Skip to main content
Email Print Share

Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems  (NSF-NCS)  Crosscutting Programs

NSF-NCS Webinar Event

The presentation, audio file, and transcript are now available at: They are at the bottom under Public Attachments.


Name Dir/Div Name Dir/Div
Catherine  Arrington SBE/BCS  Alumit  Ishai SBE/BCS 
Admela  Jukan CISE/CNS  Mitra  Basu CISE/CCF 
Alexander  Leonessa ENG/CBET  Héctor  Muñoz-Avila CISE/IIS 
Laura  Namy SBE/BCS  Aude  Oliva CISE/IIS 
Gregg  Solomon EHR/DRL  Betty  K. Tuller SBE/BCS 
Amy  Walton CISE/ACI  Kenneth  Whang CISE/IIS 
Mona  Zaghloul ENG/ECCS    

General inquiries regarding this program should be made to: 


Solicitation  16-508

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


The complexities of brain and behavior pose fundamental questions in many areas of science and engineering, drawing intense interest across a broad spectrum of disciplinary perspectives while eluding explanation by any one of them. Rapid advances within and across disciplines are leading to an increasingly interconnected fabric of theories, models, empirical methods and findings, and educational approaches, opening new opportunities to understand complex aspects of neural and cognitive systems through integrative multidisciplinary approaches.

This program calls for innovative, integrative, boundary-crossing proposals that can best capture those opportunities. NSF seeks proposals that are bold, risky, and transcend the perspectives and approaches typical of single-discipline research efforts. This cross-directorate program is one element of NSF’s broader effort directed at Understanding the Brain, a multi-year activity that includes NSF’s participation in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative ( NSF envisions a connected portfolio of transformative, integrative projects that create synergistic links across investigators and communities, yielding novel ways of tackling the challenges of understanding the brain in action and in context.

In this second phase of the program, Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems is open to proposals to advance the foundations of one or more of the integrative research themes described below. Two of the themes are continued from FY15: Neuroengineering and Brain-Inspired Concepts and Designs, and Individuality and Variation. Two additional themes for FY16 are Cognitive and Neural Processes in Realistic, Complex Environments; and Data-Intensive Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. Within each theme, advances in theory and methods, technological innovations, educational approaches, research infrastructure, and workforce development are all of significant interest. Proposals must be consistent with the missions of the participating directorates. High-risk, high-payoff approaches are expected. Proposals must directly address risks and how they will be managed, potentially transformative payoffs, and the relationship between the risks and rewards at stake.

The program will consider two classes of proposals. INTEGRATIVE FOUNDATIONS awards (CISE, EHR, ENG, SBE) will support projects that develop foundational advances that are deeply connected to a broad scope of important research questions in neural and cognitive systems, and have significant potential for transformative advances in one or more of the integrative thematic areas. CORE+ SUPPLEMENTS (CISE, EHR, ENG) will provide additional support to new or existing projects in the participating directorates, to enable additional activities that will connect those projects to significant new integrative opportunities in neural and cognitive systems.


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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program