This document has been archived. For current NSF funding opportunities, see
Division of Design, Manufacture, and Industrial Innovation
The Division of Design, Manufacture,
and Industrial Innovation (DMII) supports fundamental academic research
in design, manufacturing, and industrial engineering. DMII also manages
crosscutting industrial innovation programs that encompass major components
Technological advances, increasing global competition, and the Internet
have combined to make today’s manufacturing activities increasingly
integrative, such that the distinction between “manufacturing” and “service” has
become blurred. The mission of the Engineering Design and Manufacture research
programs is to address this rapidly changing environment; the challenge
it poses to the Nation’s economic well-being; the expanding opportunities
of the emerging service sector; and the need for an educated technical workforce
for the manufacturing and service enterprises of the future.
To address this mission, DMII identifies and supports fundamental research
on issues that span the areas supported within the Engineering Directorate—from
design to manufacturing to service. These areas include size scales from
the “nano” environment that will drive tomorrow’s manufacturing
processes to the “macro” or global enterprise scale that defines
the production systems of the traditional manufacturing sector and extends
into the growing service sector of the future. DMII-funded research includes
an emphasis on environmentally benign manufacturing and a sustainable industrial
economy, and seeks to address those fundamental issues that will deepen
our understanding of the processes and systems that comprise modern design,
manufacturing, and service enterprises and benefit society. The Division
maintains a commitment to the integration of research and education and
the education of a diverse engineering workforce that will be responsive
to the needs of industrial and service enterprises.
The former focuses on the mathematical aspects of design, service, and
enterprise systems; the latter addresses the physical aspects of materials
and manufacturing processes.
DMII's Industrial Innovation Programs support small business and
organizational innovation research as well as programs that seek collaboration
with industry. These programs are crosscutting and span all areas supported
by the Engineering Directorate and many other parts of NSF.
Decision Systems Cluster
The Engineering Decision Systems Cluster provides funding for fundamental
research on theory and methods that guide and support decisions about the
design and operation of products and enterprise systems. The programs are
distinguished by their focus on methods that:
- are founded in mathematics,
statistics, decision sciences, economics, and information technology, as
opposed to the natural and social sciences;
- address the prescriptive derivation of preferred choice, as opposed
to descriptive characterization of scientific and engineering phenomena.
Much of the research is computational and/or exploits capabilities of
the Internet but development of commercial software or networks is not supported.
Similarly, incorporation of the research into educational programs is encouraged,
but supported projects must have significant research content.
1. Engineering Design (ED)
Focuses on fundamental theory and general-purpose tools for conceptualization
and description of engineered products and systems, including analysis of
alternatives and selection of preferred choices. The program embraces a
holistic view of design that recognizes that choices are best made in a
total-system, life-cycle context. ED does not support the design of specific
products or systems, but instead seeks novel advances in generic design
theory and methodology.
2. Operations Research (OR)
Is concerned with generic tools for modeling and optimization of engineering
design, manufacturing, and service enterprise operations. Emphasis is on
improving basic analytical and computational techniques, especially where
their potential for impact on relevant engineering and operations management
problems is apparent.
3. Manufacturing Enterprise Systems (MES)
Addresses research that is focused on design, planning, and control of
operations in manufacturing enterprises, including the associated procurement
and distribution supply chains. Contributions should extend the range of
analytical and computational techniques applicable to these enterprise operations
and advance novel models that offer policy insight or the prospect of implementable
solutions. Research in MES is typically performed with the guidance or collaboration
of appropriate industrial partners.
4. Service Enterprise Engineering (SEE)
Addresses engineering issues particular to the service sector. Contributions
should extend the range of analytical and computational techniques addressed
to service enterprise operations and advance novel models offering policy
insight or the prospect of implementable solutions. However, the measurement
and conceptualization of service processes as engineered systems may themselves
represent a contribution in some applications. Research in SEE is typically
performed with the guidance or collaboration of appropriate industrial partners.
Processes And Equipment Systems Cluster
The manufacturing enterprise requires the integration of appropriate
scientific, engineering, and mathematics disciplines with design objectives
within a systems framework where the desired outcome is a viable product
or service. Product realization, integrated product and process development
(IPPD), and concurrent engineering are all aspects of the manufacturing
enterprise. The drivers for the manufacturing enterprise are the economic,
energy, and environmental issues that define viability in terms of cost,
delivery, and performance. The major developments in manufacturing during
the past 30 years include computer-integrated manufacturing; automation
in robotics and flexible manufacturing systems for lean and agile manufacturing;
artificial intelligence and Internet-based systems for distributed manufacturing;
quality assurance; net shape processes; additive, layered, and beam processing,
including solid freeform fabrication and surface modification; and open-architecture
manufacturing systems. However, research is needed in order to make macro-,
meso-, micro-, and nanomanufacturing more productive, predictable, efficient,
economical, environmentally benign, and globally competitive.
