Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs: Establishing Spokes to Advance Big Data Applications

Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs: Establishing Spokes to Advance Big Data Applications
National Science Foundation


Relationship to BD Hub and Associated Support

Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation should be from organizations that have past successful experiences engaging in Big Data innovation activities. Proposals must identify the need to be formally connected to a regional BD Hub and reasons why the proposed activities will not be feasible to accomplish independent of the BD Hubs ecosystem. It is expected that a given BD Spoke proposer would have engaged in serious and in-depth discussions with its corresponding BD Hub principals and Steering Committee prior to proceeding with the proposals.

Both Planning and BD Spoke proposals must seek formal approval from the regional BD Hub Steering Committee in the form of a Letter of Collaboration (see Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions).

Missions and Activities

BD Spokes proposals must articulate a clear focus within a specific Big Data topic or application area, while highlighting their Big Data Innovation theme. All BD Spokes must have clearly defined mission statements with goals and corresponding metrics of success. Some templates illustrating the specificity and level of detail for missions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Use a specific set of analytical tools to improve the lead time for predictions of certain critical regional indicators by a given percentage.
  • Given a specific set of high value data sets that were previously siloed and, therefore, usable only within a single research group or institution, make them available to a broader set of groups, or to the public at large, along with appropriate privacy and access control mechanisms.
  • Adapt specified Big Data technologies to automate previously tedious and manual data collection and curation processes for specific types of data in a given field of science.
  • For a specific genre of data, introduce new types of (automated) analytics—which were previously tedious to perform and manual in nature—that can be performed with minimal human intervention. BD Spokes can initiate many different kinds of activities in support of their mission goals.

The BD Spokes role is meant to convene stakeholders to augment and spawn new research efforts as opposed to directly carrying out traditional research. Potential activities for BD Spokes include, but are not limited to:

  • Accelerating the ideation and development of Big Data solutions relevant to its mission by convening stakeholders across sectors (e.g., academic, industry, non-profits, etc.) to partner in results-driven programs and projects;
  • Driving successful pilot programs by acting as a matchmaker between the various academic, industry, and community stakeholders;
  • Engaging stakeholders across the region—including solution providers and end users—to enable dialogue, share best practices, and/or set standards for data access, data formats, metadata, etc.; and
  • Connecting critical data resources to stakeholders that can best utilize them to fulfill the BD Spoke mission.

General Information

Document Type: Grants Notice
Funding Opportunity Number: 16-510
Funding Opportunity Title: Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs: Establishing Spokes to Advance Big Data Applications
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Funding Instrument Type: Grant
Category of Funding Activity: Science and Technology and other Research and Development
Category Explanation:
Expected Number of Awards:
CFDA Number(s): 47.070 — Computer and Information Science and Engineering
47.075 — Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
47.076 — Education and Human Resources
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement: No
Posted Date: Oct 31, 2015
Creation Date: Oct 31, 2015
Original Closing Date for Applications: Feb 25, 2016  
Current Closing Date for Applications: Feb 25, 2016  
Archive Date: Mar 26, 2016
Estimated Total Program Funding: $10,000,000
Award Ceiling:
Award Floor:


Eligible Applicants:
Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Additional Information on Eligibility: *Who May Submit Proposals: Proposals may only be submitted by the following: -Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities. -State and Local Governments: State educational offices or organizations and local school districts. -Universities and Colleges – Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic in

Additional Information

Agency Name: National Science Foundation
Description: In 2012, the Administration announced the National Big Data Research and Development Initiative to address some of the Nation’s most pressing R&amp;D challenges in extracting knowledge and insights from large, complex collections of digital data. To this end, NSF’s Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) initiated the National Network of Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs (BD Hubs) program to foster multi-sector collaborations among academia, industry, and government. Four BD Hubs have been established, one each in the Midwest, Northeast, South, and West regions of the country (see Introduction for regional definitions). The BD Hubs are expected to serve a convening and coordinating role&mdash;helping to bring together a wide range of Big Data stakeholders in order to connect solution seekers with solution providers. This Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs: Establishing Spokes to Advance Big Data Applications (BD Spokes) solicitation extends the BD Hubs network by establishing multi-institutional and multi-sector collaborations (i.e., across academia, industry, government, non-profits, etc.) focused on topics of specific interest to a given region, which build upon the capabilities and strengths of said region. Working in concert with the corresponding regional BD Hub, a BD Spoke would work on a particular topic that requires Big Data approaches and solutions. Each BD Spoke would function similar to a BD Hub&mdash;in that it will take on a convening and coordinating roll as opposed to primarily carrying out research&mdash;but with a narrower and goal-driven scope. The set of activities managed by a BD Spoke would ensure that progress is made toward providing solutions in the chosen topic area, including, for example, gathering important stakeholders via forums, meetings, workshops, etc.; engaging with end users and solution providers via competitions, community challenges, etc.; and forming multi-disciplinary teams to tackle questions no single field can solve alone. The regional BD Hub Steering Committee will provide general guidance to the BD Spoke and assist the BD Spoke in coordinating with the national BD Hub network, other BD Spokes, and the broader innovation ecosystem. The Big Data activities of a BD Spoke will be guided by the following broad themes: <ul> <li>Accelerating progress towards addressing societal grand challenges relevant to regional and national priority areas;</li> <li>Helping automate the Big Data lifecycle; and</li> <li>Enabling access to and increasing use of important and valuable available data assets, also including international data sets, where relevant.</li> </ul> This solicitation covers one aspect of NSF’s overall Big Data R&amp;D portfolio, which includes: research; infrastructure development and provisioning; education and workforce development; and community engagement. Prior to preparing a proposal in response to this or any other Big Data-related solicitation, applicants are strongly encouraged to review the solicitation requirements and consult with cognizant NSF program officers to determine appropriateness of fit. For example, this solicitation funds the formation of BD Spokes, as well as planning grants for future BD Spokes proposals, which will primarily carry out collaboration and partnership building activities, and will require a topical and collaborative linkage with a specific BD Hub. This solicitation is not meant to fund proposals where fundamental research is the primary activity. If research is a substantial portion of the proposed activities, please consult with the cognizant NSF program officer of this solicitation. For example, the NSF Critical Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Science &amp; Engineering (BIGDATA) solicitation may be more relevant for those seeking basic research funding in Foundations and Innovative Applications related to Big Data. Similarly, basic privacy research proposals would be more suited to NSF&rsquo;s Secure And Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program. All proposals to this solicitation must include a letter of collaboration from a BD Hub coordinating institution. Any proposals not including a letter of collaboration from a BD Hub coordinating institution will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.
Link to Additional Information: NSF Publication 16-510
Contact Information: If you have difficulty accessing the full announcement electronically, please contact:

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