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NSF-NIST Interaction in Basic and Applied Scientific Research

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 National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have shared interests in a variety of basic and applied scientific and engineering fields. This program is designed to facilitate collaborative research and educational activities among NIST scientific and engineering staff and researchers supported by NSF. Through use of supplemental funding requests in existing NSF awards, support may be requested for travel expenses and per diem associated with work on-site at NIST to collaborate on research with NIST staff and access specialized research instrumentation available at NIST for NSF-supported PIs, co-PIs, post-doctoral scholars, undergraduate and graduate students and other personnel associated with the NSF-NIST collaborative research.

This program provides supplements to active NSF awards to support collaboration of NSF-funded researchers with researchers in the NIST Laboratories and User Facilities.

Preparation and Submission of Supplemental Funding Requests

Principal Investigators with current NSF awards are eligible to submit supplemental funding requests. These requests must include a description of the proposed work, including a brief scientific or engineering justification, a budget for the requested funds, and additional information about the collaboration described below.

The supplemental funding request may only include travel and per diem costs associated with collaborative work at NIST. Support may be requested for any NSF-supported project participants (PIs, co-PIs, post-doctoral scholar, undergraduate and graduate students, and other personnel) associated with the joint NSF-NIST activity, but NSF funds will not be provided for NIST employees. Indirect costs may be charged in accordance with the organization's indirect cost rate agreement. Budgets for supplement requests under this opportunity should typically be no more than 20% of the budget of the original award, with exceptions possible in unusual cases. The availability of NSF-NIST Interaction in Basic and Applied Scientific Research supplement awards from particular programs will depend on budgetary constraints.

The details of the proposed collaboration must be discussed in advance with the NIST collaborator and documented in the submitted supplemental proposal in the Special Information and Supplemental Documentation section. This brief description should list the full name/s and contact information of the proposed NIST collaborator/s and the nature of the collaboration.

Before submitting a supplement request, PIs are strongly encouraged to consult the Program Director for their current award. Supplemental funding requests may be submitted at any time; there is no fixed deadline date. Please mention this program (NSF-NIST Interaction in Basic and Applied Scientific Research) in the Summary section of the supplemental funding request. The section "Supplemental Support" of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) contains general information about supplement requests.

National Science Foundation

Specific questions may be directed to the cognizant Program Director for your current award. Before writing a supplemental funding request, PIs should consult the cognizant Program Director to explore program priorities and interests.

Supplemental funding requests received by NSF in response to this opportunity will normally be reviewed internally at NSF; however, the cognizant Program Director may elect to use ad hoc mail review and/or panel review. After scientific, technical, and programmatic review, the Program Director will formulate a funding recommendation.

National Institute of Standards and Technology

The Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST research programs work at the frontiers of measurement science to ensure that the U.S. system of measurements is firmly grounded in sound scientific and technical principles. NIST laboratories address increasingly complex measurement challenges, ranging from the very small (nanoscale devices for advanced computing) to the very large (vehicles and buildings), and from the physical (resilient infrastructure) to the virtual (cybersecurity and data science). As new technologies develop and evolve, NIST’s measurement research and services remain central to national defense, homeland security, trade, and innovation. https://www.nist.gov/

NIST research is conducted on-site at NIST in five laboratories and two user facilities summarized below. In addition to NIST’s research and technical staff, NIST hosts collaborating researcher associates from academia, industry, and other government agencies for flexible time periods along with visitors accessing the user facilities. NIST operates in two main locations: Gaithersburg, Maryland and Boulder, Colorado. NIST also has employees working in five other locations explicitly established to promote the kind of cross-disciplinary collaborations that accelerate research results:

  • JILA, in Boulder, Colorado, a world-class physics research institute jointly operated by NIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder. http://jila.colorado.edu/
  • Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) (formerly CARB), in Rockville, Maryland, an interdisciplinary partnership in cutting-edge biotechnology between NIST and the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. http://www.ibbr.umd.edu/
  • Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), in College Park, Maryland, a new institute for advancing quantum physics research that is jointly operated with the University of Maryland. http://jqi.umd.edu/
  • Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS), in College Park, Maryland, a new institute for advancing research and education in quantum computer science and quantum information theory is jointly operated with the University of Maryland. https://quics.umd.edu/
  • Hollings Marine Laboratory, in Charleston, South Carolina, a national center for coastal ocean science, in which NIST is one of five federal, state and university partners. https://www.nist.gov/mml/hollings-marine-laboratory

For information and directions see https://www.nist.gov/about-nist/visit.

NIST Laboratories

The Communications Technology Laboratory (CTL) promotes the development and deployment of advanced communications technologies, through the conduct of leading-edge R&D on both the metrology and understanding of physical phenomena, materials capabilities, complex systems relevant to advanced communications.  We perform researching high-speed electronics, wireless systems metrology, antennas, network design and optimization, spectrum sharing, and public safety communications. https://www.nist.gov/ctl

The Engineering Laboratory (EL) promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness in areas of critical national priority by anticipating and meeting the measurement science and standards needs for technology-intensive manufacturing, construction, and cyber-physical systems, including the Smart Grid Program Office in ways that enhance economic prosperity and improve the quality of life. https://www.nist.gov/el

The Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) develops and disseminates standards, measurements, and testing for interoperability, security, usability, and reliability of information systems, including cybersecurity standards and guidelines for Federal agencies and U.S. industry, supporting these and measurement science at NIST through fundamental and applied research in computer science, mathematics, and statistics. https://www.nist.gov/itl

The Materials Measurement Laboratory (MML) serves as the national reference laboratory for measurements in the chemical, biological and material sciences through activities ranging from fundamental and applied research, to the development and dissemination of certified reference materials, critically evaluated data, and other programs and tools to assure the quality of measurement results. MML is also responsible for coordinating the NIST-wide Standard Reference Material and Standard Reference Data programs. https://www.nist.gov/mml

The Physical Measurement Laboratory (PML) is a world leader in the science of measurement. We set the definitive U.S. standards for nearly every kind of measurement employed in commerce and research, provide NIST-traceable calibrations, and disseminate standards and best practices throughout the nation. https://www.nist.gov/pml

NIST User Facilities

The NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) is a national user facility that provides cold and thermal neutron measurement capabilities to researchers from academia, industry, and other government agencies. There are several ways for users to obtain beam time on NCNR instruments. The primary method is through a proposal system. Users may also obtain time through scientific collaborations with NCNR staff or as members of existing consortia who maintain several NCNR instruments. https://www.nist.gov/ncnr

The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) supports the U.S. nanotechnology enterprise from discovery to production by providing industry, academia, NIST and other government agencies with access to world-class nanoscale measurement and fabrication methods and technology. In the CNST NanoFab, users can access an extensive commercial, state-of-the-art tool set at economical hourly rates, and get help from a dedicated, full-time technical support staff. https://www.nist.gov/cnst

Establishing A Research Collaboration with NIST

NIST employees conducting research under the Laboratory Program collaborate and make instrumentation available to outside researchers when that collaboration or access supports NIST’s mission and subject to the availability of resources. There is no formal method for establishing such a collaboration or access to NIST outside of NIST’s two user facilities (described above). NSF grantees must identify, contact, and establish a mutually beneficial plan to collaborate with a NIST employee on their own; e.g. through NIST’s extensive web-based information resources or through professional research networks. This plan must be established prior to requesting funds from NSF under this DCL. Note that NIST will not provide funding or other resources directly to such collaborators under this DCL.

For more information about the participating NIST laboratories contact: Jason Boehm, Director, Program Coordination Office, NIST headquarters, telephone: (301) 975- 8678, e-mail: jason.boehm@nist.gov

Program contacts

NSF-NIST Collaborations Management Team
nsf-nist@nsf.gov (703) 292-5111

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program