The goals of the Manufacturing Processes and Equipment Systems
- to support research that will advance our understanding of
the manufacturing processes, machine tools, and systems within the broad
scope of unit manufacturing processes; and
- to bring about manufacturing
innovations that have an impact on the economy and society.
The cluster emphasizes research that employs a blend of analytical, computational,
and experimental efforts to address three key research issues: predictability,
producibility, and productivity. These issues are key to enhancing performance,
efficiency, quality, and the reduction/elimination of adverse environmental
effects in manufacturing to make U.S. industries globally competitive.
1. Manufacturing Machines and Equipment (MME)
Focuses on generating the fundamental knowledge for building next-generation
machines and equipment and their applications for materials processing,
parts manufacture, assembly, inspection, and other operations. It supports
theoretical and experimental research in mechanism, surface integrity, monitoring
and control, metrology, part fixturing, environmental effects, performance,
and productivity improvements related to micro-, meso-, and macromachining
processes and manufacturing equipment.
2. Materials Processing and Manufacturing
Supports the innovation of novel manufacturing processes and methodologies
for making useful products from new and recycled materials through the understanding
and control of the behavior of materials during processing. Typical research
activities include the net shape processing of metals, ceramics, polymers,
and composite materials. The program does not support research in the processing
of semiconductor materials such as Si and GaAs.
3. Nanomanufacturing (NM)
Supports innovative, fundamental research in the science and technology
of nanostructured materials, components, and systems leading to potential
breakthroughs in the manufacturability of new industrial products or enabling
useful services and new applications. Emphasis is on theoretical and experimental
research that addresses the underlying necessities for predictability, producibility,
and productivity in manufacturing at the nanoscale.
1. Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Offers opportunities and incentives for creative small businesses that
are involved in science, engineering, education, or technology to conduct
innovative, high-risk research on important scientific and technical problems.
Research supported by the SBIR Program should have significant potential
for commercialization and public benefit. This three-phase program offers
incentives for converting federally supported research carried out in Phases
I and II into commercial application in Phase III, which is funded by private
2. Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
Links entrepreneurs with the academic research community and encourages
commercialization of government-funded research by the private sector. Proposals
submitted to the STTR Program must have small-business principal investigators,
but up to 60 percent of STTR funding may be used to support university subcontracts
necessary to assist in the commercialization of research products by the
small business firm. STTR is a three-phase program that offers incentives
for converting research done in Phases I and II to commercial application
in Phase III, which is funded by private capital. The difference between
SBIR and STTR is in the requirements for partnership of the small business
sector with the academic community.
3. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison
with Industry (GOALI)
This initiative aims to encourage industry/university partnerships by
making funds available for the support of an eclectic mix of industry/university
linkages. Specifically, GOALI provides support (1) to conduct research and
gain experience with production processes in an industrial setting; (2)
for industry scientists and engineers to bring industry's perspective and
integrative skills to academe; and (3) for interdisciplinary industry/university
teams to conduct long-term projects. GOALI supports faculty, postdoctoral
fellows, and students in developing creative modes of collaborative interaction
with industry through individual or small-group projects, and supports industry-based
fellowships for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. GOALI targets
high-risk, high-gain research that focuses on fundamental topics that would
not have been undertaken by industry, and supports the development of innovative,
collaborative, industry/university educational programs and the direct transfer
of new knowledge between academe and industry.
4. Innovation and Organizational Change (IOC)
Seeks to create and apply fundamental new knowledge with the aim of improving
the effectiveness of the design, administration, and management of organizations,
including industrial, educational, service, government, and nonprofit and
voluntary organizations. The program encourages dissemination of knowledge
gained from research to organizations and institutions that can design and
implement improvements based on what has been learned. The Directorates
for Engineering; Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; and Education
and Human Resources jointly support IOC. The program places a priority on
investigator-initiated research that advances our understanding of the fundamental
processes and structures of organizations in a variety of institutional
contexts. Prospective IOC research might draw on or include organizational
behavior and theory, industrial engineering, industrial/organizational psychology,
organizational sociology, and public administration and management science.
Proposers should work with partner organizations in business, nonprofits,
governmental agencies, and educational institutions.