Sunday, February 07, 2010

Funding Details for the Third (Azure) Cloud-Computing Grant to the National Science Foundation (NSF)

The National Science Foundation announced on 2/4/2010 that the directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) and Office of CyberInfrastructure (OCI):

… [W]ill offer funding for researchers to explore the use of the Microsoft Windows Azure platform via three mechanisms: supplemental grants to existing awards, EAGER grants, and a forthcoming new solicitation. All of these mechanisms will be used to support any kind of computing research and software development for any type of application associated with the Windows Azure platform, perhaps in combination with the use of other platforms.

Researchers may immediately submit supplemental proposals to any existing NSF award to the CCF division or to OCI via the Grant Proposal Guide, prefixing the title with "CiC: Supplement: ". Supplemental proposals may request extension of an existing NSF award for an additional year. Supplemental proposals should be submitted no later than April 15, 2010 to ensure consideration in the current fiscal year. PIs are cautioned that the existing award must still be open at the time the supplement is awarded (not submitted); awards that have concluded before the supplement is awarded will not be reopened.

Researchers may also immediately submit EAGER proposals to the CCF division or to OCI via the Grant Proposal Guide and prefix the title with "CiC: EAGER: ". Please note that an EAGER submission should satisfy the EAGER submission guidelines as described in Section II.D.2 of the Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) and is limited to a total budget of $300K for a maximum of two years. Such proposals should be submitted no later than April 15, 2010 to ensure consideration in the current fiscal year.

CISE and OCI (and possibly other NSF Directorates and Offices) also anticipate releasing a new solicitation on "Computing in the Cloud (CiC)" to support larger, longer duration projects that will exploit the Windows Azure platform. We are hopeful that this solicitation will be released shortly and posted on NSF’s web site. PIs will have 90 days to respond.

We anticipate the release of an FAQ web page shortly, with additional details on the Windows Azure platform and the various funding mechanisms. …

Microsoft’s cloud-computing grant, which has achieved widespread publicity (e.g., John Markoff’s U.S. Scientists Given Access to Cloud Computing article of 2/4/2010 for the NY Times’ Science section), follows these industry offerings to the NSF: 

  1. “A set of cloud-based software services supported by Google and IBM” (National Science Foundation Awards Millions to Fourteen Universities for Cloud Computing Research, 4/23/2009)
  2. “Access to another cluster supported by HP, Intel, and Yahoo housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.” (HP, Intel and Yahoo! Create Global Cloud Computing Research Test Bed, 7/29/2009)

Microsoft announced the NSF grants in a Microsoft and the National Science Foundation Enable Research in the Cloud press release of 2/4/2010 and added a feature story of the same date, Democratizing Research: How “Client Plus Cloud” Computing Can Amplify What’s Possible for Scientists. Dan Reed posted Bringing the Power of the Cloud to the Research Community and Innovation Via Client Plus Cloud: Microsoft-NSF Partnership on 2/4/2010.

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