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National Science Foundation’s FY2020 Campus Cyberinfrastructure Support Program (CC*)-NSF 20-507

Nov 11, 2019, by Dana Brunson
Tags: Frontpage News, Higher Education, Internet2 Member, National Science Foundation, Recent Posts, Regional Networks, Research, Research Support

Initiated in 2012, the National Science Foundation’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) support program has invested in campus-level networking and cyberinfrastructure improvements for science applications and distributed research projects with different categories of support each year. Here is more information regarding this year’s solicitation.

Working Together

Internet2 staff are ready to help you as you prepare your proposals by providing technical consultation regarding network architecture and access to resources, proposal review, and provision of Letters of Collaboration (LoC) using a slightly expanded version of NSF’s suggested LoC template (rather than a draft that you provide using the suggested NSF template). Note that NSF no longer allows Letters of Support (except for those specified in Category #2). 

Because we anticipate accommodating many requests for this solicitation, we can accommodate you best if you provide the following with your request: 

  • the PI’s name, address, and title; 
  • the proposal’s title and designation of proposal category; 
  • rough draft of the proposal description (not the project summary); and
  • a list of Internet2 services or infrastructure the project would use.  

Requests including all of these will be added to our queue. We cannot guarantee letters for requests submitted on or after January 13, 2020.  

If you have any questions regarding Letters of Collaboration or proposal review, please contact Nili Tannenbaum. All technical questions and requests for assistance should be addressed to

We look forward to working with you to support your CC* proposals!

Solicitation Summary

This year’s solicitation includes six categories of support, including: 

  1. Data-Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher (up to $500,000 for up to 2 years).
  2. Regional Connectivity for Small Institutions of Higher Education (up to $800,000 for up to 2 years).
  3. Network Integration and Applied Innovation (ranging from up to $500,000 to up to 1,000,000 depending on solicitation program area).
  4. Campus Computing and the Computing Continuum (up to $400,000 for up to 2 years).
  5. Cyber Team-Research and Education CI-based Regional Facilitation (up to $1,400,000 for up to 3 years).
  6. Planning Grants and CI-Research Alignment (up to $250,000 for up to 2 years with limitations by program area).  

Proposals in categories 1, 3, and 4 are limited to Institutions of Higher Education; categories 2, 5, and 6 will allow proposals from Institutions of Higher Education and Nonprofit or Non-academic institutions. All awards involve a shared deadline of January 21, 2020.  

Proposals for Data-Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher support campus network infrastructure improvements to enable national and global high-performance, end-to-end access to dynamic network services. Areas of focus include campus network upgrades to support data flows, re-architecting campus networks to support large science data, and network connection upgrades prioritizing support for research and education. Proposals must address scientific and engineering projects, their research needs, and application drivers requiring network engineering or upgrades, including project-specific scenarios for data movement, other end-to-end services, quantitative analysis of use cases, expected outcomes, compelling need, and expected benefit to identified science drivers. Proposals must include a Project Plan with goals, milestones and consideration of end-to-end networking performance; documentation of explicit partnerships and collaborations with the campus IT organization and domain scientists, research groups, and educators; network management plan addressing responsibilities, support, and roles; diagram of proposed network upgrades; descriptions of training and support mechanisms; security considerations; operational role for IPv6; and engagement with regional networks. 

Proposals for Regional Connectivity for Small Institutions focus on broadening participation of institutions connected to regional and national Research and Education (R&E) networks, with an emphasis on smaller institutions with network infrastructure challenges and limited resources. This area solicits proposals led by regional and state R&E networks and data network-based consortia, and by institutions coordinating with a regional optical network. Proposals must address scientific R&E needs driving the proposed network improvements and focus on upgrading regional and national connectivity and/or redesign of a campus network to support enhanced academic data flow. They also must include a complete technical solution with equipment specifications; cross-institutional coordination with other small institution; summary table of science drivers and their network requirements; conceptual or functional network diagram of proposed network upgrades; Project Plan addressing goals and milestones, end-to-end network performance considerations, documentation of partnership or collaborations with campus IT staff;  network management plan describing how data flows will be supported;  diagram of proposed network upgrades; and a Letter of Support from leadership of each participating campus documenting sustainability and commitment.

The area of Network Integration and Applied Innovation focuses on support of end-to-end network CI by integrating existing and new technologies and applied innovation. These projects should support development and integration of innovative networking capabilities and network-related software development, rather than network infrastructure equipment. Activities may include integration of networking protocols and technologies with science application layer processes and workflows, transition of successful research prototypes in SDN and wireless networking technologies to distributed scientific environments and campus infrastructure, application of networking hardware and software developed on NSFFutureCloud facilities, networking solutions exploiting virtualization, distributed computing, and SDI; innovative research prototypes integrating programmable packet processing components into campus infrastructure, and network engineering support through the creation of dynamically constructed network services. Proposals will be encouraged to perform experimental deployment, protocol testing, and evaluation using FABRIC extensive network elements.  Proposals must include identification of scientific research projects and description of how the proposed network integration activities will support these, documentation of explicit partnerships or collaborations with campus IT staff, and a Project Plan addressing goals and milestones.

Proposals submitted to the Campus Computing and the Computing Continuum category support coordinated approaches to new and shared campus computing resources involving capacity computing in campus clusters. Proposals must address campus-wide computing needs, including computing scenarios for scientific and engineering projects; related features, capabilities and software platforms; and scientific computing codes expected to run on the resources. Proposals must include expected outcomes; compelling need for the proposed resources while acknowledging existing assets; summary table of science drivers and their computing environments; platform architecture specifying cluster components; an open source-based approach to cluster monitoring, measurement, management, and instrumentation; sustainability plan confirming institutional commitment; High-Performance Network Connectivity and Specification description describing intra- and inter-campus network connectivity (including a diagram illustrating connected topology, and PerfSonar performance measurement capability); and a description of the cluster as a Shared Resource Intra-campus and Inter-campus, including description of this shared approach across science drivers and how it will be accessed by external research groups. Proposals must commit at least 20% shared time on the cluster and describe plans to make it available as a shared resource beyond the campus; describe plans for on-demand access to additional external computing resources (including Open Science Grid); and include the shared platform’s track record, current scientific computing production capability, and scaling properties. Proposals should also include a Letter of Collaboration from the selected platform and plans for tracking and reporting on the extramural usage target of at least 20%. Proposals also should document campus IT and research leadership commitment to operations and maintenance, and include campus computing solutions that integrate cloud services.

The Cyber Team-Research and Education CI-based Regional Facilitation category supports facilitation of multi-institutional campus cluster, cloud, and distributed computing resources for scientific collaborations. Proposals should describe multi-institutional science-driven needs and impact of a shared Cyber team by describing planned engagement activities in specific and multiple scientific areas among different campuses, plans to leverage and manage existing campus CI and broaden participation, particularly among under-resourced institutions.  Proposals should describe their organizational and management structures, approach to accepting input and requests from regional campuses, and prioritizing and responding to their CI expertise needs. Proposals should include a Project Plan with goals and milestones, and plans for evaluate Cyber Team performance in terms of service quantity, quality, and impact. NSF does not expect this category to be included in the next CC* solicitation.

This category also includes Planning Grants and CI-Research Alignment proposal to support institutions requiring resources and time to coordinate and develop approaches to CC*-related activities for categories 1-4, including definition of goals and coordinated activities to meet them. This area also supports CI-Research Alignment (CRIA) activities to foster new collaborations and address interdisciplinary topics (including implementation of new network strategies, collaborative technologies, training, broadening participation, and community standards for data and meta-data.  

Proposals in all categories (except for those addressing CI-Research Alignment) must include Campus CI plans (limited to 5 pages).  Proposals submitted in the Planning Grant Category (#6) may include multi-institutional or regional Campus CI plans. Proposals without Campus CI plans will be triaged and not included in formal review.