Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 4/11/2024

Sustainable Regional Systems Research Networks (SRS RNs)

The United States is made up of regional systems comprising interdependent urban and rural systems and every community category between urban and rural. Urban systems and rural systems are interdependent for the provisioning of food, energy sources, water, other materials and natural resources, markets, manufactured goods, and medical resources. These systems are also connected by ecological processes that both influence and are influenced by human behavior. The vital interconnection of urban-rural systems underscores the critical need for the advancement of sustainable regional systems (SRS). The goal of this solicitation is to fund convergent research and education that will advance sustainable regional systems science, engineering, and education to facilitate the transformation of current regional systems to enhance sustainability. To further the advancement of SRS science, engineering, and education, NSF will support proposals for Sustainable Regional Systems Research Networks (SRS RNs).

Sustainable regional systems are connected urban and rural systems that are transforming their structures and processes collaboratively with the goal of measurably and equitably advancing the well-being of people and the planet. The purpose of the SRS RNs competition is to develop and support interdisciplinary, multi-organizational teams working collaboratively to produce cutting-edge convergent research, education, and outreach that addresses grand challenges in sustainable regional systems. SRS RNs will study multiscale regional systems to further SRS science, engineering, and education. Key elements will include new data, methods, and models to understand interactions between natural, human-built, and social systems; improved understanding of interdependencies, mutual benefits, and trade-offs of different wellbeing outcomes for humans and the environment; new and generalizable theories of change relevant to SRS; the co-production of knowledge; and exploration of concepts of social equity in sustainable regional systems across spatial and temporal scales. SRS RN outcomes will have the potential to inform societal actions for sustainability across urban systems and the connected rural communities that make up regional systems.

Subject to availability of funds and quality of proposals, this SRS RN solicitation will support:

  • SRS RN Awards. These awards will support fundamental convergent research, education, and outreach that addresses engineering, chemistry, biology, geosciences, mathematics, statistics, environmental, data, computational, education, and social, behavioral, and economic sciences of sustainable regional systems in partnerships that may embrace universities, colleges, federal, state, and local governments, tribal communities, non-governmental and international bodies, non-profit organizations, industry, practitioners, and other community groups. The award size is up to $15 million total with a duration of 5 years.

SRS RNs will conduct innovative and pioneering fundamental research and education that is of a scale and complexity that would not be possible within a single organization, center, or through the normal collaborative modes of NSF research support in core programs.

Deadline: May 15, 2024

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.
  • For-profit organizations: U.S.-based commercial organizations, including small businesses, with strong capabilities in scientific or engineering research or education and a passion for innovation.
  • Additional Requirements:

    Proposals must include either/or:

    • If the team of core organizations include academic organizations, then at least one must be a university or college that serves populations of students historically underrepresented in STEM. To qualify as a core partner organization, there must be financial support for a minimum of three faculty members participating in the SRS RN along with financial support for a minimum of three students.
    • A core partner, such as a community group, a non-profit, or other group/organization that supports an underrepresented community within the scope of the proposed research project. To qualify as a core partner organization, they must be allocated a minimum of 10% of the total budget request for the entire SRS RN.

Individuals from the following types of organizations can participate, including as co-PIs or Senior Personnel (but not the PI), as follows:

  • Other Federal Agencies: Researchers or participants from other Federal agencies or Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) may be supported by subawards or participate as unfunded collaborators. A letter of collaboration is required for non-NSF sponsored FFRDCs and other Federal agencies.
  • State and Local Governments: Individuals from state educational offices or organizations and local school districts may be supported by subawards or participate as unfunded collaborators. A letter of collaboration from their organization is required.
  • Scientists, engineers or educators in the U.S. who are U.S. citizens may be supported by subawards or participate as unfunded collaborators. A letter of collaboration is required.

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

An individual may appear as PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel on no more than one proposal.

If an individual exceeds the one-proposal limit, the first proposal received within the limit will be accepted based on earliest date and time of proposal submission, and the remainder will be returned without review. This limitation includes proposals submitted by a lead organization and any subawards involving multiple organizations. No exceptions will be made.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 1 to 2

1 to 2 as cooperative agreements

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, as well as availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $30,000,000

$30,000,000, depending upon availability of funds.