FAPESP and IBM Call for Proposals – 2016


FAPESP and IBM invite interested researchers from public or private higher education or research institutions in the State of São Paulo to submit research proposals for funding under the cooperation agreement between FAPESP and IBM, and under the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth.

The purpose of this Call is to define the conditions for the submission of proposals for research projects that generate knowledge about cognitive computing described below.


This Call for Proposals invites research proposals on Cognitive Computing in the topics described below.

a) Background

IBM has been one of the world’s key companies in information technology since its founding in 1910, creating advancing technology and driving innovation in all kinds of businesses. A major component of this success has been its unabated support for basic science and technology research, including its IBM Research unit with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. Scientists from IBM Research have produced six Nobel Laureates, 10 U.S. National Medals of Technology, five U.S. National Medals of Science, six Turing Awards, 19 inductees in the National Academy of Sciences and 20 inductees into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2010 the IBM Research Brazil laboratory was founded with campuses in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, conducting advanced research in cognitive computing, big data analytics, optimization under uncertainty, and microfluidics with focus on industrial applications. IBM's cognitive computing business — which includes artificial intelligence, machine learning, algorithms and analytics — accounted for 35% of the company's $81 billion in revenue last year. It's the fastest-growing segment at IBM and is the main focus for IBM in terms of growth. Several hundred researchers work at IBM Research developing artificial intelligence, algorithms and the chip sets to support faster, more powerful self-learning systems.

FAPESP is a public foundation, funded by the taxpayer in the State of São Paulo, with the mission to support research projects in higher education and research institutions, in all fields of knowledge. The constitution of the State establishes that 1% of all state taxes belong to the foundation and the government transfers these funds monthly. The stability of the funding and the autonomy of the foundation allow for an efficient management of the resources that has had a sizable impact: while São Paulo has 22% of the Brazilian population and 30% of the scientists with a doctorate in the country, the state responds for 52% of the country’s scientific articles published in international journals. The Foundation works in close contact with the scientific community: all proposals are peer reviewed with the help of area panels composed of active researchers. FAPESP maintains cooperation agreements with national and international research funding agencies, higher educational and research institutions and industry. Since 1997, FAPESP supports projects in partnership with industries. FAPESP University-Industry Cooperative Research (PITE) is developed through partnerships among research institutions in the State of São Paulo and companies of any size for the development of new products with high technological content or new productive processes. The projects are carried out under the responsibility of a Principal Investigator, associated with higher education or research institutions in the State of São Paulo. The selection is through a peer-reviewing system.

b) Objectives

The themes of interest agreed by IBM and FAPESP for this call for research proposals are outlined below. There is a strong emphasis on Cognitive Computing, that is, computer systems that are able to process and integrate different kinds of data, learn at scale, reason with purpose, and interact with humans naturally.

1) Artificial intelligence theory and its applications to cognitive computing;

2) Natural language processing, understanding, and generation, including text and speech;

3) Knowledge representation, knowledge graphs, and ontologies;

4) Planning and common-sense reasoning;

5) Probabilistic reasoning, machine learning, and neural networks;

6) Image processing, and computer vision

7) Robotics and embodied cognition;

8) Interaction design and evaluation of cognitive computing systems;

9) Affective computing and persuasive technologies;

10) Visual analytics and visual comprehension;

11) Hardware and software accelerators for cognitive computing;

12) Big data analytics, including hardware and software acceleration;

13) Software platforms and middleware support for cognitive computing;

14) Related topics in artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics.


In order to qualify for this Call for Proposals in the FAPESP-IBM Agreement, the proponent must satisfy the following prerequisites:

a) Meet the conditions and terms of this CFP, including the completeness of documents, theme and budget adequacy.

b) Meet the conditions and restrictions of the FAPESP Program for Cooperative Research for Technological Innovation (PITE), described at, excluding those restrictions and conditions explicitly excepted in this CFP;

c) The proposals must be submitted by researchers from Higher Education or Research Institutions in the State of São Paulo.


FAPESP and IBM will fund proposals of up to R$ 200,000.00, including complementary benefits and provision for importation.

The total amount available for this CFP is US$ 500,000. FAPESP and IBM reserve the right to propose lower funding levels for projects and not to invest the entire amount for this particular call. The amount not used to fund proposals for this call will be used in future CFPs.

The appropriateness of the requested funding in relation to the proposal goals and qualification of the proposing team is a primary review consideration.

Project duration must be up to 2 years.


The researchers are required to comply with all applicable Laws, including anticorruption legislation, avoiding any kind of payment or gifts to third parties in exchange of favors, advantage, awards etc.

In respect to the United States of America export control regulation, researchers and other owners of the results of the project must acknowledge they are aware of the prohibition to export to the United States of America embargoed countries and citizens, wherever they are located, avoiding any licensing, sale, or somehow giving access to commodities, software and technology developed under this project (with the partial funds of IBM who is subject to the export control regulations) that may require specific U.S. Government export licenses to those countries.


