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Global Centers (GC)

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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.

Use-Inspired Research Addressing Global Challenges in Climate Change and Clean Energy

Supports innovative collaborative international centers for interdisciplinary use-inspired research on climate change and clean energy, in partnership with funding agencies in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.


This solicitation launches an ambitious new program to fund international, interdisciplinary collaborative research centers that will apply best practices of broadening participation and community engagement to develop use-inspired research on climate change and clean energy.  This program will prioritize research collaborations fostering team science, community-engaged research, and use knowledge-to-action frameworks. The proposed research work should maximize the benefits of international, interdisciplinary collaborations.

Climate change is a global threat that impacts the natural and human world through changes in regional weather patterns, acceleration of species extinctions, alteration of the structure and function of ecosystems as well as by affecting human societies, the built environment, and processes in urban and rural areas around the globe. Given the complexity of the problem and the cascading nature of impacts, climate change demands convergent, interdisciplinary research collaborations that bring together studies of any number of topics such as greenhouse gas emissions, atmospheric and oceanic circulation drivers, impacts of natural and built environment, human behavior, and policy constraints, coupled with innovative artificial intelligence (AI), computational and data science solutions, to help assess or mitigate community impacts and/or lead to technology developments. 

The changes to the global climate system are diverse, with some areas experiencing greater flooding frequencies or intensities, others impacted by more frequent or more severe heat or droughts, and still others suffering from sea level rise. Impacts on natural systems vary greatly from changes in the distribution of plants and animals, alterations in the flow of energy and materials within ecosystems, changes in the timing of biological processes, altered molecular and cellular processes, to increased occurrences of infectious diseases. Changes to human systems show complex responses, including those in transportation and agricultural production, cultural innovation, economic policies, as well as in diverse effects on manufacturing, electrical production and distribution, and computation.

Conceiving solutions to climate change may involve decarbonization efforts such as switching to renewable or clean energy or deploy technologies that directly remove CO2 from the atmosphere such as Net Zero initiatives. Developing solutions will require interdisciplinary collaboration and international cooperation to accelerate the transition to clean energy or net zero through science, technology, and policy.  In some regions solutions might employ urban planning to address environmental justice issues or reduce exposure to high heat or flooded areas, other solutions might use nature-inspired design to develop resilient environments. Still others might focus on engineering solutions to failing power grids, employ novel statistical and mathematical methods to pro-actively evaluate the associated climate-induced risks, use AI, biotechnology or advanced manufacturing to innovate solutions, while others might create economic policies to incentivize social change. This list is not exhaustive.

Climate change is complex and solutions requires synergistic partnerships. It crosses geo-political borders, and mitigation and adaptation require a mix of scientific, technological, and policy knowledge, and an inclusive approach that involves stakeholder groups to develop the informed approaches, responses, and actions. Global cooperation among researchers is needed to bring a range of skills, experiences, and knowledge to understanding the problem, devising solutions, and training the world’s scientific workforce. The diverse needs, priorities, experiences, and perspectives of impacted communities will be essential components to drive innovative research to mitigate impacts of climate change on human and natural systems, promote adaptation to climate change, and explore clean energy alternatives.

NSF is committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce to increase the Nation's capacity to perform STEM research and development, enhance innovation, and create new technologies that benefit society. Many of the communities that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change include significant populations of groups that have historically not been included in STEM fields or in the development of STEM research. Important aims of this program are to broaden participation in research and engage stakeholders in innovative and meaningful ways that benefit individuals, communities, society, and STEM disciplines through diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA). Successful proposals will embrace both broadening participation and stakeholder engagement as key values that are integrated into the design of the Centers and the choice of science priorities to explore. Broadening participation, in this context, includes rethinking how one identifies, approaches, and prioritizes scientific questions to involve a diversity of individuals in the scientific enterprise. Diversifying the research workforce through a variety of approaches that support sustainable inclusion in the workplace is an important component of broadening participation. Stakeholder engagement through citizen science, partnerships, community engagement and many more types of activities that help drive research priorities will also support and facilitate broadening participation in STEM. 

The main objectives of a Center must focus on any combination of research disciplines supported by NSF.  However, if some of the stakeholders’ expertise fall out of that scope, justification must be provided as to how their expertise is required to advance the main research focus of the Centers.

Centers are expected to be driven by a bold vision for high-impact, use-inspired, basic research along with a strategy to integrate diverse perspectives from different stakeholder groups into the research endeavor, including perspectives from beyond the academic sector. It is expected that this effort will enhance societal benefits and expand international partnerships while building a diverse scientific and stakeholder community able to potentially carry out the work beyond the Center funding period.

Centers are expected to create and promote opportunities for students and early career researchers to gain education and training in world class research while enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Centers are expected to undertake sustainable activities that advance knowledge, empower resilient communities, and generate discovery of innovative solutions at a regional and/or global scale.

Program contacts

Paul Raterron, telephone: (703) 292-8565, email: globalcenters@nsf.gov

Karen Lips, telephone: (703) 292-5133; email: globalcenters@nsf.gov

Wenda Bauchspies, telephone (703) 292-5534; email: globalcenters@nsf.gov

Cassidy Burke, telephone: (703) 292-2462; email: globalcenters@nsf.gov


For questions related to the use of Research.gov, contact:

Research.gov Help Desk e-mail: rgov@nsf.gov

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Grants.gov Contact Center: If the Authorized Organizational Representatives (AOR) has not received a confirmation message from Grants.gov within 48 hours of submission of application, please contact via telephone: 1-800-518-4726; e-mail: support@grants.gov.

For inquiries regarding Canadian involvement in this program, contact:

NSERC’s Alliance International: RP-Initiatives-PR@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

For questions related to the use of Research.gov, contact:

Research.gov Help Desk e-mail: rgov@nsf.gov

Paul Raterron
globalcenters@nsf.gov (703) 292-8565 OD/OISE
Karen R. Lips
globalcenters@nsf.gov (703) 292-5133 OD/OISE
Wenda Bauchspies
globalcenters@nsf.gov (703) 292-5034 OD/OISE
Cassidy Burke
globalcenters@nsf.gov (703) 292-2464
Crystal Leach
crleach@nsf.gov (703) 292-2667 ENG/EEC
Yulia Gel
ygel@nsf.gov (703) 292-7888 MPS/DMS
Lina C. Patino
lpatino@nsf.gov (703) 292-5047 GEO/RISE
Damian Dechev
ddechev@nsf.gov (703) 292-8910 CISE/CCF
Mamta Rawat
mrawat@nsf.gov (703) 292-7265 BIO/IOS
Jeremy Koster
jkoster@nsf.gov (703) 292-8740 TIP/ITE
Elsa Gonzalez
elgonzal@nsf.gov (703) 292-4690 EDU/EES
Michael Reksulak
mreksula@nsf.gov (703) 292-8329 TIP/ITE

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