nsfThe National Science Foundation aims to award as much as $10 million in grant funding toward US Ignite gigabit R&D. Funded projects will carry out fundamental research to advance gigabit network protocols and infrastructure and/or develop new applications and prototypes that expand the use of high-speed network infrastructure.

The gigabit R&D project solicitation is part and parcel of US Ignite, a non-profit public-private partnership program launched by NSF and the White House Office of Science Technology Policy in June 2012 to spur U.S. leadership in development and deployment of next-generation gigabit networks and applications, the law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP highlights in a March 21 Lexology blog post.

US Ignite Gigabit R&D
Advancing development and use of software-defined networking (SDN) and cloud computing platforms and services are other key elements of emerging next-gen networks that hold the potential to make substantial and broad positive social impacts, US Ignite elaborates in its Program Solicitation.

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US Ignite brings together commercial broadband providers, communities and research and education networks (RENs) that offer 100 Mb-plus Internet access to those working to find solutions focused on six areas of national priority:

  • Education and workforce;
  • Energy;
  • Health;
  • Public Safety;
  • Transportation; and
  • Advanced manufacturing.

Bridging the ¨Digital Divide¨ while at the same time enhancing U.S. economic competitiveness are the motivations that guide and inform US Ignite. Program managers are aiming to deliver 60 next-gen gigabit broadband applications and establish 200 community test beds by 2017.

One example of the types of R&D projects US Ignite is funding is the South Carolina Connected Vehicle Testbed (SC-CVT). The project entails Clemson University making use of Cohda Wireless’s MKS onboard and roadside platform to conduct a trial of connected vehicle safety technology aimed at meeting mandates that will be coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The latest NSF-US Ignite solicitation seeks to make up to $10 million in capital available to fund projects focusing on one of two areas:

  • Focus Area 1 encourages the development of application ideas and prototypes addressing national priority areas that explore new uses for high speed networks and give rise to Smart and Connected Communities. Focus Area 1 builds on activities explored by previous US Ignite investments.
  • Focus Area 2 funds fundamental research advances in networking technology and protocols that further the capabilities and understanding of gigabit networking infrastructure to meet current and future application demands. Focus Area 2 projects should seek to propose fundamental advances in networking infrastructure that, if successful, would better enable current or future gigabit to multi-gigabit applications.

Looking ahead, NSF expects to make 12-14 three-year awards of $600,000 for projects in Focus Area 1 and up to four of $1 million for three years for Focus Area 2.

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