New Funding Opportunity at U.S. NSF

James E. Rodman jrodman at NSF.GOV
Wed Feb 4 13:30:05 CST 1998

Dear U.S. Taxonomists and Friends:
     The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has just announced
a major new funding opportunity, titled "Knowledge and Distributed
Intelligence" (KDI). The announcement and solicitation are posted
through the NSF homepage at the following URL:
     A very large portion (read: nearly all) of the new funding
that Congress granted NSF this fiscal year 1998 (ca. $50 million)
will be allocated only through the KDI solicitation. Therefore, we
encourage all taxonomists to read the announcement and consider
responding to the opportunity (through an eligible U.S.
institution). Despite the very generalized or abstract language in
the KDI solicitation, be assured that not just computer jocks are
eligible. "Domain specific" activities also count.
     Examples always carry the risk of channeling or misleading
prospective researchers, but we take that risk and offer some
candidate areas of inquiry below. These examples would probably
fall within the "Knowledge Networking" or "New Computational
Challenges" categories of the KDI solicitation:
     1) linking relational databases of natural history specimens
and associated label data, phylogenetic trees, images or
illustrations (and sound recordings where appropriate), all indexed
by scientific names linked to original literature citations, with
attention to authority files;
     2) computer-based taxonomic identification, online and
interactive, linked to images scalable from microscopic to
macroscopic, with multiple entry points, perhaps incorporating
Artificial Intelligence advances, including automatic methods;
     3) mapping of taxon ranges (native or invasive), from
distributed specimen or collection repositories, over the Internet
in real time, with linkages to environmental or GIS databases such
as soils, hydrology, climate, landform features;
     4) networking phylogenetic studies to create the universal
"tree of life," encompassing all the major branches of the
phylogenetic tree, with links to primary data sources (published
matrices, specimens, nucleotide sequences) and to images and other
education aids, with attention to validation and annotation.
     Again, these are intended as suggestive, and should not be
construed as encouraging or restricting particular topics. All
questions about possible KDI proposals should be directed to the
NSF working group at the e-mail address: kdi at Please note
that Letters of Intent are requested by April 1, 1998, and that
full proposals are due May 8, 1998.

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