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Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future  (DMREF)

Name Email Phone Room
John  A. Schlueter, Team Lead (703) 292-7766   
Micah  Beck (703)292-2932   
Marian  Bocea (703) 292-2595   
Eva  Campo (703) 292-7010   
Almadena  Chtchelkanova (703) 292-8910   
Yuliya  Gorb (703)292-2113   
Alexis  Lewis (703) 292-2624   
Robert  McCabe (703) 292-4826   
Paul  Lane (703) 292-2453   
Sylvia  Spengler (703) 292-8930   
Shahab  Shojaei-Zadeh (703) 292-8045   
Ralph  Wachter (703) 292-8950   


Solicitation  19-516

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 20-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after June 1, 2020. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 20-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


DMREF is the primary program by which NSF participates in the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) for Global Competitiveness. MGI recognizes the importance of materials science and engineering to the well-being and advancement of society and aims to "deploy advanced materials at least twice as fast as possible today, at a fraction of the cost." MGI integrates materials discovery, development, property optimization, and systems design with a shared computational framework. This framework facilitates collaboration and coordination of research activities, analytical tools, experimental results, and critical evaluation in pursuit of the MGI goals. Consistent with the MGI Strategic Plan, DMREF highlights four sets of goals:

· Leading a culture shift in materials science and engineering research to encourage and facilitate an integrated team approach;

· Integrating experimentation, computation, and theory and equipping the materials science and engineering communities with advanced tools and techniques;

· Making digital data accessible, findable, and useful to the community; and

· Creating a world-class materials science and engineering workforce that is trained for careers in academia or industry.

Accordingly, DMREF will support activities that significantly accelerate materials discovery and/or development by building the fundamental knowledge base needed to design and make materials and/or devices with specific and desired functions or properties. This will be accomplished through forming interdisciplinary teams of researchers working synergistically in a "closed loop" fashion, building a vibrant research community, leveraging data science, providing ready access to materials data, and educating the future MGI workforce. Specifically, achieving this goal will involve modeling, analysis, and computational simulations, validated and verified through sample preparation, characterization, and/or device demonstration.

Computational efforts will begin at the smallest appropriate length scale, such as electronic, atomic, molecular, nano-, micro-, and meso-scale, appropriately informed by data or models to provide predictive or fundamental insight that will work effectively in concert with data-centric, experimental, and theoretical efforts to discover new materials, new states of matter, or advance understanding of materials properties and phenomena and their control through structure, applied fields, or other means. Computational efforts may include models that apply across or at multiple scales of length or time, and may include different chemistry or physics models to capture specific processes or phenomena. Creativity and innovation are encouraged to obtain the maximum predictive power or insight through computation, data-centric methods, and theory to achieve the goals of DMREF.

DMREF will enable the development of new data analytic tools and statistical algorithms; advanced simulations of material properties in conjunction with new device functionality; advances in predictive modeling that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence, data mining, and sparse approximation; data infrastructure that is accessible, extensible, scalable, and sustainable; the development, maintenance, and deployment of reliable, interoperable, and reusable software for the next-generation design of materials; and new collaborative capabilities for managing large, complex, heterogeneous, distributed data supporting materials design, synthesis, and longitudinal study. Incorporation of cyberinfrastructure developed through NSF investments including the OpenKIM Knowledgebase of Interatomic Models, Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2), Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs), and Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI), is encouraged where appropriate.

DMREF aligns with national priorities for advanced manufacturing and future industries, national defense and homeland security, information technologies and high performance computing, human health and welfare, clean energy, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). While this solicitation is not restricted to any particular materials research topic, those of particular interest in this FY2019 solicitation include: 1) Synthetic materials biology, 2) Structural materials under extreme conditions, 3) Recyclable plastics and alternative materials for sustainable development, and 4) Robotic materials. By facilitating interdisciplinary integrative materials research, DMREF is supportive of the NSF long-range transformative agenda, "Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments".  

The multidisciplinary character of this effort dictates the involvement of programs in the NSF Directorates of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Engineering, and Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Awards are expected to range from $1,000,000 – $1,750,000 over four years. To cover the breadth of this endeavor, it is expected that proposed projects will be directed by a team of at least two Senior Personnel with complementary expertise.

Assuming that sufficient funding is provided in the NSF budget, it is anticipated that the DMREF program will continue with competitions biennially in odd-numbered years.

In FY 2019, the DMREF program pilots a cloud option in partnership with Google.

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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program