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Science of Science: Discovery, Communication and Impact (SoS:DCI)

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 Science of Science: Discovery, Communication and Impact (SoS:DCI) program is designed to advance theory and knowledge about increasing the public value of scientific activity. Science of Science draws from multiple disciplinary and field perspectives to advance theory and research about scientific discovery, communication and impact. SoS:DCI welcomes proposals applying rigorous empirical research methods to advance theory and knowledge on:

  • The social and structural mechanisms of scientific discovery.
  • Theories, frameworks, models and data that improve our understanding of scientific communication and outcomes.
  • The societal benefits of scientific activity and how science advances evidence-based policy making and the creation of public value.

The SoS:DCI program, which expands upon the former Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program, funds research that builds theoretical and empirical understanding of the social science of science. SoS:DCI welcomes proposals to conduct research at the individual, organizational and institutional levels or from micro, meso and macro scales and complex system levels. SoS:DCI encourages multiple disciplinary perspectives, interdisciplinary research and diverse methodological approaches in the pursuit of new knowledge to advance the science of science and evidence-based policy making. With these goals in mind, proposals should:

  • Draw from and advance theory, knowledge and frameworks on the science of science.
  • Develop models, data, indicators and associated analytical tools that constitute and enable transformative advances rather than incremental change. 
  • Provide credible rigorous assessments of the proposed project’s impact and social and policy implications.
  • Include robust data management plans with the goal of advancing open science and increasing public access to usable, valid and reliable scientific materials.

Of particular interest are proposals with the potential to strengthen America’s global leadership in science and increase national competitiveness across a broad range of domains. These include proposals that analyze strategies for strengthening and diversifying the scientific workforce, as well as ways to cultivate high-impact discovery across sectors. The program strongly encourages convergent research and collaboration.

In addition to intellectual merit, the program strongly encourages potential PIs to carefully consider the broader impacts of their work. The broader impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired policy outcomes. The Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate has released additional guidance on broader impacts for SBE proposals

The SoS:DCI program places a high priority on broadening participation in the sciences. It encourages participation from junior faculty, women and members of historically underrepresented groups, as well as proposals from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Research Undergraduate Institutions (RUIs) and institutions in EPSCoR states. The program also encourages diverse and inclusive research teams.

SoS:DCI supports the following types of proposals:

SoS:DCI also participates in certain specialized funding opportunities through NSF’s cross-cutting and cross-directorate activities.

Program contacts

Mary Feeney
Program Director
mfeeney@nsf.gov (703) 292-7197 SBE/SES

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program