Request for Proposals — Fall 2022
The Red Hat Collaboratory will be hosted an information and networking event about the proposal process on Friday September 9, 12pm – 1:30pm ET in the Hariri Institute Conference room (MCS157), 111 Cummington Mall, Boston, MA. See the video and information below for information on the MOC Alliance and the Proposal Process.
The Collaboratory seeks to define and demonstrate an open model for large-scale reproducible systems research in achieving a future of secure, reliable, scalable, self-operating, distributed, heterogeneous compute platforms that stretch from edge devices to cloud datacenters. We seek proposals from qualified researchers in three categories:
- Large-scale projects: [total cost < $500,000] These are highly visible projects involving multiple faculty and students, together with a Red Hat business unit.
- Small-scale projects: [< $150,000] These projects explore a more focused element of the Collaboratory goals within a researcher’s area of expertise, and include collaboration with at least one Red Hat engineer.
- Speculative projects: [< $75,000] These are speculative, fundamental research, or Mass Open Cloud Alliance (MOC Alliance) projects designed to initiate a collaboration.
Projects should generally focus on problems of distributed, operating, security, or network systems whose solution shows promise for advancing their field and impacting industry. Proposers are encouraged to review previous awards to get a sense of the types of systems research that the Collaboratory supports, and to note related existing or planned federal proposals. Any software developed by the projects must be available under an open source license and all results should be made publicly available (for example, through publication).
We anticipate that many researchers do not have established connections with Red Hat business units and engineers. PIs are encouraged to contact the Collaboratory team at firstname.lastname@example.org for help in connecting to Red Hat participants.
What can I use for a start date for proposals submitted under this call?
You can use a start date as early as January 1, 2023. Regardless of your start date, all awarded funding must be spent by December 31, 2023 for Speculative and Small proposals, and by December 31, 2024 for Large proposals.
Please note this program does not allow for no-cost extensions. Any unspent funds will revert to the Collaboratory. If more time or additional funding is needed, proposers should submit a new proposal during the next call, anticipated in Fall 2023 (please note in the new proposal that it is a continuation/renewal).
The announcement is after the start of the year – can I charge retroactively?
At this time, the official press release announcing the outcome of the call for proposals is slated for January 17. In the event details cannot be shared with award recipients before that date, shifting costs from as early as January 1, 2023 will be allowed.
What do I submit for the budget?
Please include the budget and justification in the same pdf file as the proposal. The budget justification will not count against the proposal maximum page count. For the budget, all that is needed is the summary page from the budget workbook.
Daniela Demaestri, email@example.com, Financial Manager, Hariri Institute, can review your budget and budget justification if you need another reviewer.
Are there any restrictions on what can be included in the budget? Can staff time be budgeted? Are there restrictions on the students that can be included?
In terms of budget, currently the only restriction on personnel is that anyone included in the budget must be Boston University faculty, student, or staff. While there are no restrictions on what can be proposed in the budget, please keep in mind the importance of aligning with the Collaboratory research program goals. Staff, SAIL consulting, and students at all class levels (undergraduate, masters, PhD) are all allowable.
Do I need to include Red Hat engineer effort/salary in my budget?
Red Hat engineer participation should be included in the “Participants” section of the proposal, but Red Hat engineer effort/salary should not be included in the budget or budget justification.
Do I need to route this for signature through OSP?
Since this is an internal program, PIs do not need to supply a Proposal Summary Form or acquire signatures. We will notify departments of awards and provide awardees with a contract and relevant program details. Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large-scale projects of up to $500k per year to engage a community of researchers and students with a community of Red Hat engineers to attack challenges that are beyond the scope of individual collaborators. They are typically highly visible projects that involve multiple faculty, students, and Red Hat engineers, and require sponsorship from a Red Hat business unit. Although these are research projects and should address systems or system problems that have not yet been built or addressed, there should be a fairly high confidence that the research will produce tangible results within the project period. Projects that address convergence of different research areas are also in scope. Large-scale projects run for a minimum of two years, but may be renewed yearly thereafter.
Small-scale projects of up to $150k per year are limited in scope, typically involving only one or two faculty, students and Red Hat engineers each, the latter of which must commit at least 10% of their time to the project. This category of proposals may include collaborative experiences that cross disciplinary boundaries, coursework development relevant to the Collaboratory, and initial development projects intended to feed into a later large-scale project. Projects run for one year, but may be renewed annually up to two times.
Speculative projects of up to $75k per year involve systems research with a longer time horizon and need not have the pre-committed involvement of a Red Hat engineer. Fundamental systems research, work relevant to the MOC Alliance, and high-risk systems projects are all in scope for this category. Projects run for one year, but may be renewed annually up to two times.
Starting in January of 2023, the Collaboratory also expects to have available up to 3000 square feet of space in the new Center for Data Sciences building for focused collaborations. PIs can apply for temporary access to this space on a rotating basis with other projects using the same collaborative space.
We expect that as the Collaboratory matures it will annually fund two large-scale projects, six small-scale projects and four speculative projects.
All proposal funds are requested per year, including full overhead but excluding any costs directly associated with Red Hat employees. Proposal work period cannot be extended beyond their initial request (i.e., through a No-Cost Extension), and PIs are, instead, recommended to submit promising work during the regular funding cycle for renewed consideration.
Funds are available to Boston University faculty proposing systems research that advances the Collaboratory goals. Applicants may submit multiple proposals that address separate and distinct research activities.
