Ceramics (CER)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

This program supports fundamental scientific research in ceramics (e.g., oxides, carbides, nitrides and borides), glass-ceramics, inorganic glasses, ceramic-based composites and inorganic carbon-based materials. Projects should be centered on experiments; inclusion of computational and theory components are encouraged. The objective of the program is to increase fundamental understanding and to develop predictive capabilities for relating synthesis, processing, and microstructure of these materials to their properties and ultimate performance in various environments and applications. Research to enhance or enable the discovery or creation of new ceramic materials is welcome. Development of new experimental techniques or novel approaches to carry out projects is encouraged. Topics supported include basic processes and mechanisms associated with nucleation and growth of thin films; bulk crystal growth; phase transformations and equilibria; morphology; surface modification; corrosion, interfaces and grain boundary structure; and defects.

Additional Information

Investigators are encouraged to include all anticipated broader impact activities in their initial proposals, rather than planning on supplemental funding requests. Most projects include: (1) the anticipated significance on science, engineering and/or technology including possible benefits to society, (2) plans for the dissemination, and (3) broadening participation of underrepresented groups and/or excellence in training, mentoring, and/or teaching. Many successful proposals include one additional broader impact activity.

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

Investigators are advised that the following dates -- March 15 to May 15 and July 15 to Aug. 15 -- should, optimally, be avoided for submissions.

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

An investigator may only have one submission to CER at a given time.

The submission date of a proposal from an investigator, whether PI or co-PI, to the CER program cannot be within 6 months before or after the submission date of any proposal from that same investigator, whether PI or co-PI, to any DMR Topical Materials Research Program (also variously known as Individual Investigator Award (IIA) Program, or Core Program, or Disciplinary Program). If more than one proposal is submitted, the earliest proposal will be retained (whether as PI or co-PI) and any subsequent proposals will be returned without review. A list of DMR Topical Materials Research Programs can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/funding/programs.jsp?org=DMR, under "Topical Materials Research Programs."

Proposals for EAGER, RAPID, RAISE, and conferences, as well as supplements to existing grants, are not subject to this limitation and may be submitted any time after consultation with the cognizant NSF Program Officer.

Investigators with proposals submitted to the Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future (DMREF), Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM), Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC), and Materials Innovation Platforms (MIP) programs (or other divisions/offices at NSF) may have a concurrent CER submission.



Amount Description

Four-year projects are encouraged in the Ceramics Program; projects of shorter durations are also welcome. Budgets are typically $110,000 to $160,000 per year for each project, subject to the availability of funds; smaller budgets are permissible. Budgets in excess of $160,000 per year may be returned without review.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences