This document has been archived. For current NSF funding opportunities, see
for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences
Submission of Proposals to the BCS Division
All programs in the BCS Division consider proposals for research projects,
conferences, and workshops. Some programs also consider proposals for
doctoral dissertation improvement, the acquisition of specialized research
and computing equipment, and large-scale data collection.
BCS conducts special initiatives and competitions on a number of topics,
such as cognitive neuroscience, children’s research, human origins,
and environmental, social, and behavioral sciences. In addition, BCS
participates in a number of Foundation-wide crosscutting activities,
such as Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT)
and Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic
Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE).
• Anthropological And Geographic Sciences Cluster
1. Archaeology and Archaeometry
Supports archaeological research
that contributes to an anthropological understanding of the past. Both
fieldwork and non-fieldwork are eligible for support. Through a special
archaeometry competition, the program offers support for laboratories
that provide data of anthropological significance and also for the development
of new techniques.
2. Cultural Anthropology
Supports basic research on the causes
and consequences of crosscultural and intracultural variation as such
research broadens or refines anthropological theory. In an effort to
enhance the quality of students’ field research in graduate programs,
the program offers various awards for the support of field training and
collaborative research of students and faculty. Scholars’ Awards
in Methodological Training for Cultural Anthropologists are offered for
senior researchers who wish to upgrade their research skills by learning
a particular analytical technique.
3. Geography and Regional Science
Supports basic research on
the causes and consequences of geographical differences in economic,
social, cultural, and physical phenomena, including interactions among
places and regions and interrelations between human activities and the
natural environment. Projects on a variety of domestic and overseas
topics that will enhance geographical theory, geographical methods, and
applications qualify for support.
4. Physical Anthropology
Supports basic research in areas that
relate to human evolution and contemporary human variation. Research
areas supported by the program include human genetic variation, human
adaptation, human osteology, human origins, human paleontology, primate
functional anatomy, and primate behavior.
Psychological, and Language Sciences Cluster
1. Developmental and Learning Sciences
Supports research on cognitive,
social, and biological processes related to child and adolescent learning
in formal and informal settings. Priorities are to support research on
learning and development that incorporates multidisciplinary, multimethod,
microgenetic, and longitudinal approaches; develops new methods and theories;
examines transfer of knowledge from one domain to another; assesses peer
relations, family interactions, social identities, and motivation; examines
the impact of family, school, and community resources; assesses adolescents’ preparation
for entry into the workforce; and investigates the role of culture in
children’s learning and development.
2. Perception, Action, and Cognition
Supports research on cognition,
perception, and action, including the development of these capacities.
Emphasis is on research strongly grounded in theory. Research topics
include vision, audition, haptics, attention, memory, reasoning, written
and spoken discourse, motor control, and developmental issues in all
topic areas. The program encompasses a wide range of theoretical perspectives,
such as symbolic computation, connectionism, ecological, nonlinear dynamics,
and complex systems, and a variety of methodologies including both experimental
studies and modeling. Research involving acquired or developmental deficits
is appropriate if the results speak to basic issues of cognition, perception,
Supports theoretically informed research on human
language. The program encompasses a wide range of theoretical perspectives
and a variety of methods, including experimental studies and computational
modeling. Research topics include the properties of individual languages
and of language in general; language acquisition; the cognitive processes
involved in the use of language; social and cultural factors in language
use; language variation and change; acoustic, articulatory, and perceptual
study of speech; and the neurological bases of language. Program awards
have also supported the development of lexicons, corpora, databases,
and other resources for the language sciences. In addition to regular
research proposals, the program accepts proposals for doctoral dissertation
research; conferences, workshops, and symposia; group travel to international
conferences; and Small Grants for Exploratory Research.
4. Social Psychology
Supports research on human social behavior,
including cultural influences and lifespan social development. Research
topics include aggression; altruism; attitude formation and change;
attitudes and behavior; attributional processes; emotion; environmental
group decision-making, performance, and process; intergroup relations;
interpersonal attraction and relations; nonverbal communication; person
perception; personality processes; prejudice; the self; social comparison;
social cognition; social influence; and stereotyping.
5. Cognitive Neuroscience
Supports neuroscientific research on
cognitive, perceptual, linguistic, developmental, affective, and social
processes, including developmental and computational modeling approaches.
Priorities of the program are to support collaborative research and
to enhance training at all levels of professional development.