Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.


NSF Research Opportunity for Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS)

January 13th, 2016 / in Announcements, NSF, pipeline, policy, research horizons, Research News / by Helen Wright

This post was contributed by Shashi Shekhar, Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Council member and Distinguished University Professor at the University of Minnesota

National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently issued the awaited INFEWS solicitation 16-524 with a budget of $50M. Proposals are due in late March, 2016. It’s estimated number of awards is between 22 and 40 across four tracks, namely, FEW system modeling, Visualization and Decision Support, Innovative Systems Solutions and Education/Workforce Development.

Computing topics show up in all tracks and quite frequently in the second track.

Synopsis: Humanity is reliant upon the physical resources and natural systems of the Earth for the provision of food, energy, and water. It is becoming imperative that we determine how society can best integrate across the natural and built environments to provide for a growing demand for food, water and energy while maintaining appropriate ecosystem services. Factors contributing to stresses in the food, energy, and water (FEW) systems include increasing regional and social pressures and governance issues as result of land use change, climate variability, and heterogeneous resource distribution. These interconnections and interdependencies associated with the food, energy and water nexus create research grand challenges in understanding how the complex, coupled processes of society and the environment function now, and in the future. There is a critical need for research that enables new means of adapting to future challenges. The FEW systems must be defined broadly, incorporating physical processes (such as built infrastructure and new technologies for more efficient resource utilization), natural processes (such as biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles), biological processes (such as agro-ecosystem structure and productivity), social/behavioral processes (such as decision making and governance), and cyber elements. Investigations of these complex systems may produce discoveries that cannot emerge from research on food or energy or water systems alone. It is the synergy among these components in the context of sustainability that will open innovative science and engineering pathways to produce new knowledge and novel technologies to solve the challenges of scarcity and variability.

The overarching goal of INFEWS is to catalyze the well-integrated interdisciplinary research efforts to transform scientific understanding of the FEW nexus in order to improve system function and management, address system stress, increase resilience, and ensure sustainability. The NSF INFEWS initiative is designed specifically to attain the following goals: (a) Significantly advance our understanding of the food-energy-water system through quantitative and computational modeling, including support for relevant cyber-infrastructure; (b) Develop real-time, cyber-enabled interfaces that improve understanding of the behavior of FEW systems and increase decision support capability; (c) Enable research that will lead to innovative system and technological solutions to critical FEW problems; and (d) Grow the scientific workforce capable of studying and managing the FEW system, through education and other professional development opportunities.

Related Posts and links:

NSF Research Opportunity for Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS)