The Engineering for Civil Infrastructure (ECI) program supports fundamental research in infrastructure materials and architectural, geotechnical and structural engineering that can shape the future of the nation's civil infrastructure. The ECI program focuses on geomaterials and geostructures, structural materials (metallic, polymeric, cementitious, glass, composites, etc.), structural and non-structural systems, and building envelopes. Principal Investigators are encouraged to consider physical civil infrastructure subjected to and interacting with the natural environment during construction; under normal service conditions; and under severe loading and environmental conditions such as extreme single or multi natural hazard events (including earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, storm surges, sinkholes, subsidence, and landslides).
The ECI program supports both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary research, such as research at the intersection of civil infrastructure with data science and analytics, uncertainty quantification, risk and reliability, artificial intelligence and machine learning, biomimetics and bioinspiration, metamaterial concepts, multifunctionality (architectural, mechanical, thermal and others), and/or physics-based, multiscale, predictive modeling and simulation.
Principal Investigators are encouraged to address, as appropriate, potential economic, environmental, sustainability, resiliency and societal aspects of the research. The ECI program supports research on civil infrastructure that contributes to the National Science Foundation’s role in the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP).
Principal Investigators are encouraged to leverage NSF’s investments in the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) experimental, computational modeling and simulation, and data resources (https://www.designsafe-ci.org/) in their research to accelerate advances needed for reducing the impacts of natural hazards on civil infrastructure. The NHERI Five-Year Science Plan (January 2020) (https://tinyurl.com/ue8g5ra) offers a range of research topics that could benefit from the use of NHERI resources and are relevant to the ECI program.
The ECI program does not support research that lacks grounding in theory or focused on mission agency responsibilities, such as nuclear power plant, energy, and transportation infrastructure (for example, bridges and pavements), and natural resource exploration or recovery. The ECI program also does not support research on hazard characterization for and mitigation of the impact of explosions, blast loading, and fire; nor on sensor and measurement technology development. Research on natural hazard characterization is supported through programs in the NSF Directorate for Geosciences.
Proposers are actively encouraged to email a one-page project summary to ECI@nsf.gov before full proposal submission to determine if the research topic falls within the scope of the ECI program.