SIAM News Blog

Funding Opportunity: NSF Issues New Strengthening American Infrastructure Solicitation

The following funding opportunity was shared by Lewis-Burke Associates LLC on February 18, 2022.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released an updated solicitation for the Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI) program, which funds human-centered transformative research around domestic infrastructure. This solicitation follows a 2020 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) announcing the first SAI funding opportunity. This program continues to be a priority for the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate, which leads the competition with support from seven additional NSF directorates. Proposals should bring together experts from one or more of the SBE science disciplines with experts across other scientific disciplines to generate “fundamental knowledge about human reasoning and decision-making, governance, and social and cultural processes enables the building and maintenance of effective infrastructure that improves lives and society and builds on advances in technology and engineering.”

For this solicitation, NSF states that the infrastructure focus of the proposed research may be of any kind, “including physical, cyber, biological, technological, social, economic, or educational.” Proposals should focus on infrastructure that produces broad societal impact, such as those that support “transportation, energy, water, information, computing, national security, buildings, conservation, and commerce.” In addition, areas that present the greatest societal challenges are of special interest, including “equitable access to and benefit from infrastructure, sustainability, climate impact and disaster mitigation, economic resilience, emerging technologies, and future safety, productivity, and security for all citizens.”

NSF emphasizes that proposals must identify a “specific, focal, and well-defined infrastructure.” In addition, proposals must build on a deep understanding of at least one SBE science relevant to the design, development, or sustainability of focal infrastructure. These sciences may include those of “human cognition, perception, information processing, decision-making processes, social and cultural behavior, legal frameworks, governmental structures,” and other areas of SBE science supported across the directorate’s programs. In particular, NSF encourages proposals to include consideration of modeling approaches of both the underlying human processes and identified infrastructure. Submitted proposals must be grounded in “user-centered concepts and offer the potential to substantially improve, strengthen and transform the design, development, use, deployment, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and maintenance of American infrastructure.” NSF plans to support SAI Planning Grants (SAI-P), SAI Research Grants (SAI-R), and SAI Conference Grants (SAI-C). 

Additionally, NSF encourages proposals that include efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in STEM and underrepresented regions in the development and conduct of the research. Proposals from MSIs are highly encouraged, as are opportunities for participation by undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, K-12 students, industry stakeholders, and others.” Public-private partnerships can also be proposed.

Due Dates: Full proposal submissions are due May 5, 2022.

Award Information: NSF anticipates 35 total awards with up to 10 planning grant awards, up to 15 research grants awards, and up to 10 conference awards. The total anticipated funding amount is $10 million. SAI-P may be requested for a total budget not to exceed $150,000 and for a period of up to one year. SAI-R grants may be requested for a total budget not to exceed $750,000 and for a period of up to three years. SAI-C grants may be requested for a total budget not to exceed $50,000 and for a period of up to one year.

Eligibility: Institutions of higher education and non-profit, non-academic organizations are eligible to apply to this solicitation. An individual may appear as PI, co-PI, senior personnel, or consultant on only one proposal submitted in response to the solicitation. 

Sources and Additional Information:

  • The full solicitation is available here.
  • The SAI program page is available here.
  • A list of SBE program areas can be found here.
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