The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks to stimulate fundamental exploratory, potentially transformative research that strengthens America’s infrastructure. Effective infrastructure, whether it be physical, cyber, or social, provides a strong foundation for socioeconomic vitality and broad quality of life improvement. Strong, reliable, and effective infrastructure spurs private-sector innovation, grows the economy, creates jobs, makes public-sector service provision more efficient, strengthens communities, promotes equal opportunity, protects the natural environment, enhances national security, and fuels American leadership. To achieve these goals requires expertise from across the science and engineering disciplines. In particular, knowledge of human reasoning and decision making, governance, and social and cultural processes are essential to efforts to envision, build, and maintain an effective infrastructure that improves lives and society and builds on advances in technology and engineering.
NSF seeks to build research capacity that can address these and many other challenging infrastructure contexts that require a human- and-social-centered approach. SAI supports conference and EAGER proposals that will bring together experts across disciplines to support substantial and potentially pathbreaking, untested fundamental research grounded in user-centered concepts and offering the potential to substantially improve or transform the design, use, development, cost-effectiveness, or maintenance of U.S. infrastructure. These proposals should include a central focus on at least one SBE program area with the lead PI being an expert in social, behavioral, or economic science. Proposals must also demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach beyond that of any single Program or NSF Directorate.
NSF is particularly interested in proposals that integrate a deep understanding of human cognition, perception, information processing, decision making, social and cultural behavior, legal frameworks, governmental structures, and related areas into the design, development, and sustainability of infrastructure. Infrastructure may be of any kind, including cyber, economic, educational, physical, and social.
NSF is also interested in proposals that include development of new or improved performance metrics that can help stakeholders more effectively and efficiently assess infrastructure usability, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, resilience, and adaptability to changing circumstances.
NSF welcomes proposals that include efforts to broaden participation of underrepresented groups (women, minorities, and persons with disabilities) in the development of the research agendas. Proposals from MSIs are encouraged, as are opportunities for participation by undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, K-12 students, industry representatives, and others. Public-private partnerships can also be proposed for conferences.