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Developmental Sciences (DS)

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NSF 24-544

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 research on the cognitive, linguistic, social, cultural and biological processes involved in human development across the life span — illuminating the developmental processes that support individuals in living productive lives as members of society.

Supports research on the cognitive, linguistic, social, cultural and biological processes involved in human development across the life span — illuminating the developmental processes that support individuals in living productive lives as members of society.


Developmental Sciences supports basic research that increases our understanding of perceptual, cognitive, linguistic, social, cultural, and biological processes related to human development across the lifespan. Research supported by this program will add to our knowledge of the underlying developmental processes that support social, cognitive, and behavioral functioning, thereby illuminating ways for individuals to live productive lives as members of society.

The Developmental Sciences program supports research that addresses developmental processes within the domains of perceptual, cognitive, social, emotional, language, and motor development across the lifespan by working with any appropriate populations for the topics of interest including infants, children, adolescents, adults (including aging populations), and non-human animals. The program also supports research investigating factors that affect developmental change, including family, peers, school, community, culture, media, physical, genetic, and epigenetic influences. The program funds research that incorporates multidisciplinary, multi-method, and/or longitudinal approaches; develops new methods, models, and theories for studying development; and integrates different processes (e.g., memory, emotion, perception, cognition), levels of analysis (e.g., behavioral, social, neural) and time scales. The program funds basic research that advances our understanding of developmental processes and mechanisms; the program does not fund clinical trials and research focused primarily on health outcomes.

The budgets and durations of supported projects vary widely and are greatly influenced by the nature of the project. Investigators should focus on innovative, potentially transformative research plans and then develop a budget to support those activities, rather than starting with a budget number and working up to that value.

While there are no specific rules about budget limitations, a typical project funded through the Developmental Sciences program is approximately three years in duration with a total cost budget, including both direct and indirect costs, between $100,000 and $200,000 per year. Interested proposers are urged to explore the NSF awards database for the Developmental Sciences program to review examples of awards that have been made. Proposals that contain budgets significantly beyond this range may be returned without review.

The Developmental Sciences program also considers proposals for workshops and small conferences on a case-by-case basis. These typically have total cost budgets, including direct and indirect costs, of approximately $35,000. Conference proposals may only be submitted following an invitation from the Program Directors.

In addition to consulting the NSF awards database, it is often useful for interested proposers to submit (via email) a summary of no more than one page so that a program director can advise the investigator on the fit of the project for DS before the preparation of a full proposal. New investigators are encouraged to solicit assistance in the preparation of their project proposals via consultation with senior researchers in their area, pre-submission review by colleagues, and attendance at symposia and events at professional conferences geared towards educating investigators seeking federal funding.

The Developmental Sciences Program is always interested in identifying new reviewers. Potential reviewers should have a Ph.D. in psychology or a related field and have a demonstrated area of expertise relevant to developmental science. Individuals interested in reviewing for the program should complete an expression of interest form.

SBE/BCS 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/key personnel, postdoctoral scholars, graduate or undergraduate students, or trainees.   This includes historically under-represented or underserved populations, diverse institutions including Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and two-year colleges, as well as major research institutions. Proposals from EPSCoR jurisdictions are especially encouraged.

Program contacts

Anna V. Fisher
Program Director
avfisher@nsf.gov (703) 292-8451 SBE/BCS
Tanika M. Malloy
Program Support
tmalloy@nsf.gov (703) 292-2484 SBE/BCS

Awards made through this program

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