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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Catalysis and Biocatalysis


Full Proposal Window:  January 15, 2014 - February 20, 2014
Due to the ubiquitous presence of catalysis in the many aspects of goods and services impacting our lives, the Catalysis and Biocatalysis program has many potential directions for funding support.  Programs in this area encompass a blend of fundamental and innovative applied research drivers.  All programs are hypothesis-driven, and the experimental programs aimed at resolving the issues frequently combine a variety of approaches.  Chemical engineering and chemistry are intertwined.  Proposals which receive funding in this Program may include any number of the following broad scopes:
  • Catalyst Synthesis, Characterization, Behavior and Performance
  • Kinetics and Mechanisms of Key Catalytic Reactions
  • Catalysis at Surfaces or in Reactor Process Streams
  • Synthesis and Fabrication of Component Materials and Catalyst Composites
  • Modeling and Fundamental Studies of a Catalyst or Catalytic Process
  • Catalysts and Studies for Renewable Energy Systems.
These approaches apply equally to classical inorganic or carbon catalysts as well as toenzymatic or biocatalysts.  Specialized materials synthesis procedures may be necessary to provide active catalysts in any of the studies.  Applications-driven studies, such as Biomass conversion catalysis, Electrocatalysis and Photocatalysis, involving energy interconversion devices or systems employing catalysts are highly desired.
Most studies will focus on the catalysis of one or more chemical reactions with products including molecules used for fuels, energy sources, feedstocks, fine chemicals, bulk chemicals and specialized materials.  While proposals will be accepted in any of the above areas, national needs suggest heightened interest be given to proposals relating to processes and catalysts for conversions of biomass to fuels and chemicals, for development of renewable energy sources and for transition to green or environmentally benign products and processes.  Submissions investigating unique nanoparticle or biomimetic catalysis are welcome.
There is overlap in the energy topics with Energy for Sustainability Program, the Process and Reaction Engineering Program, and the Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering Program.  Some guidelines may help you to decide which Program is the most logical for submission.  If the Proposal centers on the enzymatic or inorganic catalysis aspect of the biomass or photocatalysis or electrocatalysis energy conversion process, or uses catalysis as the main tool for interconversion, please submit to theCatalysis and Biocatalysis Program.  If the proposal focuses on biological and genetic aspects, consider the Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering Program.  If the Proposal focuses on the reaction engineering aspects of the interconversion, submit to the Process and Reaction Engineering Program.  If the emphasis is on the renewable energy system as a whole, or the sustainable aspects of renewable energy, submit to the Energy for Sustainability Program.  Keep in mind that the involved program Directors will review the submissions and may transfer your proposal to give it the best review situation.
Projects are coordinated and may be jointly funded with other CBET and NSF divisional programs.  Proposals developing technology involving catalysis + separation or catalysis + reaction engineering or catalysis + renewable energy systems may be submitted toCatalysis and Biocatalysis requesting that joint funding be explored.  The Program has high interest in industry/university collaborations as outlined in the GOALI program.  EAGER proposals are recognized as useful vehicles to ultimately develop full proposals.  Support of undergraduates, workshops and travel are opportunities to further research goals.  CAREER proposals are enthusiastically received.  All of these activities have specific rules pertaining, and should be discussed with the Program Director prior to submission.
The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years.  The typical annual award size for the program is $100,000.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.  Small equipment proposals of less than $100,000 will also be considered and may be submitted during the annual submission window. 
Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas can 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.
Additional Program Information - 1401:  (e.g., Areas of Research, Research Highlights, Conferences and Workshops, Program Director Information, etc.)

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