Foundational Research in Robotics (FRR)

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


The Foundational Research in Robotics (FRR) program supports research on robotic systems that exhibit significant levels of both computational capability and physical complexity. For the purposes of this program, a robot is defined as intelligence embodied in an engineered construct, with the ability to process information, sense, plan, and move within or substantially alter its working environment. Here intelligence includes a broad class of methods that enable a robot to solve problems or to make contextually appropriate decisions and act upon them. The program welcomes research that considers inextricably interwoven questions of intelligence, computation, and embodiment. Projects may also focus on a distinct aspect of intelligence, computation, or embodiment, as long as the proposed research is clearly justified in the context of a class of robots.

The focus of the FRR program is on foundational advances in robotics. Robotics is a deeply interdisciplinary field, and proposals are encouraged across the full range of fundamental engineering and computer science research challenges arising in robotics. To be responsive to the FRR program, each proposal should clearly articulate the following three points:

  1. The focus of the research project should be a robot or a class of robots, as defined above. [Is there a robot?]
  2. The goal of the project should be to endow a robot or a class of robots with new and useful capabilities or to significantly enhance existing capabilities. [Will a robot gain a new or significantly improved capability?]
  3. The intellectual contribution of the proposed work should address fundamental gaps in robotics. [Is robotics essential to the intellectual merit of the proposal?]

Meaningful experimental validation on a physical platform is encouraged.

Projects that do not represent a direct fundamental contribution to the science of robotics or are better aligned with other existing programs at NSF should not be submitted to the FRR program.

Potential investigators are strongly encouraged to discuss their projects with an FRR Program Officer before submission. Non-compliant proposals may be returned without review.

Program contacts

Jordan M. Berg (703) 292-5365 ENG/CMMI
Peter Brass (703) 292-2182 CISE/CCF
David Corman (703) 292-8754 CISE/CNS
Irina Dolinskaya (703) 292-7078 ENG/CMMI
Erion Plaku (703) 292-8695 CISE/IIS
Siddiq M. Qidwai (703) 292-2211 ENG/CMMI
Juan P. Wachs (703) 292-8930 CISE/IIS
Ralph F. Wachter (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
Zhengdao Wang (703) 292-7823 ENG/ECCS
Donald Wunsch (703) 292-7102 ENG/ECCS

Awards made through this program

Browse projects funded by this program
Map of recent awards made through this program