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Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See NSF 24-508 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 Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program of the NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) serves a critical role in helping ENG focus on important emerging areas in a timely manner. This solicitation is a funding opportunity for interdisciplinary teams of researchers to embark on rapidly advancing frontiers of fundamental engineering research. For this solicitation, we will consider proposals that aim to investigate emerging frontiers in one of the following two research areas:

  • Engineered Living Systems (ELiS)
  • Brain-Inspired Dynamics for Engineering Energy-Efficient Circuits and Artificial Intelligence (BRAID)


This solicitation will be coordinated with the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO), and the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), along with Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Department of Defense - Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

EFRI seeks proposals with potentially transformative ideas that represent an opportunity for a significant shift in fundamental engineering knowledge with a strong potential for long term impact on national needs or a grand challenge. The proposals must also meet the detailed requirements delineated in this solicitation.

INFORMATIONAL WEBINAR: The Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities (EFMA) Office will host an informational webinar in October 2021 to discuss the EFRI program and answer questions about the FY 2022/23 solicitation. Details on how to join this webinar will be posted on the EFMA Website.



Program contacts

The following Program Officers may also be contacted for content-specific questions on the EFRI 2021 topics.

TOPIC 1: Engineered Living Systems (ELiS),

  • Topic Coordinator: Mamadou Diallo, Program Director, ENG/CBET,  email: mdiallo@nsf.gov
  • Wenda Bauchspies, Program Director, SBE/SES, telephone: (703) 292-5034, email: wbauchsp@nsf.gov
  • Giovanna Biscontin, Program Director, ENG/CMMI, telephone: (703) 292-2339, email: gibiscon@nsf.gov  
  • Khershed Cooper, Program Director, ENG/CMMI, telephone: (703) 292-7017, email: khcooper@nsf.gov
  • Brandi Schottel, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-4798, email: bschotte@nsf.gov
  • Ashely Pierce, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-4493 , email: apierce@nsf.gov
  • Steven Peretti, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7029, email: speretti@nsf.gov
  • Bianca Garner, Program Director, BIO/MCB, telephone: (703) 292-8440, email: bgarner@nsf.gov
  • Ruyan Guo, Program Director, ENG/ECCS, telephone: (703) 292-7718, email: rguo@nsf.gov
  • Bruce Hamilton, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7066, email: bhamilto@nsf.gov
  • Elizabeth Mann, Program Director, MPS/DMR, telephone: 703-292-4821, email: elmann@nsf.gov
  • William Olbricht, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-4842, email: wolbrich@nsf.gov
  • David Rockcliffe, Program Director, BIO/MCB, telephone: (703) 292-7123, email: drockcli@nsf.gov
  • Gerald Schoenknecht, Program Director, BIO/IOS, telephone: (703) 292-5076, email: gschoenk@nsf.gov
  • Brandi Schottel, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-4798, email: bschotte@nsf.gov
  • Aleksandr Simonian, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-2191, email: asimonia@nsf.gov
  • Usha Varshney, Program Director, ENG/ECCS, telephone: (703) 292-5385, email: uvarshne@nsf.gov
  • Lisa Carnell, Program Scientist, NASA Biological and Physical Sciences Division, email: lisa.a.scottcarnell@nasa.gov   
  • Heather Meeks, Department Director, Defense Threat reduction Agency, email: heather.n.meeks4.civ@mail.mil

TOPIC 2: Brain-Inspired Dynamics for Engineering Energy-Efficient Circuits and Artificial Intelligence (BRAID),

  • Topic Coordinator: Grace Hwang, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-4271, email: ghwang@nsf.gov
  • Jordan Berg, Program Director, ENG/CMMI, telephone: (703) 292-5365, email: jberg@nsf.gov
  • Rosa Lukaszew, Program Director, ENG/ECCS,  telephone: (703) 292-8103, email: rlukasze@nsf.gov
  • Sridhar Raghavachari, Program Director, BIO/IOS, telephone: (703) 292-4845, email: sraghava@nsf.gov
  • Kenneth Whang, Program Director, CISE/IIS, telephone: (703) 292-5146, email: kwhang@nsf.gov
  • Edda Thiels, Program Director, BIO/IOS, telephone: (703) 292-8167, email: ethiels@nsf.gov
  • Raymond Adomaitis, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7519, email: radomait@nsf.gov
  • Aleksandr Simonian, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-2191, email: asimonia@nsf.gov
  • Jonathon Fritz, Program Director, SBE/BCS, telephone: (703) 292-7923, email:  jfritz@nsf.gov
  • Paul Lane, Program Director, MPS/DMR, telephone: (703) 292-2453, email:  plane@nsf.gov
  • Soo-Siang Lim, Program Director, SBE/BCS, telephone: (703) 292-7878, email: slim@nsf.gov
  • Junping Wang, Program Director, MPS/DMS, telephone: (703) 292-4488, email: jwang@nsf.gov
  • Andrew Wells, Program Director, ENG/CMMI, telephone: (703) 292-7225, email: awells@nsf.gov
  • Donald Wunsch, Program Director, ENG/ECCS, telephone: (703) 292-7102, email: dwunsch@nsf.gov
  • Ying Sun, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7443, email: yisun@nsf.gov
  • Stephen Zehnder, Associate Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7014, email: szehnder@nsf.gov
  • Steven Peretti, Program Director, ENG/CBET, telephone: (703) 292-7029, email: speretti@nsf.gov
  • Zhilan Feng, Program Director, MPS/DMS, telephone: (703) 292-7523, email: zfeng@nsf.gov   
  • Hal Greenwald, Group Leader, AFOSR, email: hal.greenwald@us.af.mil



Zhilan Feng, Program Director, MPS/DMS, telephone: (703) 292-7523, email: zfeng@nsf.gov


Sohi Rastegar
Office Head
srastega@nsf.gov (703) 292-8305 ENG/OAD
Alias Smith
alismith@nsf.gov (703) 292-8367 ENG/EFMA
Engineered Living Systems (ELiS) - Mamadou Diallo
mdiallo@nsf.gov (703)292-4257 ENG/EFMA
Steven W. Peretti
speretti@nsf.gov (703)292-7029 ENG/CBET
Brandi Schottel
bschotte@nsf.gov (703) 292-4798 ENG/OAD
Ashley Pierce
apierce@nsf.gov (703) 292-4493 OD/OIA
Elizabeth K. Mann
elmann@nsf.gov (703) 292-4821 MPS/DMR
Giovanna Biscontin
gibiscon@nsf.gov (703) 292-2339 ENG/CMMI
Usha Varshney
uvarshne@nsf.gov (703) 292-5385 ENG/ECCS
David Rockcliffe
drockcli@nsf.gov (703) 292-7123 BIO/MCB
Brain-Inspired Dynamics for Engineering Energy-Efficient Circuits and Artificial Intelligence (BRAID) - Grace Hwang
ghwang@nsf.gov (703)292-4271
Sridhar Raghavachari
sraghava@nsf.gov (703) 292-4845 BIO/DBI
Jordan M. Berg
jberg@nsf.gov (703) 292-5365 ENG/CMMI
Kenneth C. Whang
kwhang@nsf.gov (703) 292-5149 CISE/IIS
Edda Thiels
ethiels@nsf.gov (703) 292-8421 TIP/ITE
Rosa Lukaszew
rlukasze@nsf.gov (703) 292-8103 ENG/ECCS

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