Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact (SoS:DCI)

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 Science of Science: Discovery, Communication, and Impact (SoS:DCI) program is designed to increase the public value of scientific activity. The program pursues this goal by supporting basic research in three fundamental areas:  

  • How to increase the rate of socially beneficial discovery,
  • How to improve science communication outcomes, and
  • How to expand the societal benefits of scientific activity. 

The SoS:DCI program, which builds upon the former Science of Science & Innovation Policy (SciSIP) program, funds research that builds theoretical and empirical understandings of these three areas. With this goal in mind, proposals should: 

  • Develop data, models, indicators, and associated analytical tools that constitute and enable transformative advances rather than incremental change. 
  • Identify ethical challenges and mitigate potential risks to people and institutions. 
  • Provide credible metrics and rigorous assessments of their proposed project’s impact.
  • Include robust data management plans with the goal to increase the usability, validity, and reliability of 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 societal outcomes. For more information on Broader Impacts, please see this page.

The SoS:DCI program also places a high priority on broadening participation. It encourages leadership from junior faculty, women, members of historically underrepresented groups, and proposals from Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Research Undergraduate Institutions (RUIs), and EPSCoR states. As one example, see the Dear Colleague Letter on Broadening Participation in STEM Entrepreneurship and Innovation (applies to the February 2021 target proposal date only).

SoS:DCI supports the following types of proposals:

  • Standard Research Grants and Grants for Collaborative Research
  • Conference Awards
  • Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Research Grants (DDRIGs – see below)

SoS:DCI also participates in certain specialized funding opportunities through NSF’s cross-cutting and cross-directorate activities. For more information, please visit the Cross-cutting and NSF-wide Active Funding Opportunities homepage.

Program Contacts

Mary Feeney
Program Director (703) 292-7197 SBE/SES

Awards Made Through This Program

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