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Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

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.

to support bold interdisciplinary projects in all NSF-supported areas of science, engineering, and education research


The INSPIRE awards program was established to address some of the most complicated and pressing scientific problems that lie at the intersection of traditional disciplines.  It is intended to encourage investigators to submit bold, exceptional proposals that some may consider to be at a disadvantage in a standard NSF review process; it is not intended for proposals that are more appropriate for existing award mechanisms.  INSPIRE is open to interdisciplinary proposals on any NSF-supported topic, submitted by invitation only after a preliminary inquiry process initiated by submission of a required Letter of Intent.  In fiscal year 2013, INSPIRE provides support through the following three pilot grant mechanisms:

  • INSPIRE Track 1.  This is essentially a continuation of the pilot CREATIV mechanism from FY 2012, which was detailed for 2012 in Dear Colleague Letter NSF 12-011
  • INSPIRE Track 2.  These are "mid-scale" research awards at a larger scale than Track 1, allowing for requests of up to $3,000,000 over a duration of up to five years.  Expectations for cross-cutting advances and for broader impacts are greater than in Track 1, and the review process includes external review.
  • Director's INSPIRE Awards.  These are prestigious individual awards to single-investigator proposals that present ideas for interdisciplinary advances with unusually strong, exciting transformative potential.

All NSF directorates and programmatic offices participated in INSPIRE in FY 2012 and are continuing their participation in FY 2013.

Updates and announcements

Program contacts


Contacts at the NSF directorate and office level:  The interdisciplinary research Points of Contact may be helpful, as elaborated in the next note.

Note to all prospective INSPIRE principal investigators about contacts at NSF:  As explained in greater detail in the solicitation, before writing or submitting an INSPIRE proposal, PIs must make a formal inquiry by submitting a FastLane Letter of Intent (LOI), and must obtain a full-proposal invitation authorized by the INSPIRE Management Team on the basis of evaluation of the LOI by NSF staff.  All invitations will reflect interest in considering a full proposal by at least two NSF program directors (PDs) from intellectually distinct NSF divisions or programs.  The LOI must list at least two or three PDs, depending on the PI's choice of funding opportunity.  It is in the PI's interest to list the most appropriate possible PDs.  The PDs should not be senior managers (director, deputy director, office head, office director, assistant director, deputy assistant director, division director, deputy division director, section head).  PIs are encouraged to study program web pages to identify appropriate PDs.  Some keyword searching of the NSF web site may be helpful in finding appropriate NSF divisions and programs, for example by using the "Search Funding Opportunities" box in the left-hand column of the home page http://www.nsf.gov/, or the "Search Award For" box in the Award Search database http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/.  The interdisciplinary research Points of Contact http://www.nsf.gov/od/iia/additional_resources/interdisciplinary_research/poc.jsp may also be helpful at the directorate and office level.

An informational INSPIRE webcast was held on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. During the webcast the INSPIRE funding mechanism,  the current INSPIRE solicitation (NSF 13-518), and the FY2013 INSPIRE competition were discussed. INSPIRE Program Officers addressed frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answered questions submitted by the online audience. The webcast has been archived and is available through the TV Worldwide webpage. Registration is required to view the archived webcast.

Jessica H. Robin
jrobin@nsf.gov (703) 292-8706 OD/OISE
Richard A. Behnke
rbehnke@nsf.gov (703) 292-8518

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