NSF Announces Pathways to Enable Open Source Ecosystems

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has launched a new initiative called “Pathways to Enable Open-Source Ecosystems” (POSE), which will “harness the power of open source development for the creation of new technology solutions to problems of national and societal importance.”

The POSE program specifically aims to:

  • Grow the community of researchers who develop and contribute to open source ecosystems efforts.
  • Enable pathways to transition mature open source research projects into self-sustaining ecosystems that could lead to new technology products or services with broad societal impacts.

The program, however, is not intended to fund the development of open source research products or existing well-resourced open source communities and ecosystems. “Instead, the program aims to fund new managing organizations that catalyze community-driven development and growth of the subject open source ecosystems.”

According to the program description, proposals are sought in two phases, which will allow organizations to:

  1. Propose specific activities to scope the development of an open source ecosystem. (Deadline: May 12, 2022)
  2. Develop a sustainable open source ecosystem based on a mature open source product that shows promise both in the ability to meet an emergent societal or national need and to build a community to help develop it. (Deadline: October 21, 2022)

The document additionally outlines various factors to consider in building an open source ecosystem, including: 

  • The guiding principles and vision of the team 
  • The specific open source product being developed 
  • The current market demand for the product
  • The need for adaptability and flexibility in deployment scenarios 
  • A distributed community of contributors who will drive the collaborative development of the technology
  • A community of users who will serve as early adopters of the technology