New NSF-DFG Lead Agency for Research on Measurements of Interfacial Systems

Call supports bilateral research projects bringing together partners from Germany and the USA.

In line with its activities in the interest of research, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG – German Research Foundation) maintains partnerships and relations with a large number of partner organisations on all continents including the US National Science Foundation (NSF). On the basis of their Memorandum of Understanding, DFG and NSF are now launching a call for joint research projects on the topic of Measurements of Interfacial Systems at Scale with In-situ and Operando aNalysis (MISSION).

The programme supports research for operando and in-situ characterisation systems and tools (eg imaging, spectroscopy, scattering and corresponding theoretical methods) of interfacial processes with the aim to develop a molecular understanding. The call for proposals encourages novel characterisation of processes occurring at interfaces under system-realistic conditions that are relevant to solving problems of our time by developing, for example, climate solutions and sustainable chemical processes.

Relevant topics include:

  • Understanding dynamic reaction and physical/chemical processes at atomic and molecular scales for heterogeneous catalysis, electrode interfacial processes, nanoparticle-fluid or substrate interactions, atomic and molecular separations, biological surface-environment interactions, wetting.
  • Discovering new reaction pathways for interfacial chemical synthesis and functionalisation.
  • Understanding atomic and molecular mechanisms of sorption and transport processes in membranes and on nanomaterials.
  • Understanding surface-templated synthesis or assembly of discrete structures, nucleation in crystallization processes; and
  • Developing new methodologies for interfacial chemical characterisation, particle production and aerosol behaviour in processes.

Proposals will be reviewed by either NSF or DFG as the lead agency, depending on where the largest proportion of research lies.

Eligible to apply for DFG funding are researchers who work in Germany, or at a German research institution abroad, and who have completed their academic training (usually with a doctorate). Researchers at publicly funded non-university research institutions in Germany must observe their duty to cooperate.

On the US side, the eligibility to submit a proposal follows the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).

DFG Funding is offered according to the rules of DFG Research Grants programme (Sachbeihilfe). The maximum initial funding duration is three years.

NSF Funding is provided in the form of a NSF Standard Grant or Continuing Grant. NSF expects to award four to ten grants. The average award size and duration are subject to the availability of funds. The anticipated funding amount is up to USD $5 million.

The scheme comprises a two-stage application process. Initially, applicants submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Upon confirmation from both funding organisations that the research proposal is appropriate for the NSF-DFG MISSION call for proposals, the lead agency will contact the researchers to inform them that they may submit a full research proposal.

The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 28 June 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)