Recent Solicitations

All US federal research agencies are required to advertise procurements (purchases, contracts, and grants) for open competition.

Announcements are on opportunity sites (see Research Opportunities) and search agents can be created to alert researchers of announcements. Those announcements are frequent, lengthy, and difficult to keep up with.

We have  gathered some recent announcements that might be of specific interest to Watson College researchers:

Recent solicitations

Other solicitations:

DARPA is investing $2BILLION more in AI research

This has been in the news in recent days. Note that this is $2billion ABOVE their previous investment, so it should open a lot more opportunities.  Note that DARPA does not provide grants for pure blue-sky thinking. All projects should be intended for defense applications.  See the description of their recent initiate hereThis article in the Washington Post also provides some good information. 

DARPA Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction (ASKE) program

This is a very interesting basic research program from DARPA.  As the BAA says, 

This AIE Opportunity is soliciting proposals to develop approaches to build, maintain, and reason over rich models of complex systems (physical, biological, social, engineered, or hybrid systems) by interpreting and exposing scientific knowledge and assumptions in existing model code and documentation, identifying new data and information resources automatically, extracting useful information (causal relations, correlations, context, parameters, etc.) from these sources, integrating this useful information into machine-curated expert models, and executing these models in robust ways. The resulting models should return rich explanations under a variety of different expert queries, and eventually be capable of generating (and testing by linking to structured data sources) machine-generated hypotheses. Applications of interest include automatic verification of published scientific results and real-time monitoring of fragile economic, political, social, and environmental systems undergoing complex events. Efforts may apply and/or advance AI techniques such as natural language processing, knowledge-based reasoning, machine learning, and/or human-machine collaboration. DARPA's overriding interest is in innovative approaches to extracting knowledge from scientific models.

See the link above for further information.

DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) program

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award (YFA) program aims to identify and engage rising stars in junior faculty positions in academia and equivalent positions at non-profit research institutions and expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) and National Security challenges and needs. In particular, this YFA will provide high-impact funding to elite researchers early in their careers to develop innovative new research directions in the context of enabling transformative DoD capabilities. The long-term goal of the program is to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers in the research community who will focus a significant portion of their future careers on DoD and National Security issues. DARPA is particularly interested in identifying outstanding researchers who have previously not been performers on DARPA programs, but the program is open to all qualified applicants with innovative research ideas.

Note that this program is only open to faculty in their first three years of a TT position. The BAA lists 25 topics areas, which are pretty broad, and which cover a lot of areas of expertise that we have in Watson.  As they always say, though, contact with a Program Manager, is strongly encouraged before submitting anything.

An executive summary will be due on September 10, 2018, and a full proposal will be due on November 13.  

NSF Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E) Program

The NSF recently announced a program called "Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering". According to the synopsis,

The CDS&E program welcomes proposals in any area of research supported through the participating divisions that address at least one of the following criteria:
· Promote the creation, development, and application of the next generation of mathematical, computational and statistical theories and tools that are essential for addressing the challenges presented to the scientific and engineering communities by the ever-expanding role of computational modeling and simulation and the explosion and production of digital experimental and observational data.
· Promote and encourage integrated research projects that create, develop and apply novel computational, mathematical and statistical methods, algorithms, software, data curation, analysis, visualization and mining tools to address major, heretofore intractable questions in core science and engineering disciplines, including large-scale simulations and analysis of large and heterogeneous collections of data.
· Encourage adventurous ideas that generate new paradigms and that create and apply novel techniques, generating and utilizing digital data in innovative ways to complement or dramatically enhance traditional computational, experimental, observational, and theoretical tools for scientific discovery and application.
· Encourage ideas at the interface between scientific frameworks, computing capability, measurements and physical systems that enable advances well beyond the expected natural progression of individual activities, including development of science-driven algorithms to address pivotal problems in science and engineering and efficient methods to access, mine, and utilize large data sets.

