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NSF-DFG Lead Agency Activity in Measurements of Interfacial Systems at Scale with In-situ and Operando aNalysis (NSF-DFG MISSION)

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Important Information for Proposers

Any proposal submitted in response to this funding opportunity should be submitted in accordance with the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. The NSF PAPPG is regularly revised and it is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets the requirements specified in this solicitation and the applicable version of the PAPPG. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.

Supports collaborative activities between the U.S. and German research communities to further understanding of realistic interfacial processes through innovative characterization methods.


Recognizing the importance of international collaborations in promoting scientific discoveries, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on research cooperation. The MoU provides an overarching framework to enhance opportunities for collaborative activities between US and German research communities and sets out the principles by which jointly-supported activities might be developed. To facilitate the support of collaborative work between US researchers and their German counterparts under this MoU, the Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) at the NSF and the Divisions of Physics and Chemistry (PC) and Engineering Sciences (ING 1) at the DFG are pleased to announce a Lead Agency Opportunity in Measurements of Interfacial Systems at Scale with In-situ and Operando aNalysis.

Interfacial processes are inherently complex given the rich mix of reaction, transport phenomena, and inter-phase gradients that often characterize such systems.  There is a critical need for a new generation of operando and in-situ characterization systems and tools (e.g. imaging, spectroscopy, scattering and corresponding theoretical methods) to develop a molecular understanding. The solicitation encourages novel characterization of processes occurring at interfaces under system-realistic conditions that are relevant to solving to contemporary issues such as, climate solutions and sustainable chemical processes. Example topics include, but aren’t limited to, (1) understanding dynamic reaction and physical/chemical processes at atomic and molecular scales for heterogeneous catalysis, interfacial electrode processes, nanoparticle-fluid or substrate interactions, atomic and molecular separations, biological surface-environment interactions, wetting; (2) discovering new reaction pathways for interfacial chemical synthesis and functionalization; (3) understanding atomic and molecular mechanisms of sorption and transport processes in membranes and on nanomaterials; (4) understanding surface-templated synthesis or assembly of discrete structures, nucleation in crystallization processes; and (5) developing new methodologies for interfacial chemical characterization, particle production and aerosol behavior in processes.

The goal of this Lead Agency Opportunity is to reduce current barriers to working internationally by allowing US and German researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process while funding organizations maintain budgetary control over their awards. Proposals eligible for funding consideration through this Lead Agency Opportunity in FY 2024 will need to have a research focus relevant to the topic areas identified above, within the scope of research supported through these divisions. Proposers should review the CHE, CBET, PC, and ING 1 program descriptions for research supported through these divisions/organizations. Proposals are expected to adhere to typical proposal budgets and durations for the relevant CHE, CBET, PC, and ING 1 programs from which funding is sought. German researchers are invited to read: https://www.dfg.de/en/research_funding/announcements_proposals/calls_for_proposals/index.html.

Proposals submitted under this Opportunity will be reviewed by either NSF or DFG as the Lead Agency, depending where the largest proportion of research lies. Proposals must provide a clear rationale for the need for a US-German collaboration, including the unique expertise and synergy that the collaborating groups will bring to the project. The result of the review process will be shared among the appropriate divisions (NSF/CHE and/or NSF/CBET, and DFG/PC and/or DFG/ING 1) before making final recommendations.

Program contacts

All general NSF inquiries should be sent to NSFDFG@nsf.gov.  All general DFG inquiries should be sent to NSF-DFG-Chemistry@dfg.de.

Catherine Walker
NSFDFG@nsf.gov (703) 292-7125
Francis D'Souza
NSFDFG@nsf.gov (703) 292-4559
Keith Chanon
NSFDFG@nsf.gov (703) 292-7305
Brandi Schottel
NSFDFG@nsf.gov (703) 292-4798 ENG/OAD
Markus Behnke
NSF-DFG-Chemistry@dfg.de 49 (228) 885-2181
Ilka Paulus
NSF-DFG-Chemistry@dfg.de 49 (228) 885-2021
Vera Stadelmann
NSF-DFG-Chemistry@dfg.de 49 (228) 885-2834
Simon Jörres
NSF-DFG-Chemistry@dfg.de 49 (228) 885-2971

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