If you missed out on last year’s Robotics Technology Development and Deployment funding opportunity and can’t quite find a good funding match for your project from other funding sources, you may be interested to know about the National Robotics Initiative (NRI), which Obama announced this morning while touring CMU’s Robotics Institute.

From the NRI program solicitation:

The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people. Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of and in a symbiotic relationship with human partners is supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. It will address the entire life cycle from fundamental research and development to industry manufacturing and deployment. Methods for the establishment and infusion of robotics in educational curricula and research to gain a better understanding of the long term social, behavioral and economic implications of co-robots across all areas of human activity are important parts of this initiative. Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development, deployment and use.

Although proposals aren’t due until later this year, get started right away if you’re interested in applying…these NSF and SBIR application processes make mortgage paperwork look as simple as signing a coffee shop receipt.

Billy McCafferty