Abstract collage of science-related imagery

Combustion and Fire Systems

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See PD 23-1407 for the latest version.

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.


The Combustion and Fire Systems program is part of the Transport Phenomena cluster, which also includes: 1) Fluid Dynamics; 2) Particulate and Multiphase Processes; and 3) Thermal Transport Processes.

The goal of the Combustion and Fire Systems program is to advance energy conversion efficiency, improve energy security, enable cleaner environments, and enhance public safety. 

The program endeavors to create fundamental scientific knowledge that is needed for useful combustion applications and for mitigating the effects of fire. The program aims to identify and understand the controlling basic principles and to use that knowledge to create predictive capabilities for designing and optimizing practical combustion devices.

Important outcomes of interest for this program include:

  • broad-based tools — experimental, theoretical, and computational — that can be applied to a variety of problems in combustion and fire systems;
  • science and technology for clean and efficient generation of power;
  • discoveries that enable clean environments (reduction in combustion-generated pollutants); and
  • enhanced public safety through research on fire growth, inhibition, and suppression.

Research areas of interest for this program include:

  • Basic Combustion Science: Combustion of gas, liquid, and solid fuels over a broad range of temperatures, pressures, and length scales; combustion at supercritical conditions; advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) propulsion concepts; flame synthesis; integration of fuel design and combustion; control of reaction pathways; development of chemical kinetics, predictive models, and diagnostic tools.
  • Combustion Science Related to Clean Energy: Increasing efficiency and reducing pollution; production and use of renewable fuels; biomass combustion, gasification, and fast pyrolysis; technologies such as oxy-fuel combustion and chemical looping combustion for carbon capture.
  • Fire Prevention: Improved understanding of fires to prevent their spread, inhibit their growth, and suppress them; prediction and mitigation of wildland fires in real time.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the Principal Investigator contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is $100,000 per year. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.



Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field. Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research. The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged. Award duration is five years. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information. 

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found hereGrant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Program contacts

Harsha Chelliah
hchellia@nsf.gov 703-292-7062 ENG/CBET

Awards made through this program

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