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Division of Materials Research
International Materials Institutes (IMI)
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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 National Science Foundation supports International Materials Institutes (IMIs) in order to enhance international collaboration between U.S. researchers and educators and their counterparts worldwide. These Institutes advance fundamental materials research by coordinating international research and education projects involving condensed matter and materials physics, solid state and materials chemistry, polymers, metals, ceramics, electronic materials, biomaterials and, in general, the design, synthesis, and characterization of and phenomena in materials to meet global and regional needs. The Institutes must be university-based and provide a research environment that will attract leading scientists and engineers. The Institutes' long term goal is the creation of a worldwide network in materials research and the development of a generation of scientists and engineers with enhanced international leadership capabilities. A critically important aspect of an IMI is its potential impact on advancing materials research on an international scale and developing an internationally competitive generation of materials researchers, and this distinguishes an IMI from other materials research centers that NSF supports.
Representative activities of an IMI may include, for example: identifying areas of important and innovative research for joint collaborative programs; organizing and coordinating international exchange programs; establishing mechanisms for long-term international collaborations among academia, industrial and government agencies and laboratories; organizing international workshops on materials research and education, and coordinating international research experiences for students and postdoctoral scholars; developing internet-based resources with video capabilities for international conferencing and learning; developing and supporting a materials research network that will provide access to research and education resources, such as searchable databases, publications, facilities, instruments, and experts; enhancing global public awareness of economic and societal contributions by materials researchers; and partnering with states, private foundations, industry, national laboratories, international organizations, other universities, centers, and national facilities to accomplish the stated goals of the IMI.
Through the new Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) initiative, NSF is committed to development and deployment of tools and techniques for remote collaboration, sharing of data, remote control of instrumentation, and development of virtual organizations that are not constrained by geography. NSF also recognizes the importance of cyber-tools for promoting and maintaining partnerships that transcend national boundaries. The IMI program is especially well-positioned to benefit from the ideas embodied in CDI and IMI proposals that incorporate those ideas are encouraged.