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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 AI. This 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.

Program deadlines

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

The same proposal document, deemed eligible by CSIRO, must then 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.)

Proposal submission details

This is a United States/Australian joint grant proposal submission with one single proposal document utilised under the NSF guidelines.

It is important to note the following:

  • Only users with a Principal Investigator (PI) role can prepare new proposals.
  • Proposers write their proposal according to the NSF guidelines and enter it into the grants.gov or research.gov platform (refer Guideline 6 in the Dear Colleague Letter).
  • Once completed, the proposal is then saved and downloaded in the form of a document and emailed to CSIRO at aiapplications@csiro.au by 1st September 2022.
  • Note - CSIRO applicants should also create an O2D entry.
  • Proposal content must include:
  1. Completed Cover Page (with finalized title and U.S. Principal Investigators (PIs) and Co – Principal Investigators).
  2. Project Summary (1 page).
  3. Project Description (15 pages).
  4. References Cited.
  5. List of Principal Investigators, Co-Principal Investigators and all Senior Personnel.
  6. Australian team budget (and justification) which should be prepared and submitted using the CSIRO-NSF Budget template XLSX (55 KB).
  • The proposal should remain in the NSF platform - but not be submitted – until CSIRO confirms alignment with CSIRO Missions. CSIRO has until Sept 21 to notify proposers as to whether their proposal is Mission-aligned or not.
  • Only proposers who have received the letter from CSIRO saying their proposal is mission-aligned may proceed with submitting their proposal to NSF by the 17th October 2022 deadline.
  • Note that it must be the US partner that submits the proposal in the research.gov or grants.gov platform.
  • Further guidance is available via the NSF Dear Colleague letter and the Program guidelines PDF (212 KB).

FAQ

For more information please refer to FAQs. XLSX (21 KB)

Focus themes: Responsible AI and Equitable AI

This 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

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.

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 Budget template

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 program guidelines PDF 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).

Applicant questions and enquiries

Please submit any questions or comments to aiapplications@csiro.au or refer to the FAQs. XLSX (21 KB)

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