Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 4/12/2024

Next Era of Wireless and Spectrum

The National Science Foundation's Directorates for Engineering (ENG), Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS), and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) are coordinating efforts to create fundamental understanding that will enable continued effective use of an essential common resource, the electromagnetic spectrum. Existing approaches to spectrum management and regulation have struggled with the ever-increasing demands for spectrum created by continual emergence of new scientific, military, and commercial applications, powered by steady advances in wireless technologies. Development of fundamentally new models and paradigms of spectrum access and management, along with enabling technologies, is needed before it becomes too costly to accommodate new innovations and essential services, or too late to sustain the digital transformation and growth of key industries and public services.

This program seeks to develop the intellectual capital enabling the U.S. to smoothly and quickly transition to effective new ways of using and managing the radio and optical spectrum after the end of the current spectrum era of long-term exclusive-use license auctions, thereby sustaining and advancing the social, economic, scientific, and U.S. national leadership benefits derived from the electromagnetic spectrum.

Deadline: May 28, 2024

Areas of Interest

The NewSpectrum program invites proposals in three areas related to Spectrum Era 4.

  • Spectrum Science and Spectrum Engineering: Research to increase the overall utility and efficiency of the electromagnetic spectrum while assuring spectrum access for the common good
    • Technical topics including spectrum management, sensing, sharing, monitoring, control, prediction, adaptation
    • Economic-, market-, social-, and other human-centric topics
    • Security and enforcement including technical mechanisms, human-centric solutions, and combinations
  • Spectrum Capabilities: Research to improve performance, resilience, and reliability of individual systems under spectrum constraints
    • Better system operation in shared, congested, and contested spectrum bands
    • Dynamic use of higher and multiple frequency bands
    • More effective adaptation to a dynamic spectrum environment
  • Wireless Technologies: Research to create hardware components, devices, and hardware design and analysis techniques that impact spectrum challenges
    • Advances required for progress in spectrum science and spectrum capabilities
    • Advances enabling new applications whose deployment will alter requirements for or constraints on the spectrum

Proposals may be submitted under two tracks (i.e., Track 1 and Track 2).

Track 1 proposals may request a total budget (up to three years in duration) up to $800,000. Projects proposed under Track 1 must include meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration or experimental activities.

Track 2 proposals may request a total budget (up to three years in duration) up to $400,000.

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.

By the submission deadline, any PI, co-PI, or other senior/key personnel must hold either:

  • a tenured or tenure-track position, or
  • a primary, full-time, paid appointment in a research or teaching position

at a US-based campus of an IHE or at a non-profit non-academic organization, with exceptions granted for family or medical leave, as determined by the submitting organization. Individuals with primary appointments at for-profit non-academic organizations or at overseas branch campuses of US IHEs are not eligible.

An individual may be listed as PI, co-PI, and/or senior/key personnel on only two proposals submitted in response to this solicitation. In the event that an individual exceeds this limit, only the first two proposals received before the deadline will be accepted, and the remainder will be returned without review.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 18 to 24

NewSpectrum Track 1 Awards are expected to be up to three (3) years in duration with a total budget up to $800,000.

NewSpectrum Track 2 Awards are expected to be up to three (3) years in duration with a total budget up to $400,000.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $13,200,000

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

The budget for a given proposal should be commensurate with the complexity of the proposed research.