Abstract collage of science-related imagery

Chemical Synthesis (SYN)

View guidelines

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 research on the development of new and efficient synthesis methodologies and on the synthesis of complex and/or challenging chemical structures.

Supports experimental research on the development of new and efficient synthesis methodologies and on the synthesis of complex and/or challenging chemical structures.


The Chemical Synthesis (SYN) Program supports experimental research on the development of new and efficient synthesis methodologies and on the synthesis of challenging molecular targets. Research in this program will generate fundamental new knowledge and understanding of chemical synthesis at the molecular level, and enable new discoveries and the development of transformative technologies in related fields. With a focus on their synthesis, targets include (but are not limited to): novel organic (including natural products and biomolecules), organometallic, coordination, and inorganic complexes with the potential to display unique properties, as well as new chemical compounds and structures with the potential to provide pathways to discover and elucidate novel phenomena. Coverage of the SYN program involves all known elements. Supported research areas include (but are not limited to): discovery of new synthetic methods or creative adaptation of existing methods that overcome current synthesis challenges, development of new approaches or strategies to target molecules, transition-metal or main group element mediated synthesis of target molecules, synthesis complemented and/or guided by computational chemistry or data science or machine learning, synthesis of reactive intermediates for further exploration of their chemistry, and the development of innovative reagents.

The SYN Program encourages proposal submissions in the following topical areas:

Critical Aspects of Sustainability (CAS): 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. Submissions that address sustainability may include but are not limited to: the development of new synthetic methods using earth-abundant and inexpensive chemicals, fundamental studies that improve our understanding of rare earth elements; the conversion of non-petroleum based resources into useful building blocks; and new environmentally-friendly chemical syntheses that improve on current practice by requiring less energy, fresh water, reagents, and/or organic solvents. 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, are also encouraged.

Research topics that are not of interest to the SYN Program: The SYN Program does not support projects where the main objectives are to study reaction mechanisms and the properties and functions of target systems, even though they may contain a large synthetic component. Proposed studies of this nature may be directed to the Chemical Mechanism, Function, and Property (CMFP) Program. Investigators interested in developing novel synthetic approaches to macromolecular, supramolecular or nanoscopic structures should consult the Macromolecular, Supramolecular and Nanochemistry (MSN) Program. Projects focused on materials development/properties and on syntheses of extended solid-state materials should consult the Solid State and Materials program of the Division of Materials Research (DMR-SSMC). Proposals that have a major focus on the design, discovery, and development of new catalysts and fundamental studies of catalytic reactions should be submitted to the Chemical Catalysis (CAT) Program. The SYN Program does not support projects where the main focus is on medicinal chemistry and/or drug discovery. 

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 Project 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 687800.

Program contacts

Administrative Program Support: Darren Kimble, dkimble@nsf.gov (703)292-2271





Sarah E. Wengryniuk
sewold@nsf.gov (703) 292-8679 MPS/CHE
John W. Gilje
jwgilje@nsf.gov Primary email MPS/CHE
Jon Rainier
jrainier@nsf.gov (703) 292-8840 MPS/CHE
George Richter-Addo
grichter@nsf.gov (703) 292-7528 MPS/CHE

Awards made through this program

Browse projects funded by this program
Map of recent awards made through this program