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Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Division of Social and Economic Sciences

Submission of Proposals to the SES Division

All programs in the SES Division consider proposals for research projects, conferences, and workshops. Some programs also consider proposals for doctoral dissertation improvement, the acquisition of specialized research and computing equipment, and large-scale data collection. Some programs participate in jointly sponsored competitions with programs in other directorates.

Economic, Decision, and Management Sciences Cluster

1. Decision, Risk, and Management Science

Supports scientific research directed at increasing the understanding and effectiveness of decision-making by individuals, groups, organizations, and society. Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, doctoral dissertation research, and workshops are funded in the areas of judgment and decision-making; decision analysis and decision aids; risk analysis, perception, and communication; societal and public policy decision-making; and management science and organizational design. The program also supports small grants for exploratory research that are time-critical, such as decision-making in response to extreme events. Funded research must have implications in an operational or applied context, be grounded in theory, be based on empirical observation or subject to empirical validation, and be generalizable.

2. Economics

Supports basic scientific research designed to improve understanding of the processes and institutions of the U.S. economy and of the world system of which it is a part. The program supports empirical and theoretical research as well as conferences in almost every subfield of economics, including econometrics, mathematical economics, labor economics, macroeconomics, industrial organization, international economics, public finance, and economic history. The program also supports interdisciplinary research and conferences that strengthen the connection between economics and other disciplines, including the other social sciences, statistics, mathematics, the behavioral sciences, and engineering.

3. Innovation and Organizational Change (IOC)

Seeks to create and apply fundamental new knowledge with the aim of improving the effectiveness of the design, administration, and management of organizations, including industrial, educational, service, government, and nonprofit organizations. The IOC Program places a priority on investigator-initiated research that develops and tests theories and methodologies related to organizational learning and redesign, quality and process improvement, the management of innovation, and the organizational development and integration of new technologies. Projects that develop or build upon cross-disciplinary research perspectives are another priority. Perspective IOC research draws on but is not limited to, organizational behavior and theory, industrial engineering, organizational sociology, public administration, and management science.

IOC is jointly sponsored by the Directorates for Engineering, Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, and Education and Human Resources.

Methods, Cross-Directorate, And Science And Society Cluster

1. Cross-Directorate Activities

Administers and provides information about various cross-directorate programs in which the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate participates. The program administers the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites, Increasing the Participation and Advancement of Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers (ADVANCE) Fellows, and Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellowships for the social and behavioral sciences. In addition, the program coordinates the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI), Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeships (IGERT), and GK-12 NSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education Programs for the social and behavioral sciences. The program also supports special studies, analyses, and workshops on issues affecting social and behavioral science disciplines—including issues that span organizational boundaries and division priorities—and activities that address needs in education and human resources, as well as the creation of a diverse social and behavioral science personnel pool. In addition, for the social and behavioral sciences, the program officers for Cross-Directorate Activities can provide information about special opportunities NSF offers for educational initiatives.

2. Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics

Supports fundamental research on the development, application, and extension of formal models and methodologies for social and behavioral research, including methods for improving measurement, and research on statistical methodology or statistical modeling that has direct implications for one or more of the social and behavioral sciences. Also supported are research on methodological aspects of new or existing procedures for data collection; research to evaluate or compare existing databases and data collection procedures; the collection of unique databases with cross-disciplinary implications, especially when paired with developments in measurement or methodology; and the methodological infrastructure of social and behavioral research.

3. Science and Technology Studies

Supports historical, philosophical, cognitive, and social research regarding the character and development of science and technology; the nature of theory and evidence in different fields; and the social and intellectual construction of science and technology. Support is also given to research that examines the relationship among science, government, and other social institutions and groups, and processes of scientific innovation and change.

4. Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology (SDEST): Ethics and Values Studies, Research on Science and Technology

Includes the components Ethics and Values Studies (EVS) and Research on Science and Technology (RST). SDEST considers proposals that examine questions that arise in the interactions of engineering, science, technology, and society. The EVS component supports examinations of the ethical and value dimensions in those interactions. The RST component supports research on social and strategic choices that influence knowledge production and innovation and their effects.

Social And Political Sciences Cluster

1. Law and Social Science

Supports social science studies of law and lawlike systems of rule, institutions, processes, and behavior. These studies may include research designed to enhance the scientific understanding of the impact of law; human behavior and interaction as they relate to law; the dynamics of legal decision-making; and the nature, source, and consequence of variation and change in legal institutions. The primary consideration is that the research show promise of advancing the scientific understanding of law and legal process. Within this framework, the program has an “open window” for diverse theoretical perspectives, methods, and contexts for study.

2. Political Science

Supports scientific research that advances knowledge and understanding of citizenship, government, and politics. Research proposals are expected to be theoretically motivated, conceptually clear, methodologically rigorous, and empirically oriented. Substantive areas for research proposals include American government and politics, comparative government and politics, international relations, political behavior, political economy, and political institutions. In recent years, program awards have supported research projects on bargaining processes; campaigns and elections, electoral choice, and electoral systems; citizen support in emerging and established democracies; democratization, political change, and regime transitions; domestic and international conflict; international political economy; party activism; political psychology and political tolerance. On occasion, program awards also have supported research experiences for undergraduate students, methodological advances in political science, and infrastructural improvements through conference activities.

3. Sociology

Supports scientific research on all forms of human social organization—societies, institutions, groups, and demography. The program encourages theoretically focused empirical investigations of social processes and social structures. It welcomes research that will build connections with other disciplines. Recent awards supported by the program include research on assimilation, crime and delinquency, democratization, education, family, gender, group processes, migration and immigration, organizations and organizational behavior, race and ethnic relations, religion, science and technology, social networks, social movements, stratification and mobility, voluntary organizations, and work and labor markets. The program also promotes doctoral research through dissertation improvement.

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