Only one MRSEC preliminary proposal may be submitted by any one organization as the lead institution in this competition. An institution proposing research in several groups should submit a single MRSEC proposal with multiple Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs). A MRSEC proposal must contain a minimum of 2 IRGs and a maximum of 3 IRGs. The IRGs in a Center may be thematically related, or they may address different aspects of materials science typically supported by DMR. A single Center at an organization allows efficient usage of resources, including common infrastructure, and better coordination of education and other activities of the Center.
Institutions that were awarded a MRSEC in the FY 2020 competition as the lead institution are not eligible to submit a MRSEC proposal as a lead institution in this competition.
MRSEC full proposals may be submitted by invitation only.
Internal Deadline: Monday, November 1, 2021, 5pm PT
LOI (Preliminary Proposal): June 20, 2022
External Deadline: November 22, 2022
Award Type: Cooperative Agreement
Estimated Number of Awards: 8
Anticipated Award Amount: $25,000,000
Who May Serve as PI: No restrictions or limits.
Link to Award: https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2021/nsf21625/nsf21625.htm
Process for Limited Submissions
PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal: https://orif.usc.edu/oor-portal/.
Materials to submit include:
- (1) Single Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 1-page limit will be excluded from review.
- (2) CV – (5 pages maximum)
Note: The portal requires information about the PIs and Co-PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.
The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) program provides sustained support of materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering. Each MRSEC addresses research of a scope and complexity requiring the scale, synergy, and multidisciplinarity provided by a campus-based research center. The MRSECs support materials research infrastructure in the United States, promote active collaboration between universities and other sectors, including industry and international organizations, and contribute to the development of a national network of university-based centers in materials research, education, and facilities. A MRSEC may be located at a single institution, or may involve multiple institutions in partnership, and is composed of two to three Interdisciplinary Research Groups, IRGs, each addressing a fundamental materials science topic aligned with the Division of Materials Research, DMR.
Proposals addressing fundamental materials research problems in the following areas are of particular interest:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI), including use of machine learning, deep learning, computer vision and other emerging data-centric approaches to address complex problems in materials science, and in particular as applied to traditional materials science problems in ceramics, metals, metallic alloys, and other materials classes. The use of AI and machine learning to enable advanced manufacturing, and using predictive design to program materials’ composition, structure, and function are also of interest.
- Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology, including addressing materials challenges that hinder the advancement of incorporating synthetic biology techniques to the development of next-generation materials and living (functional) materials relevant to biotechnology; and fundamental materials research at the intersection of synthetic biology and abiotic materials and technologies, and of engineering biology and materials science. Efforts may include, but are not limited to, the development of materials, living materials, and/or materials systems that have the potential to impact the way we grow, store, and preserve food; to explore new materials that sustain the well-being of humans, non-human animals, and populations; development of knowledge of how to manufacture new biological materials for information storage and processing; development of new materials that are pluripotent and autonomous that can sense their environment and change properties; and new approaches to manufacture at scale materials that are safer, more sustainable, and novel (see https://roadmap.ebrc.org/2021-roadmap-materials/ for more information.)
- Advanced Manufacturing, including new strategies for creating composite materials across materials classes (e.g., combining digital- and self-assembly), new tools for modeling and monitoring processing (e.g., in situ characterization), and developing the ability to print functionality, such as spatially resolved mechanical/chemical properties, in addition to structures; exploring opportunities for hierarchical materials by combining self-assembly (bottom-up) with top-down additive manufacturing and 4D printing; blending manufacturing approaches for heterogeneous (soft and hard) materials; precision synthesis and characterization of macromolecular/bespoke polymer materials.
In addition, further potential research topics to broaden the current MRSEC portfolio include, but are not limited to:
- Structural Materials under Extreme Conditions: this effort addresses fundamental challenges in ceramic, metallic, and polymeric structural materials, and their composites for applications under extreme conditions.
- Materials for Clean, Sustainable Energy: this effort addresses development of earth-abundant / non-toxic element-based materials and sustainable practices that support: materials for clean, sustainable energy harvesting, conversion and storage; and materials for energy-efficient processing, storage, and communication of information. Proposals in this area must address topics that are distinct from ongoing research efforts supported by other federal agencies.
Budgetary Requirements: Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited.
Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for more updates and other announcements.