Abstract collage of science-related imagery


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 research to advance the interoperability of studies using electromagnetic waves, high-energy particles including neutrinos and cosmic rays, and gravitational waves to realize integrated, multi-messenger astrophysical explorations of the universe.


The Universe is the ultimate laboratory, and we can now probe it as never before through several powerful and diverse windows – electromagnetic waves, high-energy particles, and gravitational waves.  Each of these windows provides a different view.  Together they reveal a detailed picture of the Universe that will allow us to study matter, energy, and the cosmos in fundamentally new ways.

The NSF's Big Idea “Windows on the Universe” is implemented through this WoU-MMA program.  WoU-MMA identifies three categories of messengers - electromagnetic waves, high-energy particles including neutrinos and cosmic rays, and gravitational waves. The goals of WoU-MMA are to build the capabilities and accelerate the synergy and interoperability of the three messengers to realize integrated, multi-messenger astrophysical explorations of the Universe.

The WoU-MMA program welcomes proposals in any area of research supported through the participating divisions that address at least one of the following criteria:

  • Coordination: Hardware, software, or other infrastructure to coordinate observations involving more than one messenger. 
  • Observations: Observations of astrophysical objects or phenomena that are potentially sources of more than one messenger, including the use of existing observatories, experiments, and data archives, as well as the development and construction of new capabilities for advancing multi-messenger astrophysics. 
  • Interpretation: Theory, experiment, simulations and other activities to understand or interpret observations of astrophysical objects that are sources of more than one messenger.


The WoU-MMA program focuses on three broad areas of investment:

Enhancing and accelerating the theoretical, computational, and observational activities within the scientific community:  Proposals for support of the scientific community to build the observational and analysis capabilities in each of the three window areas, integrate the different research communities to develop full interoperability between the three windows, and develop a new workforce that is skilled in this new paradigm.  These efforts should expand community activities that advance the goals and accelerate progress in multi-messenger astrophysics.  Proposals should be submitted to the relevant programs listed below.  These include the Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowships (AAPF) program, and the Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants (AAG) programs within AST, and all PHY and OPP programs listed below.

Building dedicated instrumentation and capabilities: Proposals for the construction of experiments and instrumentation or creation of cyberinfrastructure that will make critical contributions to the multi-messenger research infrastructure by enabling new capabilities in energy range or sky coverage, improved sensitivity, or new experimental or computational capabilities.  Proposals should be submitted to one or more of the relevant programs listed below including the Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation (ATI) program in AST.  Proposals for support of midscale-range projects that are primarily focused on the electromagnetic spectrum within the purview of AST should be submitted to the MSIP program.  Proposals for support of midscale-range projects that are primarily focused on high-energy particles, gravitational waves or other WoU-MMA science within the purview of PHY should be submitted to the relevant individual programs within PHY.  Proposals that include facilities located in Antarctica should be submitted to OPP's Antarctic Astrophysics and Geospace Sciences (AAGS) program or should list AAGS as a secondary program if submitted to AST or PHY. 

Exploiting current facilities and developing the next generation of observatories:  Proposals for support of enhanced infrastructure and modest upgrades that will enable the full utilization of the current generation of multi-messenger facilities, and proposals requesting support for the planning and development for the next generation of observatories to accelerate progress to realize significantly greater capabilities and extend our scientific reach.  Proposals should be submitted to the relevant programs listed below.  Major NSF Facilities may also submit appropriate supplement proposals to their cooperative agreements after consulting with their cognizant program officer.  (Such Facilities are listed, for example, at this url: https://www.nsf.gov/about/budget/fy2020/pdf/40a_fy2020.pdf)

PIs considering submitting proposals requesting more than $3M are strongly encouraged to contact the program directors for the relevant participating programs in advance.

The WoU-MMA program is not intended to replace existing programs that make awards that involve experimental or theoretical efforts related to each of the three messengers. Rather, the WoU-MMA program is meant to fund awards that have significant components of multi-messenger astrophysics.  Priority will be given to proposals for dedicated efforts that significantly advance the WoU-MMA goals rather than proposals that maintain ongoing activities.  A proposal that is requesting consideration within the context of WoU-MMA should begin the title with the identifying acronym "WoU-MMA:"  PIs should ask for consideration and review as a WoU-MMA proposal only if the proposal addresses at least one of the criteria listed above.  Proposals marked for consideration by the WoU-MMA program that do not address at least one of these criteria will be reviewed solely within the participating program(s) to which they were submitted. Supplement requests to existing awards within a program that address one of the above criteria will also be considered.

Program contacts

The WoU-MMA program includes the Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST) and the Division of Physics (PHY) within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), and the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) within the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO).

The contacts listed above are the designated Division-level representatives for the MMA-WoU program.  The appropriate contact for a specific program participating in MMA-WoU can be found through the program hyperlinks listed below under "Related Programs.”

Hans A. Krimm
hkrimm@nsf.gov (703) 292-2761 MPS/AST
James E. Neff
jneff@nsf.gov (703) 292-2475 MPS/AST
Nigel A. Sharp
nsharp@nsf.gov (703) 292-4905 MPS/AST
Martin D. Still
mstill@nsf.gov (703) 292-4290 MPS/AST
Vladimir Papitashvili
vpapita@nsf.gov (703) 292-7425 GEO/OPP
Jean Cottam Allen
jcallen@nsf.gov (703) 292-8783 MPS/PHY
Darren Grant
dgrant@nsf.gov (703) 292-8977 MPS/PHY
Vyacheslav Lukin
vlukin@nsf.gov (703) 292-7382 MPS/PHY
Pedro Marronetti
pmarrone@nsf.gov (703) 292-7372 MPS/PHY

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