Smart and Connected Communities
Communities in the United States (US) and around the world are entering a new era of transformation in which residents and their surrounding environments are increasingly connected through rapidly-changing intelligent technologies. This transformation offers great promise for improved wellbeing and prosperity but poses significant challenges at the complex intersection of technology and society. The goal of the NSF Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) program solicitation is to accelerate the creation of the scientific and engineering foundations that will enable smart and connected communities to bring about new levels of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, accessibility and inclusivity, and overall quality of life. For the purposes of this solicitation, communities are defined as having geographically-delineated boundaries—such as towns, cities, counties, neighborhoods, community districts, rural areas, and tribal regions—consisting of various populations, with the structure and ability to engage in meaningful ways with proposed research activities.
A “smart and connected community” is, in turn, defined as a community that synergistically integrates intelligent technologies with the natural and built environments, including infrastructure, to improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of those who live, work, learn, or travel within it. The S&CC program encourages researchers to work with community stakeholders to identify and define challenges they are facing, enabling those challenges to motivate use-inspired research questions.
For this solicitation, community stakeholders may include some or all of the following: residents, neighborhood or community groups, nonprofit or philanthropic organizations, businesses, as well as municipal organizations such as libraries, museums, educational institutions, public works departments, and health and social services agencies. The S&CC program supports integrative research that addresses fundamental technological and social science dimensions of smart and connected communities and pilots solutions together with communities. Importantly, the program is interested in projects that consider the sustainability of the research outcomes beyond the life of the project, including the scalability and transferability of the proposed solutions.
This S&CC solicitation will support research projects in the following categories: S&CC Integrative Research Grants (SCC-IRG) Tracks 1 and 2. Awards in this category will support fundamental integrative research that addresses technological and social science dimensions of smart and connected communities and pilots solutions together with communities.
- Track 1 proposals may request budgets ranging between $1,500,001 and $2,500,000, with durations of up to four years.
- Track 2 proposals may request budgets up to $1,500,000, with durations of up to three years.
Note that NSF is working with the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) to support joint US-Japan IRG Track 2 proposals (SCC-IRG JST) that address topics related to recovery from COVID-19 and future resilience planning related to pandemics and disasters, including how the proposed research will enable community adjustment to life in the new normal of a post-COVID-19 society. S&CC Planning Grants (SCC-PG). Awards in this category are for capacity building to prepare project teams to propose future well-developed SCC-IRG proposals. Each of these awards will provide support for a period of one year and may be requested at a level not to exceed $150,000 for the total budget.
S&CC Virtual Organization (SCC-VO). Proposals are being sought to establish a Virtual Organization that will: (i) facilitate and foster interaction and exchanges among S&CC PIs and their teams, including community partners; (ii) enable sharing of artifacts and knowledge generated by S&CC projects with the broader scientific and non-academic communities (e.g., local community stakeholders as described in this solicitation); and (iii) facilitate and foster collaboration and information exchange between S&CC researchers, community stakeholders, and others. No more than one S&CC-VO proposal will be funded. Funding of up to $250,000 per year for up to three years may be requested. S&CC is a cross-directorate program supported by NSF’s Directorates for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Education and Human Resources (EHR), Engineering (ENG), and Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE).