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NSF Boosting Research Ideas for Transformative and Equitable Advances in Engineering (BRITE)

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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.


Program Title:

NSF Boosting Research Ideas for Transformative and Equitable Advances in Engineering (BRITE)

Synopsis of Program:

The National Science Foundation's strategic goals are to expand knowledge and build capacity for a diverse science and engineering workforce [1], consistent with NSF's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all science and engineering fields and research endeavors, as well as with US Government priorities [2,3]. This solicitation seeks proposals that enable experienced researchers with active research programs to take risks not typically associated with proposals submitted to core programs by pivoting to research areas where they have no proven track record, gaining knowledge from a different discipline and using it to forge new directions in their research field, or exploring divergent, bold, and ambitious research ideas where the expected scientific outcomes are highly uncertain and the potential to transform a field is significant, or experienced researchers with a hiatus in research activity to reestablish a foundation for sustained research productivity and broader impacts [4-10]. It is grounded in the expectation that leveraging prior science and engineering outcomes, harnessing talent from the broad scientific research community, enabling time for reflection and deliberation, including by learning new skills and through immersion in new areas, and supporting intellectual risk taking will lead to scientific and technological innovation.

All BRITE proposals are expected to address fundamental research that creates new knowledge in one or more program areas of the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI). BRITE proposals must identify key research outcomes and describe the research plans for the period of funding sought. Although collaborative proposals are not permitted and will be returned without review, the PI can include a collaborator as senior personnel. The role of such senior personnel should be limited to reflect the intended investment in the PI.

The solicitation includes three funding tracks in support of experienced scientists and engineers (tenured or equivalent): Pivot, Relaunch, and Fellow.

  • The BRITE Pivot Track is intended to enable researchers to quickly adapt to the fast-moving pace of research by either leveraging their experience when pursuing a pivot into a field of research where they have no proven track record, or by incorporating research tools and methodologies from other fields of research to advance knowledge in their areas of expertise.
  • The BRITE Relaunch Track is intended to enable researchers who have had a hiatus in research activity to relaunch back into active research by reestablishing a foundation for sustained productivity and broader impacts in the context of a research idea with significant potential for advancing knowledge.
  • The BRITE Fellow Track is intended to support researchers who have demonstrated significant impact through and beyond scientific output to request extended time and freedom to use their intellectual creativity to explore divergent, bold, and ambitious research ideas where the expected scientific outcomes are highly uncertain and, therefore, high risk.

PIs are strongly encouraged to contact a cognizant Program Officer to assess the responsiveness of their ideas to the BRITE solicitation prior to submission. All funded projects will form an NSF BRITE cohort and investigators will be required to attend an annual PI meeting and may be invited to other activities.

The expected funding ranges for BRITE awards are:

$100,000 - $200,000 per year

The award duration is 3 years for all BRITE awards, with the potential for an NSF-initiated Two-Year Extension for Special Creativity (see: https://new.nsf.gov/policies/pappg/23-1/ch-6-nsf-awards#6D3d) for Fellow track awards.

BRITE proposals responding to this solicitation must include sections within the 15-page Project Description with the following section headings: Past Contributions, Research Approach and Research Plan, Track Relevance, Outcomes, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan. Please see "Full Proposal Preparation Instructions" for additional details.

Updates and announcements

Program contacts

Siddiq M. Qidwai
Team Lead
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-2211 ENG/CMMI
Khershed P. Cooper
AM Cluster Rep
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-7017 ENG/CMMI
Harry Dankowicz
DCC Cluster Rep
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-2344 ENG/CMMI
Gianluca Cusatis
ECI Cluster Rep
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-5026 ENG/CMMI
Laurel C. Kuxhaus
MEM Cluster Rep
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-4465
Kathryn Jablokow
OD Cluster Rep
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-7933 ENG/CMMI
Giovanna Biscontin
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-2339 ENG/CMMI
Wendy C. Crone
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-4681
Lucy T. Zhang
BRITE@nsf.gov (703) 292-5016 ENG/CMMI

Awards made through this program

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