According to a recent post by Dr. Michael Lauer, Deputy Director for Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the total appropriation for NIH in FY 2019 was $39.2 billion. Of that amount, $29.466 billion was awarded to 55,012 new and renewed meritorious extramural grants (excludes research and development contracts). This investment was up $2.354 billion from FY 2018 (8.68% increase), with 2,369 more grants funded (4.50% increase). 2,738 organizations received these awards—ranging from academic universities, hospitals, small businesses, and others—throughout the U.S. and internationally.
The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) of the National Academies of Science and Engineering will hold a webinar on the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. The Consortium was established in March by U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the White House, in partnership with industry and academic leadership, to provide COVID-19 researchers with access to the world’s most powerful high-performance computing resources. These resources allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling to advance the pace of scientific discovery to accelerate treatments and ultimately a cure.
The HPC Consortium currently includes 38 compute capacity donating members (11 companies, 11 universities, seven DOE National Labs, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and seven NSF-sponsored supercomputing centers), and six affiliates contributing donated software, services, and expertise. As of May 15, 2020, there were 51 active COVID-19 research projects, representing 47 institutions and seven nations over a broad range of fields including the basic science involving the virus, therapeutic development, and patients. There are over 21 projects with experimental, clinical, or policy transition plans.
The webinar will feature Dr. Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research and co-chair of the Consortium, member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and nominee to the National Science Board; and Michael Rosenfield, Vice President for Data Centric Solutions at IBM Research, who has played a leadership role in the creation and operation of the Consortium, to discuss the formation of the Consortium and the way it matches researchers to supercomputing capabilities.
NSF Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) are highly competitive, flagship centers of research excellence. According to the NSF, ERC’s “promote partnerships among researchers in different disciplines and between industry and universities. They focus their research programs on transformational engineered systems and produce technological innovations that strengthen the competitive position of industry.”
ERC’s also play an important educational role linking high school learning to world-class research. ERCs. form pre-college partnerships to bring engineering knowledge to the classroom and stimulate interest in engineering careers. This integration of research and education creates an innovation ecosystem to produce ERC graduates who become leaders in technological innovation, and the ability to assume leadership roles in industry, academe, and government. ERC’s have produced a steady stream of advances in technology, enhanced the translation of technology to marketable products with tens of billions of dollars in market value, according to the NSF.
Three leading U.S. research universities have joined together to spur rapid transfer of available technologies to combat COVID-19. Stanford, MIT and Harvard have developed a COVID-19 Technology Access Framework designed to quickly utilize available technologies for preventing, diagnosing, and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic. The three original institutions have committed to a set of guidelines around patenting and licensing strategies to facilitate rapid global access, and several other institutions have also joined in their adoption of the framework since its release.
The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) of the National Science Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine will hold a free webinar on the new Framework on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The presenter will be Karin Immergluck, the Executive Director of Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing.
The event is free but registration is required. Click here for registration.
The Department of Defense seeks novel conceptual frameworks or theoretical approaches to addressing outstanding or emerging challenges facing the scientific community. This award will be presented to a single investigator or team of up to two investigators that develops a “transformative idea” to resolve challenges, advance frontiers, and set new paradigms in areas of immense potential benefit to DoD and the nation at large. Proposals should aim to produce novel conceptual frameworks or theory-based approaches that present disruptive ways of thinking about fundamental scientific problems that have evaded resolution, propose new, paradigm-shifting scientific directions, and/or address fundamental and important questions that are argued to be undervalued by the scientific community.
This list has been updated — March 27, 2020 4:00 pm EDT
Johns Hopkins University has an updated, comprehensive list of federal COVID-19 research funding opportunities across multiple agencies including NIH and NSF. The page also includes links to general information about COVID-19 as well as scientific and technical publications.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) part of Health and Human Services (HHS), seeks information from stakeholders on available medical countermeasures in development. Through the website MedicalCountermeasures.gov the U.S. government has created a portal called CoronaWatch for developers of potential COVID19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or other technologies to meet with program managers at relevant federal agencies including CDC, FDA and NIH. BARDA also has a open call for COVID19 countermeasures funding through their existing Broad Area Announcement
Technologies sought include:
Diagnostic assay for human coronavirus using existing FDA-cleared platforms
Point-of-care diagnostic assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus
Diagnostic assay for detection of COVID-19 disease (SARS-CoV-2 infection)
Immunomodulators or therapeutics targeting lung repair
Pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis
Respiratory protective devices
Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
Through a CoronaWatch meeting stakeholders can engage BARDA and other agencies directly to gain technical feedback and strategic input regarding a proposed technology’s relevance to the government’s needs. The CoronaWatch web portal is serving as the single point of entry for interested entities submitting market research and meeting requests for U.S. government COVID-19 medical countermeasures. At this time, the government is only seeking submissions on COVID-19\.
The safety and security of critical information – whether it is sensitive intellectual property (IP), financial information, personally identifiable information (PII), intelligence insight, or beyond – is of vital importance. Conventional data encryption methods or cryptographic solutions, such as Advanced Encryption Standards (AES), translate data into a secret “code” that can only be decoded by people with access to a decryption key. These methods protect data as it is transmitted across a network or at rest while in storage. Processing or computing on this data however requires that it is first decrypted, exposing it to numerous vulnerabilities and threats. Fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) offers a solution to this challenge. FHE enables computation on encrypted data, or ciphertext, rather than plaintext, or unencrypted data – essentially keeping data protected at all times. The benefits of FHE are significant, from enabling the use of untrusted networks to enhancing data privacy. Despite its potential, FHE requires enormous computation time to perform even simple operations, making it exceedingly impractical to implement with traditional processing hardware.
DARPA developed the Data Protection in Virtual Environments (DPRIVE) program to design and implement a hardware accelerator for FHE computations that aims to significantly reduce the current computational burden to drastically speed up FHE calculations. DPRIVE specifically seeks to reduce the computational run time overhead by many orders of magnitude compared to current software-based FHE computations on conventional CPUs, and accelerate FHE calculations to within one order of magnitude of current performance on unencrypted data.
To develop the target accelerator, DPRIVE will explore new integrated approaches to the full FHE hardware and software stacks. Specifically, the program seeks to develop novel approaches to memory management, flexible data structures and programming models, and formal verification methods that ensure the design of the FHE implementation is effective and accurate. As the co-design of FHE algorithms, hardware, and software will be critical to the program, it will require teams with varied technical expertise to take on the research objectives.
DARPA held a Proposers Day meeting on March 2, 2020, in Cupertino, California to provide more information about DPRIVE to interested researchers.