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Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems  (INFEWS) NSF Wide Programs

Name Email Phone Room
Thomas  Torgersen 703-292-4738   
James  W. Jones (703) 292-4458   
Deborah  Winslow (703) 292-7315   
Rachel  Melnick 202-401-4980   
Lara  Campbell 703-292-7049   
Timothy  VanReken (703) 292-7378   


Solicitation  18-545

Important Information for Proposers

ATTENTION: Proposers using the Collaborators and Other Affiliations template for more than 10 senior project personnel will encounter proposal print preview issues. Please see the Collaborators and Other Affiliations Information website for updated guidance.

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 18-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Deadline Date

    September 26, 2018


Humanity depends upon the Earth's physical resources and natural systems for food, energy, and water (FEW).  However, both the physical resources and the FEW systems are under increasing stress. It is becoming imperative that we determine how society can best integrate social, ecological, physical and built environments to provide for growing demand for food, energy and water in the short term while also maintaining appropriate ecosystem services for the future.  Known stressors in FEW systems include governance challenges, population growth and migration, land use change, climate variability, and uneven resource distribution. The interconnections and interdependencies associated with the FEW Nexus pose research grand challenges. To meet these grand challenges, there is a critical need for research that enables new means of adapting societal use of FEW systems.  

The INFEWS program seeks to support research that conceptualizes FEW systems broadly and inclusively, incorporating social and behavioral processes (such as decision making and governance), physical processes (such as built infrastructure and new technologies for more efficient resource utilization), natural processes (such as biogeochemical and hydrologic cycles), biological processes (such as agroecosystem structure and productivity), and cyber-components (such as sensing, networking, computation and visualization for decision-making and assessment).  Investigations of these complex systems may produce discoveries that cannot emerge from research on food or energy or water systems alone.  It is the synergy among these components in the context of sustainability that will open innovative science and engineering pathways to produce new knowledge, novel technologies, and innovative predictive capabilities.

The overarching goal of the INFEWS program is to catalyze well-integrated, convergent research to transform understanding of the FEW Nexus as integrated social, engineering, physical, and natural systems in order to improve system function and management, address system stress, increase resilience, and ensure sustainability. The NSF INFEWS activity is designed specifically to attain the following goals:

1.     Significantly advance our understanding of the food-energy-water system of systems through quantitative, predictive and computational modeling, including support for relevant cyberinfrastructure;

2.     Develop real-time, cyber-enabled interfaces that improve understanding of the behavior of FEW systems and increase decision support capability;

3.     Enable research that will lead to innovative and integrated social, engineering, physical, and natural systems solutions to critical FEW systems problems;

4.     Grow the scientific workforce capable of studying and managing the FEW system of systems, through education and other professional development opportunities.

This initiative enables interagency cooperation on one of the most pressing problems of the millennium - understanding interactions across the FEW nexus - how dynamics of the FEW Nexus are likely to affect our world, and how we can proactively plan for consequences. This solicitation allows the partner agencies - National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA/NIFA) - to combine resources to identify and fund the most meritorious and highest-impact projects that support their respective missions, while eliminating duplication of effort and fostering collaboration between agencies and the investigators they support.

In addition, NSF and USDA/NIFA promote international cooperation that links scientists and engineers from a range of disciplines and organizations to solve the significant global challenges at the nexus of FEW systems. Proposals including international collaboration are encouraged when those efforts enhance the merit of the proposed work by incorporating unique resources, expertise, facilities or sites of international partners. The U.S. team’s international counterparts generally should have support or obtain funding through non-NSF sources. To facilitate coordinating research activities between US and international partners, specific collaborative funding opportunities have been developed involving some international partners:  list of international opportunities.

All questions regarding proposal submissions should be directed to INFEWSquestions@NSF.GOV or the program officers listed below.

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

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program