Partnership in Basic Plasma Science and Engineering


NSF 97-39


The Directorates for Engineering, Geosciences, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation and the Office of Energy Research of the Department of Energy announce a joint initiative on basic research in plasma science and engineering. The goal of the initiative is to enhance plasma research and education in this broad, multidisciplinary field by coordinating efforts and combining resources from the two agencies.


Dynamic growth in new research areas, fostered by the development of new investigative techniques and tools, presents an unusual window of opportunity for fundamental studies in basic plasma science and engineering. At the same time, economic forces are driving the need for more fundamental knowledge as underpinning for the many applications of plasmas in modern technology. This initiative is a response to these emerging needs and opportunities.

The focus of this initiative is to address fundamental issues in plasma science and engineering which can have impact in other areas or disciplines in which improved basic understanding of the plasma state is needed. Proposals should discuss effective ways in which education and training is integrated within the research programs. Proposals related to fusion studies are not eligible. Some of the general research areas which are included are:

Funding for this initiative is derived from a coordination of existing resources from those programs within NSF that traditionally have supported research in basic plasma science and engineering, complemented by resources in the Office of Energy Research at DOE. Award sizes are anticipated to range from $25,000 to $200,000 per year with a duration of up to three years, depending upon the nature of the research activity. Subject to the availability of funds, the two agencies have designated approximately $13 million for a total of 25-30 awards in this competition.


Proposals may be submitted by individual investigators or small groups from universities and non-profit organizations. Synergistic collaborations among researchers and collaborations or partnerships with industry or government are encouraged when appropriate, though no funds will be provided to these organizations. The support of collaborations between university and industrial researchers can also utilize the mechanism of the GOALI Program (NSF 95-112). Due to the limited availability of funds, prospective applicants are strongly urged to contact one of the program officers listed at the end of this document for guidance. Only one proposal may be submitted by a Principal or Co-Principal Investigator.


All proposals are subject to the guidelines and review criteria of the National Science Foundation as described in the NSF publication: Grant Proposal Guide (GPG), NSF 95-27. The general review criteria specified in GPG are: (1) research performance competence, (2) intrinsic merit of the research, (3) utility or relevance of the research, and (4) effect of the research on the infrastructure of science and engineering. In addition to these basic criteria, proposals must clearly describe the integration of education and research and the impact of the research on other areas or disciplines in which improved basic understanding of the plasma state is needed.

Proposal review will be conducted jointly by a working group of program officers from NSF and the DOE offices involved in issuing the solicitation. The review process will involve a combination of mail and panel review, to determine intrinsic merit and broader impact.


The final award recommendations will be a joint decision of the working group. Grants may be funded totally by either agency or jointly between the two agencies. Grants will be administered by an agency determined by the working group and will be in accordance with the individual policies of the awarding agency. NSF grants will be administered in accordance with the terms and conditions of NSF GC-1, "Grant General Conditions," or FDP-II, "Federal Demonstration Project General Terms and Conditions," depending on the grantee organization. More comprehensive information on the administration of NSF grants is contained in the Grant Policy Manual (NSF 95-26). DOE grants will be administered in accordance with the policies and procedures contained in the Application Guide for the Office of Energy Research Financial Assistance Program and 10 CFR Part 605.


One-page Abstracts of all proposals to be submitted in response to this initiative must be sent by email to no later than February 28, 1997. The Abstract must contain: the title, a brief description of the research, the name of the Principal Investigator and any Co- Principal Investigators, and the name of the institution(s).

Proposals submitted in response to this Announcement must be prepared in accordance with the instructions provided in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) (NSF 95-27). Proposals must reference this program announcement (NSF 97-39) on the cover page. Submissions must include the proposal, bearing original signatures and institutional approval, together with 15 copies, and should be addressed as follows: Announcement No. NSF 97-39, National Science Foundation PPU, 4201 Wilson Boulevard - Room P60, Arlington, VA 22230. Proposals must be received at NSF no later than March 21, 1997. Page limitation guidelines will be strictly adhered to.

Single copies of the GPG brochure and other NSF publications referenced in this announcement are available at no cost from: NSF Forms and Publications Unit, 4201 Wilson Boulevard - Room P15, Arlington, VA 22230; telephone 703-306-1130; email: The NSF publications may also be accessed through the NSF web page at: (Info and Pubs).


Questions concerning this joint program should be addressed,
preferably via email, to the following NSF or DOE staff:

Dr. Ronald McKnight
Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, OER/DOE

Dr. Barry Schneider
Division of Physics, MPS/NSF

Dr. Virginia Ayres
Division of Electrical and Communications Systems, ENG/NSF

Dr. Richard Behnke
Division of Atmospheric Sciences, GEO/NSF

Dr. Odile de la Beaujardiere
Office of Polar Programs, NSF

Dr. Farley Fisher
Division of Chemical and Transport Systems, ENG/NSF

Dr. Jorn Larsen-Basse
Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems, ENG/NSF

Dr. Jay Lee
Division of Design, Manufacture, and Industrial Innovation, ENG/NSF

Dr. C. Denise Caldwell
Division of Physics, MPS/NSF

Dr. LaVerne Hess
Division of Materials Research, MPS/NSF

Dr. Vernon Pankonin
Division of Astronomical Sciences, MPS/NSF

Dr. Michael Steuerwalt
Division of Mathematical Sciences, MPS/NSF

Dr. Frank Wodarczyk
Division of Chemistry, MPS/NSF


The National Science Foundation provides awards for research in the sciences and engineering. The awardee is wholly responsible for the conduct of such research and preparation of the results for publication. The Foundation, therefore, does not assume responsibility for the research findings or their interpretation.

The Foundation welcomes proposals from all qualified scientists and engineers and strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to compete fully in any of the research related programs described here. In accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and NSF policies, no person on grounds of race, color, age, sex, national origin, or disability shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from the National Science Foundation.

Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities (FASED) provide funding for special assistance or equipment to enable persons with disabilities (investigators and other staff, including student research assistants) to work on NSF projects. See the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (NSF 95-27) or contact the program coordinator at 703- 306-1636.


The information requested on proposal forms is solicited under the authority of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, as amended. It will be used in connection with the selection of qualified proposals and may be disclosed to qualified reviewers and staff assistants as part of the review process; to applicant institutions/grantees; to provide or obtain data regarding the application review process, award decisions, or the administration of awards; to government contractors, experts, volunteers, and researchers as necessary to complete assigned work; and to other government agencies in order to coordinate programs. See Systems of Records, NSF-50, ~Principal Investigator/Proposal File and Associated Records,~ 60 Federal Register 4449 (January 23, 1995), and NSF-51, ~Reviewer/Proposal File and Associated Records,~ 59 Federal Register 8031 (February 17, 1994). Submission of the information is voluntary. Failure to provide full and complete information, however, may reduce the possibility of your receiving an award.

Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 120 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Herman G. Fleming, Reports Clearance Officer, Contracts, Policy, and Oversight, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230.

The National Science Foundation has TDD (Telephonic Device for the Deaf) capability, which enables individuals with hearing impairment to communicate with the Foundation about NSF programs, employment, or general information. To access NSF TDD dial 703-306-0090; for FIRS, 1-800-877-8339.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance:
47.041 - Engineering
47.049 - Mathematical and Physical Sciences
47.050 - Geosciences
47.050 - Office of Polar Programs
81.049 - Basic Energy Sciences-University and Science Education

OMB 3145-0058
P.T. 34
KW 0505000, 0600000, 1001000, 1003000, 1009000, 1010000,
1013000, 10150000

NSF 97-39
(Electronic Dissemination Only)