November 24,2015

NSF 16-513: Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM)

  • Release Date:11-23-2015
  • Open Date:11-23-2015
  • Due Date:02-16-2016
  • Close Date:02-16-2016


The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces a 6th (sixth) year of a solicitation on collaborative research and education in the area of Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM). This solicitation is in response to and is a component of the NNI Signature Initiative: Sustainable Nanomanufacturing - Creating the Industries of the Future (http://www.nano.gov/NSINanomanufacturing).   Although many nanofabrication techniques have demonstrated the ability to fabricate small quantities of nanomaterials and nanostructures for characterization and evaluation purposes, the emphasis of the Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM) solicitation is on research on new manufacturing processes and methods to overcome the key scientific and engineering barriers that prevent the production of useful nanomaterials and nanostructures and their integration into nanodevices and nanosystems at an industrially relevant scale, reliably, and at low cost and within sustainability and environmental, health and safety (EHS) guidelines.

Proposals should target nanomanufacturing processes with a clear commercial relevance, and should consider addressing key aspects of the nanomanufacturing value chain of nano-scale building-blocks to complex nanostructures to functional devices to integrated systems:

  • Novel scalable processes and techniques for large-area or continuous manufacturing of nano-scale materials and structures and their assembly and integration into higher order structures, devices and systems;
  • Fundamental scientific research in key, well-defined technical areas that are compellingly justified as approaches to overcome critical scientific and engineering barriers to scale-up and integration; and
  • Design principles for production systems leading to nanomanufacturing tools, systems and platforms; identification of metrology, instrumentation, standards and control methodologies needed for process control and to assess quality and yield; identification of environmental and energy footprints, as applicable.

Competitive proposals will incorporate three elements in their research plans:

  1. A persuasive case that the nanomaterials, nanostructures, nanodevices or nanosystems to be manufactured have or are likely to have sufficient demand to justify eventual scale-up;
  2. A clearly identified set of research issues requiring science and engineering solutions that must be addressed to enable the manufacture of high quality nano-enabled products in large quantities and at low cost; and
  3. A compelling research plan with clear objectives and approaches to overcome the identified research issues.

These elements should be carefully explained and justified in proposals, since both the scientific novelty and the feasibility of the methods being researched will be important evaluation factors.

Competitive proposals are expected to address the training and education of students in nanomanufacturing and related areas. Since Scalable Nanomanufacturing research will involve addressing multiple scientific challenges, an inter-disciplinary approach is strongly encouraged. Disciplines could range from mathematics to the physical sciences to engineering. While not required, collaborative activities with industrial or small business companies are welcome and collaborations in which industrial partners develop industrially relevant test-beds where university and company researchers can experiment and interact are encouraged. It is advisable that such firms be consulted early in the proposal preparation process and that their intellectual contributions be clearly explained in the proposal.

Other research and education projects in nanoscale science and engineering will continue to be supported in the appropriate programs and divisions.

Please see requirements for submitting proposals for collaborations; a single proposal with sub-contracts must be submitted for collaborations and the submission of separate proposals from multiple investigators for collaborative projects ('collaborative proposals') is not allowed.