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Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation

Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks  (D-ISN)

Name Email Phone Room
Georgia-Ann  Klutke (703) 292-2443   
Yueyue  Fan (703) 292-4453   
Bruce  Hamilton (703) 292-7066   
Mark  S. Hurwitz (703) 292-5366   
Jeffrey  W. Mantz (703) 292-7783   
Wendy  Nilsen (703) 292-2568   
Reggie  S. Sheehan (703) 292-5389   


Solicitation  21-582

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.


Full Proposal Deadline Date

    April 22, 2022


Criminal networks that illegally traffic in everything from people and drugs to human organs, natural resources and nuclear material pose grave threats to the health, prosperity and security of our Nation.  As an important example, the opioid epidemic in the United States has largely been fueled by new synthetic opioids that are primarily produced in overseas facilities and distributed to the US through intermediate countries.  These illicit supply chains flourish across national boundaries, both taking advantage of and contributing to regional instability. The profits generated through these activities finance ongoing conflicts across the globe.  Making use of the same communications, logistics, transportation, and financial infrastructure that enable globally integrated commercial supply chains, illicit flows are now estimated to account for 4-6% of global GDP, or roughly $2 trillion annually.  Moreover, these networks use exploitative labor, such as child labor, forced labor and human trafficking, to source and produce goods and services that contribute to both illicit and legal commercial supply chains.  The Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks (D-ISN) Solicitation supports research projects that take a systems approach to advance fundamental understanding of how networks that traffic in illicit or illicitly-produced goods and services operate, leading to technological breakthroughs that bolster our ability to disable these networks.

Major goals of NSF’s D-ISN Solicitation include:

  • Improve understanding of the operations of illicit supply networks and strengthen the ability to detect, disrupt, and dismantle them.
  • Support research on the illicit supply networks that fuel the national opioid epidemic  
  • Enhance research communities that effectively integrate operational, computational, social, cultural and economic expertise to provide methods and strategies to combat this complex and elusive global security challenge.
  • Catalyze game-changing technological innovations that can improve discovery and traceability of illicitly sourced product inputs.
  • Provide research outcomes that inform U.S. national security, law enforcement and economic development needs and policies.

Proposals responding to this solicitation must be submitted to the Directorate for Engineering.  Once received, however, the proposals will be managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF Program Directors.

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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program