Note that this is a multi-division program, and you can propose to whatever Division you think is appropriate to your work, in which case the rules for submission (e.g., deadlines) apply for that Division (however, I will note that the NSF has recently been removing deadlines in several Divisions).

ONR Young Investigator Program

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program (YIP) seeks to identify and support academic scientists and engineers who are in their first or second full-time tenure-track or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment, who have received their PhD or equivalent degree on or after 01 January 2011, and who show exceptional promise for doing creative research. The objectives of this program are to attract outstanding faculty members of Institutions of Higher Education (hereafter also called "universities") to the Department of the Navy's Science and Technology (S&T) research program, to support their research, and to encourage their teaching and research careers. Individuals who are holding non-profit equivalent positions are encouraged to apply.

Proposals addressing research areas (as described in the ONR Science and Technology Department section of ONR's website at which are of interest to ONR program officers will be considered. Contact information for each division (a subgroup of an S&T Department) is also listed within the S&T section of the website.

Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to contact the appropriate Program Officer who is the point of contact for a specific technical area to discuss their research ideas. A list of most Program Officers and their contact information can be found at: or at:

Research Interests of AFOSR

This is not a new program, but some modifications were made to the BAA. It is worth taking a fresh look, because AFOSR has been a very good customer of Binghamton in the past, and they are good sponsors to work with. They sponsor open, basic research, and I can help tie a lot of topics to Air Force S&T priorities. This is an open BAA, but if you talk to the program managers, you will find out specific deadlines for individual project funds.

The NSF is Eliminating Submission Deadlines for its Core Engineering Programs

In order to allow Principal Investigators (PIs) more flexibility and to better facilitate interdisciplinary research across engineering disciplines, ENG is removing deadlines for submission of unsolicited proposals to all core programs in CBET, CMMI, ECCS and EEC, effective August 15, 2018. For those unfamiliar with the no-deadline submission process, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and other relevant information will be provided on CBET, CMMI, ECCS and EEC webpages.

See the announcement here.  

NSF Expeditions in Computing

This program provides large grants ($2M/year for five years) to form interdisciplinary teams.  According to the BAA, 

Projects supported by the Expeditions program comprise the following characteristics:

  • Foster research climates that nurture creativity and informed risk-taking, and value complementary research and education contributions such that the whole Expeditions project is greater than the sum of its parts;
  • Draw upon well-integrated, diverse teams of investigators from computer and information science and engineering fields, and from other fields of science and engineering as appropriate for a given project;
  • Stimulate effective knowledge transfer; and
  • Demonstrate experimental systems, support shared experimental facilities (including instruments, platforms and/or testbeds), and/or deploy research cyberinfrastructure to accelerate discovery and learning.

Preliminary proposals are due April 25, 2018, and full proposals are due next January 16 , 2019.

Long Range Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for Navy and Marine Corps Science and Technology (ONR)

This is the long-range open BAA for the Office of Naval Research (ONR), which funds both Navy and Marine Corps science and technology. Here is the direct link to the BAA document, as most recently amended (now to cover fiscal year 2018). Note that ONR does fund basic research, though the BAA categorizes it in the military utility of that research. The individual topics are described in detail starting on page 31 (Appendix 1).  See me if you have trouble finding the relevance of your work to the BAA.

The BAA will be open for 5 years.


DARPA's Defense Sciences Office (DSO) portrays itself as "DARPA's DARPA".  Whereas much of DARPA's research is applied and military-transition oriented, the DSO office entertains much more basic research. Their broad-categories of interest are "complexity engineering, science of design, noosphere, fundamental limits, and new foundations." This new office-wide BAA also has instructions for formatting and submitting abstracts and proposals.

Updated Naval Research Lab (NRL) BAA

The long-term BAA for the Naval Research lab has been updated, and includes many topic areas of relevance to Watson College. The included, among others, high assurance computing, networking, optical sciences, power source materials and sciences, microsensors, molecular biology, flexible substrates, materials performance, high temperature plasmas, photovoltaics, imaging systems, and corrosion processes, mitigation, and control. See the new BAA here.


