Announcements Find Funding Limited Submissions

Research Matters

Limited Submission: Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2)

This program funds research projects that identify (1) factors that are effective in the formation of ethical STEM researchers and (2) approaches to developing those factors in all STEM fields that NSF supports.


Ethical and Responsible Research (ER2) funds research projects that identify (1) factors that are effective in the formation of ethical STEM researchers and (2) approaches to developing those factors in all STEM fields that NSF supports. ER2 solicits proposals for research that explores the following: “What constitutes responsible conduct for research (RCR), and which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?” Do certain labs have a “culture of academic integrity?” What practices contribute to the establishment and maintenance of ethical cultures and how can these practices be transferred, extended to, and integrated into other research and learning settings?” Factors one might consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, an ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula or memberships in organizations (e.g. Engineers without Borders) that stress responsible conduct for research, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work, or do not grade. Successful proposals typically have a comparative dimension, either between or within institutional settings that differ along these or among other factors, and they specify plans for developing interventions that promote the effectiveness of identified factors.

ER2 research projects will use basic research to produce knowledge about what constitutes or promotes responsible or irresponsible conduct of research, and how to best instill this knowledge into researchers and educators at all career stages. In some cases, projects will include the development of interventions to ensure ethical and responsible research conduct.

Proposals for awards from minority-serving institutions (e.g., Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions), women’s colleges, and organizations primarily serving persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged. Proposals including international collaborations are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. If possible, the U.S. team’s international counterparts should obtain funding through other sources.

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

Award Amount

  • Estimated total annual funding amount is $3,550,000 subject to the availability of funds. The maximum amount for 5-year awards is $600,000 (including indirect costs) and the maximum amount for 3-year awards is $400,000 (including indirect costs). The average award is $275,000.


  • NSF expects project teams to include persons with appropriate expertise. This might include expertise in the domain or domains of science or engineering on which the project focuses, in ethics, values, evaluation, and pedagogy. For Institutional Transformation Research Grant proposals, it is highly recommended that one or more senior members of the administration (e.g., Provost, VP, and/or President) serves as a PI.

Selection Criteria

  • Intellectual Merit: The Intellectual Merit criterion encompasses the potential to advance knowledge; and
  • Broader Impacts: The Broader Impacts criterion encompasses the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes.

The following elements should be considered in the review for both criteria:

  1. What is the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Advance knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields (Intellectual Merit); and
    2. Benefit society or advance desired societal outcomes (Broader Impacts)?
  2. To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  3. Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  4. How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  5. Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?

Additional Solicitation Specific Review Criteria

The following additional review criteria are given because of the program’s emphasis on the comparative dimension of different approaches to the formation of STEM researchers who are committed to ethical academic and research practices and to the cultivation of institutional cultures that value, expect, and reward academic and research integrity.

Reviewers will be asked to apply the following special criteria to all proposals in this program:

  • Is this an innovative effort?
  • Does the project include adequate grounding in the relevant research literature?
  • Do potential results have promise for broad utility?
  • Are there adequate supporting materials to document commitment from those individuals and institutions playing a substantive role in the project?

Additional review criteria for Institutional Transformation Research Grant (ITRG) proposals:

  • How significant will the contribution of the study of the proposed innovative components and other institutional transformation activities be to the institutional transformation knowledge base?
  • How strong are the indicators of institutional readiness for institutional transformation and commitment to the project activities and goals?
  • Does the proposal include well-formulated, feasible plans for evaluation of the effectiveness of the intervention?
  • How well are the proposed activities linked to the institutional context and data?
  • How well is the relevant social science literature incorporated into the design of the proposed innovative components and other institutional transformation activities?
  • Are mechanisms planned that ensure long-term sustainability beyond the duration of the funded project?

Limitation Details

An Institution may submit one proposal. There is no limit on the number of proposals under which an organization may be included as a non-lead collaborator or subawardee.

If you are interested in submitting for this program, you must first submit an internal application to 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)
    • Indicate whether or not you have submitted to this program in the past. If so, please provide a copy of the review at the end of the internal application.
  • A (maximum two-page) proposal summary that addresses the program’s specific selection criteria.
  • 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 by the internal deadline listed above.


Please submit questions regarding the internal competition to

For questions directly related to this program, please contact the following program officers:

  • John N. Parker (SBE), telephone: (703) 292-5034, email:
  • Frederick M. Kronz (SBE), telephone: (703) 292-7283, email:
  • Cassandra M. Dudka (OISE), telephone: (703) 292-7250, email:
  • Edda Thiels (BIO), telephone: (703) 292-8421, email:
  • Elizabeth L. Rom (GEO), telephone: (703) 292-7709, email:
  • Leonard Spinu (MPS), telephone: (703) 292-2665, email:
  • Michael D. Steele (EHR), telephone: (703) 292-4313, email:
  • Edward J. Berger (ENG/EEC), telephone: (703) 292-7708, email:
  • Wendy Nilsen (CISE), telephone: (703) 292-2568, email:

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