NSF Awards $90 Million in IT Research Grants

NSF Awards $90 Million in IT Research Grants

By William Welsh, Staff Writer

SEPT. 14 -- The National Science Foundation announced Sept. 13 it has selected 210 innovative IT projects to receive grants for fiscal 2000 under the new $90 million federal Information Technology Research initiative.

The awards are to spur fundamental IT research and innovative applications that will augment the nation's knowledge base and strengthen the IT work force, according to the NSF. Included in the initiative are 62 large projects that will average $1 million per year for three to five years, and 148 small projects totaling $500,000 or less for up to three years.

"These projects represent major innovations in information technology rather than routine applications of existing technology," said NSF Director Rita Colwell.

The innovative projects focus on software, scalable information infrastructure, information management, revolutionary computing, human-computer interfaces, advanced computational science, education and work force and social or economic implications of IT.

Funded projects include a University of Illinois project to design middleware to optimize the efficiency and fault-tolerance of network-based computer programs for air-traffic control, smart highways, satellites, remote surgery and electronic commerce.

Projects at Michigan State University and the City University of New York will address the digital divide by identifying factors that influence the effectiveness of IT in classrooms and homes of disadvantaged children.

The 210 projects were chosen from more than 1,400 proposals that exceeded $3.2 billion, according to NSF. The foundation has requested $280 million in the fiscal 2001 budget, which is still being hammered out by Congress.

"The volume and quality of proposals are strong evidence justifying our desire to triple NSF's ITR budget over the next five years," said Ruzena Bajcsy, assistant director of computer and information science and engineering.

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