Engineering for Civil Infrastructure

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Civil Engineering

Applicant type: Organizations, Faculty, Research Scientist

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

Overview:

The Engineering for Civil Infrastructure (ECI) program supports fundamental research that will shape the future of our nation's constructed civil infrastructure, subjected to and interacting with the natural environment, to meet the needs of humans. In this context, research driven by radical rethinking of traditional civil infrastructure in response to emerging technological innovations, changing population demographics, and evolving societal needs is encouraged.

The ECI program focuses on the physical infrastructure, such as the soil-foundation-structure-envelope-nonstructural building system; geostructures; and underground facilities. It seeks proposals that advance knowledge and methodologies within geotechnical, structural, architectural, materials, coastal, and construction engineering, especially that include collaboration with researchers from other fields, including, for example, biomimetics, bioinspired design, advanced computation, data science, materials science, additive manufacturing, robotics, and control theory.

Research may explore holistic building systems that view construction, geotechnical, structural, and architectural design as an integrated system; adaptive building envelope systems; nonconventional building materials; breakthroughs in remediated geological materials; and transformational construction processes. Principal investigators are encouraged to consider civil infrastructure subjected to and interacting with the natural environment under “normal” operating conditions; intermediate stress conditions (such as deterioration, and severe locational and climate conditions); and extreme single or multi natural hazard events (including earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, storm surges, sinkholes, subsidence, and landslides). Principal investigators are expected to bear in mind broader impacts associated with, for example, economic, environmental, habitant comfort, and societal benefits, which may include implications for resource and energy efficiency, life cycle, adaptability and resilience, and reduced dependence on municipal services and utilities.

Principal Investigators are encouraged to leverage NSF’s investments in the national experimental facilities of the National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program. Principal Investigators are also urged to make full use of resources available through the NHERI Cyberinfrastructure and NHERI Computational Modeling and Simulation Center awards, especially to both use and share experimental and simulation data, as well as computational models and simulation tools, to accelerate advances in engineering the constructed environment.

The ECI Program does not support research on mission agency responsibilities, such as nuclear power plants and energy-related infrastructure, transportation infrastructure (e.g., bridges and pavements), and natural resource exploration or recovery. The ECI Program also does not support research on: hazard characterization for and hazard mitigation of the impact of explosions, fire, blast loading, flooding, and solar wind and storms on civil infrastructure; sensor and measurement technologies; field instrumentation and monitoring; induced seismicity; and construction safety. Research on natural hazard characterization is supported through programs in the NSF Directorate for Geosciences.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Except where a program solicitation establishes more restrictive eligibility criteria, individuals and organizations in the following categories may submit proposals:
    • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members.
      • IHEs located outside the US fall under paragraph 6. below.
      • Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs
        • If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
    • Non-profit, Non-academic Organizations -Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the US that are directly associated with educational or research activities.
    • For-profit Organizations - US commercial organizations, especially small businesses with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education.
      • An unsolicited proposal from a commercial organization may be funded when the project is of special concern from a national point of view, special resources are available for the work, or the proposed project is especially meritorious.
      • NSF is interested in supporting projects that couple industrial research resources and perspectives with those of universities; therefore, it especially welcomes proposals for cooperative projects involving both universities and the private commercial sector.
    • State and Local Governments - State educational offices or organizations and local school districts may submit proposals intended to broaden the impact, accelerate the pace, and increase the effectiveness of improvements in science, mathematics and engineering education in both K-12 and post-secondary levels.
    • Unaffiliated Individuals - Unaffiliated individuals in the US and US citizens rarely receive direct funding support from NSF.
      • Recipients of Federal funds must be able to demonstrate their ability to fully comply with the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
      • As such, unaffiliated individuals are strongly encouraged to affiliate with an organization that is able to meet the requirements specified in 2 CFR § 200.
      • Unaffiliated individuals must contact the cognizant Program Officer prior to preparing and submitting a proposal to NSF.
    • Foreign organizations - NSF rarely provides funding support to foreign organizations.
      • NSF will consider proposals for cooperative projects involving US and foreign organizations, provided support is requested only for the US portion of the collaborative effort.
      • In cases however, where the proposer considers the foreign organization’s involvement to be essential to the project (e.g., through subawards or consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain why local support is not feasible and why the foreign organization can carry out the activity more effectively.
      • In addition, the proposed activity must demonstrate how one or more of the following conditions have been met:
        • The foreign organization contributes a unique organization, facilities, geographic location and/or access to unique data resources not generally available to US investigators (or which would require significant effort or time to duplicate) or other resources that are essential to the success of the proposed project; and/or
        • The foreign organization to be supported offers significant science and engineering education, training or research opportunities to the US.
    • Other Federal Agencies - NSF does not normally support research or education activities by scientists, engineers or educators employed by Federal agencies or FFRDCs. Under unusual circumstances, other Federal agencies and FFRDCs may submit proposals directly to NSF.
      • A proposed project is only eligible for support if it meets one or more of the following exceptions, as determined by a cognizant NSF Program Officer:
        • Special Projects. Under exceptional circumstances, research or education projects at other Federal agencies or FFRDCs that can make unique contributions to the needs of researchers elsewhere or to other specific NSF objectives may receive NSF support.
        • National and International Programs. The Foundation may fund research and logistical support activities of other Government agencies or FFRDCs directed at meeting the goals of special national and international research programs for which the Foundation bears special responsibility, such as the US Antarctic Research Program.
        • International Travel Awards. In order to ensure appropriate representation or availability of a particular expertise at an international conference, staff researchers of other Federal agencies may receive NSF international travel awards.
      • Proposers who think their project may meet one of the exceptions listed above must contact a cognizant NSF Program Officer before preparing a proposal for submission.
        • In addition, a scientist, engineer or educator who has a joint appointment with a university and a Federal agency (such as a Veterans Administration Hospital, or with a university and a FFRDC) may submit proposals through the university and may receive support if he/she is a faculty member (or equivalent) of the university, although part of his/her salary may be provided by the Federal agency.
        • Preliminary inquiry must be made to the appropriate program before preparing a proposal for submission.

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This page was last reviewed April 01, 2022 and last updated June 12, 2018