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NSF 10-072

Dear Colleague Letter: International Year of Chemistry (IYC)

This document has been archived.

The year 2011 has been designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC; see This will provide those in chemistry and related disciplines with a unique opportunity to (in the words of the official IYC site) "celebrate the achievements of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind."

More than celebrate, however, this is also an opportunity to communicate those achievements and contributions. In recognition of this opportunity, we would like to remind the community of the availability of small supplements to existing awards for creative ideas to enhance broader impacts via "out-of-the-box" approaches to research dissemination.

For those with ideas on a grander scale (up to $150K), we would also like to bring to your attention the Communicating Research to Public Audiences (CRPA) program, an NSF program in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL), as described in the Informal Science Education solicitation (ISE; This program supports dissemination of research done under existing NSF awards, for amounts up to $150,000 and durations up to two years, aiming to communicate research findings and promote the general public's understanding of and engagement with cutting-edge research findings and methodologies. Proposals may include design and implementation of any combination of communication formats/platforms and experiences that support informal learning; examples include exhibitions, web, radio, games, and TV productions. They should include creative plans, leveraging a range of extant technologies, for effectively sharing lessons learned and other information about the project as widely as possible to the public. All CRPA proposals must include an appropriate evaluation plan. Collaboration between NSF-funded researchers and informal science consultants or organizations (e.g., museums) is strongly encouraged to ensure use of effective practices; program officers in DRL can assist in making these contacts. Because the CRPA program is open to research awards from any part of NSF, they may be submitted at any time and do not require preliminary proposals; consult the ISE solicitation (cited above) for details. To be responsive to IYC, requests indentifying IYC in the summary and received before January 1, 2011, will receive expedited handling.

CRPA provides one mechanism for NSF to help the chemistry community assure effective utilization of IYC opportunities. DRL and the Divisions of Chemistry (CHE), Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), and Materials Research (DMR), invite your consideration of these opportunities for substantial supplements to enhance the impact of IYC. Requests clearly enhancing the impact of existing CHE and CBET awards may be eligible for co-funding, within the constraints outlined in the CRPA solicitation (cited above). If you have novel ideas for spreading the word about the impact of your research, please contact Kelsey Cook (CHE;; 703-292-7490), Rose Wesson (CBET;; 703-292-7070), Mike Scott (DMR;; 703-292-4771), or Wyn Jennings (DRL;; 703-292-5307).

We look forward to celebrating IYC with you!


Luis Echegoyen John McGrath Zakya Kafaf David Ucko
Director, CHE Director, CBET Director, DMR Acting Director, DRL