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Cooperative Agreements to USA IHEs and Nonprofits for
Research to Advance the Field of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

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LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

05/13/22 5:00 PM Submitter's Local Time


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Cooperative agreements to USA institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations, including professional societies, research labs, observatories, and museums to support research to advance the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Applicants must submit a preliminary application prior to submitting a full proposal.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has advanced tremendously and today promises personalized healthcare; enhanced national security; improved transportation; and more effective education, to name just a few benefits. Increased computing power, the availability of large datasets and streaming data, and algorithmic advances in machine learning (ML) have made it possible for AI research and development to create new sectors of the economy and revitalize industries. Continued advancement, enabled by sustained federal investment and channeled toward issues of national importance, holds the potential for further economic impact and quality-of-life improvements.

The 2019 update to the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, informed by visioning activities in the scientific community as well as interaction with the public, identifies as its first strategic objective the need to make long-term investments in AI research in areas with the potential for long-term payoffs in AI. The National AI Research Institutes program enables longer-term research and U.S. leadership in AI through the creation of AI Research Institutes.

This program solicitation expands upon the nationwide network established by the first 18 AI Research Institutes to pursue transformational advances in a range of economic sectors, and science and engineering fields. In this round, the program invites proposals for institutes that have a principal focus in one of the following themes, detailed in the Program Description:

  • Theme 1: Intelligent Agents for Next-Generation Cybersecurity
  • Theme 2: Neural and Cognitive Foundations of Artificial Intelligence
  • Theme 3:AI for Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry
  • Theme 4: AI for Decision making
  • Theme 5: Trustworthy AI
  • Theme 6:AI-Augmented Learning to Expand Education Opportunities and Improve Outcomes

For a full Program Description, seeĀ

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 199062

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Estimated Number of Awards: 7 - NSF plans to make approximately one Institute award in each of themes 1-5, and one award to each of the two tracks listed in theme 6 as described below.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Award Ceiling: $20,000,000

Institute awards will be made for between $16,000,000 and $20,000,000 ($4,000,000 per year on average).

Term of Contract:

Institute awards will be made for four to five years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:
- Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
- 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.

More on Eligibility:
Eligible applicants for the NIFA AI Institutes theme include: (1) State agricultural experiment stations; (2) Colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); (3) University research foundations; (4) Other research institutions and organizations; (5) Federal agencies, (6) National laboratories; (7) Private organizations or corporations; (8) Individuals who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents; and (9) any group consisting of two or more entities identified in (1) through (8). Eligible institutions do not include foreign and international organizations.

Indirect Cost (F&A) Limitations:

Pre-proposal Conference:

National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes Program Webinar
November 16, 2021 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM - Register here:

Pre-Application Information:

- Other Due Date: Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) Friday, January 14, 2022 (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time)
- Full Proposal Deadline(s) Friday, May 13, 2022 (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time)

Preliminary Proposals (required): Preliminary proposals are required and must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system, even if full proposals will be submitted via

Program Timeline for this AI Research Institutes competition:
NSF provides the timeline below for planning purposes for proposers to this program. While NSF will make every attempt to adhere to this timeline, circumstances beyond NSF's control may affect the specific dates/activities outlined.
- Webinar announcement: October 22, 2021
- Preliminary proposals due: January 14, 2022
- Results of preliminary proposal review to teams: Mid-Feb 2022
- Full proposals due: May 13, 2022
- Reverse Site Visit (RSV) notifications and scheduling: Oct 10-28 2022 (earlier for Theme 6, Track B)
- RSVs conducted: Nov 28-Dec 22, 2022 (earlier for Theme 6, Track B)
- Declined proposers informed, and recommended awards announced: Estimated April 2023 (earlier for Theme 6, Track B)
- Anticipated start date of awards: June 1, 2023 (January 1, 2023 for Theme 6, Track B)

Preliminary proposals are required and must be submitted via the NSF FastLane system, even if full proposals will be submitted via

Full Proposals submitted via FastLane: NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) guidelines apply. The complete text of the PAPPG is available electronically on the NSF website at:

Full Proposals submitted via NSF Application Guide: A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at:

Program Solicitation:

View this opportunity on

Webinar information:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to:
AI Research Institutes Program Team, telephone: (703) 292-5111, email:

For questions related to the use of FastLane or, contact:
FastLane and Help Desk: 1-800-673-6188
FastLane Help Desk e-mail: Help Desk e-mail:

For questions relating to contact: Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail:

For general inquiries regarding this program (not theme specific) please email the program leads at:

Program Leads (Reachable at the above address)
James Donlon, CISE/IIS,
Rebecca Hwa, CISE/IIS,

For inquiries related to the responsiveness of your ideas for the Themes listed in this solicitation, please contact the program officers listed below. You are advised to address theme-specific questions to all program contacts listed for that theme. See

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:

NSF 22-502

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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