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Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation

The NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program (EFRI) provides critical, strategic support of fundamental discovery at the frontiers of engineering research and education. These investments represent transformative opportunities, potentially leading to:

  • new areas for fundamental or applied research;
  • new industries or capabilities that result in a leadership position for the country;
  • and/or significant progress on a recognized national need or grand challenge.

To identify promising future research opportunities, the EFRI program seeks continual input from the engineering community. This input comes from workshops, advisory committees, technical meetings, professional societies, proposals and awards, and NSF committees of visitors, as well as from periodic calls for EFRI topic ideas.

From this comprehensive input, the Engineering Directorate identifies, evaluates, and prioritizes those frontier topics that best match the EFRI criteria:

  • holds potential for transformative outcomes,
  • addresses a national need or grand challenge,
  • involves multi- or interdisciplinary research,
  • includes a community who is poised to respond, and
  • offers a clear leadership role for Engineering.

Read the FY 2017 EFRI program summary and solicitation for requirements, contacts, and instructions.

EFRI Topics and Project Descriptions

FY 2016
Advancing Communication Quantum Information Research in Engineering (ACQUIRE)
New Light and Acoustic Wave Propagation: Breaking reciprocity and time-reversal symmetry (NewLAW)

FY 2015
2-Dimensional Atomic-layer Research and Engineering (2-DARE)

FY 2014
2-Dimensional Atomic-layer Research and Engineering (2-DARE)

FY 2013
Flexible Bioelectronics Systems (BioFlex)
Origami Design for Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI)
Photosynthetic Biorefineries (PSBR)

FY 2012
Flexible Bioelectronics Systems (BioFlex)
Origami Design for Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation (ODISSEI)
Photosynthetic Biorefineries (PSBR)

FY 2011
Engineering New Technologies Based on Multicellular and Inter-kingdom Signaling (MIKS)
Mind, Machines, and Motor Control (M3C)

FY 2010
Renewable Energy Storage (RESTOR)
Science in Energy and Environmental Design (SEED)

FY 2009
BioSensing and BioActuation: Interface of Living and Engineering Systems (BSBA)
Hydrocarbons from Biomass (HyBi)

FY 2008
Cognitive Optimization and Prediction: From Neural Systems to Neurotechnology (COPN)
Resilient and Sustainable Infrastructure (RESIN)

FY 2007
Autonomously Reconfigurable Engineered Systems Enabled by Cyberinfrastructure (ARES)
Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE)