The complexities of brain and behavior pose fundamental questions in many areas of science and engineering, drawing intense interest across a broad spectrum of disciplinary perspectives while eluding explanation by any one of them. Rapid advances within and across disciplines are leading to an increasingly interconnected fabric of theories, models, empirical methods and findings, and educational approaches, opening new opportunities to understand complex aspects of neural and cognitive systems through integrative multidisciplinary approaches. This program calls for innovative, integrative, boundary-crossing proposals that can best capture those opportunities. NSF seeks proposals that are bold, risky, and transcend the perspectives and approaches typical of single-discipline research efforts. This cross-directorate program is one element of NSF’s broader effort directed at Understanding the Brain, a multi-year activity that includes NSF’s participation in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (http://www.nsf.gov/brain/). NSF envisions a connected portfolio of transformative, integrative projects that create synergistic links across investigators and communities, yielding novel ways of tackling the challenges of understanding the brain in action and in context. Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems is open to proposals to advance the foundations of one or more of the following integrative research themes, described within the solicitation:
- Neuroengineering and Brain-Inspired Concepts and Designs
- Individuality and Variation
- Cognitive and Neural Processes in Realistic, Complex Environments
- Data-Intensive Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.
Within each theme, advances in theory and methods, technological innovations, educational approaches, research infrastructure, and workforce development are all of significant interest. Proposals must be consistent with the missions of the participating directorates. High-risk, high-payoff approaches are expected. Proposals must directly address risks and how they will be managed, potentially transformative payoffs, and the relationship between the risks and rewards at stake. During FY17 the program will consider two classes of proposals.INTEGRATIVE FOUNDATIONS awards (CISE, EHR, ENG, SBE) will support projects that develop foundational advances that are deeply connected to a broad scope of important research questions in neural and cognitive systems, and have significant potential for transformative advances in one or more of the integrative thematic areas. CORE+ SUPPLEMENTS (CISE, EHR, ENG) will provide additional support to new or existing projects in the participating directorates, to enable additional activities that will connect those projects to significant new integrative opportunities in neural and cognitive systems.See full listing