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NSF 11-035

Dear Colleague Letter: For Interdisciplinary Research Across The SBE Sciences

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National Science Foundation
Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences

Subject: Interdisciplinary Research across the SBE Sciences

"Interdisciplinary research is a mode of research by teams or individuals that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice." National Academies' Report "Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, 2004" and the NSF Interdisciplinary Research web site.

The Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) encourages investigators to submit proposals that go beyond the boundaries of traditional disciplines, span across the existing core SBE programs, or extend outside the SBE sciences. Proposals can be from individual investigators or teams, but are expected to use an integrated, interdisciplinary approach and generate results that will contribute to multiple disciplines. The scale of such projects may also exceed the current average award size in SBE, if a large team is required for the research. The lead PI is expected to be from a discipline appropriate for the host SBE program, but collaborators may be from any area of science. In the case of large projects that bring together researchers from multiple disciplines, the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA) may contribute funds in addition to those available from standing SBE programs.

Innovative partnerships and research collaborations that allow diverse individuals to work together in synergistic ways are especially encouraged. We also encourage projects to include beginning researchers as team members and, when appropriate, to develop international partnerships. Proposers are also encouraged to consider the cross-cutting Research Coordination Networks solicitation (NSF 10-566), which supports networking activities, not research per se, so that groups of investigators can communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries.

This is not a special competition or new program. Relevant proposals should be submitted to an existing SBE program according to the program's regular target or deadline dates. The review process will follow standard NSF practices agreed upon by the programs participating in a proposal's review. Investigators should contact the most appropriate SBE Program Officer to determine if their ideas respond to this activity's goals.

Links to SBE's programs and target dates, including Program Officers' information, are available at

Myron P. Gutmann
Assistant Director
National Science Foundation
Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences