Grant Details

Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*)

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    Funder Type

    Federal Government

    IT Classification

    A - Primarily intended to fund technology


    National Science Foundation (NSF)


    The Campus Cyberinfrastructure - Network Infrastructure and Engineering (CC-NIE) program in 2012 and 2013 focused on campus networking upgrades and re-architecting, and innovative development and integration of new networking capabilities in support of driving scientific application requirements. Subsequent years saw the program expand beyond data networking to address a broader set of CI needs at the campus level, including computing, storage, multi-institution integrated CI, and learning and workforce development.

    The FY 2019 CC* solicitation invests in coordinated campus-level networking and cyberinfrastructure improvements, innovation, integration, and engineering for science applications and distributed research projects. Learning and workforce development (LWD) in CI is explicitly addressed in the program. Science-driven requirements are the primary motivation for any proposed activity.

    CC* awards will be supported in five program areas:

    • Data-Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher awards will be supported at up to $500,000 total for up to 2 years;
    • Regional Connectivity for Small Institutions awards will be supported at up to $800,000 total for up to 2 years;
    • Network Integration and Applied Innovation awards will be supported at up to $1,000,000 total for up to 2 years;
    • Campus Computing and the Computing Continuum awards will be supported at up to $400,000 total for up to 2 years [in some cases these awards are limited to $100,000 total”see Program Area (4)(B) in Section II Program Description]; and
    • Cyber Team”Research and Education CI-based Regional Facilitation awards will be supported at up to $1,400,000 total for up to 3 years.

    A common theme across all aspects of the CC* program is the critical importance of the partnership among campus-level CI experts, including the campus Information Technology (IT)/networking/data organization, contributing domain scientists, research groups and educators necessary to engage in, and drive, new networking capabilities and approaches in support of scientific discovery. Proposals across the program should reflect and demonstrate this partnership on campus. Proposals will be evaluated on the strength of institutional partnerships, as they are expected to play a central role in developing and implementing the eventual network and data infrastructure upgrades.

    All proposals submitted to the CC* program must include a Campus CI plan within which the proposed CI improvements are conceived, designed, and implemented in the context of a coherent campus-wide strategy and approach to CI that is integrated horizontally intra-- campus and vertically with regional and national CI investments and best practices. This Campus CI plan must be included as a Supplementary Document and is limited to no more than 5 pages. The website,, offers a number of Campus CI plans provided by existing CC* program awardees as examples. Proposals addressing a multi--institution or regional activity and approach to coordinated and integrated CI may submit a Campus CI plan representing the multi--institution group or region.

    As noted in CISE/OACs companion solicitation, Cybersecurity Innovation for Cyberinfrastructure (NSF 18-547), security is a shared requirement across collaborative scientific environments and the institutions supporting these activities. All proposals submitted to CC* are expected to address the relevant cybersecurity issues and challenges related to their proposed activities. Depending on the type of proposal, these issues may include, but are not limited to: data integrity, privacy, network security measures, federated access and identity management, and infrastructure monitoring.

    As a campus CI program, funded activities should represent ongoing opportunities for student engagement, education, and training. Proposals that demonstrate opportunities to engage students directly in the deployment, operation, and advancement of the CI funded activities, consistent with the required Campus CI plan, are welcome.


    History of Funding

    Recently funded projects through this program can be found at,7726,8080&BooleanElement=Any&BooleanRef=Any&ActiveAwards=true&#results.

    Additional Information

    The program name has changed from CC*IIE to CC*DNI to CC*, to reflect on the comprehensive nature of the program in terms of investments across the cyberinfrastructure spectrum. Additional information on the reasoning behind this change is avialable in the full program solicitation.

    Data Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher

    Proposals submitted to this area should address network infrastructure improvements at the campus level to enable national and global high-performance end-to-end access to dynamic network services that in turn enable rapid, unimpeded movement of diverse and distributed scientific data sets and advanced computing. These networking improvements include, but are not limited to, the following types of activities:

    • Network upgrades within a campus network to support a wide range of science data flows (including large files, distributed data, sensor networks, real-time data sources, and virtualized instruments for computer systems research);
    • Re-architecting a campus network to support large science data flows, for example, by designing and building a Science DMZ (see for more information on the Science DMZ approach); and/or
    • A network connection upgrade for the campus connection to a regional optical exchange or point-of-presence that connects to Internet2.

