On October 10, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), in partnership with the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), released a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for a University Center of Excellence (UCoE) in Efficient and Robust Machine Learning (ERML). The Air Force intends to establish the ERML UCoE to further its vision for autonomous intelligent machines that can learn and adapt in a variety of Air Force operations. The UCoE will work to establish the foundational principles of machine learning deployment with respect to efficiency, robustness and operational relevancy. The UCoE will bring together investigators across disciplines to conduct cutting edge research and collaborate with AFRL researchers.
Successful proposals will work to develop machine learning methods that are both efficient and robust, utilize heterogenous data as well as address the challenges the Air Force will face to deploy the capabilities. The Air Force envisions machine learning to enable instant decisions in remote environments using limited data, hardware, and power as well as in environments with noise and incomplete information, often with disruptions created by adversaries.
The Air Force also specifies that the UCoE needs to enable research that advances “the basic understanding and principles of human-machine teaming, as well as contributes to revolutionary advances in the technology of data analytics and autonomous systems.” The UCoE is expected to foster the development the next generation experts for data analytics and autonomous systems as well as increase the expertise of current researchers.
Due Dates: White papers should be submitted no later than October 30, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. The AFOSR will respond to white papers by November 13. Full proposals should be submitted through Grants.gov by November 30, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. More information on how to submit can be found in the full FOA.
Total Funding and Award Size: AFOSR intends to fund one award for up to $5 million for 5 years, with a three-year base period at $1 million in funding per year and an option to extend for two more years.
Eligibility and Limitations: Only educational institutions such as colleges; universities; and other nonprofit institutions dedicated to improving science, mathematics, and engineering education are eligible to apply. Applicants are advised that routine access of academic researchers to air force facilities may be limited to US citizens and permanent residents.
Sources and Additional Background: The full AFOSR solicitation can be found here.