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Dear Colleague Letter: NSF Convergence Accelerator Pilot (NSF C-Accel)

Research Concept Outline (two pages) due by April 15, 2019

NSF’s goals for this new endeavor are to: (i) pilot a new NSF capability to accelerate use-inspired convergence research in areas of national importance, and (ii) initiate convergence team-building capacity around exploratory, potentially high-risk proposals in three convergence topics (tracks):


The Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) Big Idea seeks to enable new modes of data-driven discovery through the creation of an Open Knowledge Network (OKN). The overall goal of Track A1 is to enable the creation of a nonproprietary shared knowledge infrastructure. Phase 1 of the Open Knowledge Network track will support building the multidisciplinary and multi-institutional teams needed to identify the development paths for an OKN, with a particular focus on exploiting publicly available U.S. Government and similar public datasets (see, e.g., These teams may address “horizontal” challenges that apply to all domains, addressing challenges such as developing the underlying representation of facts, querying services that perform reasoning tasks with the data, or developing secured access capabilities. Teams may also choose to address “vertical” challenges specific to different topical domains such as geosciences, education, smart health, finance, and manufacturing.


The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) Big Idea supports convergence research to understand and influence the impact of artificial intelligence on workers and work, understand and develop the human-technology partnership, design new technologies to augment human performance, illuminate the emerging socio-technological landscape, understand the risks and benefits of new technologies, and foster lifelong and pervasive learning.


Phase 1 of the AI and Future Jobs track will support team building and creating research and development plans addressing multiple components of connecting workers with jobs of the future, such as predictive artificial intelligence tools, economic and labor market analyses of needed skills for future workplaces, and educational technologies needed for adult learning. Individual projects funded in this track may be focused on particular industries or regions, specific populations such as veterans, or particular workplace types such as small businesses, decentralized manufacturing, medical facilities, or K-12 schools.


Phase 1 of the National Talent Ecosystem track will support team building and creating research and development plans addressing multiple approaches toward re-envisioning the concepts, structures, and technologies needed for employers to support continuous learning for dynamic, digitally-intensive work, and provide access to skilled talent pathways, mentors and authentic workplace experiences. Successful projects will focus on prototyping innovative approaches such as learning environments, platforms, interfaces, or simulations, tools for analysis, assessment, or prediction, and vehicles for recruitment and engagement, with the potential for wider implementation by industry, educational institutions, and other stakeholders engaging in the co-creation of a national talent ecosystem.

Research Concept Outline (two pages) for Phase 1 due by April 15, 2019.

For more information, please see