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Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems

Biological and Environmental Interactions of Nanoscale Materials

Name Email Phone Room
Nora  F. Savage (703) 292-7949   


Apply to PD 16-1179 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard Grant Proposal Guide proposal preparation guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via the NSF Application Guide; A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Guidelines applies. (Note: The NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at:

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Window

    October 1, 2017 - October 20, 2017

    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 Biological and Environmental Interactions of Nanoscale Materials program is to support research to advance fundamental and quantitative understanding of the interactions of biological and environmental media with nanomaterials and nanosystems. Materials of interest include one- to three-dimensional nanostructures, heterogeneous nano-bio hybrid assemblies, and other nanoparticles.  Such nanomaterials and systems frequently exhibit novel physical, chemical and biological behavior in living systems and environmental matrices as compared to the bulk scale. This program supports research that explores the interaction of nanomaterials in biological and environmental media.    

Research areas supported by the program include:

  • Characterization of interactions at the interfaces between nanomaterials and nanosystems with surrounding biological and environmental media, including both simple nanoparticles and complex and/or heterogeneous composites;
  • Development of predictive tools based on the fundamental behavior of nanostructures within biological and ecological matrices to advance cost-effective and environmentally benign processing and engineering solutions over full life material cycles;
  • Examining the transport, interaction, and impact of nanostructured materials and nanosystems on biological systems;
  • Simulations of nanoparticle behavior at interfaces, in conjunction with experimental comparisons, and new theories and simulation approaches for determining the transport and transformation of nanoparticles in various media.

Research in these areas will enable the design of nanostructured materials and heterogeneous nanosystems with optimal chemical, electronic, photonic, biological, and mechanical properties for their safe handling, management, and utilization.

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.

NOTE: For proposals involving aspects of sustainable chemistry, consider making proposal submissions to this program (1179) with the Proposal Title as: ‘SusChEM: Title of Your Proposal'. For more information on SusChEM-related proposals please click here. The same applies for proposals involving sustainable engineering.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years.  The typical award size for the program is $100,000 per year.  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