Economic development and human progress have led to a proliferation of manufactured chemicals and materials made from limited resources found in nature (i.e., minerals and metals, petroleum-based products and natural gas). Long-term sustainability requires consideration of the availability of specific natural resources, energy, and water usage. NSF continues to support efforts that seek to improve the efficiency with which natural resources are used to meet human needs for products and services. Sustainability research encompasses the design, manufacture and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally-benign products and processes; stimulates innovation across all sectors to design and discover new chemicals and materials, production processes, and product stewardship practices; and, increases performance and value while meeting the goals of protecting and enhancing human health and the environment.
This program seeks to support basic research through core disciplinary programs aimed at improving the sustainability of resources for future generations while maintaining or improving current products in order to offer technologically-advanced, economically competitive, environmentally-benign and useful materials to a global society. In order to address these challenges, the program aims to identify opportunities for innovation in a wide range of contributing disciplines as well as integrative activities. This program encourages the development of new experimental and theoretical/modeling approaches that will aid in both reductionist and whole-systems approaches.
This program welcomes proposals in any area of research supported through the participating divisions that address the topics outlined below. The selected topics are of particular interest to core disciplinary programs in the participating divisions and do not include all funding opportunities and priorities in the area or sustainability at NSF. Proposals are submitted to the relevant core Programs indicated below in the participating Divisions, and all questions regarding proposals should be addressed by the cognizant Program Officers to which submission is contemplated. Proposals should be submitted with the “CAS:” prefix in the title.
The Division of Chemistry (CHE/MPS) welcomes proposals to its Disciplinary Research Programs, including Chemical Catalysis (CAT), Chemical Measurement and Imaging (CMI), Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms-A (CSDM-A), Chemical Structure Dynamics and Mechanisms-B (CSDM-B), Chemical Synthesis (SYN), Chemical Theory, Models and Computational Methods (CTMC), Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP), Environmental Chemical Sciences (ECS), and Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry (MSN). All proposals must be on chemical aspects of sustainability.
The Division of Materials Research (DMR/MPS) welcomes proposals to its Topical Materials Research Programs, including Biomaterials (BMAT), Ceramics (CER), Condensed Matter and Materials Theory (CMMT), Condensed Matter Physics (CMP), Electronic and Photonic Materials (EPM), Metals and Metallic Nanostructures (MMN), Polymers (POL), and Solid State and Materials Chemistry (SSMC). All proposals must be on materials aspects of sustainability and focused on fundamental materials-research approaches.
The Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division (CBET/ENG) has several core programs that review proposals on research topics related to sustainability, including Molecular Separations (MolS), Biosensing, Environmental Sustainability (EnvS), Biological and Environmental Interactions of Nanoscale Materials (BioNano), Combustion and Fire Systems (CFS), and Particulate and Multiphase Processes (PMP).
For the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI/ENG), proposals addressing sustainable materials processing are welcome. Of interest are manufacturing processes with reduced use of toxic components, such as solvents, carbon emissions, and pollutants; processes under ambient conditions, as opposed to extreme temperatures, pressures or other harsh conditions; and increased conservation of natural resources, such as water, raw material, and energy. Proposals to CMMI must be submitted to the Advanced Manufacturing (AM) Program and align with the scope of the program.
The Division of Earth Sciences (EAR/GEO) welcomes fundamental and transformational geosciences projects addressing the distribution of Critical Minerals and Materials in the Earth. The following programs in the division support research on this topic: Petrology and Geochemistry (CH), Geobiology and Low-Temperature Geochemistry (GG), and Frontier Research in Earth Sciences (FRES).
For additional information, including due dates for specific NSF Divisions, please visit the CAS program page.