In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of “Big Ideas,” 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identify areas for future investment at the frontiers of science and engineering (see https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/index.jsp). One of these ideas, "The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution,” advances quantum technologies of the future: quantum computing, quantum communication, quantum simulations and quantum sensors. Recent advances in understanding and exploiting quantum mechanics are laying the foundation for generations of new discoveries that can benefit society in unforeseen ways. This "quantum revolution" requires a highly-trained workforce that can advance the envelope of what is possible, through research and development of practical solutions for quantum technologies. Academic faculty serve a vital role in the development of this workforce, by training the next generation of students while performing vital research.
The disciplines of computer science (CS), information science (IS), and computer engineering (CE) are at the nexus of the interdisciplinary breakthroughs needed to design advanced quantum computing, modeling, communication and sensing technologies. NSF recognizes that there is inadequate research capacity in the CS/CE disciplines in the realm of Quantum Computing & Information Science (QCIS).
The QCIS-Faculty Fellows (QCIS-FF) program therefore aims to grow academic research capacity in the computing and information science fields to support advances in quantum computing and/or communication over the long term. Specifically, QCIS-FF seeks to support departments and schools in U.S. institutions of higher education that conduct research and teaching in computer science, information science, and/or computer engineering, with the specific goal of encouraging hiring of tenure-track and tenured faculty in quantum computing and/or communication. Cross-disciplinary and multi-department hires are welcomed; however, intellectual ownership and primary assignment should be with the department primarily engaged in research and teaching activities for computer and information science and engineering. NSF funding will support the entire academic year salary and benefits of the newly recruited tenure-track or tenured faculty member for a duration of up to three years. Each proposal must request support for only one faculty position. Total budget is not to exceed $750,000 per proposal, with up to two awards per institution, across all departments in any given institution.
Proposals in response to this solicitation are to be submitted by the department chair/head or his/her designee. The grants will be awarded as continuing grants, subject to assessment each year, and the funding will be released in one-year increments only if the award conditions are met, as noted in this solicitation. NSF strongly encourages proposals from universities that do not have established quantum computing and/or communication activities, as well as hires that foster cross-departmental synergies.