New NSF program seeks to engage minority serving institutions in artificial intelligence research

The U.S. National Science Foundation — in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate; U.S Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture; National Institute of Standards and Technology and U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering — has established the Expanding AI Innovation through Capacity Building and Partnerships program. ExpandAI aims to significantly broaden the participation of minority serving institutions in artificial intelligence research, education and workforce development through capacity development projects and partnerships within the NSF-led National AI Research Institutes ecosystem.

“In close collaboration with our federal partners and with the AI Institutes program, NSF Is launching ExpandAI in order to enable an even broader community of researchers to advance the Nation’s AI capacity in scientific power and workforce.” said Margaret Martonosi, NSF assistant director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering. “We hope to see a more diverse, more inclusive participation of talented innovators from across our nation, driving AI research and innovation that continues to build our country’s AI leading capabilities and workforce development.”

ExpandAI directly addresses the strategies defined in The National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan: 2019 Update, which defines the priority areas for federal investments in AI research and development to “better understand the national AI R&D workforce needs and expand public-private partnerships to accelerate advances in AI.” As the largest non-defense federal funder of AI research, NSF invests over $600 million dollars annually in AI research and education. More than $360 million dollars have been invested in the establishment of 18 AI Institutes, and more grants have funded research in critical areas of foundational AI research. ExpandAI seeks to further broaden who engages in AI research.

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