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Funding Deadline

Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE) Phase II

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has a new program: Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems (POSE). The proposal deadline for phase I is May 12, 2022 and phase II is October 21, 2022.




NSF is introducing a new program called “Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems” (POSE).  The purpose of the program is to harness the power of open-source development for the creation of new technology solutions to problems of national and societal importance. Many NSF-funded research projects result in publicly accessible, modifiable, and distributable open-sourced software, hardware or data platforms that catalyze further innovation. In some cases, an open-source product is widely adopted and forms the basis for a self-sustaining open-source ecosystem (OSE) comprises a distributed community of developers and a broad base of users across academia, industry and government. The goal of the POSE program is to fund new OSE managing organizations, each responsible for the creation and maintenance of infrastructure needed for efficient and secure operation of an OSE based around a specific open-source product or class of products. The early and intentional formation of such managing organizations is expected to ensure more secure open-source products, increased coordination of developer contributions, and a more focused route to impactful technologies.

The POSE program aims to support managing organizations that will facilitate the creation and growth of sustainable high-impact OSEs around already-developed open-source research products. In particular, POSE constitutes a new pathway to translate research results, akin to the Lab-to-Market Platform that NSF has pioneered over many decades. Whereas programs like the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), Partnerships for Innovation, and Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR and STTR) represent an integrated set of programs to provide researchers with the capacity to transform their fundamental research into deep technology ventures, POSE is specifically focused on another translational lineage – supporting translation from research results to OSEs.

Importantly, the POSE program is not intended to fund the development of open-source research products, including tools and artifacts. The POSE program is also not intended to fund existing well-resourced open-source communities and ecosystems. Instead, the program aims to fund new managing organizations that catalyze community-driven development and growth of the subject OSEs. The expected outcomes of the POSE program are (1) to grow the community of researchers who develop and contribute to OSE efforts, and (2) to enable pathways for the development of collaborative OSEs that could lead to new technology products or services that have broad societal impacts. OSEs can stem from any areas of research supported by NSF.

This solicitation seeks two types of proposals, allowing teams to (1) propose specific activities to scope the development of an OSE (Phase I), and (2) develop a sustainable OSE based on a mature open-source product that shows promise both in the ability to meet an emergent societal or national need and to build a community to help develop it (Phase II).

Phase I: OSE Scoping Proposals

The objectives of Phase I projects are (1) to enable scoping activities that could result in the preparation of Phase II proposals to grow promising research products that are already available in an open-sourced format into a sustainable and robust OSE that will have broad societal impacts, and (2) to provide training to teams interested in building such an OSE.

Each Phase I proposal should describe the current context and, to the extent known at the time of the Phase I proposal, the long-term vision and impact of the proposed OSE. The proposals should also include specific scoping activities that will lead to a well-developed and sustainable plan for ecosystem discovery, organizational and governance structure, and community building.

Phase I proposals are limited to a total budget of $300,000 with durations of up to one year. The Project Description can be up to 7 pages for Phase I proposals.

Phase II: OSE Development Proposals

The objective of Phase II projects is to support the transition of a promising open-source research product into a sustainable and robust OSE. Each Phase II proposal is expected to include a detailed project plan to support the community-driven and collaborative development and deployment of later-stage successful research tools into operational environments. The proposals must include a community outreach plan that (a) outlines activities to engage the intended contributor community that will help to further develop and maintain the technology, and (b) identifies an intended user community or organizations that will serve as early adopters of the technology. 

Each Phase II proposal should describe the current context and the long-term vision and impact of the proposed OSE. The proposal should also include a well-developed plan for building an OSE including ecosystem establishment/growth, organizational and governance structure, community building, and sustainability and evaluation plans.

Phase II proposals are limited to a total budget of $1,500,000 with durations of up to two years. The Project Description can be up to 15 pages for Phase II proposals.

Phase I awardees are not obligated to submit Phase II proposals in the future. An NSF POSE Phase I award is not required for the submission of a Phase II proposal.