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Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP)

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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 computational research that uses innovations in chemistry to study the molecular underpinnings of biological processes.

Supports experimental and computational research that uses innovations in chemistry to study the molecular underpinnings of biological processes.


The Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Program supports experimental and theoretical studies at the interface of chemistry and biology. The proposed fundamental research must be centered on chemistry and the proposal must clearly outline the anticipated new chemistry knowledge generated by the research. The proposed research projects also need to advance the fundamental understanding of the molecular underpinnings of life processes and directly address biologically relevant questions.

The scope of the program is broad, reflecting the power of chemistry and diversity of biology. Subject areas include bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry; chemical biology; chemistry of lipids, membranes, and membrane proteins; and protein, enzyme, nucleic acid, and carbohydrate chemistry. Development of chemical methods and tools is also acceptable when such methods are relevant to answering specific biological questions. Other topics of interest include: the development and application of bio-orthogonal chemistry for probing cellular function; biomolecular design and synthesis aimed at understanding biological function; the application of theory, computation, modeling, and simulation to molecular-scale aspects of biological systems; and chemistry that underlies the function of the brain or empowers the study of the brain.

The CLP Program is also interested in proposal submissions in the following topical areas: 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 projects that fit in the Chemistry of Life Processes Program that would also fit in the CAS program include, but are not limited to, those that focus on the mechanism of enzymes that (1) play a role in the sensing and transport of heavy metals that are toxic or (2) catalyze chemical transformations of biological compounds that generate chemical knowledge applicable to bioremediation. Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals, where such advances are connected directly to industrial considerations, are also encouraged.

Research topics that are not of interest to the CLP Program: The CLP Program is not interested in projects that are disease-related or that have drug discovery/design/development goals. PIs uncertain of the suitability of their proposals for the CLP Program and of their synergy with other funding priorities and/or programs are strongly encouraged to contact a CLP Program Director.

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 688300.

Program contacts

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

Christine Chow
cchow@nsf.gov (703) 292-8840 MPS/CHE
Pui S. Ho
puiho@nsf.gov Primary Email MPS/CHE
John C. Jewett
jjewett@nsf.gov (703) 292-5373 MPS/CHE
Pumtiwitt McCarthy
pmccarth@nsf.gov (703) 292-8840 MPS/CHE

Awards made through this program

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