 1

  • Required Preliminary Proposal: Oct. 31, 2023
  • Full Proposal Deadline Date: Feb. 16, 2024

​​​​​​Deadline for Themes listed under Group 2

  • Required Preliminary Proposal: Jan. 12, 2024 
  • Full Proposal Deadline Date: May 17, 2024
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 laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the U.S. that are directly associated with educational or research activities.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 2

An organization may submit no more than two preliminary proposals to this solicitation as lead institution. This limit is solicitation-wide and applies across the groups and themes. An organization may submit up to two full proposals that correspond to preliminary proposals reviewed under this solicitation. In the event that an organization exceeds these limits, preliminary proposals will be accepted based on earliest date and time of preliminary proposal submission, i.e., the first two preliminary proposals will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review. A full proposal that does not correspond to a preliminary proposal reviewed in this program will be returned without review.

Limit on Number of Proposals for Senior Personnel: 1

An individual may be designated as senior personnel (which includes but is not limited to PI or co-PI) on at most one preliminary proposal, and at most one full proposal to this solicitation. This limit is solicitation-wide and applies across the groups and themes. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, proposals will be accepted based on earliest date and time of submission, i.e., the first compliant preliminary or full proposal will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 5

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

In Theme 1, NSF and the Simons Foundation expect to co-fund up to two National AI Research Institutes. The Simons Foundation intends to provide up to $20 million and NSF intends to provide up to $20 million to support up to two new awards in FY 2024 - FY 2028, subject to the availability of funds. The average total size and duration of a grant will be $4M per year for 5 years, evenly split between NSF and SF.

NSF and partners plan to make one award in theme 2 and two or more awards in Theme 3, subject to the availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $100,000,000

Institute awards will be made for between $16,000,000 and $20,000,000 for four to five years ($4,000,000 per year on average). Proposals outside this range may be returned without review. Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

    • NSF Biosketch of lead PI
    • 1-page Project Summary describing:
      • Overview of the proposed AI Institute vision and rationale based on the Theme of focus.
      • Research objectives or goals (foundational and use-inspired focused) to meet this vision.
      • Broader Impacts to include building the next generation of talent and serving as a nexus point for collaborative efforts 

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal. (Code: ILN)  https://www.grantinterface.com/sl/amZLEO

Instructions for creating an account (if needed) and submitting your materials: https://ctsi.duke.edu/about-myresearchproposal