Engineering Directorate at NSF: Engineering Corner newsletter

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the new Engineering Corner newsletter, an occasional note to the community about happenings within the Engineering Directorate at NSF. I hope you find the information useful.

The biggest news within the Directorate is the shift from submission windows to “no deadlines” ( for all our unsolicited core programs. As of August 15, there are no more “submission windows” for unsolicited proposals to CBET, CMMI, ECCS, or EEC core programs.

Investigators can submit proposals at any time during the year, giving you more flexibility to build collaborations, discuss your planned proposal with the relevant NSF program director, and make sure the proposal is as good as it can be before it is submitted (without rushing to make the deadline).

Note that specific solicitations, such as NSF CAREER, Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI), Cyber-Physical Systems, etc., will still have deadlines. Please consult the NSF Engineering website for a FAQ ( and other details, and find links to the programs that we fund.

You may have heard about NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for future investment (, research areas that are ripe for transformational advances, ranging from The Quantum Leap to Understanding the Rules of Life. Engineers have a role to play in all of these ideas, so I encourage you to stay tuned for opportunities to submit research proposals.

Later this year, NSF will launch a new research funding mechanism called “Convergence Accelerators,” targeting two of these Big Ideas: Harnessing the Data Revolution and the Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier. Convergence research represents the deep integration of multiple disciplines, with the goal of solving a specific research problem. Convergence Accelerators are envisioned to use cohorts of diverse and interdisciplinary teams to attack these hard research problems, starting with an intense, short time frame that leads to a “pitch” requesting funding for the longer, more dedicated phase of research. There will also be the potential for teams to win prizes based on their research.

Another of the NSF 10 Big Ideas, Navigating the New Arctic (, was a topic at the April meeting of the NSF Engineering Advisory Committee. In a joint session with the Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee, we discussed how engineers could respond to challenges and opportunities as Arctic sea ice recedes and permafrost melts, new shipping lanes open up and natural resource exploration expands.

I encourage you to think about how engineering research can make contributions to this and all of the NSF Big Ideas.

Best regards,

Dawn Tilbury
NSF Assistant Director for Engineering