Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which also includes: 1) the Catalysis program; 2) the Electrochemical Systems program; and 3) the Interfacial Engineering program.

The goal of the Process Systems, Reaction Engineering and Molecular Thermodynamics program is to advance fundamental engineering research on the rates and mechanisms of chemical reactions, systems engineering and molecular thermodynamics as they relate to the design and optimization of chemical reactors and the production of specialized materials that have important impacts on society. 

The program supports the development of advanced optimization and control algorithms for chemical processes, molecular and multi-scale modeling of complex chemical systems, fundamental studies on molecular thermodynamics, and the integration of this information into the design of complex chemical reactors.  An important area supported by the program focuses on the development of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly chemical processes and materials. 

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

For additional information regarding the removal of deadlines for this program, please refer to the Dear Colleague Letterand Frequently Asked Questions.

Proposals submitted to other program announcements and solicitations, including the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), must meet their respective deadlines; please refer to the deadline dates specified in the appropriate announcement or solicitation. Proposals for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) or Rapid Response Research (RAPID) can be submitted at any time but Principal Investigators must contact the cognizant program director prior to submission. Proposals for supplements or workshops can be submitted at any time, and PIs are encouraged to contact the cognizant PD prior to submission.

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Proposals should focus on:

·         Chemical reaction engineering: This area encompasses the interaction of transport phenomena and kinetics in reactive systems and the use of this knowledge in the design of complex chemical reactors.  Focus areas include novel reactor designs, such as catalytic and membrane reactors, micro-reactors, and atomic layer deposition systems; studies of reactions in supercritical fluids; novel activation techniques, such as plasmas, acoustics, and microwaves; design of multifunctional systems, such as "chemical-factory/lab-on-a-chip" concepts; and biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals.  The program also supports new approaches that enable the design of modular chemical manufacturing systems.

·         Process design, optimization and control: This area encompasses the development of algorithms for design, optimization and control of process systems and individual process units.  High priority research topics include process intensification, modular process systems, smart manufacturing, real-time optimization and control of complex chemical systems integrated with sustainability, and optimization of enterprise-wide processes involved in planning, scheduling and control.

·         Reactive polymer processing: Program scope in this area is limited to research that integrates synthesis and processing to engineer specific structures that tune the properties of polymers. The focus is on processes that address environmental concerns while producing tailor-made macromolecular materials.

·         Molecular thermodynamics: This area focuses on fundamental research that combines principles of thermodynamics and molecular theory to improve chemical processing and synthesis of novel functional materials, such as catalysts, polymers, solvents, and colloids. Topics includes fundamental studies on self and directed assembly of complex supramolecular structures, computational screening of chemicals and/or materials for desirable properties, and development of advanced computer simulation and visualization techniques. The ultimate goal is to enable the development of more efficient chemical processes, improve environmental sustainability and water quality, and design functional materials with tailored properties.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered.  However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the program director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.



Amount Description

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years.  The typical award size for unsolicited proposals is approximately $100,000 per year.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Engineering and Physical Sciences