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Geotechnical Engineering and Materials (GEM)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See PD 16-1636 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 Geotechnical Engineering and Materials Program (GEM) supports fundamental research in soil and rock mechanics and dynamics in support of physical civil infrastructure systems. Also supported is research on improvement of the engineering properties of geologic materials for infrastructure use by mechanical, biological, thermal, chemical, and electrical processes. The Program supports the traditional areas of foundation engineering, earth structures, underground construction, tunneling, geoenvironmental engineering, and site characterization, as well as the emerging area of bio-geo engineering, for civil engineering applications, with emphasis on sustainable geosystems. Research related to the geotechnical engineering aspects of geothermal energy and geothermal heat pump systems is also supported. The GEM program encourages knowledge dissemination and technology transfer activities that can lead to broader societal benefit and implementation for provision of physical civil infrastructure. The Program also encourages research that explores and builds upon advanced computing techniques and tools to enable major advances in Geotechnical Engineering. The program supports relevant research topics that address the emerging areas of geotechnical engineering and the Grand Challenges to “restore and improve urban infrastructure” and “provide access to clean water” described in the following reports:
  • National Research Council, Geological and Geotechnical Engineering in the New Millennium: Opportunities for Research and Technical Innovation. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006, http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11558
  • National Academy of Engineering, Grand Challenges for Engineering, http://www.engineeringchallenges.org (Grand Challenges Report) Research focused on natural hazards, such as earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis and landslides should be submitted to the Engineering for Natural Hazards (ENH) Program (PD 15-7396), unless the research is directed at fundamental soil/rock behavior at the micro level, rather than behavior of systems such as foundations or levees. The GEM program does not fund research that is more appropriate for mission oriented federal agencies, such as research related to nuclear power plants, bridges, pavements, and other transportation structures. Research on natural resource exploration or recovery is not supported by this Program.
  • Program contacts

    Richard J. Fragaszy
    rfragasz@nsf.gov (703) 292-7011

    Awards made through this program

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    Map of recent awards made through this program