NSF-DFG Lead Agency Activity in Electrosynthesis and Electrocatalysis  (NSF-DFG EChem)

Name Email Phone Room
Kenneth  Moloy NSFDFG@nsf.gov (703) 292-8441  CHE  
Brandi  Schottel NSFDFG@nsf.gov (703) 292-4798  CBET  


Solicitation  20-578

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.


Full Proposal Deadline Date

    September 30, 2020

        An Expression of Interest (EOI) must be submitted to NSFDFG@nsf.gov by July 1, 2020, prior to the submission of a full proposal.


Recognizing the importance of international collaborations in promoting scientific discoveries, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on research cooperation. The MoU provides an overarching framework to enhance opportunities for collaborative activities between U.S. and German research communities and sets out the principles by which jointly-supported activities might be developed. To facilitate the support of collaborative work between U.S. researchers and their German counterparts under this MoU, the Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) at the NSF and the Divisions of Physics and Chemistry (PC) and Engineering Sciences (ING 1) at the DFG are pleased to announce a Lead Agency Activity in the areas of Electrosynthesis and Electrocatalysis.

We are particularly interested in novel and fundamental electrochemical reactions and studies addressing transformations in organic and polymer synthesis, water splitting (hydrogen/oxygen evolution), and nitrogen reduction (ammonia production). Relevant activities include, but are not limited to, mechanistic studies; catalyst design, synthesis, and characterization; computational modeling, theory, and simulation; and experimental tool development. For fundamental engineering science projects, we are interested in studies involving reaction engineering, reactor system design, and component or device scale studies as examples that provide fundamental knowledge supporting scale-up of systems. In addition, fundamental engineering science projects involving alternative (to thermal) activation mechanisms such as microwaves (e.g. microwave assisted catalysis) and low temperature plasmas (e.g. plasma-assisted catalysis) are welcomed.

The goal of this Lead Agency Activity is to reduce current barriers to working internationally by allowing U.S. and German researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process while funding organizations maintain budgetary control over their awards. Proposals eligible for funding consideration through this Lead Agency Activity in FY 2021 will need to have a research focus relevant to the topic areas identified above, within the scope of research supported through these divisions. Proposers should review the CHE, CBET, PC, and ING 1 program descriptions for research supported through these divisions/organizations. Proposals are expected to adhere to typical proposal budgets and durations for the relevant CHE, CBET, PC, and ING 1 programs from which funding is sought. German researchers are invited to read: https://www.dfg.de/en/research_funding/announcements_proposals/index.jsp.

Proposals submitted under this Activity will be reviewed by either NSF or DFG as the Lead Agency, depending where the largest proportion of research lies. Proposals must provide a clear rationale for the need for a U.S.-German collaboration, including the unique expertise and synergy that the collaborating groups will bring to the project. The result of the review process will be shared among the appropriate divisions (NSF/CHE and/or NSF/CBET, and DFG/PC and/or DFG/ING 1) before making final recommendations.

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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program