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FAQ: Global Centers

The US National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency funded by the US Government to direct scientific discovery and technological innovation. Its FY23 budget was US$9.5 billion and it is the funding source for 25 per cent of basic research in America’s colleges and universities. A strategic partnership with NSF is the most direct way for CSIRO to connect Australian research institutions and the innovation ecosystem to top US talent, world-leading laboratories, facilities and collaborate with industry.

In addition to the NSF in the US and CSIRO in Australia, the other partners in the Global Centers are Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the United Kingdon’s UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

No money will cross borders to facilitate this program. For successful applications, the partner agencies will fund the activities of participants from their own country.

CSIRO is contributing a total of $AUD7 million over 5 years from 2023—24 to 2027-28 to the Global Centers program.

NSF anticipates making awards of up to USD $5 million each, with international funding agencies expected to support roughly comparable effort by their own researchers. The total funding from CSIRO will be at a maximum of AUD $7m over five years for Australian participants in the Global Centers.

At a minimum, Australian participants must partner with at least one U.S. institution. Partnerships involving the U.S., Australia and the UK or Canada, and multiple partners or constituencies are encouraged. Beyond these countries, proposals may also involve partnership with stakeholders in other countries around the globe, provided that researchers from countries other than FY2023 partner countries secure their own sources of funding.

Applicants will need to demonstrate IP arrangements between themselves as part of the application process. It is recognised that US-government funded entities will be subject to significant constraints and IP generated through projects with these entities may be significantly encumbered or (in line with NSF’s expectations) required to be disseminated.

Consortium applications are submitted by the eligible US-based applicant to the NSF. Australia-based applicants should consult the Global Centers Program Solicitation Document.

Successful Australia-based applicants will enter into a grant agreement with CSIRO. The CSIRO grant agreement will specify the terms and conditions of grants. Details on expectations and requirements of recipients are available in the CSIRO Global Centers Guidelines.

The center may be completely virtual, or it may have a physical central location; however, the Global Centers Program will not fund the building of a new physical infrastructure.

The Global Centers program is an NSF-led effort, implemented in partnership with like-minded international funders. NSF will lead the application and selection processes.

CSIRO will define the Australian participation requirements for solicitation, contribute and administer funding to the Australian side of successful proposals and connect the Australian research ecosystem with this global science opportunity. CSIRO will also ensure ongoing post-award management to ensure continued alignment of funded proposals with CSIRO missions.

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