Integrated Interdisciplinary Research and Education

The Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) pilot seeks to support bold interdisciplinary projects in all NSF-supported areas of science, engineering, and education research. INSPIRE has no targeted themes and serves as a funding mechanism for proposals that are required both to be interdisciplinary and to exhibit potentially transformative research (IDR and PTR, respectively). Complementing existing NSF efforts, INSPIRE was created to handle proposals whose:

  1. Scientific advances lie outside the scope of a single program or discipline, such that substantial funding support from more than one program or discipline is necessary.
  2. Lines of research promise transformational advances.
  3. Prospective discoveries reside at the interfaces of disciplinary boundaries that may not be recognized through traditional review or co-review.

To receive funding as an INSPIRE-appropriate project, all three criteria must be met. INSPIRE is not intended to be used for interdisciplinary projects that can be accommodated within other NSF funding mechanisms or that continue well-established practices.

The INSPIRE pilot aims for two overarching goals:

Goal 1: To emphasize to the science, mathematics, engineering and education research community that NSF is welcoming to bold, unconventional ideas incorporating creative interdisciplinary approaches. INSPIRE seeks to attract unusually creative high-risk/high-reward "out of the box" interdisciplinary proposals.

Goal 2: To provide NSF Program Officers (POs) with additional tools and support to engage in cross-cutting collaboration and risk-taking in managing their awards portfolios.

INSPIRE supports projects that lie at the intersection of traditional disciplines, and is intended to 1) attract unusually creative high-risk / high-reward interdisciplinary proposals; 2) provide substantial funding, not limited to the exploratory stage of the pursuit of novel ideas (unlike NSF's EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research, or EAGER); and 3) be open to all NSF-supported areas of science, mathematics, engineering, and education research. NSF will initiate an external formative assessment to test whether the INSPIRE pilot is achieving program and portfolio-level goals.

Scope of the INSPIRE pilot

  1. Proposals meeting INSPIRE criteria will be considered for funding on any NSF-supported topic.
  2. Proposals in response to this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) may be submitted after October 15, 2015.
  3. Awards will generally support an individual PI or a small team.
  4. An INSPIRE award must be substantively co-funded by at least two intellectually distinct NSF divisions or disciplinary programs.
  5. A maximum budget of $1 million applies for INSPIRE proposals/awards regardless of the number of sponsoring programs beyond the minimum of two.
  6. Award durations may be up to 5 years.

Proposals are accepted anytime.

Learn more about this opportunity > >

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
— Albert Einstein