AWS Public Sector Blog

Amazon Web Services and the National Science Foundation Spur Innovation in Big Data Research

The AWS Research Initiative (ARI) brings Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) together to spur innovation in Big Data research. Under the program on Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA) a total of $26.5 million will be funded by NSF and the Office of Financial Research (OFR) in addition to $3 million in AWS promotional credits for a period of 3-4 years.

The program seeks novel approaches in computer science, statistics, computational science, and mathematics, along with innovative applications in domain science, including social and behavioral sciences, education, biology, engineering, and the physical sciences that lead to the further development of interdisciplinary data science.

Under the ARI program, AWS and NSF will respectively support and collaborate on groundbreaking research from all qualified scientists, engineers, and educators. Now techniques and technologies like cloud-based Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data analytics, and High Performance Computing (HPC) will help researchers maximize the value of their NSF grants to accelerate the pace of innovation.

“BIGDATA research provides a paradigm shift by putting smart in everything we do today including smart home, smart city, smart cars, smart health, and more. We are excited to collaborate with the NSF to foster innovations in the field,” said Sanjay Padhi, Ph.D, AWS Representative to the NSF.

There are two categories of proposals:

  • Foundations (F): those developing or studying fundamental theories, techniques, methodologies, and technologies of broad applicability to big data problems, motivated by specific data challenges and requirements.
  • Innovative Applications (IA): those engaged in translational activities that employ new big data techniques, methodologies, and technologies to address and solve problems in specific application domains. Projects in this category must be collaborative, involving researchers from domain disciplines and one or more methodological disciplines (computer science, statistics, mathematics, simulation and modeling, and more).

The AWS Research Initiative with NSF provides up to $3M in AWS promotional credits over a period of up to four years, or for the duration of the initiative. AWS will offer many services through ARI grants, including compute and data services. NSF will be responsible for selecting grant awardees.

“In today’s era of data-driven science and engineering, we are pleased to work with the AWS Research Initiative via the NSF BIGDATA program to provide cloud resources for our Nation’s researchers to foster and accelerate discovery and innovation,”  said Dr. Jim Kurose, Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE).

To get started on your application, here are some cloud resources and tools for grant applicants:

To see how to apply, who qualifies, and more, visit:

Learn more about the program here.