    Proposals may wish to consider the application of new wireless technologies as an element of their engineering solution to network-based challenges in enabling scientific research and education on their campus this may, for example, include multi-gigabit or environment-constrained technologies to connect new instrumentation, resources, or communities relevant to the proposing institution. Note that any wireless solution proposed should address research and education needs as the singular priority, as opposed to a general campus wireless network.

    Proposals must address scientific and engineering project and application drivers that require network engineering or upgrades of their existing infrastructure. Proposals must also present project-specific end-to-end scenarios for data movement, distributed computing, and other end-to-end services driving the networking upgrade. Proposals are strongly encouraged to include in their description of data movement scenarios and use cases a quantitative element, for example providing current or historical data flow rates.

    Regional Connectivity for Small Institutions

    This area supports broadening participation and significantly widening the set of institutions connected to the regional and national research and education network fabric. This area specifically targets groups of smaller institutions with fundamental challenges in networking infrastructure and resources. This area supports increased research and education (R&E) network connectivity across smaller institutions coordinated and led by an Regional Optical Network (RON) or a leadership institution in R&E networking in the region.

    Proposals are required to address campus networking needs spanning multiple under-resourced institutions. Proposals addressing a single institution are not allowed in this area and will be returned without review. Proposals may choose to apply an alternative design framework to the conventional single institution context in Area (1) and consider an aggregation model where some or all associated resources and services (e.g., Science DMZ) are centralized at a regional level.

    Proposals submitted to this area must address scientific research and education needs driving the proposed improvements in R&E networking connectivity on campus and/or externally.

    Proposals may focus on upgrading an institutions connectivity to the national research and education community and/or point to a need to redesign their campus network to better support academic data flows, such as the Science DMZ approach (see for more information). Connectivity solutions between R&E buildings and sites are also in scope.

    Proposals in this area should focus on establishing their institutions' science research and education needs and aspirations and discuss how that translates to the need for greater connectedness and investment in network capacity. Institutions whose missions are primarily education-focused may choose to present their scientific needs in the context of network-enabled education activities and distance education. Proposals are encouraged to discuss research and education drivers with specific descriptions of these drivers.

    Proposals are expected to address coordination activities with the participating small institutions by planning for one or more meeting events starting in year 1.

    Proposals may include equipment and resources targeted for the state or regional network infrastructure. It is expected that such investments will be justified in the proposal in the context of needed improvements at the state and regional aggregation level in order to support the target institutions external connectivity regionally, nationally, and globally for enabling R&E collaborations.

    Network Integration and Applied Innovation

    This program area supports end-to-end network CI through integration of existing and new technologies and applied innovation. The goal is to take advantage of research results, prototypes, and emerging innovations to use them to enable specified researchers in a networking context. Proposals in this area may leverage new and existing investments in network infrastructure, services, and tools by combining or extending capabilities to work as part of the CI environment used by scientific applications and users.

    Unlike proposals directed to the "Data Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher" program area that focus primarily on equipment-based data networking improvements, proposals in this area support the development and integration of innovative networking capabilities; network-related software development and deployment activities resulting in an operational environment prototype are expected to be part of the proposed activities.

    A broad range of activities is covered by this area, including but not limited to:

    • Integration of networking protocols and technologies with science application layer processes and workflows;
    • Transition of successful research prototypes in Software Defined Networking (SDN) and wireless networking technologies to distributed scientific environments and campus infrastructure;
    • Networking architectures and components explored in the Future Internet Architectures-Next Phase (FIA-NP) program;
    • Applications of networking hardware and software developed on NSFFutureCloud facilities (e.g., ChameleonCloud and CloudLab), including the integration of new technologies such as programmable network interfaces;
    • Networking solutions exploiting virtualization, distributed computing and Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI), including cloud services and direct campus-to-cloud connections;
    • Innovative research prototypes integrating programmable packet processing components into campus infrastructure or exploring applications of software-defined data planes in support of high-performance data distribution; and
    • Network engineering support through the creation and application of new and novel procedures and tools and network measurement and monitoring software for solving end-to-end network performance issues, especially for dynamically constructed network services.

