NSF News

Strengthening American Infrastructure initiative empowers a human-centered approach

The U.S. National Science Foundation's Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences is initiating a new line of research aimed at strengthening and potentially transforming critical infrastructure in the U.S. The initiative is a collaboration involving all NSF research directorates and is described in a new Dear Colleague Letter: Strengthening American Infrastructure.

Strengthening American Infrastructure is a human-centered, cross-disciplinary research activity engaging social and behavioral scientists with other researchers from a wide range of fields, including engineering, computer science, education, biology, mathematics, physical sciences and geosciences. Strong, effective infrastructure stimulates innovation and job growth, provides safety and security, improves the quality of life and facilitates community well-being for many years into the future.

When receiving an emergency notification on a mobile phone, enrolling a child in school, driving across a bridge or just turning on a light switch, everyone relies on a complex network of critical infrastructure. Effectively maintaining such infrastructure and extending it to new areas such as virtual learning environments, automated vehicles or smart homes, requires understanding economic and social dynamics and the perceptions and choices of many diverse individuals and communities. By starting with an exploration of human capacities, limitations, individual behaviors and group interactions, the program supports infrastructure that puts people first.

Strengthening American Infrastructure invites proposals for workshops and early concept grants for exploratory research (EAGER) that incorporate scientific insights about human behavior and social dynamics to better design, build, rehabilitate and maintain strong and effective American infrastructure. 

Learn more about the Strengthening American Infrastructure program.