Visible to the public 2017 Aspiring Cyber-Physical Systems Principal Investigators' Workshop

Visible to the public 


On August 3-4, 2017, there will be a one and a half day workshop for researchers who aspire to participate in NSF's Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program. Participation was by invitation only, and was open to people with research interests in cyber-physical systems who have not previously been funded by NSF as part of the CPS Program.

The goal of the workshop was to help aspiring PIs understand what NSF (and importantly, the review panels convened by NSF) will expect to see in a successful CPS proposal, and to articulate their ideas in a way that proposal reviewers can more easily understand how the proposed work will contribute to the CPS research agenda.

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. The CPS program seeks to develop the core system science needed to design and build complex CPS that people can use and with which they can interact, including some that must exhibit high-confidence or provably safe behaviors. The program also aims to foster a research community committed to advancing research and education in CPS and to transitioning applicable CPS science and technology into engineering practice. Key goals are to identify basic CPS research directions that are common across multiple application domains, along with opportunities for accelerated transition to practice. To help achieve these objectives, this CPS program solicitation aims to:

  • Pursue fundamental research in CPS that can be generalized to multiple domains;
  • Identify early-stage CPS research that addresses important basic research needs for synergistic collaboration with mission agencies, and that has potential for accelerated maturation, demonstration, and transition to practice; and
  • Encourage research utilization of both academic and industry testbeds that can integrate research components.

Because of the competitive nature of the proposal selection process a proposal with good ideas may be considered by reviewers as out of scope if it is not a good fit for the program to which it is submitted, or if does not make a clear enough case for the fit. The workshop intended to address this issue by clarifying the scope of research sought by the CPS program, the roles of other Government agencies in supporting mission-specific aspects of the CPS solicitation, and the differences in scope between the CPS program and other CPS-related programs at the NSF such as

Other topics included advice from CPS PIs and Program Directors on writing a strong CPS proposal, as well as frequently made mistakes.

The workshop was structured as a series of informative talks and panel discussions, with time for open-ended discussions. The talks focused in part on questions submitted by the invited participants. The speakers and panelists were Program Directors from NSF and other participating Government agencies, and some currently funded CPS community members. The agenda allowed time for one-on-one discussions between aspiring PIs and program directors.

The workshop was sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the CPS Virtual Organization at Vanderbilt University. The program chair was Theodore P. ("Ted") Baker, a former NSF CPS Program Director and Professor Emeritus at the Florida State University.