It is desirable that the software resulting from the project be widely distributed as open source, when possible under the Apache License Version 2.0 (, and that the resulting data be made available for open access. The researchers must take into account special measures to deal with sensitive data, e.g. to accommodate legal and/or ethical restrictions on access to such data, provisions for privacy, security and others, when applicable.

The host institution and FAPESP, according to the provisions of FAPESP IP Policy, will own the Intellectual Property resulting from the project according to their institutional and FAPESP rules. IBM will have the right to later negotiate with the host institution and FAPESP the exploitation of the project results, according to the rules of the host institution and FAPESP.


The proposal should clearly state the problems and opportunities to be addressed and the potential impact if the research is successful. It should specifically address the quantifiable goals listed in this request for proposals and provide milestones reflecting the progress towards them.

Each proposal must contain the items described at the SAGe System, according to the instructions of Annex I (in Portuguese).

The list of documents that must be submitted is available at the SAGE System. The documents must be submitted in English, considering the following instructions.

FAPESP Curricular Summary , in English, for the PI and each Associate Researcher. Instructions for elaborating the Curricular Summary are available at

Research Team : List of all contributing researchers, in English. For each one, his or her role in the research project must be defined succinctly, as well as the weekly workload. Each participant must agree with his or her participation in the project via the SAGE system.

Research Proposal s must be written in English and have 12 to 14 pages (not including bibliography and budget), containing the following sections.

1. Cover page {1 page} . Title of the proposal, name(s) of author(s), contact information, name of university/research institute, funds requested.

2. Executive summary {1 page} . Define the problem/challenge that this research will address, the technical objectives, success criteria, and the proposed approach.

3. Relevance and impact claims {1-2 pages }. This section is the centerpiece of the proposal. It should succinctly describe the uniqueness and non-incremental benefits of the proposed objective and approach relative to the state-of-the-art and current approaches.

4. Detailed technical rationale, approach, and constructive plan {3-5 pages} . Details of the proposed research. Proposals should address key issues along one or more of the above research themes (or another topic still addressing program objectives and goals), and the rationale should include a basis of confidence for meeting the program objectives. Proposals should provide indication of how they intend to manage the data produced during the project (where the term “data” is taken on the large, and includes files, algorithms, software, samples, models, pedagogical material, and others).

5. Statement of work, schedule, milestones, success criteria and deliverables {2 pages} . Outline the scope of the effort including tasks to be performed, schedule, milestones, deliverables, and success criteria. It is understood that this is an exploratory research effort and schedules/deliverables reflect intentions rather than a firm commitment.

6. Proposal team {1-2 pages} . Describe the team member qualifications with respect to the research goals, their level of participation in the project, as well as previous experience in collaborative projects.

7. Other support {1 page} . List other contributions by the Host Institution to this project (cash, goods, or services), if any, but not including items such as the use of university facilities otherwise provided on an ongoing basis. Note that authors of selected proposals will be required to present an original letter on university letterhead signed by the director of the Host Institution certifying the commitment of any additional support.

9. Bibliography {unlimited}

Requested Fellowships {unlimited} . The proposed budget may include costs for Technical Training (TT), Scientific Initiation (IC), and Masters fellowships. The ending dates for each fellowship must be at or before the ending date of the project. For each requested fellowship, a work plan of two pages must be submitted together with the research proposal. Work plans must include: Title for the Fellowship research project, Problem/Challenge to be addressed, Methodology, and Expected Results. It is not necessary to nominate the holder of the fellowship. If the grant is approved, the Principal Investigator will be in charge of organizing a public selection process to select the appointees for the fellowships through a merit review process. TT fellowships must contain the information requested in

Requested budget description {unlimited} . Proposals must include a budget justifying each of the requested items, which can be any of the ones described in The budget must be up to R$ 200,000.00, including complementary benefits and provision for importation. The budget must include the total amount of the project. It is not necessary to separate the requested budget between FAPESP and IBM.

IMPORTANT: It is necessary to attach three quotes for each requested equipment expense (national or imported). If it is not possible to obtain the requested 3 quotes, please attach a clarification letter.


Proposals that are incomplete, inaccurate, that request funds in excess of the maximum award available (R$ 200,000.00), or are otherwise not responsive to the terms and conditions of this CFP will be excluded from consideration.

Proposals must be submitted via SAGE and will not be accepted by any other means.

No proposals will be accepted after the closing date for submission, nor will any addendum or explanation be accepted, unless those explicitly and formally requested by FAPESP or IBM.


All received proposals adherent to the terms of this Request for Proposals will be analyzed.

The selection process is based on merit review and comparative analysis. To this end, FAPESP will use reviewer reports and the Foundation’s Area and Supervising Panels.

The criteria used will be that applied to the selection of proposals in the FAPESP Program for Cooperative Research for Technological Innovation (PITE), with the addition of the analysis by the Joint Steering Committee for the FAPESP-IBM cooperation, which will include scientists from IBM Research.

Researchers who submitted proposals will not take part in the analysis and selection process.

