National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Next deadline: Feb 10, 2025

Later deadlines: Feb 9, 2026, Feb 8, 2027, Feb 7, 2028

Grant amount: US $1,200,000 - US $3,600,000

Fields of work: Cognitive Science Biological Anthropology Engineering Mathematics Biology Geophysics Geoinformatics & Geospatial Sciences STEM/STEAM Education Show all

Applicant type: Nonprofit, College / University, Museum/Library/Zoo

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


Convergence research is a means for solving vexing research problems, in particular, complex problems focusing on societal needs or deep scientific challenges. It entails integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and developing novel paradigms that catalyze scientific discovery and innovation. GCR identifies Convergence Research as having two primary characteristics:

  • Research driven by a specific and compelling problem. Convergence research is generally inspired by the need to address a specific challenge or opportunity, whether it arises from deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.
  • Deep integration across disciplines. As experts from different disciplines pursue common research challenges, their knowledge, theories, methods, data, research communities and languages become increasingly intermingled or integrated.

New frameworks, paradigms or even disciplines can form sustained interactions across multiple communities. A distinct characteristic of convergence research, in contrast to other forms of multidisciplinary research, is that from the inception, the convergence paradigm intentionally brings together intellectually diverse researchers and stakeholders to frame the research questions, adopt common frameworks for addressing them, and create and implement innovative scientific approaches for their solution. This includes, when appropriate, developing new integrated theories, methods, research tools, and ways of communicating across disciplines and sectors.Research teams practicing convergence aim to develop sustainable collaborations that may not only create solutions to the specific problem studied, but also develop novel ways of investigating related research questions and open new research vistas.

This GCR solicitation targets multidisciplinary teams who are embracing convergence research as a means of developing highly innovative solutions to complex research problems. GCR proposals are expected to be bold and address scientific or technical challenges and bottlenecks which if resolved have the potential to transform scientific understanding and solve vexing problems. Successful GCR projects are anticipated to lead to paradigm shifting approaches within disciplines, establishment of new scientific communities, or development of transformative technologies that have the potential for broad scientific or societal impact. The aim of GCR is to cultivate and grow the earliest foundations of convergent approaches for addressing a specific and compelling problem. As such, proposals submitted to this solicitation are expected to explore novel avenues not previously investigated that are at the forefront of advancing science through deep integration. Proposers must make a convincing case that the research to be conducted is within NSF’s purview, integrates across NSF directorate or division boundaries, and is currently not supported by other NSF programs or solicitations.

The proposers must outline a five-year research plan delineated in two phases, Phase I: years 1-2, and Phase II: years 3-5.The total budget for Phase I may not exceed $1,200,000, and the total for Phase II may not exceed $2,400,000. Successful proposals will be funded initially for two years. Each team’s progress will be evaluated at a reverse site visit near the end of year 2; this will involve preparing a progress report and making a team presentation to a panel of reviewers/site visitors. Only teams that show exceptional progress according to the merit review and solicitation specific criteria during the first two years and that articulate plans for furthering advancements at the forefront of convergence research will be eligible for additional funding for up to three years pending availability of funds.

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This page was last reviewed April 21, 2024 and last updated January 20, 2024