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Division of Chemistry

Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms B  (CSDM-B)

Name Email Phone Room
Tingyu  Li (703) 292-4949   
Richard  Johnson Primary Email   


Proposals submitted to this program (including individual and collaborative proposals, GOALIs) must be submitted to the CHE Disciplinary Research Programs solicitation.


  • RUI proposals should be submitted to the RUI Solicitation during the proposal submission window.
  • proposals submitted in response to another solicitation (CAREER)
  • conference proposals (must discuss with a Program Officer before submission)
  • EAGER, RAPID or RAISE proposals (must discuss with a Program Officer before submission)


The Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms (CSDM) Program supports research projects that have strong implications for advancing the foundational knowledge of chemical systems.  The Program supports research on the nature of chemical structure, chemical structure property studies, chemical dynamics, and chemical mechanisms. The CSDM Program is divided into two sub-programs, CSDM-A and CSDM-B.  At coarse resolution, the CSDM-A Program may be seen as encompassing the sub-disciplines of experimental physical chemistry and applied computational physical chemistry, while CSDM-B is the venue for physical organic and physical inorganic chemistry.  The research supported by the two Programs may also be distinguished in terms of whether their goal is to use existing experimental methods and current conceptual frameworks to understand and describe physical processes in molecules and materials that are becoming increasingly relevant in modern applications (CSDM-B), or to challenge the way we think about physical phenomena in chemical systems through the development of innovative experimental approaches and new conceptual models (CSDM-A).  Projects supported by CSDM-A typically involve in-depth analysis of experimental data at the quantum- or statistical-mechanical level, often with an outcome being the modification or updating of the theoretical model.  Projects supported by CSDM-B also rely on theory to interpret structure-function relationships, but tend to focus on the consequence of structure (or changes in structure) on reactivity and other behaviors. 

Projects involving nanochemistry or biologically-relevant systems should consult the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry (MSN) or Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Programs, respectively.  Proposals for projects whose primary goal is the development of an entirely new instrumental technique, or enhanced performance or understanding of an existing technique, may be more appropriate for the Chemical Measurement and Imaging (CMI) Program.  In general, research focused on solid-state chemical processes are not supported by CSDM.  Investigators interested in this area should consult with the Solid State Materials Chemistry (SSMC) Program in the Division of Materials Research (DMR).  Projects for which the primary goal is the development of a practical device are not supported by the CSDM-A and CSDM-B Programs and should be submitted to an appropriate program in the Engineering Directorate. 

The following Program Descriptions are intended to guide the proposer to the most appropriate sub-program for her/his research.   


The Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms-B (CSDM-B) Program supports mechanistic studies of diverse chemical processes and chemical property studies.  CSDM-B proposals generally utilize existing experimental techniques as opposed to developing new ones so that the work can focus on new understanding of molecular properties and chemical reactivity.  The CSDM-B program supports research on the consequences of molecular structure on chemical properties and mechanisms.  Topics of interest to CSDM-B include (but are not limited to): mechanistic studies of chemical reactions and energy- or materials-related processes, the chemistry of reactive intermediates, and the development of molecules with novel chemical properties.  Projects supported in the CSDM-B program are diverse, ranging from traditional mechanistic studies, to chromophore development for advanced imaging and solar fuel applications, to studies relevant to the development of flow batteries and molecular qubits.  Projects in the CSDM-B program often involve significant synthetic effort in order to modify the chemical structures.   

Submissions that address national needs are encouraged.  These include priority areas associated with sustainability and NSF's Ten Big Ideas. Elements of NSF's Ten Big Ideas particularly relevant to the Division of Chemistry include: Harnessing the Data Revolution, the Quantum Leap, Midscale Instrumentation, Understanding the Rules of Life, and Growing Convergence Research at NSF. Consult NSF Big Ideas solicitations on how these areas match the Division's portfolio. 

Through the Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS) program, the Division of Chemistry looks to support basic research aimed at improving the sustainability of resources for future generations while maintaining or improving current products within a global society.   

For recent awards made by the program, search NSF award database with the Program Element Code 9102.

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