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Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences


Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems  (NCS)


Important information for FRONTIERS proposers

The deadline for letters of intent has been changed from December 15 to December 18, 2020. Letters of intent are required for FRONTIERS proposals.


CONTACTS
Name Email Phone Room
NCS  Program Team ncs@nsf.gov (703) 292-5149   


PROGRAM GUIDELINES

Solicitation  21-517

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after June 1, 2020. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 20-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


DUE DATES

Letter of Intent Deadline Date

    December 18, 2020

        Required only for FRONTIERS proposals, FY 2021 competition

Full Proposal Deadline Date

    February 15, 2021

        FOUNDATIONS and FRONTIERS proposals, FY 2021 competition


SYNOPSIS

The complexities of brain and behavior pose fundamental questions in many areas of science and engineering, drawing intense interest across a broad spectrum of disciplinary perspectives while eluding explanation by any one of them. Rapid advances within and across disciplines are leading to an increasingly interwoven fabric of theories, models, empirical methods and findings, and educational approaches, opening new opportunities to understand complex aspects of neural and cognitive systems through integrative multidisciplinary approaches.

This program calls for innovative, convergent, boundary-crossing proposals that can best capture those opportunities and map out new research frontiers. NSF seeks proposals that pursue high-value scientific and technical risks by transcending the perspectives and approaches typical of disciplinary research efforts. This cross-directorate program is one element of NSF’s participation in the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative (http://www.nsf.gov/brain/). NSF envisions a connected portfolio of transformative, integrative projects that create synergistic links across investigators and communities, yielding novel ways of tackling the challenges of understanding the brain in action and in context.

This solicitation extends the NCS program for three years, from FY2021 through FY2023, including biennial competitions for the FRONTIERS proposal class.

The program focuses on four aspects of neural and cognitive systems that are current targets of converging interdisciplinary interests. NCS projects must advance the foundations of one or more of these focus areas, as described further within the solicitation:

  1. Neuroengineering and Brain-Inspired Concepts and Designs
  2. Individuality and Variation
  3. Cognitive and Neural Processes in Realistic, Complex Environments
  4. Data-Intensive Neuroscience and Cognitive Science

Proposals must address both risk and reward: high-risk, high-payoff approaches are expected. Proposals must also go beyond the scope of any NSF core program, or they will not be considered responsive to this solicitation.

NCS will consider two classes of proposals. FOUNDATIONS awards will support high-risk, high-payoff projects that advance the foundations of one or more NCS focus areas. FRONTIERS awards (FY2021 and FY2023 competitions only) will support ambitious, highly integrative, interdisciplinary projects that advance and connect multiple integrative research threads to tackle challenges that would be intractable without a high level of collaboration and coordination.

Community-driven efforts such as workshops or synthesis papers are also encouraged, to map out new frontiers at the interface of neuroscience and other disciplines that could reshape brain research and its applications.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS


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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program

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