text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Environmental Research & Education (ERE)
Environmental Research & Education (ERE)
design element
ERE Home
About ERE
Funding Opportunities
Advisory Committee
See Additional ERE Resources
View ERE Staff
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Additional ERE Resources
Follow ERE on Twitter
ERE Funding Opportunities
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page

Catalysis and Biocatalysis


Name Email Phone Room
Robert  McCabe rmccabe@nsf.gov (703) 292-4826   


Apply to PD 15-1401 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard Grant Proposal Guide proposal preparation guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide; A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines applies. (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide)

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 15-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after December 26, 2014. The PAPPG is consistent with, and, implements the new Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (Uniform Guidance) (2 CFR 200). Please be advised that the guidelines contained in NSF 15-1 apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Window:  October 1, 2015 - October 20, 2015

October 1 - October 20, Annually Thereafter

Full Proposal Window:  October 1, 2016 - October 20, 2016

October 1 - October 20, Annually Thereafter

These submission windows do not apply to workshop or supplement proposals, proposals for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), or Rapid Response Grants (RAPID).  As noted below, PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of proposals of this nature.


The goal of the Catalysis and Biocatalysis program is to advance research in catalytic engineering science and promote the development of catalytic materials and reactions that are of benefit to society.  Research in this program should focus on new basic understanding of catalytic materials and reactions, utilizing synthetic, theoretical, and experimental approaches.  Target applications include fuels, specialty and bulk chemicals, environmental catalysis, biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals, conversion of greenhouse gases, and generation of solar hydrogen, as well as efficient routes to energy utilization.

Heterogeneous catalysis and biocatalysis represent the main thrusts of the program.  Proposals related to both gas-solid and liquid-solid heterogeneous catalysis are welcome, as are proposals that incorporate concepts from homogeneous catalysis.  Biocatalysis proposals should focus on enzymatic catalysis involving engineering of the active site involved in substrate conversion. 

Topic areas that are of particular interest include:

  • Renewable energy-related catalysis (including applications related to biocatalysis, biomass refining, electrocatalysis, and photocatalysis).
  • Catalysis aimed at closing the carbon cycle (especially conversion of CO2, methane, and natural gas to fuels and chemical intermediates).
  • Catalytic alternatives to traditionally non-catalytic reaction processes, as well as new catalyst designs for established catalytic processes.   
  • Environmental catalysis (including energy-efficient and green routes to fuels and chemicals).
  • Catalytic remediation of feedstocks, process streams, products, or effluents.
  • Commercially scalable methods of catalyst synthesis.
  • New catalytic materials and architectures (especially those substituting earth-abundant materials for precious and noble metal catalysts).
  • Basic understanding of catalytic materials, reaction pathways, kinetics, and surface mechanisms.
  • Durable, poison-resistant, and easily regenerable catalyst formulations and designs.
  • Advances in tools for catalyst characterization and theoretical/computational catalysis.

Projects that are interdisciplinary in nature may be jointly funded with other CBET and NSF programs.

NOTE: For catalysis proposals involving aspects of sustainable chemistry, consider making proposal submissions to this program (1401) with the Proposal Title as:'SusChEM: Title of Your Proposal'.  For more information on SusChEM-related proposals click here.  The same applies for proposals involving sustainable engineering.  For proposals focusing more broadly on cellular and biomolecular processes, consider submitting to Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering (CBET 1491). If the proposal focuses on reaction engineering aspects of catalytic processes, submit to Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics (CBET 1403). If the emphasis is on renewable or sustainable energy systems as a whole, with catalysis as a sub-component, submit to Energy for Sustainability (CBET 7644). Keep in mind that the involved program directors will review the submissions and may transfer your proposal to give it the best review situation.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered.  However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year with allowance for up to $150,000 per year for collaborative projects or those involving multiple investigators.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information. 

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here.  Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged.  Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page