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Catalysis and Biocatalysis


Name Email Phone Room
Robert  McCabe rmccabe@nsf.gov (703) 292-4826   


Apply to PD 14-1401 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard Grant Proposal Guide proposal preparation guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide; A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines applies. (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide)

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 15-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after December 26, 2014. The PAPPG is consistent with, and, implements the new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) (2 CFR 200). Please be advised that the guidelines contained in NSF 15-1 apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Window:  October 1, 2015 - October 20, 2015

October 1 - October 20, Annually Thereafter


The goal of the Catalysis and Biocatalysis program is to drive innovation in the production of the myriad of goods and services that are derived from catalyst-driven reactions.  Research in this program encompasses a blend of fundamental, engineering research drivers that are interdisciplinary in nature.  Studies should focus on the catalysis of one or more use-inspired chemical reactions with products including fuels, energy, feedstocks, fine chemicals, bulk chemicals and specialized materials.  While proposals will be accepted in any of the above areas, an emphasis will be placed on proposals addressing the significant existing challenges in producing products for the service of mankind.

Proposals which receive funding in this program should include the following broad scopes:  catalyst synthesis, behavior and performance; kinetics and mechanisms of key catalytic reactions; catalysis at surfaces or in reactor process streams; synthesis and fabrication of component materials and catalyst composites; modeling and fundamental studies of a catalyst or catalytic process; and, catalyst performance assessment in relevant modes.

The future portfolio of catalysis projects will continue to emphasize:

  • Renewable energy-related catalysis: biomass conversion catalysis, electrocatalysis, and photocatalysis, involving energy interconversion devises or systems employing catalysts.
  • Catalytic activation and conversion of CO2, methane, and other C1 feedstocks (monetization of low value carbon).
  • Environmentally benign and sustainable catalytic chemical process alternatives.
  • Catalytic remediation of feedstocks, process streams, products or effluents.

Projects that are interdisciplinary in nature may be jointly funded with other CBET and NSF programs.

NOTE: Proposals centered on the enzymatic or inorganic catalysis aspect of the biomass or photocatalysis or electrocatalysis energy conversion process, or proposals that use catalysis as the main tool for interconversion, should be submitted to this program.  For proposals focusing on biological and genetic aspects, consider submitting to Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering (CBET 1491).  If the proposal focuses on the reaction engineering aspects of the interconversion, submit to Process and Reaction Engineering (CBET 1403).  If the emphasis is on the renewable energy system as a whole, or the sustainable aspects of renewable energy, submit to Energy for Sustainability (CBET 7644).  Keep in mind that the involved program directors will review the submissions and may transfer your proposal to give it the best review situation.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas can be considered.  However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years.  The typical award size for the program is around $110,000 per year.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review. 


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information. 

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here.  Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged.  Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program



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