    Proposals in this area must identify, in the Project Description, one or more supported science or engineering research projects or applications and describe how the proposed network integration activities will support those projects, particularly in the context of addressing data movement, throughput, and predictable performance end-to-end.

    Campus Computing and the Computing Continuum

    Local campus computing resources have emerged as an important aggregated and shared layer of scientific computing, as evidenced by the growth in Open Science Grid (an NSF-funded distributed scientific computing fabric of shared computing clusters across more than 100 institutions) productivity that will approach two billion CPU hours delivered in scientific computing for the calendar year 2018.

    This program area promotes coordinated approaches in scientific computing at the campus level through three funding options: (a) Campus Cluster Resource, seeding and augmenting shared computing resources at the campus level through investments in capacity computing in campus clusters; (b) Cloud Computing Resources, enabling campuses to explore the potential use of cloud computing services and its analytics platforms in supporting their communitys scientific research computing assets and available resources; and (c) Hybrid, a combination of both local computing resources and access to remote cloud computing. For all the three funding options, the program promotes a coordinated approach incentivizing multicampus and national resource sharing.

    All proposals into this area must address:

    • Scientific and engineering projects and their research computing needs, describing project-specific scenarios for scientific computing tied to the proposed computing resources;
    • Features, capabilities, and software platforms representing the proposed computing resources; and
    • Scientific computing codes expected to run on the resources.

    NSF encourages proposals in this program area from under-resourced institutions and preference will be given to proposals demonstrating a compelling need for access to campus/cloud resources, including institutions lacking necessary computing and storage resources on campus.

    Proposals may target one of the three options”(a) Campus Cluster Resource; (b) Cloud Computing Resources, or (c) Hybrid”as described below.

    Campus Cluster Resource: A Campus Cluster proposal requests funding for the acquisition of a shared, high-performance network-connected compute resource available to scientific computing users on campus and outside of campus. Proposals are encouraged to consider open source virtualization technologies. Inclusion of itemized vendor quotes accompanying the budget is required for all proposals in this program area.

    • High-Performance Network Connectivity and Specification: Proposals should describe the network connectivity of the proposed computing resource, both intra-campus [for example, the campus network path(s) connecting the resource with the researchers and driving science applications on campus], and inter-campus (for example, showing the network path connecting with the regional exchange point or Internet2). Proposals should include in their plans the deployment of a PerfSonar based network performance measurement capability to initially measure achievable end-to-end network performance for scientific data flows between the resource and relevant end points of researchers.
    • The Cluster as a Shared Resource Intra-campus and Inter-campus: Proposals should describe (1) their approach to sharing the proposed computing resource across the science drivers and researchers at their institution; (2) how the resource will be accessed by external research groups; and (3) how the resource is coordinated with external resources allowing the institutions researchers to seamlessly access computing resources at other campuses, regional and national computing resources, and/or production cloud resources, if appropriate.

    Cloud Computing Resources: A Cloud Computing Resource proposal includes a technical justification for use of cloud resources coupled with the cost computation used to arrive at the requested amount of credits/resources as well as the detailed annual plan for usage of these credits/resources over the duration of the project. Amazon Web Service and Google Cloud Platform are participating in the CC* program to provide cloud credits/resources to campuses whose scientific research requires additional and external computational and storage resources. These providers are also expected to provide support and training to those campuses. If additional cloud providers join the program, resources/credits from those providers will be available under the same terms and conditions as described in this solicitation, and will be added to the NSF CC* program webpage. A sustainability plan addressing the institutions commitment to providing an ongoing level of sustained access to computational resources is required. NSF budget may include nominal staff time, travel, training support, and necessary end system platforms and storage to coordinate job requests and data transfer between the campus and the external cloud resources. The NSF budget may be up to $100,000.

    Hybrid: Hybrid proposals describe an approach combining (a) Campus Cluster Resource and (b) Cloud Computing Resources. All proposal guidance in (Campus Cluster Resource) applies as well to this option for the justification and specification of a shared local compute cluster. Proposals are encouraged to consider open source virtualization technologies.

