Program Description

The National Science Foundation has announced its fifth round of the  Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) funding competition.  PIRE is an NSF-wide program that supports fundamental, international research and education in physical, living, human, and engineered systems. PIRE awards enable research at the leading edge of science and engineering by facilitating partnerships with others nationally and internationally, by educating and preparing a diverse, world-class STEM workforce, and by fostering institutional capacity for international collaboration. This agenda is designed to encourage high-risk/high-reward activities and the pursuit of potentially transformative ideas.

PIRE will promote cooperation among scientists and engineers from all nations, and will fund international collaborative activities through all areas of research supported by the NSF (including Education research). NSF PIRE is also working with counterpart funding agencies to lower barriers to international collaboration for U.S scientists, engineers and students, and to encourage jointly funded, bilateral and multilateral projects.

Program Objectives

  • Support excellence in science and engineering research and education through international collaboration.
  • Promote opportunities where international collaboration can provide unique advantages of scope, scale, flexibility, expertise, facilities, or access to phenomena, enabling advances that could not occur otherwise.
  • Engage and share resources and research infrastructure within and across institutions to build strong international partnerships.
  • Create and promote opportunities for students and early career researchers to participate in substantive international research experiences

Award Amount

$10 to $15 million annually will support awards averaging $4 million over five years.

Internal Application Process

A single organization may submit one preliminary proposal as the lead institution. Therefore, faculty interested in submitting a lead proposal are asked to submit a preliminary application to my office by August 18, 2014 (via electronic submission to, with the following information:

o   Administrative summary (no more than 1 page)

o   Research Summary (no more than 2 pages)

o   Education Summary (no more than 1 page)

  • Status of discussion(s) with the collaborating foreign institution (e.g. early-stage discussions, verbal commitment, written agreement with foreign PI, letter of commitment from foreign institution, etc.),
  • Brief CV or Bio-sketch (no more than two pages) of the PI and Co-PIs,
  • Support letter from the Dean (or the equivalent in units without a Dean).

If several preliminary PIRE proposals are submitted by faculty members from any one School, the Dean will be asked to rank them.  If necessary, an ad hoc committee will convene to review the preliminary proposals.  The selected PI will be notified in time to meet NSF’s October 21, 2014, deadline for required preliminary proposals. The deadline for invited full proposals is May 15, 2015.

For complete guidelines on the NSF PIRE program solicitation, please refer to Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at or x4-0372.

John C. Hemminger
Vice Chancellor for Research