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NSF 19-037

Dear Colleague Letter: Division of Chemistry (CHE) International Supplements 2019

February 7, 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Strategic Plan "Building the Future: Investing in Discovery and Innovation" (2018 - 2022) states, "NSF must continue to invest in a world-class research enterprise, support the development of a globally competitive scientific and engineering workforce, and foster greater understanding of science and technology among the American public" and "NSF will promote a research culture that is broadly inclusive in its demography and range of intellectual ideas, has access to cutting-edge infrastructure, and is globally engaged, with increased opportunities for exchanging ideas and collaborating on an international scale. NSF will increase opportunities for broadening the training of U.S. graduate students and early-career researchers through international exchanges and partnerships with industry." NSF's Division of Chemistry seeks to fulfill this vision by advancing research and education in chemistry and ensuring that the U.S. research community remains at the forefront of the field by providing access to the knowledge and resources that exist globally.

In this context, the Division of Chemistry is inviting requests for supplemental funding from its existing awardees who may wish to add a new, or strengthen an existing, international dimension of their award when such collaboration advances the field of chemistry and enhances the U.S. investigator's own research and/or education objectives. Principal Investigators supported by NSF Division of Chemistry awards are advised to consult with their cognizant NSF program director prior to submitting a supplemental funding request. Supplemental funding requests must be received by 5 p.m., submitter's local time on May 1, 2019.

Supplemental funding requests should address how the proposed international collaboration enhances intellectual merit and broader impacts in the following ways:

  • Mutual benefit of the collaboration for all partners;
  • True intellectual collaboration with the international partner(s);
  • Benefits to be realized from the expertise and specialized skills, facilities, sites and/or resources of the international counterpart; and
  • Active research engagement of U.S. students and early-career researchers.

Note: Funding requests for travel to international conferences will not be considered for this supplemental funding opportunity.


The supplemental funding request must be prepared and submitted electronically via the NSF FastLane system and include the following information (in the supplement justification document, unless otherwise noted):

  • Summary of the research problem. Provide a succinct statement of the research problem, describing both the intellectual merit and broader impacts of the proposed activities.
  • Relevance and justification. Provide a justification of the need for the proposed collaborative research in the context of your NSF award, based on the aforementioned objectives.

  • Research plan. Summarize the major goals of the work, the scientific and technical approaches to be used, and the expected outcomes.
  • Nature of research collaboration. Describe collaborative arrangements including the roles for the international investigator(s). If applicable, provide information on the history of collaborative efforts between the proposed partners (new versus existing collaborations).
  • Qualifications of the research partners. In accordance with PAPPG Chapter II.C.2.f., provide a two-page biographical sketch for each U.S. and international investigator named in the supplemental funding request (to be uploaded as a supplementary document).
  • Documentation from the international investigator. Provide a letter of collaboration signed by the international principal investigator(s) of the foreign organization(s). This letter must indicate their role in the project. If they will provide resources (e.g., materials and supplies, instrument time, training, housing, etc.), the letter must describe such resources (to be uploaded as a supplementary document).
  • Budget and budget justification. Provide a budget for the requested amount, and in the budget justification provide details on the number of international trips and identify whose travel (students, postdoctoral researchers, and/or research scientists) will be supported by the supplemental funding. The budget may only costs for the U.S.-based investigators (including students) engaged in international collaboration, which may include the following activities:

    • Travel expenses for the U.S. investigators and/or students;
    • Research-related expenses for the U.S. investigators and/or students to conduct research at the partner's home organization; and/or
    • Research-related expenses such as supplies that are necessary for the international partner's research at the U.S. host institution.

    NSF funds may not be used to support research and training activities of international scientists and students at their home institution/organization.

Note: PIs are responsible for obtaining any required visas for foreign travel and, through the U.S. host research institution or laboratories, for providing documentation in support of U.S. visas for foreign counterpart investigators. Information about obtaining visas for foreign visitors to the U.S. can be found here: PIs are also responsible for obtaining research permits and import/export documents, where necessary.


Supplemental funding requests in response to this Dear Colleague Letter must be received by 5 p.m., submitter's local time on May 1, 2019.


NSF's Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) lists a number of additional OISE-managed and NSF-wide funding opportunities for U.S. investigators, postdoctoral researchers, and students who wish to collaborate internationally.

Anne L. Kinney
Assistant Director
Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences