Chemistry's New Solicitations and Cross-Agency Program Descriptions

May 29, 2020

NSF-DFG Lead Agency Activity in Electrosynthesis and Electrocatalysis (NSF-DFG EChem) (NSF 20-578,

The Directorate for Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS), Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Divisions of Physics and Chemistry (PC) and Engineering Sciences 1 (ING 1) of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) are pleased to announce a NSF-DFG Lead Agency Activity in the areas of Electrosynthesis and Electrocatalysis.

Proposals submitted under this Activity will be reviewed by either NSF or DFG as the Lead Agency, depending on 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.

Submission Deadline:

Expression of Interest (EOI) Deadline: July 1, 2020, submitted to, required prior to submitting the full proposal.

Full Proposal Deadline:  September 30, 2020

Please read the Solicitation for details on the funding scope and the proposal preparation instruction. German researchers are invited to read:

A Joint NSF-DFG webinar is scheduled for June 9, 12pm-1pm eastern time.Here is the zoom webinar information:

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Revised Chemistry Disciplinary Research Programs (CHE-DRP) Solicitation: (NSF 20-577):

The NSF Division of Chemistry (CHE) supports a large and vibrant research community engaged in fundamental discovery, invention, and innovation in the chemical sciences. The projects supported by CHE explore the frontiers of chemical science, develop the foundations for future technologies and industries that meet changing societal needs, and prepare the next generation of chemical researchers. 

This solicitation covers individual investigator and small team proposal submission to the nine CHE Disciplinary Research Programs (DRP).  The submission windows for the CHE-DRP remain unchanged. 

The CHE-DRP Program will be the topic of virtual CHE Office Hours on May 29, 2020.

Please note the following changes from the previous CHE-DRP:

  • The modified Current and Pending Support form is no longer required. Please use the standard NSF format.
  • The additional Revision statement is no longer required.
  • Proposers may serve on up to two proposals:  A PI may serve on one single-investigator proposal to the CHE Disciplinary Research Program and may participate as PI, co-PI or senior personnel in one additional multi-investigator or collaborative proposal per funding cycle. This restriction includes proposals under Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) and Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (RUI).

Proposals for EAGER, RAPID, RAISE, and conferences, as well as supplemental funding requests to existing grants, are not subject to this limitation and may be submitted at any time after consultation with the cognizant NSF Program Officer.

Proposals submitted to other solicitations (e.g., Centers for Chemical Innovation, Major Research Instrumentation, Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites, or CAREER) are also not subject to the limit on proposal submissions.

Proposals submitted in response to this solicitation should be submitted in accordance with the revised NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), which is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after June 1, 2020. Please note, in particular, the new guidelines on Biographical Sketches.


Chemistry Centers for Innovation (CCI) solicitation (NSF 20-574)

The CCI Program supports research centers focused on major, long-term fundamental chemical research challenges. CCIs that address these challenges will produce transformative research, lead to innovation, and attract broad scientific and public interest. CCIs are agile structures that can respond rapidly to emerging opportunities through enhanced collaborations. CCIs integrate research, innovation, education, broadening participation, and informal science communication.

The CCI Program is a two-phase program. Both phases are described in this solicitation. Phase I CCIs receive significant resources to develop the science, management, and broader impacts of a major research center before requesting Phase II funding. Satisfactory progress in Phase I is required for Phase II applications; Phase I proposals funded in FY 2021 will seek Phase II funding in FY 2024.

The CCI Program will be the topic for virtual CHE Office Hours on June 12, 2020.

  • Phase I Preliminary Proposals (required) deadline:  August 11, 2020
  • Phase I Full Proposals (by invitation only) deadline:  January 14, 2021
  • Phase II Full Proposals:  February 17, 2021


NSF Convergence Accelerator Phase I and II Program Solicitation (NSF 20-565)

The NSF Convergence Accelerator promotes use-inspired, convergence research in areas of national importance via partnerships between academic and non-academic stakeholders. In this Phase I and Phase II solicitation of the NSF Convergence Accelerator, NSF seeks to support and facilitate research that advances ideas from concept to deliverables in two overall convergence topics (tracks).