10/3 Submission deadline
1/7 Announcement of awards
All projects must address research of potential relevance to the Collaboratory, and include:
- Project description
- A terse but clear and complete description of the proposed project, together with relevant references to the literature and an explanation of the placement of the proposed work amidst the state of the art.
- An explanation of the potential relevance of the work to the Collaboratory interests and goals.
- An explanation of how the work will proceed as an open project.
- A brief explanation of what the project will deliver and when (e.g., system, talks, demonstrations etc.).
- Any preliminary work completed to suggest the feasibility and significance of the project.
- Any relevant federally funded projects, existing or planned, with a brief description of their overlap with the proposed project.
- Participants: A list of all faculty, students, and engineers proposed for the project, together with their proposed roles and links to their public web/social media content, with as much detail as possible. A project that will recruit as-yet unidentified student participants should name at least one prospective student participant in the proposal. (If the project includes a large number of participants, the proposal can reference a web link to save space.
- Budget: A line-item budget form, together with a brief text description for the relevance of each expenditure. Expenses or dependencies that are not part of the proposed budget (e.g., donations of time or equipment or computational resources from ORCI) should be noted and specified (to the extent possible) in the project description but not in the budget. Please use the “Non-Federal and all Non-Sponsored Accounts” fringe rates and the “Research/On Campus” F&A rate referenced here. F&A should be calculated using TDC (Total Direct Costs). Please use the “Non-Federal Budget Template” for your budget
- Space: (Optional) A spatio-temporal description of the Collaboratory space the group would like to use (if any), together with an explanation for how this space will promote the project. For example, a group could request one conference room, once per week, for group meetings, or a collaboration area, three times per week, to develop and run larger-scale experiments.
- Bibliography: A list of publications and web/social media links relevant to the proposal. (Links supporting open access to code and infrastructure that demonstrates previous relevant successful work should also be included).
Additional requirements differ according to the type of project being proposed:
Project descriptions for these proposals must consist of no more than eight (8) pages of single-spaced, 11-point text and figures (not including bibliography or endorsements). A letter of endorsement and time commitment from the Red Hat business unit(s) sponsoring the project is required.
Project descriptions for these proposals must consist of no more than five (5) pages of single-spaced, 11-point text and figures (not including bibliography), and further include the name of a Red Hat engineer committed to work on the project for at least 10% of their time.
Project descriptions for these proposals must consist of no more than three (3) pages of single-spaced, 11-point text and figures (not including bibliography), and further include a description of the prospective rewards of the project, if successful.
Since this is an internal program, PIs do not need to supply a Proposal Summary Form or acquire signatures. We will notify departments of awards and provide awardees with a contract and relevant program details. Grant Administrators have been made aware of the program. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com.
Submitters should send a pdf file named RHC_proposal_<PI name>.pdf, where <PI name> is the last name of the first PI, (e.g., RHC_proposal_Trachtenberg.pdf) to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they should expect an acknowledgement of receipt. All 2022 proposals must be received by 11:59pm Eastern time on 10/3/2022. Potential PIs can also use this email address at any time to ask questions about this RFP and request feedback on potential proposals.
PIs planning to submit proposals that require Red Hat collaboration (i.e., non speculative projects), should send a short description (e.g., couple of paragraph) of their idea to the Collaboratory team at email@example.com as early as possible. We will work to identify and connect the PI to engineers and/or business units that might be interested in a collaboration.
We strongly recommend reaching out early to the Collaboratory team or Red Hat partners; identifying interested parties and obtaining manager or business unit buy-in (if needed) will take time and integration into the business unit planning process.
Each application will be checked for completeness and conformance with the proposal requirements, and may be rejected without review if it does not meet requirements.
Proposals for under $75k will be reviewed by the administrative team of the Collaboratory for basic fit and technical soundness. At present, this committee consists of: Hugh Brock (Red Hat), Heidi Dempsey (Red Hat), Orran Krieger (BU), and Ari Trachtenberg (BU).
Proposals of $75k / year and up will be evaluated and scored by a committee chosen by the administrative team in consultation with the Collaboratory’s BU and RH Oversight Committee. This technical committee is expected to consist of researchers at Boston University that are not applying for funding through this process and Red Hat technical experts. Evaluation scores, together with any available explanations, will be communicated to applicants upon completion of the review process.
Projects will be reviewed based on feasibility, potential visibility, potential impact, novelty, contribution to diversity in Collaboratory research, and especially relevance to the Collaboratory and its infrastructure, all within the context of the proposed budget.
Funded investigators will present their projects once per year at an annual Principal Investigators (PI) meeting and are encouraged to also present at the annual MOC Alliance meeting (likely in March 2023). In addition to summarizing work done in the previous year, PIs should outline products of the research, including documentation of systems that were developed, talks, demonstrations, papers, follow-on grant proposals, and collaborations with other institutions (e.g., university, industry).
Large-scale proposals are funded for two years and may be renewed annually thereafter. Small-scale and speculative projects are funded for one year and may be renewed annually up to two times.
Renewal proposals should involve largely the same objectives as the original proposals (although these do not need to be repeated in the document itself); changes in approach and natural extensions may also make sense. Renewal proposals will be evaluated based on the productivity and impact of the project to date together with the potential for future results. In general, we expect productive projects to be renewed until completed or reaching their maximum renewal cap.
Please note that proposal work periods cannot be extended (e.g., by means of a No-Cost Extension) after being awarded; instead PIs are encouraged to submit promising work through the regular funding cycle for renewed consideration, with a reference and explanation of any previous funds that were not used.