The National Science Foundation is inviting grant applications for collaborative research and education in scalable nanomanufacturing, including the long-term societal implications of large-scale implementations of nanomanufacturing innovations.

Although many nanofabrication techniques have demonstrated the ability to fabricate small quantities of nanomaterials and nanostructures for characterization and evaluation purposes, the emphasis of the Scalable Nanomanufacturing (SNM) solicitation is on research on new manufacturing processes and methods to overcome the key scientific and engineering barriers that prevent the production of useful nanomaterials and nanostructures and their integration into nanodevices and nanosystems at an industrially relevant scale, reliably, and at low cost and within sustainability and environmental, health and safety (EHS) guidelines.

Proposals should incorporate three elements into their research plans:

  1. A persuasive case that the nanomaterials, nanostructures, nanodevices or nanosystems to be manufactured have or are likely to have sufficient demand to justify eventual scale-up;
  2. A clearly identified set of research issues requiring science and engineering solutions that must be addressed to enable the manufacture of high quality nano-enabled products in large quantities and at low cost; and
  3. A compelling research plan with clear objectives and approaches to overcome the identified research issues.

Proposals should target nanomanufacturing processes with a clear commercial relevance, and should consider addressing key aspects of the nanomanufacturing value chain of nano-scale building-blocks to complex nanostructures to functional devices to integrated systems:

  • Novel scalable processes and techniques for large-area or continuous manufacturing of nano-scale materials and structures and their assembly and integration into higher order structures, devices and systems;
  • Fundamental scientific research in key, well-defined technical areas that are compellingly justified as approaches to overcome critical scientific and engineering barriers to scale-up and integration; and
  • Design principles for production systems leading to nanomanufacturing tools, systems and platforms; identification of metrology, instrumentation, standards and control methodologies needed for process control and to assess quality and yield; identification of environmental and energy footprints, as applicable.

While not required, NSF encourages collaborative activities with industrial companies.

$5 million is available for five to eight awards of up to $1.5 million over four years.

UCI may submit no more than one proposal on which it is the lead organization in response to this solicitation, though UCI may be a collaborative partner in any number of other multi-organization group proposals in which it is not the lead.

Interested applicants are asked to submit a preliminary application to my office by January 8, 2016 (via the UCI Review application portal), with the following information:

  • Brief proposal (up to three pages)
  • Preliminary budget
  • Bio sketch (no more than two pages each) of the primary researcher(s)
  • Support letter from the Dean

If several preliminary SNM proposals are submitted, an ad hoc committee will convene to review them. The selected PI will be notified in time to meet the NSF deadline of February 16, 2016.

For the complete NSF guidelines, including detailed information about the Scalable Nanomanufacturing program, please refer to http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2016/nsf16513/nsf16513.htm.  Questions about our internal campus review process may be directed to Greg Ruth at greg.ruth@uci.edu or x4-0372.

 

James W. Hicks
Interim Vice Chancellor for Research
Professor of Biology