National Robotics Initiative - New Multi-agency Program of NSF, NASA, NIH, and USDA

National Robotics Initiative - New Multi-agency Program of NSF, NASA, NIH, and USDA

Jun 27, 2011

To accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people, several federal agencies have jointly announced the National Robotics Initiative.  

Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of and in a symbiotic relationship with human partners is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. It will address the entire life cycle from fundamental research and development to industry  manufacturing and deployment. 

Methods for the establishment and infusion of robotics in educational curricula and research to gain a better understanding of the long term social, behavioral and economic implications of co-robots across all areas of human activity are important parts of this initiative. 

Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development, deployment and use.

The NSF will lead the NRI, with help from NASA and support from the USDA and NIH. Investments in the initiative from NASA, NIH, NSF, and USDA are likely to reach $40 million to $50 million in the first year; funding is expected to grow as other agencies and industry partners join the initiative.

As detailed in the solicitation, appropriate scientific areas of investigations may be related to any of the participating funding organizations.

Two classes of proposals will be considered:

  Small ProjectsLarge Projects
Project Leadership: One or more investigatorsMulti-disciplinary teams
Project Duration: Span 1 to 5 yearsSpan 1 to 5 years
LOI (required) October 1, annuallyDecember 15, annually
Proposal November 3, annuallyJanuary 18, annually

One or more collaborative webinar briefings with question and answer functionality will be held beginning in September, 2011 prior to the first submission deadline date. Schedules will be posted on the sponsor announcement web sites.

For details, see: 


National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering:
NIBIB Robotics Programs and Highlights

USDANational Institute of Food and Agriculture
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