NSF Critical Zone Collaborative Network Solicitation

Please see the full solicitation for complete information about the funding opportunity. Below is a summary assembled by the Research & Innovation Office (RIO).

Program Summary

NSF seeks proposals to establish an adaptive and responsive research network that supports investigations of the Earth’s Critical Zone. This network will consist of two components that will work together to advance knowledge, education, and outreach in this convergent science: 1) Thematic Clusters of fixed or temporary locations will conduct basic research on significant, overarching scientific questions concerning the structure, function, and processes of the Critical Zone. These U.S.-based Clusters could include existing observatories engaged in collecting environmental data, other monitoring locations that have been in operation for extended periods of time, and new sites that will support the scientific goals of the Cluster; 2) A Coordinating Hub that will oversee the compatibility and archiving of the data resulting from the Thematic Clusters, coordinate outreach and community-building activities, support the use of network facilities by outside researchers, and plan for infrastructure needs of the network.

This solicitation invites proposals for either of the two components: 1) Thematic Cluster or 2) Coordinating Hub. The Thematic Clusters will carry out interdisciplinary research on scientific questions and manage part of the network infrastructure; the Coordinating Hub will serve as the national center for the network. The infrastructure of the network will be accessible to other research teams pursuing research in the Critical Zone.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST September 17, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MT December 2, 2019

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (3 pages maximum): Please include the following: whether the proposal is for a coordinating hub or thematic cluster; project vision, goals, and anticipated outcomes; engagement plan describing how the cluster or hub would engage other scientists and fulfill the expectation of being a community resource; key personnel; intellectual merit; broader impacts. For thematic clusters, the prevailing scientific theme should be articulated clearly.
  • PI CV
  • Budget Overview (1 page maximum): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required.

To access the online application, visit: https://colorado.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/6376


There are no special eligibility requirements.

Thematic Clusters: An individual may serve as PI or co-PI on as many as 3 proposals.

Coordinating Hub: An individual may serve as PI or co-PI on only 1 proposal.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Thematic Clusters: 3 proposals per organization

Coordinating Hub: 1 proposal per organization

Award Information

Thematic Clusters:

  • Award Amount: Award amounts will depend on the scope and budgetary requirements of the successful proposals. Each project may comprise multiple collaborative proposals.
  • Award Duration: 5 years
  • Expected Number of Awards: The number of awards will depend on the scope and budgetary requirements of the projects; approximately 8-10 awards as continuing grants or cooperative agreements are anticipated.

Coordinating Hub:

  • Award Amount: Up to $1 million annually
  • Award Duration: 5 years
  • Expected Number of Awards: 1 award to be made as a cooperative agreement

Award Amount: $2,000,000

Expected Number of Awards: 1

Award Duration: Up to 5 years