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Funding Opportunities Roundup, August 19

Federal Opportunities

Please notify Paul Montgomery (  of your interest in the following opportunities.

DARPA: Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI)

DARPA has recently published the attached solicitation entitled Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI).  The goal is to “create a suite of new or modified machine learning techniques that produce explainable models that, when combined with effective explanation techniques, enable end users to understand, appropriately trust, and effectively manage the emerging generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems.”  DARPA seeks to address 3 related challenges through this program:  how to produce more explainable models, how to design the explanation interface, and how to understand the psychological requirements for effective explanations.

XAI is structured in the following technical areas, described on pp. 14-15 of the solicitation, and a single proposal may address either but not both:

TA1 – Explainable Learners
TA2 – Psychological Models of Explanation

DARPA anticipates multiple awards, each having a four-year duration.

Note that ORNL is interested in exploring collaboration with UT to pursue this opportunity, so please inform Paul Montgomery if you intend to submit and if you would like to discuss teaming with ORNL.

Abstract (highly encouraged) due: by noon Eastern Standard Time September 1, 2016
Proposal due: by noon Eastern Standard Time on November 1, 2016

NOTE: Individuals interested in any solicitation that limits the number of submissions allowed by UT must submit a notification of interest to See the ORE limited submission policy, View current and past opportunities, and sign up for the listserv.


DARPA: Extreme Optics and Imaging (EXTREME)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to publish a solicitation entitled Extreme Optics and Imaging (EXTREME) later this month and is hosting a Proposers’ Day webinar on 1 Sep, 2-3 pm ET, to explain the program and facilitate teaming. The goal of EXTREME will be to “develop new optical architectures designed in concert with the maturation of practical Engineered Optical Materials (EnMats) (i.e., wide spectral bandwidth, low loss, etc.) to enable new functionality and/or vastly improve Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) characteristics of traditional optical systems.”

Register for the webinar here by 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on August 25


Limited Submission Opportunities

Find information about limited submissions on the Limited Submissions Opportunities page.

NSF Research Traineeship

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new, and potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The NRT program seeks proposals that ensure that graduate students in research-based master’s and doctoral degree programs develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to pursue a range of STEM careers. The NRT program includes two tracks: the Traineeship Track and the Innovations in Graduate Education (IGE) Track.

The NRT Traineeship Track has priority interdisciplinary research areas that change periodically. The priority research areas for the FY2017 competition will be Understanding the Brain (UtB), Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS), and (4) any other interdisciplinary research theme of national priority.

Please see the full RFP for complete information.

This is a limited submission opportunity. The NSF only allows The University of Tennessee – Knoxville to submit four applications: 2 for the Traineeship Track, 2 for the Innovations in Graduate Education Track. Participation includes serving as a lead organization on a non-collaborative proposal or as a lead organization, non-lead organization, or subawardee on a collaborative proposal..

Interested individuals should submit a notification of interest to by 12 NOON 8/26/2016When submitting your Notification of Interest, please send from a UT address and copy your department head and associate dean for researchNotifications of interest received past this deadline will not be considered.

The subject heading of your email should state your name, your department and the name of the limited submission opportunity (ex. PIERCE, Benjamin Franklin / Microbiology /NSF NRT). In your email include:

  • Name and contact information of PI
  • Whether the proposal is for the Traineeship or Innovations in Graduate Education track
  • The Priority Interdisciplinary Research area (UtB, INFEWS, other)
  • Whether it will be a Non-Collaborative or Collaborative (Lead, Non-lead, subawardee) proposal
  • List of potential collaborators
  • Brief (2 -3 paragraphs) explanation of proposed research or program

Only individuals who have e-mailed their intent to propose by 12 NOON 8/26/2016 may be allowed to participate if an internal competition is necessary.

For more information regarding UT limited submission guidelines, please see here. To receive announcements about limited submission opportunities subscribe to the limited submissions listserv here. To view current and past limited submission opportunities please see here.

Notification of Interest to ORE due: 12:00 p.m. August 26, 2016
Application to Agency due: December 9, 2016
Limit on Number of Applications: 4
Estimated Program Funding: $51.6 million total
Anticipated Number of Awards: 28-35
Cost Share: No


NIH Opportunities

Join the UT NIH Research Community by contacting Jennifer Webster ( and start receiving the weekly NIH Digest.

  • NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Research Education Curriculum Development: Data Science Overview for Biomedical Scientists (R25) (RFA-ES-16-011)
  • NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Enhancing Diversity in Biomedical Data Science (R25) (RFA-MD-16-002)
  • NIH BRAIN Initiative: Development and Validation of Novel Tools to Analyze Cell-Specific and Circuit-Specific Processes in the Brain (R01) (RFA-MH-17-220)
  • NIH Research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (R21) (PA-16-386)
  • NIH Research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (R03) (PA-16-387)
  • NIH Research on Autism Spectrum Disorders (R01) (PA-16-388)
  • NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01) (PAR-16-401)
  • NCI Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award to Promote Diversity (K23) (PAR-16-399)
  • NCI Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01) (PAR-16-401)
  • NCI Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award to Promote Diversity (K23) (PAR-16-399)
  • NIAID Asthma and Allergic Diseases Cooperative Research Centers (U19) (RFA-AI-16-065)
  • NIBIB Trailblazer Award for New and Early Stage Investigators (R21) (PAR-16-390)
  • NIMH Career Transition Award for Tenure-Track and Tenured Intramural Investigators (K22) (PAR-16-389)

NSF Opportunities

Please contact Sharon Pound ( regarding your interest in NSF opportunities.

SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (SPRF) NSF 16-590

The Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) offers Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to encourage independence early in the Fellow’s career through supporting his or her research and training goals. The research and training plan of each fellowship must address important scientific questions within the scope of the SBE Directorate and the specific guidelines in this fellowship solicitation. The SPRF program offers two tracks: (I) Fundamental Research in the SBE Sciences (SPRF-FR) and (II) Broadening Participation in the SBE Sciences (SPRF-BP). See the full text of the solicitation for a detailed description of these tracks.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $69,000 for up to 24 months

Full Proposal due: November 14,2016


Integrated Earth Systems (IES) NSF 16-589

The goal of this program is to investigate the interplay among the continental, terrestrial, and interior systems of the planet. The program provides an opportunity for collaborative, multidisciplinary research into the operation, dynamics, and complexity of Earth systems that encompass the core of the Earth through the surface. Innovative projects that explore new research directions beyond those typically considered by core programs of the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR) are encouraged. Investigations may include all or part of the continental, terrestrial and deep Earth at all temporal and spatial scales. IES will support topics that include (but are not limited to) continental systems; terrestrial or surficial Earth systems including physical, chemical, and biotic dimensions; linkages among tectonics, climate, and landscape evolution; the coupling of the Earth’s climate, depositional and biotic systems; and global cycles that involve core and mantle processes.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $3million for up to 5 years

Full Proposal due: November 14, 2016


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