November 3, 2020
The National Science Foundation (NSF) - through its Directorates for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE), Engineering (ENG), Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Geosciences (GEO), Biological Sciences (BIO), Education and Human Resources (EHR), and the Office of Integrated Activities (OIA) - seeks to stimulate fundamental exploratory, potentially transformative research that strengthens America's infrastructure. Effective infrastructure, whether it be physical, cyber, or social, provides a strong foundation for socioeconomic vitality and broad quality of life improvement. Strong, reliable, and effective infrastructure spurs private-sector innovation, grows the economy, creates jobs, makes public-sector service provision more efficient, strengthens communities, promotes equal opportunity, protects the natural environment, enhances national security, and fuels American leadership. To achieve these goals requires expertise from across the science and engineering disciplines. In particular, knowledge of human reasoning and decision making, governance, and social and cultural processes are essential to efforts to envision, build, and maintain an effective infrastructure that improves lives and society and builds on advances in technology and engineering.
This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) invites workshop and Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals that incorporate scientific insights about human behavior and social dynamics to better develop, design, build, rehabilitate, and maintain strong and effective American infrastructure. (Workshops associated with this DCL are identified as Conference proposals in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and will hereafter be referred to as "conferences.") The DCL is intended to support exploratory work, in its early stages, on untested but potentially transformative research ideas or approaches that can identify and help build this new area of research. The activities NSF hopes to stimulate with this DCL may be considered especially "high risk - high reward" in the sense that the Foundation seeks radically different approaches, application of new expertise, or engagement of novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.