NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) 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 

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) program provides sustained support of interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering. Each MRSEC addresses research of a scope and complexity requiring the scale, synergy, and multidisciplinarity provided by a campus-based research center. The MRSECs support materials research infrastructure in the United States, promote active collaboration between universities and other sectors, including industry and international organizations, and contribute to the development of a national network of university-based centers in materials research, education, and facilities. A MRSEC may be located at a single institution, or may involve multiple institutions in partnership, and is composed of up to three Interdisciplinary Research Groups, IRGs, each addressing a fundamental materials science topic aligned with the Division of Materials Research, DMR.

Please note that there are some difference between the current and previous MRSEC solicitation. Make sure to refer to the program solicitation’s “Important Information and Revision Notes” section for this information.

An institution proposing research in several groups should submit a single MRSEC proposal with multiple Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs). A MRSEC proposal must contain a minimum of 2 IRGs and a maximum of 3 IRGs. The IRGs in a center may be thematically related, or they may address different aspects of materials science typically supported by DMR. A single center at an organization allows efficient usage of resources, including common infrastructure, and better coordination of education and other activities of the center.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST April 2, 2019

Sponsor Preliminary Proposal Deadline: 5:00pm MST June 24, 2019

Sponsor Application Deadline (by invitation only): 5:00pm MST November 26, 2019

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Summary (2-3 pages): Please address the following: rationale for establishing the center and the anticipated synergies encompassing a center; brief description of the proposed interdisciplinary research groups, including their intellectual merit; a statement on the broader impacts of the proposed activities such as research, education/outreach, shared facilities, and collaborations; and the vision and research, education, and diversity goals of the MRSEC.
  • List of MRSEC Investigators (1 page): These are faculty (faculty rank and/or equivalent) by full name, organizational and departmental affiliation, and major role in the proposed center (e.g., IRG 1, IRG 2, education). This list should include: (i) Primary Participants: receiving NSF-MRSEC support; (ii) National Laboratories (or International) Primary Collaborators. These are individuals that will play a continuous crucial role; and (iii) Secondary Participants: not receiving NSF-MRSEC support.
  • Budget Overview (up to 1 page): 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/6326


Institutions that were awarded a MRSEC in the FY 2017 competition as the lead institution are not eligible to submit a MRSEC proposal as a lead institution in this competition.

MRSEC full proposals may be submitted by invitation only.

An individual may be the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI for only one preliminary proposal, i.e., no investigator, PI or co-PI, can be listed on the NSF proposal Cover Sheet on more than one proposal.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one MRSEC preliminary proposal may be submitted by any one organization as the lead institution in this competition.

Award Information

Award Amount and Duration: Individual MRSEC awards are expected to range in size from approximately $2.6 million/year for a 2-IRG MRSEC to a maximum of $4 million/year for a 3-IRG MRSEC. Awards will be made for an initial duration of up to six years, but the level of funding is contingent on successful progress and upon the outcome of external review.

Estimated Number of Awards: 8-10