Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 4/18/2022

Spectrum Innovation Initiative: National Center for Wireless Spectrum Research (SII-Center)

The worldwide growth of wireless communication, navigation, and telemetry has provided immense societal benefits including mobile broadband data, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile healthcare, and intelligent transportation systems. These and other applications call for innovations that can circumvent the challenges of radio spectrum scarcity and interference, and foster the growth of ubiquitous, high speed, low latency connectivity. Commercial applications like the above must operate in harmony with scientific uses of spectrum (e.g., radio astronomy, Earth and atmospheric sciences, and polar research) and other nationally vital spectrum-dependent services (e.g., weather prediction). The National Science Foundation (NSF) continues to support wireless spectrum research and the scientific uses of the electromagnetic spectrum through multiple programs that enable fast, accurate, dynamic coordination and usage of the limited spectrum resource. These programs have created an opportune ground to build and create a large center-based ecosystem for spectrum research, which is the target of this SII-Center program.

NSF’s goal is to promote transformative use and management of the electromagnetic spectrum, resulting in profound benefits for science and engineering, industry, and other national interests. The focus of a spectrum research SII-Center must chart out a trajectory to ensure United States leadership in future wireless technologies, systems, and applications in science and engineering through the efficient use and sharing of the radio spectrum. The SII-Center should also seek to foster scientific and technical collaboration. The establishment of an SII-Center will have a transformational impact on wireless spectrum research by serving as a connecting point for the biggest and most challenging questions in spectrum management that the nation is facing. The SII-Center is expected to educate and develop an agile workforce needed to support industries of the future which will rely heavily on wireless technologies.


Letter of Intent Deadline Date: March 1, 2021

A Letter of Intent must be submitted by the due date specified.  Proposers who fail to submit a Letter of Intent by the due date are not eligible to submit an SII-Center proposal.

Full Proposal Window: April 1, 2021 - April 30, 2021

The submission window opens on April 1, 2021 and closes at 5 p.m. submitter's local time on April 30, 2021.  A Letter of Intent (due by 5 p.m. submitter's local time on March 1, 2021) is a required prerequisite for SII-Center Proposals.

Submission of an SII-Center Planning Grant Proposal (see NSF 20-557) is not required to submit an SII-Center Proposal.


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 labs, professional societies and similar organizations in the U.S. associated with educational or research activities.

Who May Serve as PI: The PI must be a full-time faculty member or staff member at an institution of higher education, or a member of a non-profit, non-academic organization, and have an established record of leading research teams.

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: There are no restrictions or limits.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI: 1

An individual may serve as PI, co-PI, or other senior personnel on no more than one SII-Center proposal. In cases where an individual appears as senior personnel in more than one SII-Center proposal only the first submitted proposal will be accepted; all other SII-Center proposals involving that individual will be returned without review.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 1

One award will be made in FY 2021, depending on the availability of funds and the quality of proposals received.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $25,000,000

Funding anticipated for the SII-Center award is up to $5,000,000 per year for five years. The award is potentially renewable for an additional 5-years, depending on performance and the availability of funds. The SII-Center award will be made through a Cooperative Agreement.

Funding Type