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

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NSF 22-606

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

Supports experimental and applied computational physical 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 advance foundational knowledge on the nature of chemical structure and bonding, chemical dynamics, chemical mechanisms, chemical structure and property studies, and emergent applications of molecular systems. The CSDM Program is divided into two sub-programs, CSDM-A and CSDM-B. At coarse resolution, the CSDM-A Program encompasses 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. Projects supported by CSDM-A typically involve the in-depth analysis of experimental data that leads to fundamentally new ways of describing physical phenomena often with an outcome that modifies or updates a theoretical model. Projects supported by CSDM-B may 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 chemical behaviors.

Projects addressing questions in nanochemistry or chemistry of biological systems may wish to 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-A (CSDM-A) Program supports experimental and applied computational research directed at increasing our fundamental understanding of the physical properties and behavior of chemical systems. The program is interested in projects that enable physical phenomena to be viewed in a new light or in ways that challenge current paradigms. To that end, projects of interest to CSDM-A often rely heavily on the use or advancement of sophisticated experimental techniques (e.g., state-selective methods, time and frequency domain spectroscopies, microscopies, single-molecule methods, scattering and diffraction approaches, and surface characterization techniques) or the development of new analysis approaches to further physical understanding. Chemical systems studied range in complexity and include isolated molecules and molecular ions, liquids, clusters, surfaces; and interfaces, molecular assemblies and films, nanoscale systems, and biological structures. The CSDM-A Program also supports applied computational chemistry activities that demonstrate strong synergy with experiment. Investigators who plan to submit proposals on primarily computational projects are advised that their proposals will be reviewed by experimentalists and experts in computational chemistry.

The CSDM-A Program is also interested in projects that would advance our understanding of key Quantum Information Science (QIS) concepts in molecular and nanoscopic systems or use QIS concepts to probe chemical systems in new ways. 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 topics related to sustainable chemistry appropriate for the (CSDM-A) Program include, but are not limited to describing correlated chemical and physical processes across multiple time and length scales in functional systems; combining computational and experimental approaches yo predict and measure the physical properties of sustainable catalysts, chemicals, and materials; and investigating fundamental dynamical processes in the context of functional networks for clean energy generation and storage technologies.

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 9101.

Program contacts

Administrative Program Support: Stephanie Smith stesmith@nsf.gov or (703) 292-2271.

John M. Papanikolas
jpapanik@nsf.gov (703) 292-8173 MPS/CHE
Amanda Haes
ahaes@nsf.gov (703) 292-7909
Samy El-Shall
selshall@nsf.gov (703) 292-8840 MPS/CHE
Ryan Jorn
rjorn@nsf.gov (703) 292-4514 MPS/CHE

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program