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Geography and Spatial Sciences Program (GSS)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See NSF 21-623 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.


As specified in the Geography and Spatial Sciences Program strategic plan, the mission of the NSF Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program is to promote:

  • Basic scientific research in geography and spatial science that advances theory, fundamental understanding, and scientific approaches and addresses the challenges facing society.
  • The education and training of geographers and spatial scientists in order to enhance the capabilities of current and future generations of researchers.
  • The involvement of geographers and spatial scientists in interdisciplinary research.

The Geography and Spatial Sciences Program supports basic research about the geographic distributions and interactions of human, physical, and biotic systems on Earth. Investigators are encouraged to propose plans for research about the nature, causes, and consequences of human activity and natural environmental processes across a range of scales.  Projects about a broad range of topics may be appropriate for support if they offer promise of enhancing fundamental geographical knowledge, concepts, theories, methods, and their application to societal problems and concerns.

GSS provides support through a number of different funding mechanisms:

  • Regular research awards
  • Doctoral dissertation research improvement (DDRI) awards
  • Faculty early-career development (CAREER) awards
  • Awards for conferences, group travel, and community-development activities
  • Research coordination network (RCN) awards
  • Rapid-response research (RAPID) awards.

In rare and unusual cases, GSS may support early-concept grants for exploratory research (EAGER), research advanced by interdisciplinary science and engineering (RAISE) awards, and other special kinds of award mechanisms established by NSF.  Investigators must discuss the rationale for submitting any of these kinds of proposals with GSS program directors prior to the submission of a proposal.  These types of proposals are permitted by GSS only in rare and unusual cases because GSS strives to be open to ideas and approaches in early stages of development, and GSS emphasizes the potential longer-term significance of new lines of inquiry as part of its merit evaluation of all types of proposals, including regular research proposals.

There are two different solicitations that provide information about proposals to be submitted for consideration by GSS:

This solicitation provides instructions for submission of proposals for regular research awards; proposals for awards for conferences, group travel, and community-development activities; proposals for research coordination network (RCN) awards; and proposals for rapid-response research (RAPID) awards.

A different solicitation provides instructions for proposals for doctoral dissertation research improvement (DDRI) awards.  That solicitation is accessible at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503621.

Proposals for faculty early-career development (CAREER) awards should be prepared in accordance with the CAREER solicitation, although investigators submitting CAREER proposals to GSS should also consult this solicitation for more information about GSS and to be aware of the GSS special review criteria, which are used for the evaluation of CAREER proposals.  More information about CAREER awards and a link to the CAREER solicitation is accessible at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503214.

Program contacts

For all general inquiries to the GSS program, please email gss-info@nsf.gov.  This email will reach all current GSS program officers and one of them will reply to you.

Jacqueline Vadjunec-Program Director
jmvadjun@nsf.gov (703) 292-7064
Scott M. Freundschuh-Pgm Director
sfreunds@nsf.gov (703) 292-7076
Cori Jacildone-Pgm Specialist
cjacildo@nsf.gov (703) 292-8740 CISE/IIS

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program