OSP FO# 11-097

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)/Directorate for Education & Human Resources (EHR)/Directorate for Engineering (ENG)/Directorate for Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS)/Office of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO)/Transformational and Applied Research Directorate (TAR)

PROGRAM: Academic Research Initiative (ARI)

OBJECTIVES: Through this program, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide funding for leading edge, fundamental research in science and technology that will support the successful detection and interdiction of nuclear and radiological threats. This year’s solicitation topics will encompass two broad areas. First are investigations in new technologies, concepts or approaches to enhance the Global Nuclear Detection Architecture (GNDA) that in turn will lead to improved capabilities for the detection and interdiction of nuclear or radiological threat materials or devices. Second are investigations to aid in the effective response and recovery from nuclear or radiological events at the local, state and Federal level, including investigations in nuclear forensics. Primary objectives of the program include advancing fundamental knowledge in the above areas and developing intellectual capacity in fields relevant to long-term advances in these areas.

In order to effectively build on previous DNDO and NSF-supported research and address the program objectives discussed above, proposed research must fit into one or more of the following three general categories:

1)  Science and Engineering of Novel Detection System Concepts, Architectures and Networks for Challenging Pathways - Proposals in this category should emphasize a study plan to investigate one or more pathways that may be used to illicitly transport nuclear and radiological materials or devices. Specifically, this study plan will detail a step-wise approach to investigating, assessing and recommending novel but practical and cost-effective concepts to detect and interdict threat materials being transported by means of one or more of the following pathways: general aviation (non-commercial aircraft), small maritime craft (under 300 tons), across expansive land border regions between official Ports/Points of Entry, and/or within the interior of the United States via intra and inter-state highways or waterways. Study plans should emphasize interdisciplinary approaches, and include proposed analyses, modeling and experimentation to support and defend the recommended concepts. These studies may include innovative or advanced data processing and analysis techniques, operational modeling, adversary modeling, novel sensor design and applications, and novel systems or integrated approaches to threat detection. Successful approaches should dramatically enhance or support law enforcement and other front-line personnel’s ability to detect, adjudicate and interdict nuclear and radiological threats.

2)  Science and Engineering of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) and Active Interrogation Systems for Detection of Nuclear / Radiological Threats - Proposals under this topic should emphasize either a study plan or directed research to address one or more cargo modalities that require efficient and effective means of high volume, low-dose scanning for nuclear or radiological threats with minimal impact on the flow of commerce. Two modalities of particular interest are air cargo and rail cargo. A study plan will detail a step-wise approach to investigating, assessing and recommending novel but practical and cost-effective concepts to detect and interdict threat materials being transported by means of one or more modality. Study plans should emphasize interdisciplinary approaches, and include proposed analyses, modeling and experimentation to support and defend the recommended concepts. Successful approaches should dramatically enhance or support law enforcement and other front-line personnel’s ability to detect, adjudicate and interdict nuclear and radiological threats when implemented in either primary or secondary scanning roles.

3)  Nuclear/Radiological Response, Recovery and ForensicsProposals under this topic should focus on research specific to the challenges posed by populations and environments directly impacted by nuclear and radiological events, and specifically events related to the detonation of nuclear or radiological devices in urban environments. A broad range of potential research areas can be encompassed by this topic, but should emphasize approaches that can dramatically improve local, state and/or federal capabilities to respond and recover from such events. Studies in response may include comparative analyses of findings from previous experience in response to a nuclear or radiological event, or an assessment of current local/state response planning and preparedness. It may also include applied mathematical approaches to predicting complex system response and effects (psychological, social, economic, infrastructure) from these events, and investigation of education and communication strategies for first responders and the general public to support preparedness and response to these events. Studies in recovery may include comparative analyses of recovery from natural or technological disasters relative to nuclear or radiological attacks, or development of a theory for nuclear/radiological event recovery. It may also include research that can dramatically improve the resiliency and recovery of short- and/or long-term effects, to include social and psychological effects, particularly with emphasis on high risk populations and of critical infrastructure. Multidisciplinary approaches are highly encouraged, to include engineering, science, social, behavioral and economic sciences and planning. Research involving the development of medical diagnostics, treatments or prophylaxis for radiation exposure or medical decontamination is excluded from this topic.

All proposals should emphasize fundamental and early applied research that can potentially support new or improved capabilities to detect and interdict nuclear and radiological threats, and respond to or recover from nuclear or radiological events.

This DNDO-NSF research program strongly encourages PIs to develop education initiatives that train graduate and undergraduate students in this important area. PIs are particularly encouraged to provide experiential opportunities that allow students to develop a deeper knowledge, expertise, and appreciation of this important area (e.g., undergraduate research experiences for individual students or for multiple students through a program like NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Sites). This program seeks to integrate research and education, which is a key strategy NSF supports and promotes.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: An individual researcher may not be named as a participant on more than one proposal submitted to this solicitation. This limitation includes participation as a PI, co-PI, senior researcher, consultant, or any other role for which financial remuneration is requested. ARI award funds may not provide salary support to industry, government laboratories, or international organizations, but may be used, in limited cases, to support travel in support of collaborative work. All students supported with award funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., its territories, or its possessions.

DEADLINES: May 23, 2011

FUNDING INFORMATION: NSF expects to make approximately 7–8 new awards in FY 2011, not to exceed $400,000 annually per award for a maximum duration of five years with a maximum total award size of up to $2 million, inclusive of both direct and indirect costs.

AGENCY CONTACT:
Paul J. Werbos, Lead Program Director
ENG/ECCS
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 525 N
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-8339
Fax: (703) 292-9147
Email: pwerbos@nsf.gov
Web: http://nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11530/nsf11530.htm

REMARKS: Applications must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. Collaborative proposals must be submitted via FastLane. For more information about FastLane, or to register as a FastLane user, please contact India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. B. Effgen (abeffgen@bu.edu)in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at x3-4365. Information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP web site at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. In addition, for investigators interested in submitting proposals via Grants.gov, NSF has published the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide which may be found online at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf. Investigators should contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to their school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through either FastLane or Grants.gov.

Complete program guidelines and application material (NSF 11-530 and NSF GPG 11-1) may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.