(OPEN) Limited Submission: Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC)


The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) program provides sustained support of interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering. Each MRSEC addresses research of a scope and complexity requiring the scale, synergy, and multidisciplinarity provided by a campus-based research center. The MRSECs support materials research infrastructure in the United States, promote active collaboration between universities and other sectors, including industry and international organizations, and contribute to the development of a national network of university-based centers in materials research, education, and facilities. A MRSEC may be located at a single institution, or may involve multiple institutions in partnership, and is composed of up to three Interdisciplinary Research Groups, IRGs, each addressing a fundamental materials science topic aligned with the Division of Materials Research, DMR.

Please read the full program announcement before preparing your internal application.

Award Amount

The number of MRSEC awards will depend on the quality of the proposals and available funds. An estimate of $31.5M will be available for the FY 2020 competition for funding approximately 8 to 10 MRSEC awards.


An individual may be the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI for only one preliminary proposal, i.e., no investigator, PI or co-PI, can be listed on the NSF proposal Cover Sheet on more than one proposal.

Institutions that were awarded a MRSEC in the FY 2017 competition as the lead institution are not eligible to submit a MRSEC proposal as a lead institution in this competition.

An institution proposing research in several groups should submit a single MRSEC proposal with multiple Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs). A MRSEC proposal must contain a minimum of 2 IRGs and a maximum of 3 IRGs. The IRGs in a center may be thematically related, or they may address different aspects of materials science typically supported by DMR. A single center at an organization allows efficient usage of resources, including common infrastructure, and better coordination of education and other activities of the center.

Selection Criteria

Interdisciplinary Research Groups:(Used in evaluating preliminary and full proposals)

  1. Does the IRG describe a well-integrated research program distinguished by intellectual excellence and driven by a clear vision leading to fundamental advances, new discoveries, and/or technological developments that could have national and international significance?
  2. Are the capabilities of the investigators, technical soundness of the proposed approach, and adequacy of the resources (available or proposed), including instrumentation and facilities appropriate for a center?
  3. Are the benefits of a multi-investigator, interdisciplinary approach to address a major topic or area normally supported by the Division of Materials Research for each IRG clearly laid out? Does cooperation and interdependence of the investigators within the IRG come across?
  4. Is the work of a scope and complexity that requires Center support?
  5. Is the IRG addressing cutting edge science?

The Center as a Whole:(Used in evaluating full proposals)

  1. Is the organizational setting and rationale for the center justified?
  2. Is there potential for stimulating multidisciplinary interaction and collaborations on campus? Is there potential for organizational, national, and international impacts?
  3. Are education/outreach activities consistent with the center size? Does the proposed MRSEC research appear well-integrated with the education activities?
  4. Does the MRSEC foster increased participation in materials research and education of members of underrepresented groups in science and engineering at all academic levels (faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and students)?

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit one proposal.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to limsub@uga.edu according to the required instructions below.

Internal Applications must include the following:
  • A cover page listing
    • The name of this funding opportunity and title of your proposal
    • Your name, UGA position, home department, email, and UGA contact information
    • Collaborator names, positions, and institutions (if any)
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that contains the following components: a rationale for establishing the center and the anticipated synergies encompassing a center; a brief description of the proposed interdisciplinary research groups, including their intellectual merit; and a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activities such as research, education/outreach, shared facilities, and collaborations.
  • A brief description of the proposed interdisciplinary research groups, including their intellectual merit
  • One paragraph describing why this proposal should be UGA’s submission (i.e., why it will be the most competitive for this program)
  • Curriculum vitae
Internal Selection

Limited Submission announcements often generate multiple competing proposals.  UGA reviewers judge proposals as they would in any peer review process, so PIs are urged to put their best foot forward.  Along with typical criteria, reviewers will evaluate internal proposals based on their fit with the sponsor’s articulated goals and criteria.

Internal Submission Instructions

The above internal application materials should be submitted via email as a single .PDF file to limsub@uga.edu by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to limsub@uga.edu.

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the program officer, Daniele Finotello, at (703) 292-4676 or dfinotel@nsf.gov.

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