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Chemical Catalysis (CAT)

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NSF 22-605

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports experimental and computational research on the fundamental understanding of the chemistry of catalytic processes.

Supports experimental and computational research on the fundamental understanding of the chemistry of catalytic processes.


The Chemical Catalysis (CAT) Program supports experimental and computational research directed towards the fundamental chemistry aspects of catalytic processes at the molecular and/or bond level of understanding. The CAT Program accepts proposals on catalytic approaches which facilitate, direct, and accelerate efficient chemical transformations. The program scope includes the design and synthesis of catalytic species on the molecular, supramolecular, and nanometer scales and their relevant mechanistic studies. Bothhomogeneous or heterogeneous catalytic processes are in scope. The CAT Program encompasses (but is not limited to) the following areas: polymerization catalysis, single site catalysis, organocatalysis, inorganic, organometallic, and photoredox catalysis, electrocatalysis, and biologically-inspired catalysis. Applications of modeling, theory, simulation, surface science, and advanced characterization techniques to catalytic processes are also relevant. Fundamental studies of energy-related catalytic processes (such as in water splitting and fuel cells) and photocatalysis (such as in solar energy conversion) are welcome in the CAT Program.

The CAT Program encourages proposal submissions in the following topical areas: The Division of Chemistry looks to support basic research aimed at improving the state of sustainable chemistry for future generations while maintaining or improving current products within a global society. Examples of sustainable chemistry appropriate for the Chemical Catalysis (CAT) Program include, but are not limited to: the design, preparation, and reactivity studies associated with new catalysts and catalytic processes to replace rare and/or toxic compounds with earth-abundant and benign alternatives, advances in catalysis to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, catalytic transformation of renewable raw materials to useful chemicals and materials, and catalytic processes to enable circularity. See CAS and CAS-SC for more information. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals, where advances in chemical syntheses involve collaborative research with an industrial partner.

Research topics that are not of interest to the CAT Program: The CAT Program does not support applied catalysis research involving engineering aspects of catalysis such as scale-up, processing, transport dynamics, and long-term stability. Researchers contemplating proposals in these areas are directed to the NSF Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET). Researchers focused on enzymatic or cellular catalysis should consult the Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) or Cellular and Biochemical Engineering Programs. Catalysis research with immediate objectives in the synthesis of complex natural products using established catalysts should be submitted to the Chemical Synthesis (SYN) Program. Finally, research primarily targeted at catalytic reaction mechanisms are most appropriate for submission to the Chemical Mechanism, Function, and Properties (CMFP) Program.

Proposals submitted to this program (including individual and collaborative proposals, GOALIs) must be submitted to the CHE Disciplinary Research Programs solicitation.


·         RUI proposals must be submitted to the RUI Solicitation during the regular proposal submission window for this program.

·         Proposals submitted in response to another solicitation (CAREER) should follow the solicitation guidelines (e.g. CAREER)

·         Workshop, EAGER, RAPID or RAISE proposals must be discussed with a Program Officer before submission, and then should only be  submitted as instructed.

PIs are encouraged to monitor current funding priorities identified by the Foundation and the Executive and Legislative Branches, and to highlight relevant synergies in their Project Summaries and Program Descriptions.

CHE is also committed to the inclusion of all people and institutions across all geographies in the U.S. because all are vital to the nation’s health, security and global leadership in STEM. NSF welcomes the submission of proposals to this funding opportunity that include the participation of the full spectrum of diverse talent in STEM, e.g., as PI, co-PI, senior personnel, postdoctoral scholars, graduate or undergraduate students or trainees. CHE also recognizes that STEM research and education occur at a wide range of institutions, including Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs), Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and two-year colleges, as well as major research institutions. CHE welcomes single institution and multi-institutional collaborative proposals from all types of institutions and encourages authentic and substantive collaborations and partnerships across diverse geographies and types of institutions. Proposals from EPSCoR jurisdictions are especially encouraged.

CHE occasionally supports forward-looking workshops attempting to inform roadmaps (included in the resulting workshop reports) for future research needs and directions relevant to chemical science. We are not generally able to support research symposia, including those at either special or recurring meetings and conferences.

For recent awards made by the program, search NSF award database with the Program Element Code 688400.

Program contacts

Administrative Program Support: Renee Ivey, sivey@nsf.gov or (703) 292-4928.

Kenneth G. Moloy
kmoloy@nsf.gov (703) 292-8441 MPS/CHE
Laura Anderson
laanders@nsf.gov Primary Email MPS/CHE
Michel Dupuis
mdupuis@nsf.gov (703) 292-2919 MPS/CHE
Tong Ren
tren@nsf.gov Primary Email MPS/CHE
Francis D'Souza
frdsouza@nsf.gov (703) 292-4559 MPS/CHE
Jon Rainier
jrainier@nsf.gov (703) 292-8840 MPS/CHE
Sarah E. Wengryniuk
sewold@nsf.gov (703) 292-8679 MPS/CHE

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program