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Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics
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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.
The Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which also includes 1) Catalysis; 2) Electrochemical Systems; and 3) Molecular Separations.
The goal of the Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics (PRM) program is to advance fundamental engineering research on the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions, systems engineering and molecular thermodynamics as they relate to the design and optimization of chemical reactors and the production of specialized materials that have important impacts on society. The program supports the development of advanced optimization and control algorithms for chemical processes, molecular and multi-scale modeling of complex chemical systems, fundamental studies on molecular thermodynamics, and the integration of this information into the design of complex chemical reactors. An important area supported by the program focuses on the development of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly chemical processes and materials. Proposals should focus on:
- Chemical Reaction Engineering: This area encompasses the interaction of transport phenomena and kinetics in reactive systems and the use of this knowledge in the design of complex chemical reactors. Focus areas include novel reactor designs, such as catalytic and membrane reactors, micro-reactors, and atomic layer deposition systems; studies of reactions in supercritical fluids; novel activation techniques, such as plasmas, acoustics, and microwaves; design of multifunctional systems, such as "chemical-factory/lab-on-a-chip" concepts; and biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals. The program also supports new approaches that enable the design of modular chemical manufacturing systems.
- Process Design, Optimization and Control: This area encompasses the development of algorithms for design, optimization and control of process systems and individual process units. High priority research topics include process intensification, modular process systems, smart manufacturing, real-time optimization and control of complex chemical systems integrated with sustainability, and optimization of enterprise-wide processes involved in planning, scheduling and control.
- Reactive Polymer Processing: Program scope in this area is limited to research that integrates synthesis and processing to engineer specific structures that tune the properties of polymers. The focus is on processes that address environmental concerns while producing tailor-made macromolecular materials.
- Molecular Thermodynamics: Program scope in this area focuses on fundamental research that combines principles of thermodynamics and molecular theory to improve chemical processing and synthesis of novel functional materials, such as catalysts, polymers, solvents, and colloids. The program supports research on projects that includes fundamental studies on self and directed assembly of complex supramolecular structures, computational screening of chemicals and/or materials for desirable properties, and development of advanced computer simulation and visualization techniques. The ultimate goal is to enable the development of more efficient chemical processes, improve environmental sustainability and water quality, and design functional materials with tailored properties.
NOTE: 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 unsolicited proposals is approximately $100,000 per year. 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.