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Office of Research

NSF Funding Opportunities

SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (SPRF)
The Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) offers Postdoctoral Research Fellowships to encourage independence early in the Fellow's career through supporting his or her research and training goals. The research and training plan of each Fellowship must address important scientific questions within the scope of the SBE Directorate and the specific guidelines in this solicitation. The SPRF program offers two tracks: (I) Fundamental Research in the SBE Sciences (SPRF-FR) and (II) Broadening Participation in the SBE Sciences (SPRF-BP). See the full text of the solicitation for a detailed description of these tracks.
Proposal deadline: November 2, 2020, November 1, Annually Thereafter

Cyber-phyiscal systems (CPS)
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computation and physical components. Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, and usability that will expand the horizons of these critical systems. CPS technologies are transforming the way people interact with engineered systems, just as the Internet has transformed the way people interact with information. New, smart CPS drive innovation and competition in a range of application domains including agriculture, aeronautics, building design, civil infrastructure, energy, environmental quality, healthcare and personalized medicine, manufacturing, and transportation. CPS are becoming data-rich enabling new and higher degrees of automation and autonomy. Traditional ideas in CPS research are being challenged by new concepts emerging from artificial intelligence and machine learning. The integration of artificial intelligence with CPS especially for real-time operation creates new research opportunities with major societal implications.

While tremendous progress has been made in advancing CPS technologies, the demand for innovation across application domains is driving the need to accelerate fundamental research to keep pace. At the same time, the CPS program seeks to open new vistas for the research community to think beyond the usual cyber-physical paradigms and structures and propose creative ideas to address the myriad challenges of today's systems as well as those of the future that have not yet been designed or fielded.

The CPS program aims to develop the core research needed to engineer these complex CPS, some of which may also require dependable, high-confidence, or provable behaviors. Core research areas of the program include control, data analytics, and machine learning—including real-time learning for control, autonomy, design, Internet of Things (IoT), mixed initiatives including human-in- or human-on-the-loop, networking, privacy, real-time systems, safety, security, and verification. By abstracting from the particulars of specific systems and application domains, the CPS program seeks to reveal cross-cutting, fundamental scientific and engineering principles that underpin the integration of cyber and physical elements across all application domains. The program additionally supports the development of methods, tools, and hardware and software components based upon these cross-cutting principles, along with validation of the principles via prototypes and testbeds. This program also fosters a research community that is committed to advancing education and outreach in CPS and accelerating the transition of CPS research into the real world.
Proposal deadline: December 2, 2020; First Wednesday in December, Annually Thereafter

Accountable Institutions and Behavior (AIB)

The Accountable Institutions and Behavior (AIB) Program supports basic scientific research that advances knowledge and understanding of issues broadly related to attitudes, behavior, and institutions connected to public policy and the provision of public services. Research proposals are expected to be theoretically motivated, conceptually precise, methodologically rigorous, and empirically oriented. Substantive areas include (but are not limited to) the study of individual and group decision-making, political institutions (appointed or elected), attitude and preference formation and expression, electoral processes and voting, public administration, and public policy. This work can focus on a single case or can be done in a comparative context, either over time or cross-sectionally. The Program does not fund applied research. The Program also supports research experiences for undergraduate students and infrastructural activities, including methodological innovations. In addition, we encourage you to examine the websites for the National Science Foundation’s Law and Science (LS) and Security and Preparedness (SAP) programs.
Proposal deadline:  January 15, 2021,  January 15, Annually Thereafter; August 16, 2021, August 15, Annually Thereafter

The Sociology Program supports basic research on all forms of human social organization -- societies, institutions, groups and demography -- and processes of individual and institutional change. The Program encourages theoretically focused empirical investigations aimed at improving the explanation of fundamental social processes. Included is research on organizations and organizational behavior, population dynamics, social movements, social groups, labor force participation, stratification and mobility, family, social networks, socialization, gender, race and the sociology of science and technology. The Program supports both original data collections and secondary data analysis that use the full range of quantitative and qualitative methodological tools. Theoretically grounded projects that offer methodological innovations and improvements for data collection and analysis are also welcomed.

The Sociology Program also funds doctoral dissertation research to defray direct costs associated with conducting research, for example, dataset acquisition, additional statistical or methodological training, meeting with scholars associated with original datasets, and fieldwork away from the student's home campus. See the Sociology Program Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Awards Solicitation for more information on this opportunity.
Proposal deadline: January 15, 2021; January 15, Annually Thereafter; August 16, 2021, August 15, Annually Thereafter

Law and Science (LC)
The Law & Science Program considers proposals that address social scientific studies of law and law-like systems of rules, as well as studies of how science and technology are applied in legal contexts. The Program is inherently interdisciplinary and multi-methodological. Successful proposals describe research that advances scientific theory and understanding of the connections between human behavior and law, legal institutions, or legal processes; or the interactions of law and basic sciences, including biology, computer and information sciences, STEM education, engineering, geosciences, and math and physical sciences. Scientific studies of law often approach law as dynamic, interacting with multiple arenas, and with the participation of multiple actors. Fields of study include many disciplines, and often address problems including, though not limited, to:
Crime, Violence, and Policing

  • Cyberspace
  • Economic Issues
  • Environmental Science
  • Evidentiary Issues
  • Forensic Science
  • Governance and Courts
  • Human Rights and Comparative Law
  • Information Technology
  • Legal and Ethical Issues related to Science
  • Legal Decision Making
  • Legal Mobilization and Conceptions of Justice
  • Litigation and the Legal Profession Punishment and Corrections
  • Regulation and Facilitation of Biotechnology (e.g., Gene Editing, Gene Testing, Synthetic Biology) and Other Emerging Sciences and Technologies
  • Use of Science in the Legal Processes

Proposal deadlines: January 28, 2021, Last Thursday in January, Annually Thereafter; August 26, 2021 Last Thursday in August, Annually Thereafter

The Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics (MMS)
The Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics (MMS) Program is an interdisciplinary program in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences that supports the development of innovative analytical and statistical methods and models for those sciences. MMS seeks proposals that are methodologically innovative, grounded in theory, and have potential utility for multiple fields within the social, behavioral, and economic sciences.  As part of its larger portfolio, the MMS Program partners with a consortium of federal statistical agencies to support research proposals that further the production and use of official statistics.

The MMS Program provides support through a number of different funding mechanisms.  The following mechanisms are addressed in this solicitation:

  • Regular Research Awards
  • Awards for conferences and community-development activities
  • Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) Grants
    Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Supplements

MMS also supports Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards.  Please see the CAREER Program Web Site for more information about this activity.
Proposal deadline: January 28, 2021;  Last Thursday in January, Annually Thereafter;  August 26, 2021; Last Thursday in August, Annually Thereafter

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department or may offer interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. (2) REU Supplements may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements or may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects.
Proposal deadline: August 25, 2021; Fourth Wednesday in August, Annually Thereafter