The 2020 NSF Convergence Accelerator consists of two tracks as follows:

  •             Quantum Technology (Track C)
  •             AI-Driven Innovation via Data and Model Sharing (Track D)

Convergence Research is a critical mechanism for solving many vexing research problems, especially those stemming from complex societal and/or scientific challenges. The NSF Convergence Accelerator seeks to support use-inspired research and enable the accelerated transition of that research into benefits for society through a two-phase process.

Phase I teams will participate in the Convergence Accelerator curriculum, which pushes them to identify and expand partnerships with end-users, other stakeholders, and other teams, allowing them to refine their plans for Phase II.

Phase II proposals build upon the Phase I experience, describing the research and development efforts that the convergence research teams will undertake to produce deliverables that transition effectively to benefits for the American people.

Preliminary Proposal Due Date(s) (required) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):  May 11, 2020 Phase I Preliminary Proposal

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):                                        

  • July 10, 2020 Phase I Full Proposals, by invitation only 
  • May 17, 2021 Phase II Full Proposals, only Phase I awardees are eligible


Historically Black Colleges and Universities - Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) (NSF 20-559)

HBCU-UP provides awards to strengthen STEM undergraduate education and research at HBCUs. Support is available through the following tracks:

  • Targeted Infusion Projects (TIP), which provide support to achieve a short-term, well-defined goal for improving the quality of undergraduate STEM education at HBCUs.
  • Broadening Participation Research (BPR) in STEM Education projects, which provide support for research that seeks to create and study new theory-driven models and innovations related to the participation and success of underrepresented groups in STEM undergraduate education.
  • Research Initiation Awards (RIA), which provide support for STEM faculty with no prior or recent research funding to pursue research at the home institution, a NSF-funded research center, a research intensive institution, or a national laboratory.
  • Implementation Projects (IMP), which provide support to design, implement, study, and assess comprehensive institutional efforts for increasing the number of students receiving undergraduate degrees in STEM and enhancing the quality of their preparation by strengthening STEM education and research. Within this track, Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Implementation Projects are intended for HBCUs with exemplary achievements and established institutionalized foundations from previous Implementation Project grants.
  • Broadening Participation Research Centers (BPRC), which provide support to conduct broadening participation research at institutions that have held three rounds of Implementation or ACE Implementation Projects and with demonstrated capability to conduct broadening participation research. Broadening Participation Research Centers are expected to represent the collective intelligence of HBCU STEM higher education, and serve as national hubs for the rigorous study and broad dissemination of the critical pedagogies and culturally sensitive interventions that contribute to the success of HBCUs in educating African American STEM undergraduates. Centers are expected to conduct research on STEM education and broadening participation in STEM; perform outreach to HBCUs in order to build capacity for conducting this type of research;and work to disseminate promising broadening participation research in order to enhance STEM education and research outcomes for African American undergraduates across the country.
  • Other Funding Opportunities include EArly-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), Rapid Response Research(RAPID), conference, and planning grants.


Future Manufacturing (NSF 20-552)

As stated in the Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, worldwide competition in manufacturing has been dominated in recent decades by the maturation, commoditization, and widespread application of computation in production equipment and logistics, effectively leveling the global technological playing field and putting a premium on low wages and incremental technical improvements. The next generation of technological competition in manufacturing will be dictated by inventions of new materials, chemicals, devices, systems, processes, machines, design and work methods, social structures and business practices. Fundamental research will be required in robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, materials science, sustainability, education and public policy, and workforce development to take the lead in this global competition. The research supported under this solicitation will enhance U.S. leadership in manufacturing far into the future by providing new capabilities for established companies and entrepreneurs, improving our health and quality of life, and reducing the impact of manufacturing industries on the environment.

The goal of this solicitation is to support fundamental research and education of a future workforce that will enable Future Manufacturing: manufacturing that either does not exist today or exists only at such small scales that it is not viable. Future Manufacturing will require the design and deployment of diverse new technologies for synthesis and sensing, and new algorithms for manufacturing new materials, chemicals, devices, components and systems. It will require new advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, new cyber infrastructure, new approaches for mathematical and computational modeling, new dynamics and control methodologies, new ways to integrate systems biology, synthetic biology and bioprocessing, and new ways to influence the economy, workforce, human behavior, and society.

Letter of Intent Deadline Date: April 10, 2020
Full Proposal Deadline Date: June 5, 2020


NSF has recently issued a solicitation for NSF INCLUDES Planning Grants - (INCLUDES Program Solicitation -NSF 19-600):

NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) is a comprehensive national initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in STEM discoveries and innovations focused on NSF's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and broadening participation in these fields. The Planning Grants are intended to build capacity in the community to undertake the activities necessary to establish future centers, alliances, or other large-scale networks to address a broadening participation challenge at scale.

Full Proposal Deadline(s) (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

December 03, 2019

July 13, 2020


The application for the GEM Fellowship is now open.  The GEM consortium aims to improve diversity in the STEM workforce through its fellowship program.  With the support from the Divisions of Chemistry and Physics in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate, and the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems in the Engineering Directorate at NSF, the GEM consortium encourages URM students to apply to the university-member programs in the STEM fields, in particularly in Chemistry, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and Physics. Upon acceptance, GEM provides a stipend towards living expenses and tuition. The universities cover the remainder of the tuition, and in the case of Ph.D. level students, a living stipend (through teaching or research assistantships or other methods) for the duration of the degree.  

The application cycle for the coming year is July 1 – November 12.

About the GEM Fellowship Program and the application process.


Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS) - (CAS Program Description - PD 19-1902):

The Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS) program seeks to support basic research through core disciplinary programs aimed at improving the sustainability of resources for future generations while maintaining or improving current products within a global society.

Partnering with other participating NSF Divisions, the Division of Chemistry (CHE) welcomes proposals to its Disciplinary Research Programs, including Chemical Catalysis (CAT), Chemical Measurement and Imaging (CMI), Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms-A (CSDM-A), Chemical Structure Dynamics and Mechanisms-B (CSDM-B), Chemical Synthesis (SYN), Chemical Theory, Models and Computational Methods (CTMC), Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP), Environmental Chemical Sciences (ECS), and Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry (MSN). 

Note: All proposals should be submitted with the “CAS:” prefix in the title and must be on chemical aspects of sustainability.

Selected Topics:

      •  The design, preparation and reactivity studies associated with new catalysts and catalytic processes that employ earth-abundant and benign elements and raw materials; advanced catalytic methods for the reduction of dinitrogen to ammonia and water splitting are also invited; Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals, where such advances are connected directly to industrial considerations, are also encouraged.
      • Understanding the molecular mechanisms of the two-way communication between the environment and living systems as well as between organisms situated in changing environments; design and test methods that could confer resilience and/or could foster adaptability of living systems subject to changing environments.
      • Innovative measurement and imaging approaches that can improve the efficiency of manufacturing processes, including advances in separation science targeting reduced energy consumption or generation of less waste.
      • Fundamental studies related to sustainable energy such as chromophores based on earth abundant elements, advanced electrolytes for battery, water splitting, and carbon dioxide conversions.
      • Understanding the environmental chemical degradation of contaminants, including emerging contaminants.
      • Transformative approaches to efficient and inexpensive synthesis of polymers or nanostructures using renewable feedstocks or earth abundant elements; and innovative research that enhances the understanding of efficient use and recycling of polymers and critical elements or the conversion of energy from renewable sources.
      • The development of new synthetic methods using earth-abundant and inexpensive chemicals, fundamental studies that improve our understanding of rare earth elements; the conversion of non-petroleum-based resources into useful building blocks; and new environmentally-friendly chemical syntheses that improve on current practice by requiring less energy, fresh water, reagents, and/or organic solvents.
      • Other CHE programs also welcome proposals on this general topic, as long as the proposals fit the scope of the program.

All questions regarding proposals to CHE should be addressed to the cognizant Program Officers for the Program to which submission is contemplated (see CHE Program webpages).

Chemistry's Full Proposal Deadline Dates (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

September 1, 2020 - September 30, 2020

        All proposals to: Chemical Catalysis (CAT); Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms-A/B (CSDM-A/B); Chemical Theory, Models and Computational Methods (CTMC); and Chemical Synthesis (SYN);

October 1, 2020 - October 31, 2020

        All proposals to: Chemical Measurement and Imaging (CMI); Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP); Environmental Chemical Sciences (ECS); and Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry (MSN).


NSF issued an updated solicitation on Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Includes the description of NSF Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (NSF 20-525)

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

Submission Deadline Dates (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time):

July 27, 2020

NSF also issued the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program for Submission in Years 2020 – 2025 (NSF 20-025).


The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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