The evaluation criteria for this solicitation are as follows:

a) Adherence to the terms of this CFP;

b) Novelty and Ambition of the proposed research project, as it relates to the goals of this CFP;

c) Qualification of the research project, in the specification of clear goals, milestones, and success criteria. Clarity of challenges to be overcome and the scientific, technical and material means and ways for this, in relation to the state-of-the-art in the Field, including interface definitions, testing methodology, and plans for experimental deployment;

d) Adequate existing institutional infrastructure, offered by the Hosting Institution;

e) Qualifications of Principal Investigator and his or her team, including previous history of work in areas relevant to this CFP, successful completion of previously funded projects, teaching awards, developed software, and publications, all of those items being demonstrated in the team members´ Curricular Summaries;

f) Ability to carry out the project, including the adequacy of available resources, institutional support, reasonableness of timelines, and number and qualifications of identified contributors. Encompasses the efficient use of requested resources and funding, and represent realistic results for the value invested;

g) Potential for scientific impact and wide dissemination and use of the intellectual property created, including specific plans for publications, conference presentations, web sites, open source code distribution, open data sets publication, as well as plans to distribute content in multiple formats or languages;

h) Education of human resources for research and innovation, as a result of the execution of the Project;

i) Potential for technological innovation. The extent to which the proposal’s problem formulation and key approaches are innovative, important, and relevant to the problem at hand. Novelty and ambition of the proposed research project, as it relates to the goals of this CFP. Potential for technological innovation as measured by comparisons with existing and competing technologies.

j) Potential contribution and relevance to IBM. The estimated degree to which proposals have a substantial potential for influencing the direction of IBM long term technology plans as well as the scientific and technological development of the State of São Paulo.




Launching of the CFP at FAPESP Web site


Last date for receiving proposals


Publication of results of the analysis and selection process



The results of the selection process will be announced at the FAPESP Web Site and via direct communication to the proponents.


For each research proposal selected, the relationship between FAPESP, IBM and the Principal Investigator Institution will be determined by an agreement defining:

a. Schedule of disbursements and financial reporting on the amounts disbursed;

b. Definition and timing of expected results at each stage of the project;

c. Intellectual property, confidentiality and possible exploitation of project results;

d. Term;

e. Legal venue.


The award may be cancelled by IBM and FAPESP by mutual agreement, in the event of justifiable cause, on the basis of evaluation by the Scientific Directors of FAPESP and IBM. Cancellation does not preclude other measures that might be deemed necessary.


If the application is approved, a Grant Contract will be made, which will be signed by the Principal Investigator and the Host Institution´s representative.

The results will be evaluated by progress reports and financial reports that should be submitted on the dates established in the Grant Contract.


By submitting an application under this CFP, applicants confirm that they have read, understood and agreed to the terms and conditions of the CFP and the conditions attached to any successful awards.


All questions related to this CFP must be directed to:

Please, put “CFP FAPESP-IBM” in the subject line of your e-mail to ensure a prompt and proper response.

Anexo I – Instruções específicas sobre o uso do SAGe

1. É necessário que o Pesquisador Responsável pela proposta seja cadastrado no sistema SAGe:

(i) Pesquisadores que não possuem cadastro no SAGe devem inicialmente realiza-lo acessando a página do SAGe no endereço , clicar em Sem cadastro? e preencher os dados solicitados. Não basta apenas cadastrar-se como usuário, é necessário completar os dados cadastrais;

(ii) Pesquisadores do Estado de São Paulo, já cadastrados, devem realizar o login no SAGe com identificação e senha usuais para acessar a página inicial do sistema.

2. Na página inicial, selecionar, dentre as opções do menu “Acesso Rápido – Atividades do Pesquisador”, o link Nova Proposta Inicial;

3. O sistema disponibilizará na página seguinte o menu “Incluir Proposta – Selecionar Linha de Fomento”, selecionar o link IBM Brasil - PITE / Chamada de Propostas (2016) em Chamadas Vigentes;

4. Selecionar a opção Chamada de Propostas (2016) e a partir daí incluir os dados solicitados em todas as abas, inclusive a lista de documentos a serem anexados;

5. Na aba “Dados Gerais do Projeto”> Instituições > Empresa Parceira, o pesquisador deve selecionar a opção incluir. Após clicar em Incluir, será exibida a tela de pesquisa. O pesquisador deve digitar no campo de busca “IBM Brasil”; clicar em Pesquisa e selecionar a empresa IBM Brasil - Indústria, Máquinas e Serviços Ltda./IBM

6. Atenção para a obrigatoriedade de preenchimento de todos itens marcados com “ * “. É necessário submeter o projeto ao final do preenchimento. Projeto salvo não significa projeto submetido;

7. No caso de dúvidas, na página inicial do SAGe pode ser usado o link Manuais e, na página Manuais, buscar esclarecimentos na lista Manuais de Apoio aos Pesquisadores.


Page updated on 07/14/2016 - Published on 07/11/2016