SIAM News Blog

Funding Opportunity: NSF Announces New Global Centers Solicitation to Support Use-Inspired Research Addressing Global Challenges in Climate Change and Clean Energy

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC – February 8, 2023

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new solicitation to support Global Centers (GC) to support Use-Inspired Research Addressing Global Challenges in Climate Change and Clean Energy. This is an NSF-wide international activity in partnership with research funders from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom (UK). GC will support large-scale, international collaborative research on use-inspired themes in climate change and clean energy to benefit society. GC projects are expected to deliver outcomes that support the “assessment and/or mitigation of climate-change impacts on society, people, and communities, and/or the development of clean-energy solutions.” NSF will support the U.S. participants, while foreign partners will be supported by their home country funding agency.

The GC program will support two tracks:

  • Track 1: Global Center Implementation: Research Partnerships with Australia, Canada, and the UK – Will support awards up to $5 million for 4-5 years for use-inspired climate change/clean energy research projects primarily with collaborators in Australia, Canada, and/or the UK. 
  • Track 2: Community-driven Global-Center Design – Will provide seed funding of up to $250,000 to support U.S. research coordination efforts and plan for a future NSF Global Centers competition, which is open to collaboration with researchers in any country. The solicitation notes that Track 2 awardees are not guaranteed a subsequent Track 1 award; and a Track 2 award is not required for future track 1 proposals. The solicitation also notes that Track 2 proposals should include a plan to “integrate researchers from non-anchor partner countries, notably scientists and stakeholders based in regions of the Global South disproportionately affected by climate change or who have innovative ideas regarding clean energy.”

The GC solicitation highlights the complexity of the research challenges related to climate change and the need for a convergent, interdisciplinary approach to address these challenges. GC collaborations could include researchers focused on, “greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric and oceanic circulation drivers, impacts of natural and built environment, human behavior, and policy constraints, coupled with innovative artificial intelligence (AI), computational and data science solutions, to help assess or mitigate community impacts and/or lead to technology developments.” For clean energy, the solicitation highlights that solutions in certain regions may involve urban planning to address environmental justice issues or reduce adverse impacts of climate change or increase resiliency. Other projects may, “focus on engineering solutions to failing power grids, employ novel statistical and mathematical methods to pro-actively evaluate the associated climate-induced risks, use AI, biotechnology or advanced manufacturing to innovate solutions, while others might create economic policies to incentivize social change. This list is not exhaustive.” The three partner countries have also identified themes of particular interest for each country, described in the solicitation.

Track 1: Centers will be driven by a bold vision for high-impact, use-inspired, basic research that incorporates stakeholder input, including perspectives beyond the academic community. Centers are expected to lead to societal benefits, expand international collaborations, and support the development of a “diverse scientific and stakeholder community able to potentially carry out the work beyond the Center funding period.” Centers will provide opportunities for students and early career faculty and increase activities to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Finally, centers should carry out “sustainable activities that advance knowledge, empower resilient communities, and generate discovery of innovative solutions at a regional and/or global scale.”

The Global Centers program has been under development for some time and builds on the NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) program, which has been discontinued.

Eligibility & PI Limitations:

An investigator may serve as PI or co-PI on only one proposal. There are no limits on the number of proposals per organization.

  • Track 1 proposals must include at least one institution in the U.S. collaboration with at least one researcher/institution in at least one of the three partner countries. Additional countries may be included, but those partners must secure their own funding.
  • Track 2 proposals will support U.S. based researchers; partner countries must secure their own funding.


  • Track 1: Full proposals are due May 10, 2023
  • Track 2: Submission window is April 12, 2023, to May 10, 2023

Award Information: NSF anticipates up to $28 million to support around 23 awards, including six to eight Track 1 awards funded at up to $5 million over four to five years; plus 10 to 15 Track 2 awards funded at up to $250,000 over two-years.

Sources and Additional Information:

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