NSF Boosting Research Ideas for Transformative and Equitable Advances in Engineering (BRITE)

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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 National Science Foundation’s strategic goals are to expand knowledge and build capacity for a diverse science and engineering workforce [1,2].  The goal of this solicitation is to enable and create opportunities to advance scientific discoveries and new research using a variety of approaches that harness the national talent ecosystem of experienced faculty.  Recognizing that a successful faculty research career is neither linear nor continuous, this BRITE solicitation seeks proposals that enable experienced researchers and scholars (tenured or equivalent) to forge new directions or to enter new fields by capitalizing or branching out of their established knowledge domains. 

All BRITE proposals are expected to address fundamental research that creates new knowledge in one or more CMMI program areas.  BRITE proposals must identify key research outcomes and describe the research plans for the period of funding sought.  Although collaborative proposals are not permitted and will be returned without review, the PI can include a collaborator in a limited role as senior personnel.  The solicitation includes four funding tracks: Synergy, Pivot, Relaunch, and Fellow in support of experienced scientists and engineers (tenured or equivalent).

  • The BRITE Synergy Track is intended to support synthesis proposals borne out of a disaggregated and accumulated body of prior research outcomes that remain unstudied and unprobed to forge or conceptualize a novel direction, methodology, paradigm, or outcome that is more than the sum of the parts. 
  • The BRITE Pivot Track is intended to enable researchers to quickly adapt to the fast-moving pace of research and create new knowledge and research products in their field by infusing new concepts from a different discipline or sub-field.
  • The BRITE Relaunch Track is intended to support tenured or equivalent faculty, who have had a pause in research activity, to relaunch back into active research, and to diversify the experiences of the nation’s STEM researchers.
  • The BRITE Fellow Track is intended to support established tenured or equivalent researchers who have demonstrated impact beyond scientific output to request extended time and freedom to use their intellectual creativity to explore divergent, bold, and ambitious research ideas where the expected scientific outcomes are highly uncertain and, therefore, high-risk.  

All funded projects will form an NSF BRITE cohort and investigators will participate in NSF-organized convenings in the form of an annual review. 

The expected funding ranges for BRITE Research Grants are:

$100,000-$200,000 per year

The typical duration is 2 years for the BRITE Synergy track awards, 3 years for the BRITE Pivot and Relaunch tracks, and up to 5 years for the Fellow track awards. Variations from the typical durations will be considered with a clearly stated justification.

BRITE proposals responding to this solicitation must include additional sections within the 15-page Project Description entitled: Past Contributions, Research Approach and Research Plan, Track Relevance, Outcomes, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan.  Please see “Full Proposal Preparation Instructions” for additional details.  Investigators who do not align with one of the tracks are not eligible for this solicitation. 

FURTHER INFORMATION: An informational webinar about this solicitation will be held on March 19, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST. Details about how to join this webinar will be posted at https://nsf.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_8tYZQm3fTcOiY7wEj9a4zA.

Program Contacts

Nakhiah C. Goulbourne
brite@nsf.gov (703) 292-7715 ENG/CMMI
Laurel C. Kuxhaus
brite@nsf.gov (703) 292-4465 ENG/CMMI
Siddiq M. Qidwai
brite@nsf.gov (703) 292-2211 ENG/CMMI
Caglar Oskay
brite@nsf.gov (703) 292-7774

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