NSF and CSIRO welcome proposals from joint teams of U.S. and Australian researchers on responsible and equitable artificial intelligence (AI).

Responsible AI concerns the ethical development of AI to benefit individuals, society, and the environment, including adherence to AI Ethical Principles such as those defined by Australia’s AI Ethics Framework and the US National AI Research and Development Strategic Plan: 2019 Update. It should be interpreted broadly to include the design, data, and algorithmic aspects of AI systems as they relate to ethical principles (such as fairness, accountability, transparency, inclusion, promotion of the general welfare, and sustainability), as well as the systems and software engineering aspects (such as auditing and monitoring, privacy considerations, and impact of deployments) of responsibility in AI systems.

Equitable AI refers to eliminating discrimination, avoiding misuse, preventing unintentional harm, and protecting individual rights. The involvement of those potentially affected by AI systems in the creation of those systems in order to ensure the sensitivity of those systems to varying cultural norms and expectations, and efforts to increase the number of people from disadvantaged and under-represented groups in AI research development, are means to achieve the aims of Equitable AI.

Proposals should be submitted to National Science Foundation Core Programs in Computer and Information Science and Engineering (NSF 21-616) in the Small category for Information & Intelligence Systems/ Human-Centered Computing (IIS/HCC). The proposal should include separate budgets for the U.S. and Australian researchers (see Guidelines, below). Budgets for U.S. researchers may be up to $600,000 USD over a 3-year period. Proposals with budgets at, or near, this cap should be commensurate with the size of the project and the team, most likely for projects with established collaborations with Australian researchers. The budget for the Australian researchers should be expressed in AUD and has an upper limit of $850,000 AUD total, over 3 years.

Proposals for smaller projects and teams, likely those forming new collaborations, should have U.S. budgets up to $300,000 over 3 years. The Australian researcher budget for these projects should be expressed in AUD with an upper limit of $425,000 AUD total over 3 years. We expect the effort of the US and Australian team members to be comparable, but do not require the budget to be split.

Proposals must present a unified research program collaboratively pursued by the U.S. and Australian team members. A description of the research team including both the U.S. and Australian researchers and their contributions to the project must be discussed in the Project Description in a section entitled “US-Australian Team” (see Guidelines item 1 below). The research agenda must focus on new approaches to equitable and responsible AI and be aligned with one or more of the strategic priorities listed in the CSIRO Missions program. Alignment to the CSIRO Missions is defined loosely but could include addressing one of the areas as a case study or as part of the evaluation. Alignment with CSIRO missions must be addressed in a section of the Project Description with the heading “Alignment with CSIRO Missions”. Further guidance on this aspect is available by contacting csiroenquiries@csiro.au.

Proposals will be reviewed by NSF using NSF’s merit review process as described in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and will include CSIRO representatives as observers. Prior to submission to NSF, proposals will be checked for alignment with the CSIRO Missions. All proposals must be submitted to CSIRO for compliance checking with the CSIRO missions no later than close of business on August 1, 2022. CSIRO will respond to teams about whether the proposal aligns with the CSIRO missions areas and approval to submit to NSF no later than September 1, 2022 (see Guidelines item 2 below). Awards for successful proposals will be made by NSF to the U.S. portion of the team and by CSIRO to the Australian portion of the team.

Proposals submitted in response to this DCL should include the prefix “NSF-CSIRO:” in their titles (see Guidelines below). They must be received by NSF by September 21, 2022 after which reviewing will begin. (Note that this is a firm deadline for this opportunity even though the general CISE Core program has no deadlines for the Small category.)

Complete information can be found here: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2022/nsf22086/nsf22086.jsp?WT.mc_ev=click&WT.mc_id=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery