NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fundamental science and engineering fields, except for medical sciences. In addition to funding basic research through its core disciplinary programs, the NSF also provides support for facilities, equipment, instrumentation, centers of research, and activities such as workshops that help advance science fields. NSF also is interested in "high-risk, high pay-off" ideas, novel collaborations, and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today but will benefit humanity in the future. 

NSF Award Database - includes information on all current and past NSF grants. Users can search using a range of search criteria, and can also look for information aggregated by program type.

Interested in the NSF CAREER award? Check out our NSF CAREER Tool Kit for helpful information and resources. 

NSF Center Grants

NSF supports a variety of center programs that contribute to the Foundation's mission and vision. Centers exploit opportunities in science, engineering, and technology in which the complexity of the research program or the resources needed to solve the problem require the advantages of scope, scale, duration, equipment, facilities, and students. Centers are a principle means by which NSF fosters interdisciplinary research.

  • The STC: Integrative Partnerships program supports exceptionally innovative, complex research and education projects that require large-scale, long-term awards.
  • STCs focus on creating new scientific paradigms, establishing entirely new scientific disciplines and developing transformative technologies which have the potential for broad scientific or societal impact.
  • STCs conduct world-class research through partnerships among institutions of higher education, national laboratories, industrial organizations, other public or private entities, and via international collaborations, as appropriate.
  • STCs may involve any area of science and engineering that NSF supports.
  • Visit the STC program webpage for further details and current funding opportunities.
  • The ERC program supports convergent research, education, and technology translation at U.S. universities that will lead to strong societal impacts.
  • Each ERC has interacting foundational components that go beyond the research project, including engineering workforce development at all participant stages, a culture of diversity and inclusion where all participants gain mutual benefit, and value creation within an innovation ecosystem that will outlast the lifetime of the ERC.
  • Current funding opportunities and more may be found on the ERC program webpage.
  • The MRSEC program provides sustained support of interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering.
  • Each MRSEC addresses research of a scope and complexity requiring the scale, synergy, and multidisciplinarity provided by a campus-based research center.
  •  MRSEC may be located at a single institution, or may involve multiple institutions in partnership, and is composed of up to three Interdisciplinary Research Groups, IRGs, each addressing a fundamental materials science topic aligned with the Division of Materials Research, DMR.
  • Visit the MRSEC program webpage for opportunities and further details.

Additional Resources

Early career researchers are eligible (and encouraged!) to compete for NSF core grants and special initiatives as well as many other funding mechanisms. The article NSF 101: Funding opportunities for early career researchers describes several of these funding opportunities.

Planning to submit a CAREER proposal? Cornell Research Development provides resources and support to faculty, including trainings and 1-on-1 consultations. 

Click here for a fillable version of the NSF Safe and Inclusive Work Environment Plan for Off-Camus or Off-Site Research form.

It is NSF policy to “foster safe and harassment-free environments whenever science is conducted.” (NSF PAPPG, NSF 23-1, Chapter II-E.9]. Grantees are required, effective with proposals submitted 1/30/2023 or later, to certify that there is a plan in place for each project that includes off-campus or off-site research* that addresses:

  • Abuse of any person, including but not limited to harassment, stalking, bullying or hazing or any kind, whether the behavior is carried out verbally, physically, electronically, or in written form; and
  • Conduct that is unwelcome, offensive, indecent, obscene, or disorderly.

Cornell meets NSF requirements (as well as its own expectations) by using the policies and procedures outlined below and as further amplified to cover special circumstances as dictated by the PI in the project-specific information shown in this document. The Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR) must complete a certification that this plan is in place at the time of proposal submission. Plans should not be included in the proposal unless explicitly required as a supplemental document as part of the funding opportunity announcement. Plans are not required to be submitted to the Office of Sponsored Programs, the CALS Office of Sponsored Research, or the VET College Research Office except upon request.

Principal Investigators are responsible for authoring and distributing a copy of this plan to each participant in the off-campus or off-site research prior to those individuals leaving campus to participate in the off-campus or off-site activities. Guidance and required elements for the plan are included below.

KEY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University's heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference  in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.

Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.

All Cornell faculty, staff, and student employees are required by University policy to complete Employee Responsibility – Sexual and Related Misconduct through CULearn. PIs should confirm with their HR representative that faculty, staff, and student employees participating in their research have completed this training requirement. In addition, Cornell has a robust policy system designed to enforce the expectations for a safe and inclusive work environment. The following is a list of applicable Cornell policies. Note that the hyperlinks are publicly accessible and easy to view.

*Off-campus or off-site research is defined as data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site, such as fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft.

REPORTING

All individuals have the right to make a report to the University and to be protected from retaliation for reporting an incident. Cornell has multiple avenues for reporting concerns:

 
 
REPORTING SEXUAL AND RELATED MISCONDUCT
Cornell strongly encourages individuals who have experienced, have knowledge of, or have witnessed gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or other forms of sexual and related misconduct to report the incident immediately to the University. Reports can be made by:
  • Contacting the University’s Title IX Coordinator by telephone, email, mail, or in person during regular office hours:
  • Submitting an incident report online.
  • Contacting the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD) at (607) 255-1111 or 911 for emergency assistance.

Employees who are Policy 6.4 Designated Reporters, managers, and/or supervisors must report certain information to the Title IX Coordinator. These reporting requirements are covered in Policy 6.4 and the Employee Responsibility – Sexual and Related Misconduct training.

 

Through the Mid-Career Advancement (MCA) program, the NSF is seeking proposals from mid-career scientists at the Associate Professor rank (or equivalent) who wish to substantively advance their research program and career trajectory. A primary objective of the MCA is to ensure that scientists and engineers remain engaged and active in cutting-edge research at a critical career stage replete with constraints on time that can impinge on research productivity, retention, and career advancement. Thus, by (re)-investing in mid-career researchers, NSF hopes to enable a more diverse scientific workforce, including more women, persons with disabilities, and underrepresented minorities at high academic ranks.

The Program directors in the NSF division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) are a unique group of individuals that have vast technical expertise, are former entrepreneurs, industry-research leaders or investors. They manage NSF's merit review process and make recommendations for funding. They are available to offer advice throughout the SBIR/STTR award process. Learn more at https://seedfund.nsf.gov/contact/bios/

The Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) is the core policy document that applies to all NSF proposals and awards. This document is updated annually, typically in the first few months of the year.

  • PAPPG 22-1 will be replaced by PAPPG 23-1. For proposals submitted or due, on or after January 30, 2023, the guidelines in PAPPG 23-1 apply.

The NSF requires researchers to justify not only the "intellectual merit" of proposed research, but also the broader impacts: the potential of the research to benefit society. 

NSF uses a merit review process to ensure that proposals are reviewed in a fair, competitive, transparent, and in-depth manner. Your experience and in-depth knowledge allow you to provide helpful advice and constructive comments to proposers that can help strengthen their projects. With up to 240,000 reviews per year, NSF needs you! 

To become an NSF reviewer, send an e-mail to the NSF program officer(s) of the program(s) that fits your expertise. Introduce yourself and identify your areas of expertise, and let them know that you are interested in becoming a peer reviewer. Attach a 2-page CV with your current contact information.

If you need to find the appropriate NSF Program Officer to contact, go to the NSF Website: www.nsf.gov. Select the Quick Links tab at the top of the home page. This will take you to the selected home page. The "Contact US" column provides contact information for Program Officers and the programs they manage.

For additional information, visit the website - http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/merit_review/index.jsp.

Email Research Development.The Research Development team is available to provide proposal development assistance on large, collaborative center grants. To set up a consultation appointment, please email us at research_development@cornell.edu.

 

 

Photo: Cornell CHESS facility. Credit: Lindsay France (UREL)