Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 1/11/2024

Future Manufacturing (FM)

The goal of Future Manufacturing is to support fundamental research, education, and training of a future workforce to overcome scientific, technological, educational, economic, and social barriers in order to catalyze new manufacturing capabilities that do not exist today. Future Manufacturing seeks inventive approaches to invigorate the manufacturing ecosystem and seed nascent future industries that can only be imagined today. Future Manufacturing supports research and education that will enhance U.S. leadership in manufacturing by providing new capabilities for companies and entrepreneurs, by improving our health, quality of life, and national security, by expanding job opportunities to a diverse STEM workforce, and by reducing adverse impacts of manufacturing on the environment. At the same time, Future Manufacturing enables new manufacturing that will address urgent social challenges arising from climate change, global pandemics and health disparities, social and economic divides, infrastructure deficits of marginalized populations and communities, and environmental sustainability. Future Manufacturing will complement existing efforts, supported by NSF and other federal agencies, in advanced manufacturing, but the focus of this program is to enable new, potentially transformative, manufacturing capabilities rather than to improve current manufacturing. Proposals that are incremental improvements over existing advanced manufacturing technologies will not be competitive.

The 2022 National Strategy for Advanced Manufacturing (NSAM) shows how advances in U.S. manufacturing enable the economy to continuously grow as new technologies and innovations increase productivity, enable next-generation products, support our capability to address the climate crisis, and create new, high-quality, and higher-paying jobs. It highlights the need to enhance environmental sustainability and address climate change through objectives that include decarbonization of processes and sustainable manufacturing and recycling. The CHIPS and Science Act supports research and education in semiconductor and microelectronics manufacturing and in other areas ranging from additive manufacturing to artificial intelligence. The recent Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy aims to expand domestic biomanufacturing capacity for products spanning the health, energy, agriculture, and industrial sectors.

Manufacturing in the future will rely on computation to ensure the reliable translation of product designs to manufacturing plans; process controls to assure those plans produce products that meet specifications; new materials, chemicals, devices, processes, machines, and design and work methods; systems that encompass people, processes, equipment, materials, and information within a production environment; and new social structures and business practices. Fundamental research to overcome significant barriers will be required in quantum and semiconductor devices and integrated systems, robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, sustainable chemistry and production, materials science, education and public policy, and workforce development.

Three thrust areas have been identified for support under this solicitation:

Future Cyber Manufacturing Research,

Future Eco Manufacturing Research, and

Future Biomanufacturing Research.

This solicitation seeks proposals to perform fundamental research to enable new manufacturing capabilities in one or more of these thrust areas.

This solicitation will support the following two award tracks:

Future Manufacturing Research Grants (FMRG) - up to $3,000,000 for up to four years; and

Future Manufacturing Seed Grants (FMSG) - up to $500,000 for up to two years.

Proposals should take a convergence approach that involves cross-disciplinary partnerships among engineers, scientists, mathematicians, social and behavioral scientists, STEM education researchers, and experts in arts and humanities. Team sizes should be commensurate with the scope of the plans for science, technology, innovation, and education and workforce development.  

Proposals that include significant participation from minority-serving institutions, primarily undergraduate institutions, community colleges, institutions from EPSCoR states, and/or incorporate expertise in improving diversity and inclusion are especially encouraged.

The goal of this solicitation is to enable new manufacturing that represents a significant change from current practice. Therefore, proposers responding to this solicitation must include within the Project Description a section titled Enabling Future Manufacturing. Please see "Proposal Preparation Instructions" for additional details.

Full Proposal Deadline Date: April 11, 2024

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 laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the U.S. that are directly associated with educational or research activities.
  • For-profit organizations: U.S.-based commercial organizations, including small businesses, with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education and a passion for innovation.
  • State and Local Governments: State educational offices or organizations and local school districts.
  • Tribal Nations: An American Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges as a federally recognized tribe pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994, 25 U.S.C. §§ 5130-5131.

An investigator may participate as PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel in at most one proposal — encompassing the proposal submitted by a lead organization and any subawards — in each track (FMRG and FMSG) per submission year. In the event that an investigator exceeds this limit, proposals received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission. The remainder will be returned without review.

Amount Description

Future Manufacturing Research Grants (FMRG) - up to $3,000,000 for up to four years; and

Future Manufacturing Seed Grants (FMSG) - up to $500,000 for up to two years.