Linguistics: Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DLI-DDRI)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The Linguistics Program supports basic science in the domain of human language, encompassing investigations of the grammatical properties of individual human languages, and of natural language in general. Research areas include syntax, linguistic semantics and pragmatics, morphology, phonetics, and phonology.

The program encourages projects that are interdisciplinary in methodological or theoretical perspective, and that address questions that cross disciplinary boundaries, such as (but not limited to):

  • What are the psychological processes involved in the production, perception, and comprehension of language?
  • What are the computational properties of language and/or the language processor that make fluent production, incremental comprehension or rapid learning possible?
  • How do the acoustic and physiological properties of speech inform our theories of language and/or language processing?
  • What role does human neurobiology play in shaping the various components of our linguistic capacities?
  • How does language develop in children?
  • What social and cultural factors underlie language variation and change?

The Linguistics Program does not make awards to support clinical research projects, nor does it support work to develop or assess pedagogical methods or tools for language instruction.

DDRI proposals to document the linguistic properties of endangered languages should be submitted to the Dynamic Language Infrastructure (DLI-DDRI) Program:

Full Proposal Target Date: July 15, 2020; July 15, Annually Thereafter

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

DDRI proposals must be submitted with a principal investigator (PI) and a co-principal investigator (co-PI). The PI must be the advisor of the doctoral student or another faculty member at the US IHE where the doctoral student is enrolled. The doctoral student must be a co-PI.

There is no limitation on the number of times that a graduate advisor may be the principal investigator on a DDRI proposal submitted to the Linguistics Program, either during a specific competition or over the course of her/his career. Doctoral students, however, are limited to two DDRI submissions in the course of their graduate career.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 25 to 35

During a fiscal year, the Linguistics Program expects to recommend (either on its own or jointly with one or more other NSF programs) a total of 25 to 35 Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) awards.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $300,000 to $400,000

The anticipated funding amount is $300,000 to $400,000 per fiscal year.

Project budgets should be developed at scales appropriate for the work to be conducted. Proposal budgets cannot exceed $12,000 in direct costs for the entire duration of the award; indirect costs are in addition to this maximum direct cost limitation and are subject to the awardee's current Federally negotiated indirect cost rate. The maximum project duration is 24 months.

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

Funding Type



Grad/Prof Students


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

July 15, 2020