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Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Advancing Cognitive and Physical Capabilities (FW-HTF)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See NSF 23-543 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The landscape of jobs and work is changing at unprecedented speed, driven by the development of new technologies that have moved from the factory floor to an expanding array of knowledge and service occupations. These changes promise benefits to the Nation in the creation of new industries and occupations, increased productivity, opportunity for innovation, and sustained global leadership. But there are risks as well. Technological advances scale back the need for some workers, and in some cases, eliminate job sectors, with consequences to displaced workers who must adapt to emerging new technologies and the changing economy through retraining and reskilling.

The Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier (FW-HTF) is one of 10 new and far-sighted Big Ideas for Future Investments announced by NSF in 2016. NSF aims to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the changing landscape of jobs and work by supporting convergent research to: understand and develop the human-technology partnership; design new technologies to augment human performance; illuminate the emerging socio-technological landscape and understand the risks and benefits of new technologies; and foster lifelong and pervasive learning with technology. In order to be nimble and responsive to new opportunities and challenges as they are recognized, focus areas for the FW-HTF solicitation, the centerpiece of the FW-HTF Big Idea, may change from year to year. 

This solicitation focuses on advancing cognitive and physical capabilities in the context of human-technology interactions.  The solicitation will support two themes:  Theme 1 will focus on Foundations for Augmenting Human Cognition and Theme 2 will focus on Embodied Intelligent Cognitive Assistants. In shaping projects responsive to these two themes, PIs consider the importance of understanding, anticipating, and shaping the larger implications at the individual, institutional, corporate, and national levels, including issues arising from the needs or consequences for training and education. In addition, projects should be framed in terms of their focus on the potential contribution toward (a) transforming the frontiers of science and technology for human performance augmentation and workplace skill acquisition; (b) improving both worker quality of life and employer financial metrics; (c) enhancing the economic and social well-being of the country; and (d) addressing societal needs through research on learning and instruction in the context of augmentation. Projects must include a Collaboration Plan which outlines the way in which the project will leverage and integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives. 

Two classes of proposals — differing in scope, duration, and team size — will be considered through this solicitation:

  • Small projects may be requested for a total budget ranging from $750,000-1,500,000 for a period of 3 to 5 years; and 
  • Large projects may be requested for a total budget ranging from $1,500,001-3,000,000 for a period of 3 to 5 years. 

Program contacts

Jie Yang - CISE
jyang@nsf.gov (703) 292-4768 CISE/IIS
David Corman - CISE
dcorman@nsf.gov (703) 292-8754 CISE/CNS
Alexandra Medina-Borja - EHR
amedinab@nsf.gov (703) 292-7557 ENG/CMMI
Amy L. Baylor - EHR
abaylor@nsf.gov (703) 292-5126 EDU/DRL
Jordan M. Berg - ENG/CMMI
jberg@nsf.gov (703) 292-5365 ENG/CMMI
Betty K. Tuller - SBE
btuller@nsf.gov (703) 292-7238 SBE/BCS
Nancy A. Lutz - SBE
nlutz@nsf.gov (703) 292-7280 SBE/SES
Robert Scheidt - ENG/CMMI
rscheidt@nsf.gov (703) 292-2477
Anthony Kuh - ENG/ECCS
akuh@nsf.gov (703) 292-2210 ENG/ECCS

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