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.

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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