University of Southern California


NSF-18-542, Partnerships between Science and Engineering Fields and the NSF TRIPODS Institutes

Slots:                                                     5

Each TRIPODS Phase I organization may participate in at most five proposals. Each TRIPODS Phase I organization may participate in at most three proposals in any of the three tracks.                              

Internal Deadline:                           Contact the Office of Research if interested.
LOI:                                                        N/A       

External Deadline:                          May 29, 2018

Award Information:                        Type:  Grant

Estimated Number of Awards: 30, approximately 6-12 awards in each of three tracks are anticipated. The number of awards of each type will be based on quality of proposals, availability of funds, and responsiveness to priorities of the participating directorates/divisions.

Anticipated Amount: $6,500,000 to $10,710,000

Submission Process:                     PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Office of Research Application Portal:


Materials to submit:

Link to Award:                         

Who May Serve as PI:                    At least one PI or co-PI must represent a discipline other than mathematics, statistics, and theoretical computer science. At least one PI or co-PI must be a PI, co-PI, or Senior Personnel of one of the 12 TRIPODS Phase I Institute projects initiated in FY 2017 pursuant to solicitation NSF 16-615 (see

Participation of PIs and co-PIs at institutions other than the TRIPODS awardee organizations is particularly encouraged and will receive priority consideration. This collaboration can be via sub-awards or via NSF’s collaborative proposal mechanism, regardless of which institution is designated as the lead.


Via this solicitation, NSF seeks to expand the scope of the TRIPODS program (for more info click here: beyond the foundations community to involve researchers across other NSF disciplines (referred to as “Field X” or “domain science & engineering” in this solicitation). TRIPODS + X represents a new, unique framework for collaboration, synergy, and transdisciplinarity that deepens the connection between HDR (Harnessing the Data Revolution) and GCR (Growing Convergent Research at NSF). It enables vital collaboration to address important problems in science and engineering through data-driven approaches, while further advancing the foundations of data science.

With recent advances in technology and computing infrastructure, many fields of science & engineering now have access to vast amounts of data, enabling data-driven innovation and leading to new data-driven research challenges. The challenges posed by complex data elements such as images, text, and networks; unstructured and heterogeneous data formats; streaming and dynamic data; complex dependence structures; missing, uncertain, and noisy information; sparsity; and information hidden at the noise level will require research that (a) addresses the core algorithmic, mathematical, and statistical principles; and (b) leads to new approaches, computational tools, and software for data-driven discovery within and across these science & engineering domains. Examples of data-driven research challenges include:


Programmatic Areas of Interest


While proposals spanning all domain science & engineering areas supported by NSF are welcome, priority will be given to those traditionally supported by the participating directorates/divisions. Additionally, in the case of two of the participating directorates/divisions, please consider the following emphasis areas:


The Division of Chemistry (CHE) is particularly interested in research topics identified in the Dear Colleague Letter NSF 17-112: Data-Driven Discovery Science in Chemistry (D3SC). CHE will support only projects submitted to the Research Track.


The Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) is interested in proposals that will fundamentally advance the research and education in the Engineering Research Centers (ERC) through new close collaborations between the ERC researchers and data scientists who have been working on foundational challenges in areas of science & engineering.

Principal investigators (PIs) are encouraged to submit proposals in response to three tracks:


  1. Research Track: research activities motivated by applications in one or more science & engineering domains;
  2. Visioning Track: workshops and conferences, innovation labs, and other community-building and direction-setting activities; and
  3. Education Track: curriculum development and other education- and training-related activities.


For all tracks, proposals must describe how the project fits into and furthers the overall aims of the TRIPODS program as described in the TRIPODS Phase I solicitation NSF 16-615. For all tracks, budgets should be commensurate with the scope and extent of the proposed activities.

Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for updates and other announcements.