The U.S. National Science Foundation Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS) funds innovative research that advances the understanding and development of computer and network systems and their role in solving complex scientific, engineering and societal problems.

CNS supports research and education in: 

  • Computer systems and networks. 
  • Hardware and software systems.
  • Future-generation computing and communication systems. 
  • Computer and information science and engineering (CISE) infrastructure. 
  • Cyber-physical systems. 
  • Secure and trustworthy cyberspace. 
  • CISE education and workforce development.

What CNS does

CNS provides grants to researchers and scientists working on innovative projects in various subfields of computer science, such as computer architecture, hardware and software systems, networking, wireless communications, cybersecurity, data science, cyber-physical systems, computing infrastructures, computing education and workforce development. 

CNS funds foundational research and educational and workforce development projects through various programs and initiatives. These programs focus on different areas of core computer and network systems research, cybersecurity and cyber-physical systems research, and education and workforce development.

CNS Clusters

CNS clusters invest in core computing and lead interdisciplinary programs that span across NSF directorates.

The Networking Technology and Systems program seeks to advance fundamental scientific and technological advances leading to the development of future generation networks. The program includes both wired and wireless network systems, from edge networks to cloud networks, to internet-scale, Internet of Things and other network systems. The program seeks research that advances secure-by-design, high performance, robust and manageable networks. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • Application-aware networking (augmented and virtual reality). 
  • Future internet architectures. 
  • Data center networks.
  • In-network computing and storage. 
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning for networking. 
  • Network resilience. 
  • Network security. 
  • Optical networks. 
  • Programmable networks. 
  • 5G and beyond wireless networks. 
  • MIMO networks. 
  • WAN, MAN, backhaul and access networks. 
  • Networking for serverless computing. 
  • Network management (including monitoring, measurement and traffic engineering). 
  • Network performance (including latency and quality of service). 
  • Network verification. 
  • Quantum networking.

View Network and Technology Systems funding opportunities.

The Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace program approaches security and privacy as a socio-technical problem involving deep scientific and engineering challenges as well as vulnerabilities that arise from human behaviors. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • Authentication. 
  • Biometrics. 
  • Cryptography. 
  • Cyber-physical systems. 
  • Cybersecurity education. 
  • Formal methods. 
  • Hardware security architecture/design. 
  • Data science. 
  • Information integrity. 
  • Language-based security. 
  • Mathematics and statistics. 
  • Networking and intrusion detection. 
  • Privacy. 
  • Social, behavioral and economic sciences. 
  • Software. 
  • Systems. 
  • Translation to practice. 
  • Usability and human interactions.

View Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace funding opportunities.

The goal of the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) program is to develop the core system science needed to engineer complex cyber-physical systems that people can depend on with high confidence. CPS systems reveal crosscutting fundamental scientific and engineering principles that underpin the integration of cyber and physical elements across all application sectors, including, but not limited to: 

  • Smart and connected communities. 
  • Civil infrastructure. 
  • Manufacturing. 
  • Agriculture. 
  • Materials. 
  • Medical. 
  • Energy. 
  • Automation. 
  • Defense. 
  • Aeronautics.

View Cyber-Physical Systems funding opportunities.

CNS supports the development and maintenance of advanced cyberinfrastructure and testbed through a variety of programs, including funding opportunities for: 

Additionally, the division provides support for access to national infrastructures such as: 

The Education and Workforce cluster supports initiatives that promote computer science education at all education levels. This includes funding programs that enhance curriculum development, teacher training and educational resources. The division also supports efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in computer science education and the workforce. The Education and Workforce cluster supports projects that:

  • Integrate research and education across CISE. 
  • Study the causes of the current lack of diversity in the information technology workforce. 
  • Lead to a broadening participation of groups underrepresented in CISE. 
  • Develop and support sustainable communities of researchers involved in innovative and transformative approaches to computing education. 
  • Promote capacity building in computing research and education at Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research jurisdictions, community colleges and minority-serving and emerging research institutions. 
  • Work closely with all CISE Directorate divisions. 
  • Coordinate CISE participation in a portfolio of NSF-wide education and workforce programs.

View Education and Workforce funding opportunities.

Contact information

General inquiries may be sent to CNS staff. View the staff directory

For media inquiries, please call (703) 292-7090 or email NSF Public Affairs at media@nsf.gov.