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.

Supports mechanistic, computational and evolutionary research in neuroscience that spans multiple levels of analysis, ranging from the molecular and cellular to the complex behavioral aspects of organisms.


Solicitation  21-506

The Neural Systems Cluster supports mechanistic studies in neuroscience that span multiple levels of analysis ranging from the molecular and cellular to the complex behavioral aspects of organisms.  The Cluster encourages the use of comparative approaches, studies of organisms in their natural contexts, and the development of novel theoretical, computational, and transdisciplinary approaches to guide and instruct experimental design. 

Proposals should be submitted to one of the three programs below:  

The Organization Program (Program Code: 7712; Evan Balaban, (703) 292 2689, supports research on how the nervous system is organized along developmental, genetic, molecular, and cellular lines; explorations of developmental mechanisms; and how experiential/environmental interactions affect basic structural and functional characteristics of the nervous system.

The Activation Program (Program Code: 7713; Evan Balaban, (703) 292 2689,; Quentin Gaudry, (703) 292-2903, supports research focused on how signals from the external environment activate the nervous system, and how the nervous system integrates sensorimotor responses to trigger an action. 

The Modulation Program (Program Code: 7714; Edda Floh Thiels, (703) 292-8167,; Kathleen Lynch, (703) 292-2095, supports research focused on mechanisms mediating organism-environment interactions, including, but not limited to, synaptic, circuit, and behavioral plasticity; social and emotional regulation of behaviors; neuroendocrine and neuroimmune function; biological rhythms and other complex functions.

Program contacts

For general inquiries about the Neural Systems Cluster you may contact us at or at (703) 292-8421.

Evan Balaban (703) 292-2689 BIO/IOS
Quentin Gaudry (703) 292-2903 BIO/IOS
Kathleen Lynch (703) 292-2095 BIO/IOS
Edda Floh Thiels (703) 292-8167 BIO/IOS

Awards made through this program

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