Planning Grants for Engineering Research Centers (ERC)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The ERC program is placing greater emphasis on high-risk/high-payoff research, larger societal impact, convergent research approaches, engagement of stakeholder communities, and adoption of team science in team formation, in response to the 2017 NASEM study recommendation. The ERC program intends to support planning activities leading to convergent research team formation and capacity-building within the engineering community. This planning grant solicitation is designed to foster and facilitate the engineering community’s thinking about how to form convergent research collaborations. To participate in a forthcoming ERC competition, one is not required to submit a planning grant proposal nor to receive a planning grant.  

Full Proposal Deadline(s):    Feb. 16, 2021

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.

The PI must be an engineering faculty whose main appointment is in an engineering department/school/college who has not previously been awarded an ERC Planning Grant as a PI. Co-PIs may be from any department.

An individual may be listed as a PI or co-PI on only one planning grant proposal.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 20

The number of awards is dependent upon the proposals received and the degree to which proposals meet the solicitation goals, NSF merit review criteria, and solicitation-specific review criteria. The planning grant is for one year and the proposed budget for each planning grant should not exceed $100,000.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $2,000,000

Subject to the quality of proposals received and availability of funds.

Funding Type





Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

February 16, 2021