The National Science Foundation (NSF) is expanding its National AI Research Institute partnerships to 40 states and the District of Columbia with a combined investment of $220 million.

NSF will be establishing 11 new National AI Research Institutes, which adds to the seven institutes that it funded in 2020. The goal of the institutes is to focus AI-based technologies on advancing various areas including:

  • Advancing care for older adults;
  • Transforming AI into an accessible “plug-and-play” technology;
  • Improving agriculture and food supply chains;
  • Enhancing online learning; and
  • Supporting “underrepresented students in elementary to post-doctoral STEM education to improve equity and representation in AI research.”

“These institutes are hubs for academia, industry and government to accelerate discovery and innovation in AI,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “Inspiring talent and ideas everywhere in this important area will lead to new capabilities that improve our lives from medicine to entertainment to transportation and cybersecurity and position us in the vanguard of competitiveness and prosperity.”

NSF will be partnering in the effort with the Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Department of Homeland Security, Google, Amazon, Intel, and Accenture.

Overall, the new awards for the research institutes will provide $20 million over five years for the 11 institutes. According to NSF, the research areas targeted by the institutes will include:

  • Human-AI Interaction and Collaboration;
  • AI for Advances in Optimization;
  • AI and Advanced Cyberinfrastructure;
  • AI in Computer and Network Systems;
  • AI in Dynamic Systems;
  • AI-Augmented Learning; and
  • AI-Driven Innovation in Agriculture and the Food System.

“These innovation centers will speed our ability to meet the critical needs in the future agricultural workforce, providing equitable and fair market access, increasing nutrition security and providing tools for climate-smart agriculture,” USDA-NIFA Director Carrie Castille said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is MeriTalk SLG's Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.