Growing Convergence Research (GCR)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

Convergence research is a means for solving vexing research problems, in particular, complex problems focusing on societal needs or deep scientific challenges. It entails integrating knowledge, methods, and expertise from different disciplines and developing novel paradigms that catalyze scientific discovery and innovation.

GCR identifies Convergence Research as having two primary characteristics:

  • Research driven by a specific and compelling problem. Convergence research is generally inspired by the need to address a specific challenge or opportunity, whether it arises from deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.
  • Deep integration across disciplines. As experts from different disciplines pursue common research challenges, their knowledge, theories, methods, data, research communities and languages become increasingly intermingled or integrated. New frameworks, paradigms or even disciplines can form sustained interactions across multiple communities.

A distinct characteristic of convergence research, in contrast to other forms of multidisciplinary research, is that from the inception, the convergence paradigm intentionally brings together intellectually diverse researchers and stakeholders to frame the research questions, adopt common frameworks for addressing them, and create and implement innovative scientific approaches for their solution. This includes, when appropriate, developing new integrated theories, methods, research tools, and ways of communicating across disciplines and sectors. Research teams practicing convergence aim to develop sustainable collaborations that may not only create solutions to the specific problem studied, but also develop novel ways of investigating related research questions and open new research vistas.

This GCR solicitation targets multidisciplinary teams who are embracing convergence research as a means of developing highly innovative solutions to complex research problems.   GCR proposals are expected to be bold and address scientific or technical challenges and bottlenecks which if resolved have the potential to transform scientific understanding and solve vexing problems. Successful GCR projects are anticipated to lead to paradigm shifting approaches within disciplines, establishment of new scientific communities, or development of transformative technologies that have the potential for broad scientific or societal impact.

The aim of GCR is to cultivate and grow the earliest foundations of convergent approaches for addressing a specific and compelling problem. As such, proposals submitted to this solicitation are expected to explore novel avenues not previously investigated that are at the forefront of advancing science through deep integration. Proposers must make a convincing case that the research to be conducted is within NSF’s purview, integrates across NSF directorate or division boundaries, and is currently not supported by other NSF programs or solicitations.

The proposers must outline a five-year research plan delineated in two phases, Phase I: years 1-2, and Phase II: years 3-5. The total budget for Phase I may not exceed $1,200,000, and the total for Phase II may not exceed $2,400,000. Successful proposals will be funded initially for two years. Each team’s progress will be evaluated at a reverse site visit near the end of year 2; this will involve preparing a progress report and making a team presentation to a panel of reviewers/site visitors. Only teams that show exceptional progress according to the merit review and solicitation specific criteria during the first two years and that articulate plans for furthering advancements at the forefront of convergence research will be eligible for additional funding for up to three years pending availability  of funds. 

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  April 12, 2024

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 laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the U.S. that are directly associated with educational or research activities.

The PIs must hold full-time appointments in research or teaching positions at US-based campuses/offices of eligible organizations.

A PI or a co-PI may participate in only one GCR project at a time. This includes currently funded projects and those currently under review. No PI or co-PI may participate in any role, such as researcher, consultant, co-PI or PI in any other GCR proposal currently under review. This eligibility constraint will be strictly enforced. If an individual is involved in more than one pending GCR project, the most recently submitted proposal will be returned without review. If an individual is already involved in an active GCR award, the newly submitted proposal will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.

Past PIs and co-PIs who are no longer supported by the program may participate in this open competition only if the proposed research topics or themes are substantially different from those they pursued with prior NSF GCR support. New proposals that simply extend the methods and intent of a past GCR award to a slightly larger scope or a new geographic area will be returned without review. In determining the relationship between submitted proposals and past awards, NSF will employ text analysis software and technical expertise of program directors across the foundation.

Amount Description

Anticipated Funding Amount: $16,000,000 pending availability of funds, to support Phase I of new awards and to support Phase II of projects started two years earlier which have shown exceptional progress.

Successful proposals will be funded initially for Phase I. Each team's progress will be evaluated at a reverse site visit near the end of year 2 and will then be considered for Phase II funding for up to three years pending availability of funds.

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size/duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

April 12, 2024