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This page was updated on 15 June 2022

  1. Submission dates to CSIRO and NSF have been extended.
  2. The Program Guidelines have been amended.
  3. The CSIRO application content and procedure has been amended.
  4. The CSIRO-NSF Program Budget template has been amended.

CSIRO has formed a long-term strategic partnership with the United States' National Science Foundation (NSF) aimed at accelerating joint research in areas of mutual priority.

The purpose of this partnership is to further critical research in areas identified as priorities by both our governments, including in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), low emission technologies (LETs) and sustainability. The partnership aims to establish and deepen collaborations between Australian and US researchers; assist in the identification, commercialisation and uptake of new technologies; and further societal and economic impact as a result of the research and technology adoption.

Under this strategic partnership, CSIRO and NSF will support several initiatives, open to organisations from both nations, and targeted at supporting new, bi-lateral projects and partnerships.

One of these initiatives is the Collaboration Opportunities in Responsible and Equitable AIThis initiative will fund joint projects involving Australian and US based researchers which aim to:

  • Accelerate ground-breaking research in responsible and equitable AI.
  • Undertake AI research that will support the progress of one or more of CSIRO’s Missions.
  • Strengthen bilateral partnerships and collaboration between Australian and US research teams and organisations.
  • Reduce some of the barriers currently faced by researchers in working internationally by supporting focused, collaborative projects.

Under the program, for successful projects, CSIRO will fund the Australian team’s research and the NSF will fund the collaborating US team’s research.

CSIRO and the NSF are pleased to offer the Program and now welcome applications.

Focus themes: Responsible AI and Equitable AI

The Program is targeted at supporting bilateral research collaborations that have the potential to deliver transformative findings in the area of Responsible AI and Equitable AI.

Under the Program, funded projects should extend on current ethical and responsible use and development of AI research, to jointly identify new pathways to improve our understanding, deployment or development of solutions to support organisations in responsibly developing and deploying AI.

Responsible AI concerns the ethical development of AI to benefit individuals, society and the environment, including adherence to AI Ethical Principles such as those defined by the Australian AI Ethics Framework and US National AI Research and Development Strategic Plan: 2019 update. It should be interpreted broadly to include both the algorithmic aspects of ethical principles such as fairness, accountability and transparency in machine learning, as well as the systems and software engineering aspects of responsibility in AI systems.

Equitable AI refers to the involvement of those potentially affected by AI systems in the creation of those systems, sensitivity in the design of AI systems to varying cultural norms and expectations, and efforts to increase the number of people from disadvantaged and under-represented groups in AI research and development.

Funding available

The budget for the Australian researchers participating in larger projects with US based research organisations has an upper limit of $850,000 AUD total, over three years, most likely for projects that are extending existing Australian-US collaborations.

Proposals for smaller projects, likely those forming new collaborations between Australian and US teams, should have Australian research team budgets with an upper limit of $425,000 AUD total over three years.

Where more than one organisation is involved in the application from the Australian side, funding will be awarded through the lead Australian organisation, who will be held accountable to CSIRO for the management of the funded activities to ensure effectiveness, value for money, and compliance.

Australian team budgets should be prepared and submitted to both CSIRO and NSF  using the CSIRO-NSF Program revised budget template. XLSX (55 KB)

It is expected that activities will be completed within three years from the time of the signing the Grant Agreement.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for CSIRO funding, Australian applicants:

  • Must be an eligible organisation for support through this Program, which is limited to Australian universities and research institutes (see revised program guidelines PDF (321 KB) for definitions of eligible organisations).
  • Must have identified at least one US-based partner organisation to jointly develop and deliver the research project, which meets NSF eligibility guidelines for support through this initiative. Read more about NSF’s eligibility guidelines.
  • Demonstrate as part of their proposal how their project aligns to one or more CSIRO Missions.
  • Activities included in the application have not already received funding from other Australian government programs (including state, territory and local government grant or funding programs).

Funding agreement

Interested organisations should review the DRAFT Program Funding Agreement PDF (212 KB) before commencing an application for funding.

How to apply

Follow the application process as per the revised program guidelines PDF (321 KB) and include the following mandatory document templates:

  1. Research Team revised Budget XLSX (55 KB)
  2. Contributing Research Organisation Letter of Support DOCX (44 KB)

Program deadlines

Proposals must be submitted to CSIRO to confirm CSIRO funding eligibility and Mission alignment by 5pm AEST 1 September 2022 by email via aiapplications@csiro.au

Proposals deemed eligible by CSIRO must be submitted to NSF by 5pm (in the US submitter’s local time) 17 October, 2022 after which reviewing will begin. (Note that this is a firm deadline for this opportunity even though the general NSF CISE Core program has no deadlines for the Small category.)

Applicant questions and enquiries

Please submit any questions or comments to aiapplications@csiro.au

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