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Geography and Spatial Sciences Program  (GSS)

Important Notice

The standing programs in SBE (including MMS, Economics, Sociology, and GSS) no longer will be accepting Census Research Data Center (RDC) proposals into the programs for review.  NSF expects to issue a separate solicitation for Census RDCs during Fiscal Year 2015.  Interested investigators are encouraged to check the NSF website for updates.

Notice Regarding Two Solicitations for GSS

Effective on February 19, 2014, the NSF Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program replaced its single solicitation with two solicitations.

This page and the solicitation highlighted below should be used by individuals and groups interested in submitting proposals for regular research project awards; for awards for conferences, workshops, group-travel support, and community-development or community-serving activities; and for research coordination network (RCN) awards.  The solicitation below also contains additional information for individuals planning to submit Faculty Early-Career Development (CAREER) proposals to GSS.

The second solicitation provides information for doctoral students and their advisors planning to submit Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) proposals to GSS.  That solicitation may be accessed via http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503621.


Name Email Phone Room
Thomas  J. Baerwald-Program Director tbaerwal@nsf.gov (703) 292-7301   
Holly  Hapke - Program Director hhapke@nsf.gov (703) 292-8457   
Sunil  Narumalani - Pgm Director snarumal@nsf.gov (703) 292-4995   
Don  Rimon-Program Assistant drimon@nsf.gov (703) 292-2960   

For all general inquiries to the GSS program, please email gss-info@nsf.gov.  This email will reach all current GSS program officers and one of them will reply to you.


Solicitation  14-537

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.


Full Proposal Deadline Date:  September 1, 2016

Proposal-submission deadline

First Thursday in September, Annually Thereafter

The GSS conducts three competitions annually:

The deadlines for submission of full proposals for Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) awards are the second Thursday in February and the second Thursday in August.  (Note that there now is a separate solicitation for DDRI proposals to be submitted to GSS.)

The deadline for submission of full proposals for regular research project awards; for awards for conferences, workshops, group-travel support, and community-development or community-serving activities; and for research coordination network (RCN) awards is the first Thursday in September.  (Note that the solicitation for submission of these proposals now is separate from the solicitation for DDRI proposals to be submitted to GSS.  Information about the submission of DDRI proposals to GSS is accessible at:  http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503621&org=SBE&from=home.

GSS also considers proposals for Faculty Early-Career Development (CAREER) awards, but the deadline for submission of those proposals is specified in the CAREER solicitation.  This deadline normally is in the latter half of July annually.  (Note that a few specific points regarding submission of CAREER proposals to GSS are included in this solicitation.)


As specified in the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program strategic plan, the goals of the NSF Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program are:

  • To promote scientific research in geography and the spatial sciences that advances theory and basic understanding and that addresses the challenges facing society.
  • To promote the integration of geographers and spatial scientists in interdisciplinary research.
  • To promote education and training of geographers and spatial scientists in order to enhance the capabilities of current and future generations of researchers.
  • To promote the development and use of scientific methods and tools for geographic research.
The Geography and Spatial Sciences Program sponsors research on the geographic distributions and interactions of human, physical, and biotic systems on Earth. Investigators are encouraged to propose plans for research about the nature, causes, and consequences of human activity and natural environmental processes across a range of scales. Projects on a variety of topics qualify for support if they offer promise of contributing to scholarship by enhancing geographical knowledge, concepts, theories, methods, and their application to societal problems and concerns.

GSS provides support through a number of different funding mechanisms:

  • Regular research awards
  • Doctoral dissertation research improvement (DDRI) awards
  • Faculty early-career development (CAREER) awards
  • Awards for conferences, workshops, group-travel support, and community-development or community-serving activities
  • Research coordination network (RCN) awards
  • Rapid-response research (RAPID) awards
  • Early-concept grants for exploratory research (EAGER) and other special kinds of award mechanisms established by NSF may be supported in rare and unusual cases.  (GSS strives to be open to ideas and approaches in early stages of development and emphasizes the potential longer-term significance of new lines of inquiry as part of its merit evaluation of all proposals.)

Two different solicitations now provide information about proposals to be submitted for consideration by GSS.

One solicitation focuses on providing instruction for submission of proposals for regular research awards; proposals for awards for conferences, workshops, group-travel support, and community-development or community-serving activities; proposals for research coordination network (RCN) awards; and proposals for rapid-response research (RAPID) awards.

Proposals for doctoral dissertation research improvement (DDRI) awards are described in a separate solicitation (accessible via http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf14538).  Note that there are different proposal submission deadlines for DDRI proposals submitted to GSS.  Note also that there now are special eligibility requirements for doctoral students submitting DDRI proposals to GSS.

Proposals for faculty early-career development (CAREER) awards should submit proposals in accordance with the CAREER solicitation (accessible at http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503214).


GSS Strategic Plan, 2011-2015

Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program

Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Opportunities

Other Programs in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)

Programs in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)

Opportunities Managed by the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA)

Programs in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)

Programs in the Division of Earth Sciences (EAR)

Programs in the Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS)

Programs in the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)

Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21) Opportunities

NSF Strategic Plan, 2012-2016



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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program



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