Focused Research Hubs in Theoretical Physics (FRHTP) are designed to enhance significant breakthroughs at an intellectual frontier of physics by providing resources beyond those available to individual investigators, so as to promote a collaborative approach to a focused topic while promoting the preparation of scientists at the beginning of their independent scientific careers. Although interdisciplinary aspects may be included, the bulk of the effort must fall within the purview of the Division of Physics. The successful hub will demonstrate: (1) the potential to advance science; (2) the enhancement of the development of early career scientists; (3) creative, substantive activities aimed at enhancing education, diversity, and public outreach; (4) potential for broader impacts, e.g., impacts on other field(s) and benefits to society; (5) a synergy or value-added rationale that justifies a group approach.
The FRHTP will be funded for an initial duration of five years. The intent is that the research topic(s) proposed are at the stage that the scientific goals of the hub can be achieved in the first five years of the project. The FRHTP awards will provide support only for postdoctoral researchers plus general support for hub-related activities. The FRHTP are not intended to provide additional support for senior personnel (individual PIs), graduate or undergraduate students. Instead, the FRHTP is intended to support postdoctoral researchers and enable collaborative interactions via support for travel, collaboration meetings and workshops.
Topic for the FY 2024 competition:
Proposals may only be submitted in the specific topic(s) listed in this solicitation, which define particular areas in theoretical physics in which the Division of Physics sees a need for a focused research hub. Future versions of this solicitation will allow response on different theoretical physics topics. It is expected that one award will be funded in each hub topic.
The specific hub topic for this solicitation is in Theoretical Nuclear Physics (TNP) relevant to research within the purview of the Division of Physics:
The TNP focused research hub will support theoretical work concerning next-generation searches for neutrinoless double beta decay.
The observation of neutrionoless double beta decay is expected to determine the Majorana or Direct nature of the neutrino and will have far-reaching implications regarding physics beyond the Standard Model . In this context, nuclear theory provides guidance to up-coming experimental efforts and is crucial to the interpretation of experimental results [2,3].
It is strongly recommended that prospective PIs contact the FRHTP Program Officer to ascertain that the focus and budget of their proposed FRHTP are appropriate for this solicitation.
 Reaching for the Horizon: The 2015 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science, October 2015.
 Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay: Report to the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, November 2015.
 Towards precise and accurate calculations of neutrinoless double-beta decay, V Cirigliano et al 2022 J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 49 120502, DOI 10.1088/1361-6471/aca03e