    The proposal is expected to document campus IT and research leadership commitment to O&M given that the proposal budget is expected to be dominated by equipment, with some travel and project coordination staff time. Costs associated with software license fees are not allowed. This area supports the campus integration of commercial cloud computing and storage resources while challenging institutions to define a multi-layer resource strategy in meeting the needs of their scientific communities. Proposals are expected to address their approach to using cloud resources in combination with campus resources as well as the national shared distributed computing fabric chosen.

    Applicants that propose cloud-based resources under Cloud Computing Resources or Hybrid components are limited to $100,000 in cloud credits from AWS and Google.

    Cyber Team - Research and Education CI-based Regional Facilitation

    This program area supports facilitation of campus cluster, cloud, and distributed computing resource use by scientists and scientific collaborations. This program area recognizes the enabling role of technical expertise, leadership, and engagement at the campus level in the successful research and educational pursuits across the NSF community.

    NSF has in recent years supported similar types of expert facilitation through CC* CI Engineer awards, CC* Region awards, eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) Campus Champions, and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Education Facilitators (ACI-REFs). Further, consortia and communities coordinating these activities have formed into active Research Coordination Networks, such as XSEDE Campus Champions and the Consortium for Advanced Research Computing (CaRC).

    NSF views the facilitator role as an emerging professional role responding to, and helping to define, current needs and opportunities in advancing scientific discovery. This special function is not merely a research support role, but rather an integrative one that centers on partnering with research projects within the campus and across campuses on shared goals.

    Proposals in this area should describe the multi-institutional science-driven needs and enabling impact of long-term access to and engagement with a shared Cyber Team. Proposals should describe planned engagement activities in multiple science and engineering projects across campuses, including plans to leverage existing campus CI and how these bridging services can be managed. Proposals should describe and justify the structure and make-up of the proposed Cyber Team, including the approach to its engagement, interactions, and partnerships with science and engineering research as well as education and training activities. Proposals should address details of the initial planned engagements.

    Proposals should describe their organizational and management structure and discuss their approach to accepting input and requests from campuses in the region, and prioritizing and responding to their needs for CI expertise. Proposals are encouraged to consider how researchers and users play a role, as well as local IT staff, for example, through an advisory or user committee providing feedback on direction. The treatment of these issues is one factor in determining long-term sustainability of the effort. Proposals should describe plans for broadening participation, including how under-resourced institutions can be meaningfully engaged.


    Deepankar Medhi

    Deepankar Medhi
    4201 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, VA 22230
    (703) 292-8950

  • Eligibility Details

    Eligible applicants are:

    Universities and colleges (all tracks), which includes:
    • Two-and four-year colleges, and
    • Community colleges
    Non-profit, non-academic organizations (Only Small Institutions & Cyber Team), which includes:
    • Independent museums,
    • Observatories,
    • Research labs, and
    • Professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

    Deadline Details

    Applications are to be submitted by February 20, 2019. A similar deadline is anticipated annually.

    Award Details

    Approximately $10,000,000 to $17,000,000 is expected to be available in total funding (pending availability of funds and quality of proposals received). Cost sharing/matching is not required.

    •  Data-Driven Networking Infrastructure for the Campus and Researcher awards will be supported at up to $500,000 total for up to 2 years;
    • Regional Connectivity for Small Institutions of Higher Education awards will be supported at up to $800,000 total for up to 2 years;
    • Network Integration and Applied Innovation awards will be supported at up to $1,000,000 total for up to 2 years;
    • Campus Computing and the Computing Continuum awards will be supported at up to $400,000 total for up to 2 years [in some cases these awards are limited to $100,000 total-see Additional Information Section]; and
    • Cyber Team-Research and Education CI-based Regional Facilitation awards will be supported at up to $1,400,000 total for up to 3 years.

    18 to 40 total awards are expected to be made under the CC* grant program. The estimated number of awards per research area is as follows:

    • 5-10 Data-Driven Networking Infrastructure awards;
    • 3-5 Regional Connectivity for Small Institutions awards;
    • 2-5 Network Integration and Applied Innovation awards;
    • 5-15 Campus Computing and the Computing Continuum awards; and
    • 3-5 Cyber Team”Research and Education CI-based Regional Facilitation awards.

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