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Expanded 'Future of Work' solicitation invites proposals from social, behavioral and economic sciences researchers

A detailed illustration depicting a futuristic community with inset images showing activities in a classroom, farm field and an office.

“Future of Work” supports research at the intersection of people, society and technology.


January 13, 2021

Researchers across the social, behavioral and economic sciences are encouraged to submit proposals to the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Core Research solicitation by March 23, 2021.

“Researchers in the social, behavioral and economic sciences play an essential role in understanding and anticipating a vast array of issues that impact the effective development of future workplace activities and technologies,” says NSF Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division Director Marc Sebrechts, “We urge our scientific community to come together with their colleagues in other disciplines to develop research proposals that focus on understanding the future of work in ways that will benefit individuals and communities across the U.S.”

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s “Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier” is one of ten transformative “big ideas” supporting bold, long-term research at the frontiers of science and engineering. The effort takes a multidisciplinary approach by supporting research at the intersection of people, society and technology, while aiming to increase opportunities for workers and spur innovations that benefit the U.S. economy. It is a collaborative effort with NSF’s directorates for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Education and Human Resources, Engineering, and the Office of Integrative Activities.

Proposals to the new solicitation should describe multidisciplinary research investigating the evolving technological, human and societal aspects of work. Researchers from the social, behavioral and economic sciences should collaborate with researchers in computer science, engineering and learning sciences to investigate the potential impacts of technological innovations and disruptions. The solicitation invites proposals for planning grants and research grants, as well as new and larger transition-to-scale awards that can create a novel and extended knowledge base applicable to future workplaces. Proposals must also address inclusion and equity in a meaningful way, including potential inequalities in future workplaces or occupations. Proposals should include methods to mitigate those inequalities, such as new approaches to learning or technologies that support accessibility and inclusion.

For full details and guidance on award types, amounts and other questions, see Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier: Core Research (FW-HTF).

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 2021 budget of $8.5 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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