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Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems
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Important Information for Proposers
A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.
The Catalysis program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which also includes 1) Electrochemical Systems; 2) Molecular Separations; and 3) Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics.
The goal of the Catalysis program is to advance research in catalytic engineering science and promote fundamental understanding and the development of catalytic materials and reactions that are of benefit to society. Research in this program should focus on new basic understanding of catalytic materials and reactions, utilizing synthetic, theoretical, and experimental approaches. Target applications include fuels, specialty and bulk chemicals, environmental catalysis, biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals, conversion of greenhouse gases, and generation of solar hydrogen, as well as efficient routes to energy utilization.
Heterogeneous catalysis represents the main thrust of the program. Proposals related to both gas-solid and liquid-solid heterogeneous catalysis are welcome, as are proposals that incorporate concepts from homogeneous catalysis.
Topic areas that are of particular interest include:
- Renewable energy-related catalysis with applications in electrocatalysis, photocatalysis, and catalytic conversion of biomass-derived chemicals. Catalysis aimed at closing the carbon cycle (especially conversion of CO2, methane, and natural gas to fuels and chemical intermediates).
- Catalytic alternatives to traditionally non-catalytic reaction processes, as well as new catalyst designs for established catalytic processes.
- Environmental catalysis (including energy-efficient and green routes to fuels and chemicals).
- Catalytic remediation of feedstocks, process streams, products, or effluents.
- Commercially scalable methods of catalyst synthesis.
- New catalytic materials and architectures (especially those substituting earth-abundant materials for precious and noble metal catalysts).
- Basic understanding of catalytic materials, reaction pathways, kinetics, and surface mechanisms.
- Durable, poison-resistant, and easily regenerable catalyst formulations and designs.
- Advances in tools for catalyst characterization and theoretical/computational catalysis.
Proposals that deal with new catalytic materials, especially materials for photocatalysts, with their inherent complexity, will be enhanced by including plans to assess: 1) reproducibility and repeatability of data, 2) stability under realistic operating conditions including start-up and shut-down cycles, 3) performance relative to standard or well-known reference materials, and 4) quantitative, well-accepted measures of catalyst activity and catalytic efficiency, such as turnover frequencies and turnover numbers, quantum and/or photon yields of photocatalysts, and detailed product analyses and mass balances for the targeted application.
Proposals focused on biocatalytic processes, including proposals focusing on enzyme engineering, cellular and biomolecular processes, should now be submitted to the Cellular and Biochemical Engineering program (CBET 1491). Projects that are interdisciplinary in nature may be jointly funded with other CBET and NSF programs.
NOTE: If the proposal focuses on reaction engineering aspects of catalytic processes, submit to Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics program (CBET 1403). Respectively, program directors will review the submissions and may transfer your proposal to give it the best review situation.
Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.
The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year with allowance for up to $150,000 per year for collaborative projects or those involving multiple investigators. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.
INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS
Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.
Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information.
Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.
Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.
COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.