Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Next deadline: Sep 9, 2024

Later deadlines: Feb 10, 2025, Sep 9, 2025, Feb 10, 2026, Sep 9, 2026, Feb 10, 2027, Sep 9, 2027, Feb 10, 2028, Sep 9, 2028, Feb 10, 2029, Sep 9, 2029, Feb 10, 2030, Sep 9, 2030

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Science Communications Science

Applicant type: Organizations, Faculty, Research Scientist

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


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 formerScience 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:

  • Standard Research Grants and Grants for Collaborative Research
  • A Science of Science Approach to Analyzing and Innovating the Biomedical Research Enterprise (SoS:BIO)
  • Conference Grants

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Except where a program solicitation establishes more restrictive eligibility criteria, individuals and organizations in the following categories may submit proposals:
    • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members.
      • IHEs located outside the US fall under paragraph 6. below.
      • Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs
        • If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
    • Non-profit, Non-academic Organizations -Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the US that are directly associated with educational or research activities.
    • For-profit Organizations - US commercial organizations, especially small businesses with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education.
      • An unsolicited proposal from a commercial organization may be funded when the project is of special concern from a national point of view, special resources are available for the work, or the proposed project is especially meritorious.
      • NSF is interested in supporting projects that couple industrial research resources and perspectives with those of universities; therefore, it especially welcomes proposals for cooperative projects involving both universities and the private commercial sector.
    • State and Local Governments - State educational offices or organizations and local school districts may submit proposals intended to broaden the impact, accelerate the pace, and increase the effectiveness of improvements in science, mathematics and engineering education in both K-12 and post-secondary levels.
    • Unaffiliated Individuals - Unaffiliated individuals in the US and US citizens rarely receive direct funding support from NSF.
      • Recipients of Federal funds must be able to demonstrate their ability to fully comply with the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
      • As such, unaffiliated individuals are strongly encouraged to affiliate with an organization that is able to meet the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200.
      • Unaffiliated individuals must contact the cognizant Program Officer prior to preparing and submitting a proposal to NSF.
    • Foreign organizations - NSF rarely provides funding support to foreign organizations.
      • NSF will consider proposals for cooperative projects involving US and foreign organizations, provided support is requested only for the US portion of the collaborative effort.
      • In cases however, where the proposer considers the foreign organization’s involvement to be essential to the project (e.g., through subawards or consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain why local support is not feasible and why the foreign organization can carry out the activity more effectively.
      • In addition, the proposed activity must demonstrate how one or more of the following conditions have been met:
        • The foreign organization contributes a unique organization, facilities, geographic location and/or access to unique data resources not generally available to US investigators (or which would require significant effort or time to duplicate) or other resources that are essential to the success of the proposed project; and/or
        • The foreign organization to be supported offers significant science and engineering education, training or research opportunities to the US.
        • Other Federal Agencies - NSF does not normally support research or education activities by scientists, engineers or educators employed by Federal agencies or FFRDCs. Under unusual circumstances, other Federal agencies and FFRDCs may submit proposals directly to NSF.
        • A proposed project is only eligible for support if it meets one or more of the following exceptions, as determined by a cognizant NSF Program Officer:
          • Special Projects. Under exceptional circumstances, research or education projects at other Federal agencies or FFRDCs that can make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives may receive NSF support.
          • National and International Programs. The Foundation may fund research and logistical support activities of other Government agencies or FFRDCs directed at meeting the goals of special national and international research programs for which the Foundation bears special responsibility, such as the US Antarctic Research Program.
          • International Travel Awards. In order to ensure appropriate representation or availability of a particular expertise at an international conference, staff researchers of other Federal agencies may receive NSF international travel awards.
      • Proposers who think their project may meet one of the exceptions listed above must contact a cognizant NSF Program Officer before preparing a proposal for submission.
        • In addition, a scientist, engineer or educator who has a joint appointment with a university and a Federal agency (such as a Veterans Administration Hospital, or with a university and a FFRDC) may submit proposals through the university and may receive support if he/she is a faculty member (or equivalent) of the university, although part of his/her salary may be provided by the Federal agency.
        • Preliminary inquiry must be made to the appropriate program before preparing a proposal for submission.


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This page was last reviewed February 28, 2024 and last updated January 29, 2024