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Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms B (CSDM-B)

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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 physical organic and physical inorganic chemistry research on the nature of chemical structure, chemical structure property studies, chemical dynamics and chemical mechanisms.


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)
  • Conference, workshop, EAGER, RAPID or RAISE proposals must be discussed with a Program Officer before submission, and then should only be submitted as instructed.

The Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms (CSDM) Program supports research projects that have strong implications for advancing the foundational knowledge of chemical systems. The Program supports research on the nature of chemical structure, chemical structure property studies, chemical dynamics, and chemical mechanisms. The CSDM Program is divided into two sub-programs, CSDM-A and CSDM-B. At coarse resolution, the CSDM-A Program may be seen as encompassing the sub-disciplines of experimental physical chemistry and applied computational physical chemistry, while CSDM-B is the venue for physical organic and physical inorganic chemistry. The research supported by the two Programs may also be distinguished in terms of whether their goal is to use existing experimental methods and current conceptual frameworks to understand and describe physical processes in molecules and materials that are becoming increasingly relevant in modern applications (CSDM-B), or to challenge the way we think about physical phenomena in chemical systems through the development of innovative experimental approaches and new conceptual models (CSDM-A). Projects supported by CSDM-A typically involve in-depth analysis of experimental data at the quantum- or statistical-mechanical level, often with an outcome being the modification or updating of the theoretical model. Projects supported by CSDM-B also rely on theory to interpret structure-function relationships, but tend to focus on the consequence of structure (or changes in structure) on reactivity and other behaviors.

Projects involving nanochemistry or chemistry of biological systems should consult the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry (MSN) or Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Programs, respectively. Proposals for projects whose primary goal is the development of an entirely new instrumental technique, or enhanced performance or understanding of an existing technique, may be more appropriate for the Chemical Measurement and Imaging (CMI) Program. In general, research focused on solid-state chemical processes are not supported by CSDM. Investigators interested in this area should consult with the Solid State Materials Chemistry (SSMC) Program in the Division of Materials Research (DMR). Projects for which the primary goal is the development of a practical device are not supported by the CSDM-A and CSDM-B Programs and should be submitted to an appropriate program in the Engineering Directorate.

The following Program Descriptions are intended to guide the proposer to the most appropriate sub-program for her/his research.


The Chemical Structure, Dynamics, and Mechanisms-B (CSDM-B) Program supports mechanistic studies of diverse chemical processes, the discovery and development of molecular systems with emergent potential for applications, and chemical structure-property relationship studies. CSDM-B proposals often involve significant synthetic efforts. Computational proposals in the context of physical organic and physical inorganic chemistry are welcome and they are typically reviewed by both experimentalists and computational chemists. Mechanistic studies are a major component of the CSDMB portfolio. These studies include (but are not limited to) mechanisms of organometallic, organic, and inorganic reactions, chemistry of reactive intermediates, mechanistic studies of charge transfer, photochemical (including photoredox), electrochemical, and catalytic processes. The development of novel molecular systems with potential applications in materials, energy, environment, biotechnology, and information sciences is also a significant part of the CSDMB portfolio. Examples include (but are not limited to) chromophore development for advanced imaging and solar fuel applications, the development of innovative battery electrolytes, including flow-battery systems, ionic liquids, artificial photosynthesis, new magnetic and high-spin chemical systems and molecular qubits. Under the chemical structure-property relationship studies, focus is on the properties and chemical reactivity of molecular systems.

Through the Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS) program, the Division of Chemistry looks to support basic research aimed at improving the sustainability of resources for future generations while maintaining or improving current products within a global society. Examples of sustainable chemistry appropriate for the CSDM-B Program include, but are not limited to: fundamental studies related to sustainable energy such as the development of chromophores based on earth-abundant elements, advanced electrolytes for battery technology, and new approaches to water splitting and carbon dioxide conversion.

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.

For recent awards made by the program, search NSF award database with the Program Element Code 9102.

Program contacts

Administrative Program Support: Darren Kimble, dkimble@nsf.gov or (703) 292-7159

Tingyu Li
tli@nsf.gov (703) 292-4949 MPS/CHE
Richard Johnson
ricjohns@nsf.gov Primary Email MPS/CHE
Francis D'Souza
frdsouza@nsf.gov (703) 292-4559 MPS/CHE

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program