Research Coordination Networks (RCN) (RCN), National Science Foundation (NSF)

Updated: over 4 years ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Solicitation  13-520

Important Notice to Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 13-1, was issued on October 4, 2012 and is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 14, 2013. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 13-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Please be aware that significant changes have been made to the PAPPG to implement revised merit review criteria based on the National Science Board (NSB) report, National Science Foundation's Merit Review Criteria: Review and Revisions. While the two merit review criteria remain unchanged (Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts), guidance has been provided to clarify and improve the function of the criteria. Changes will affect the project summary and project description sections of proposals. Annual and final reports also will be affected.

A by-chapter summary of this and other significant changes is provided at the beginning of both the Grant Proposal Guide and the Award & Administration Guide.


Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

General (non-targeted) RCN proposals should be submitted to a participating program. Refer to the specific program website for submission dates. PIs are encouraged to discuss suitability of an RCN topic with the program.

Full Proposal Deadline Date:  June 14, 2013

RCN UBE & UBE incubator Track

As noted above, participating programs in the General (non-targeted) RCN proposal competition have specific due dates.  Refer to the program website for submission dates. PIs are encouraged to discuss suitability of an RCN topic with the program.

Each of the  targeted RCN tracks have specific annual deadlines; proposals for these tracks should be submitted to the RCN solicitation.


The goal of the RCN program is to advance a field or create new directions in research or education by supporting groups of investigators to communicate and coordinate their research, training and educational activities across disciplinary, organizational, geographic and international boundaries.  RCN provides opportunities to foster new collaborations, including international partnerships, and address interdisciplinary topics.  Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies, collaborative technologies, and development of community standards for data and meta-data are especially encouraged.  RCN awards are not meant to support existing networks; nor are they meant to support the activities of established collaborations.  RCN awards do not support primary research.  RCN supports the means by which investigators can share information and ideas, coordinate ongoing or planned research activities, foster synthesis and new collaborations, develop community standards, and in other ways advance science and education through communication and sharing of ideas.

Proposed networking activities directed to the RCN program should focus on a theme to give coherence to the collaboration, such as a broad research question or particular technologies or approaches. 

Participating core programs in the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Geosciences (GEO),  Engineering (ENG) and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), and Offices of Cyberinfrastructure (OCI) and Polar Programs (OPP) will accept General (non-targeted) RCN proposals.  Submission deadlines for the General RCN proposals vary by program; consult program websites.  These directorates and offices are joined by the Directorates for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS), and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) in participating in the targeted Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (RCN-SEES) track described below.  Only BIO and EHR participate in the Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE) track described below. 

Additional targeted tracks within the RCN programs are intended to foster linkages across directorates.

  • RCN-SEES: The Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability track focuses on interdisciplinary topics that will advance sustainability science, engineering and education as an integrative approach to the challenges of adapting to environmental, social and cultural changes associated with growth and development of human populations, and attaining a sustainable energy future.  
  • RCN-UBE: The Undergraduate Biology Education track focuses on any topic likely to lead to improved participation, learning, or assessment in undergraduate biology curricula.

Several other NSF solicitations accept RCN proposals, or support research networking activities if appropriate to the solicitation.  Please see section IX. Other Information of this solicitation for a listing. 

SEES website
Incubator Proposal Opportunity for Research Coordination Networks - Undergraduate Biology Education: Dear Colleague Letter

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program

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