Spectrum Innovation Initiative: National Radio Dynamic Zones (SII-NRDZ)

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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 electromagnetic spectrum is an essential resource for many sectors of society and the economy. Commercial applications (e.g., wireless communication, navigation, and telemetry) compete for spectrum access with scientific activities (e.g., radio astronomy, earth observation, geospace sciences, and polar research) and other vital spectrum-dependent services (e.g., air traffic control). Ongoing technological progress has created a situation where each application, activity, and service seeks additional spectrum access.  Potential benefits from additional spectrum access include faster communications, new astronomical and scientific discoveries, more energy-efficient cities, increased highway capacity and safety, and more accurate weather predictions. Achieving these benefits calls for increased use of dynamic spectrum sharing – ways to enable diverse spectrum users to safely operate closer together in space or frequency or to trade spectrum access more rapidly than is possible with traditional spectrum management approaches. The goal of this Spectrum Innovation Initiative: National Radio Dynamic Zones (SII-NRDZ) program is to advance the use of dynamic spectrum sharing.

The unifying concept investigated in SII-NRDZ is the radio dynamic zone: an area or volume with automatic spectrum management mechanisms that control electromagnetic energy entering, escaping, or occupying the zone. SII-NRDZ seeks to perform extended (6- to 12-month) field trials of various types of radio dynamic zone spectrum sharing at sites where the field trials will enhance spectrum access for facilities or applications. The field trials will mature understanding and capability towards wider use of spectrum sharing, and towards eventual establishment of a permanent highly capable National Radio Dynamic Zone somewhere in the USA. The National Radio Dynamic Zone is envisioned to support a facility for at-scale research and experimentation on systems that use or manage spectrum in innovative ways.

SII-NRDZ is an interdisciplinary program that seeks to foster collaboration among spectrum sharing researchers; domain experts with knowledge of specific applications, scientific activities, or instruments; site or mission experts who understand the operations of specific facilities or systems; spectrum regulatory specialists; and others. The SII-NRDZ program includes two types of projects. SII-NRDZ research studies are traditional NSF grants for investigation of spectrum sharing solutions and risk analysis techniques, or for investigation of applications and sites for radio dynamic zone field trials. SII-NRDZ Engineering and Execution Lead awards are cooperative agreements for work to mature results of the research studies into robust implementations and to lead the planned extended field trials.

The SII-NRDZ goal to advance the use of dynamic spectrum sharing requires the evolution of spectrum management practice. The key to spectrum management evolution is ensuring trust by stakeholders who rely on current interference prevention mechanisms and seek to protect future options. SII-NRDZ program activities are designed to help build the trust that is critical for progress.

Additional information for potential proposers is presented in a recorded briefing and a live Question and Answer webinar.  See the Spectrum Innovation Initiative web page.

Program Contacts

John M. Chapin
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-8222 MPS/AST
Jonathan V. Williams
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-2455 MPS/AST
Murat Torlak
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-7748 CISE/CNS
Alexander Sprintson
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-8950 CISE/CNS
Jenshan Lin
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-7360 ENG/ECCS
Zhengdao Wang
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-7823 ENG/ECCS
Lawrence S. Goldberg
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-8339 ENG/ECCS
Patrick D. Smith
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-8032 GEO/OPP
Lisa M. Winter
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-8519 GEO/AGS
Nancy A. Lutz
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-7280 SBE/SES
Robert D. Fleischmann
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-7191 BIO/DBI
Robert C. Moore
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-7990 GEO/OPP
Li Yang
SII@nsf.gov (703) 292-2677 EHR/DGE

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