As with all DARPA offices, the Biological Technologies Office (BTO) publishes an "open" BAA that proposers can reference when submitting a proposal. Here are DARPA/BTO's interests:

  • Discovering and leveraging novel findings from neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, and related disciplines to advance treatment and resilience in neurological health and optimize human performance.
  • Understanding and improving interfaces between the biological and physical world to enable seamless hybrid systems.
  • Developing and leveraging fundamental understanding of the underlying design rules that govern the behavior of biological systems.
  • Developing new tools and capabilities for forward engineering of biological systems, such as cells, tissues, organs, organisms, and complex communities, to both develop new products and functional systems, as well as to gain new insights into underlying mechanisms.
  • Developing new platform technologies that integrate, automate, and miniaturize the collection, processing, and analysis of biological samples.
  • Developing technologies that leverage ecological diversity and/or help support human operations in extreme environments (ocean, desert, space, etc.).
  • Developing and validating new theories and computational models that identify factors and principles underlying collective and interactive behaviors of biological organisms at all scales from individual cells to global ecosystems.
  • Understanding the dynamics of population and ecosystem behavior to preserve equilibrium, provide strategic opportunity, or avoid catastrophe.
  • Developing and leveraging new technologies that can be applied to agricultural ecosystems for production stabilization, by improving quality or reducing losses from pathogens or pests.
  • Developing and leveraging new insights into non-human biology across and between populations of microbes, insects, plants, marine life, and other non-human biologic entities.
  • Developing new technologies and approaches that ensure biosafety, biosecurity, and protection of the bioeconomy.
  • Understanding emerging threats to global food and water supplies and developing countermeasures that could be implemented on regional or global scales.
  • Developing new technologies to treat, prevent, and predict the emergence and spread of infectious diseases that have the potential to cause significant health, economic, and social burden

Army Research Office and Army Research Laboratory Open BAAs

Like the Air Force and the Navy, the Army has distinct offices to fund basic research (the Army Research Office, ARO) and applied (the Army Research Laboratory, ARL). (Technically, ARO is part of ARL, just as AFOSR is part of AFRL). As you would expect, the ARO funds more fundamental research, which has more university participants. This does not mean that ARL research is exclusively for industry, but it does tend to require more experience with specific applications. If you look through the ARO BAA at the above link, you will see descriptions of fundamental science and engineering interests, as well as special programs such as Young Investigator Programs, PECASE, research instrumentation, symposia, and some international projects.  In the ARL BAA you will see what they refer to as "campaigns." Each campaign will integrate fundamental science and engineering projects, and will likely culminate in a demonstrate and collaboration with government researchers.  Both BAAs are open to university researchers. 

These are "open" BAAs, valid until 2022. The Army strongly encourages researchers to make preliminary inquiries, even before a white paper is contemplated.

AFRL Proposal/BAA Guide

For everybody who writes proposals to the Air Force Research Laboratory:  AFRL has issued a revised proposal writing guide (with formats, etc).  See the link above, and the nested links therein, to MS Word docs, etc.


Previously I had posted a notice that the DARPA Microsystems Technology Office was conducting an Industry Day to inform potential performers what the office's focus areas are for the coming year. That solicitation has now been published in the form of a Broad Area Announcement (BAA).

Some specific areas of interest to Watson College include chip-scale sensors, MEMS, energy-efficient computing, heterogeneous integration, low volume microsystems manufacturing, photonic and electronic interconnects, and thermal management. See the BAA for instructions on how to apply.

Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology

The Dept of Homeland Security has a sizable budget to support science and technology in diverse areas of interest. This long-term BAA describes opportunities in border and maritime security (inc. sensors), chemical and biological defense (inc. sensors and countermeasures), cyber security (many areas, including data analytics and CPS), explosives countermeasures, first-responder technologies (inc. data-sharing, and standards development).

This is a five-year BAA that will be open until December 2018.

NEW for April 2017:  DHS has issued another open BAA, open for five years.