Dear Colleague Letter: Global Centers Program Competition
November 22, 2023
This Dear Colleagues Letter (DCL) is being issued to inform the community about the next round of the Global Centers Program anticipated to be in fiscal year 2024 (FY24).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), launched the Global Centers Program in fiscal year 2023 (FY23). Global Centers is a cross-directorate funding opportunity implemented in partnership with international funding partner agencies. Global Centers supports large-scale use-inspired research in collaboration with international partners to address global challenges that cannot be solved by any single country. The Global Centers program funds research centers that maximize the benefits of international, interdisciplinary collaborations through co-development of research and workforce training with diverse kinds of stakeholders impacted by global challenge themes. Funding levels for NSF Global Centers Implementation awards are up to $5,000,000 for durations of four to five years and Design awards are up to $250,000 in total over two years. In the inaugural FY23 competition, funding of both Implementation and Design awards totaled $76.4M across all partner agencies (details here).
The topic for the 2024 competition of the Global Centers program is anticipated to be Addressing Societal Challenges through the Bioeconomy and may include research from any combination of research disciplines supported by NSF. The Program anticipates accepting proposals for holistic, multidisciplinary projects that demonstrate integration of international teams as well as the relevant scientific disciplines, including educational and social sciences necessary to achieve use-inspired outcomes.
The specific subtopics within the solicitation are anticipated to be based on NSF’s areas of strength and unique contributions to the Bioeconomy Executive Order and the Bold Goals For U.S. Biotechnology And Biomanufacturing. Anticipated priority goals for the 2024 Global Centers competition are, but are not limited to, Leveraging Biodiversity Across the Tree of Life to Power the Bioeconomy, and Biofoundries (also called the Design-Build-Test-Learn process). Examples of research areas within this framework include data for the bioeconomy, biocomputing, microbial biodiversity, plant genomics, precision agriculture, green economy, economic and policy perspectives, ethical implications of bioeconomy technologies, metabolomics, bioengineering, synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, rapid prototyping of biological designs, and biorefineries.
All proposals are expected to integrate two crosscutting themes into their plans for a Global Center: public engagement and co-generation of research activities to strengthen the global science and technology enterprise, and workforce development and education.
The Program anticipates funding 5 to 7 implementation awards of $5,000,000 each for project durations of 4 to 5 years, subject to availability of appropriated funds. No Design awards will be funded in FY24. Details about the new competition, including refined scope and confirmed partnering countries in FY24, will be indicated in a new NSF Global Centers solicitation. The anticipated schedule for the FY24 competition is provided below.
More information about the Global Centers program can be found on the program’s webpage including regular news updates. General inquiries about the Global Centers program should be sent by email to the primary contacts listed below.
ANTICIPATED FY24 COMPETITION SCHEDULE
This DCL does not constitute a solicitation; therefore, no award of any kind will result from this DCL. Details of the competition are in the planning stages, and NSF intends to follow this general schedule:
First quarter of calendar year 2024: Release of the new solicitation.
Second quarter of calendar year 2024: Anticipated due date for full proposals in response to the solicitation.
Third quarter of calendar year 2024: Awards recommendation following the merit review of proposals submitted under the expected solicitation.
Office Head, Office of International Science and Engineering
Assistant Director for Biological Sciences
Assistant Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering
Susan S. Margulies
Assistant Director for Engineering
Alexandra R. Isern
Assistant Director for Geosciences
C. Denise Caldwell
Acting Assistant Director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Sylvia M. Butterfield
Acting Assistant Director for the Social, Behavioral, and Economics Sciences
James L. Moore III
Assistant Director for STEM Education
Assistant Director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships
Alicia J. Knoedler
Office Head, Office of Integrative Activities