NSF Awards to Help Communities

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) https://www.nsf.gov “Smart & Connected Communities” (S&CC) program on October 12, 2017 announced that 38 projects totaling $19.5 million were included in the first round of awards.

The Smart and Connected Communities program integrates people with information and communication technologies to improve economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and eventually hopes to improve the overall quality of life for the communities.

One grant project (1737592) with $100,000 in funding specifically addresses “Smart & Connected Rural Communities”. It has been found that smart technologies developed for urban areas do not easily adapt to help rural communities since they can lack much of the infrastructure and connectivity of more densely populated cities.

This planning grant seeks to assess and develop technology and target training to advance a small rural population in Eastern Texas. The leadership will work with the city government to improve the quality of life by advancing the use of smart technology

A lack of communications, low income, aging population, and infrastructure is just some of the challenges facing this rural community in Texas. The project will engage the community to complete an extensive needs and capability assessment that will help smart technology researchers on the best way to implement smart technologies.

A second grant project (1737454) with $100,000 in funding will bring together researchers from Arizona State University, Drexel University, and the University of Alabama will use system engineering, health informatics, community development of transportation systems, computer science, and engineering to work on the challenges facing senior communities.

Research will be conducted on community and social connections, smart transportation, health mentors, smart homes, smart sensors, and data management and integration. This project is going to help others to design, smart, connected, and engaged senior communities.

Researchers will seek to develop novel sensor and data management solutions. The goal is to use smart cyberinfrastructures and associated smart technologies to improve seniors’ physical mobility, access to information, and to address the living environment.

The plan is to help senior go from aging-in place to aging well with smart technology used to improve the overall health of seniors which should improve their quality of life but also decrease their medical care expenses.

Another project (1737560) “Using Innovations in Big Data and Technology to Address the High Rate of Infant Mortality in Greater Columbus Ohio”, at the other end of the population spectrum is especially geared to help reduce infant mortality. A grant for $100,000 was awarded to Ohio State University.

Franklin County Ohio, has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country at 8.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. The U.S lags behind in many important measures of population health including infant mortality despite the fact that one fifth of our dollars are spent on healthcare.

The objective of this one year planning project is to identify data gaps that present local barriers to achieving optimal maternal and infant health, identify opportunities where technology especially connectivity and mobility could be leveraged to address barriers, and use technological expertise to design and implement novel interventions to greatly improve maternal and infant health.

Go to https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch to search for more information.

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