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Mathematical and Physical Sciences

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This federal aid program is managed by:



To promote the progress of the mathematical and physical sciences and thereby strengthen the Nation's scientific enterprise; to increase the store of scientific knowledge and enhance understanding of major problems confronting the Nation. Most of the research supported is basic in character. The program includes support of research project grants in the following disciplines: astronomical sciences, chemistry, materials research, mathematical sciences, physics, as well as support for symposia and conferences. Basic research in multidisciplinary areas related to these disciplines is especially encouraged. Support is also provided for state-of-the-art user facilities in astronomy, physics, and many areas of materials science; science and technology centers; institutes; undergraduate student research; faculty enhancement; curriculum development; instrumentation; laboratory improvement; and for research opportunities for women, minority, and disabled scientists and engineers.

Funding obligations:

(Grants) FY 07 $1,150,730,000; FY 08 est $1,167,310,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Uses and Use Restrictions:

Grant funds may be used for paying costs necessary to conduct research or studies, such as salaries and wages, permanent equipment, expendable materials and supplies, travel, participant support; publication costs, and other direct and indirect costs. Primary responsibility for general supervision of all grant activities rests with the grantee institution; the principal investigator is responsible for the scientific work. Funds may not be used for purposes other than those specified in the proposal.

Examples of Funded Projects:

1) Arizona, 'Characterization of Nanoparticle-Linked Biomolecule Assemblies for Advanced Bioelectronic Detection;' 2) Montana, 'Growth and Physical Properties Measurements of Novel Condensed Matter Materials;' 3) California, 'Large-Scale Phenomena in Models of Statistical Mechanics;' 4) New York, 'Spatiotemporal Control of Cardiac Electrical Dynamics;' and 5) Pennsylvania, 'Empirical Tests of Galactic Black Hole Growth.'

Program Accomplishments:

In fiscal year 2007, 7,316 proposals were received and 2,361 awards were made. In fiscal year 2008, approximately 7,680 proposals is expected to be received and 2,400 awards will be made.

Types of Assistance:

Project Grants.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:

$10,000 to $45,000,000; $130,100.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:

Normally 3 to 5 years.

Applicant Eligibility:

Public and private colleges and universities; Non-profit, non-academic organizations; For-profit organizations; State and Local Governments; and unaffiliated scientists under special circumstances. See the Grant Proposal Guide for a full description of eligibility requirements.

Beneficiary Eligibility:

See the Grant Proposal Guide, Section I.E. for a full description of eligibility requirements.

Award Procedure:

NSF staff members review and evaluate all proposals generally with the assistance and advice of other qualified scientists and other appropriate persons who are specialists in the field covered by the proposal. Proposals are accepted on the basis of merit to the extent permitted by available funds. States will be notified of Federal assistance awards through the Federal Assistance Awards Data System (FAADS).

Contact Info for Headquarters Office:

Assistant Director, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230. Telephone: (703) 292-8801. NSF World Wide Web site URL:

Website Address: .

Related Programs:


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