National Robotics Initiative: 2.0: Ubiquitous Collaborative Robots (NRI-2.0)

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)

The NRI-2.0 program builds upon the original National Robotics Initiative (NRI) program to support fundamental research in the United States that will accelerate the development and use of collaborative robots (co-robots) that work beside or cooperatively with people. The focus of the NRI-2.0 program is on ubiquity, which in this context means seamless integration of co-robots to assist humans in every aspect of life. The program supports four main research thrusts that are envisioned to advance the goal of ubiquitous co-robots: scalability, customizability, lowering barriers to entry, and societal impact. Topics addressing scalability include how robots can collaborate effectively with multiple humans or other robots; how robots can perceive, plan, act, and learn in uncertain, real-world environments, especially in a distributed fashion; and how to facilitate largescale, safe, robust and reliable operation of robots in complex environments. Customizability includes how to enable co-robots to adapt to specific tasks, environments, or people, with minimal modification to hardware and software; how robots can personalize their interactions with people; and how robots can communicate naturally with humans, both verbally and non-verbally. Topics in lowering barriers to entry include development of open-source co-robot hardware and software, as well as widely-accessible testbeds. Topics in societal impact include fundamental research to establish and infuse robotics into educational curricula, advance the robotics workforce through education pathways, and explore the social, economic, ethical, and legal implications of our future with ubiquitous collaborative robots. Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit, and other organizations is encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and engineering and technology development, deployment, and use. The NRI-2.0 program is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Questions concerning a particular project's focus, direction and relevance to a participating funding organization should be addressed to that agency's point of contact, listed in section VIII of this solicitation.

Eligibility Details

Who Is Eligible to Apply:
Other or Additional Information (See below)
More on Eligibility:
Universities and Colleges - Universities and two- and four-year colleges (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in, the US acting on behalf of their faculty members. Such organizations also are referred to as academic institutions. Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities. For USDA/NIFA: Eligible applicants/Principal Investigators (PIs) for the grant program implemented under this subpart include: (1) State agricultural experiment stations; (2) colleges and universities (including junior colleges offering associate degrees or higher); (3) university research foundations; (4) other research institutions and organizations; (5) Federal agencies, (6) national laboratories; (7) private organizations or corporations; (8) individuals who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents; and (9) any group consisting of 2 or more entities identified in (1) through (8). Eligible institutions do not include foreign and international organizations.

Important Dates

Posted Date:
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Closing Date:
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Other Due Date:
Full Proposal Deadlines(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time)
February 20, 2018; February 05, 2019; First Tuesday in February, Annually Thereafter

Additional Information

For More Information Contact:
Steven J. Thomson
Contact for Electronic Access Problems:
Funding Opportunity Number:
NSF 18-518
CFDA number:
Previous fiscal year(s) RFA:
Estimated Total Program Funding:
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement:
Matching is not required
Range of Awards:
$250,000 - $1,500,000