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Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I Solicitation FY-2012 (SBIR)

Agency: National Science Foundation
Program/Year: SBIR / 2012
Solicitation Number: NSF 11-577
Release Date: September 7, 2011
Open Date: November 2, 2011
Close Date: December 2, 2011
1: Biological and Chemical Technologies (BC)
1: Biological Technologies


BT1 - Biosensors: Biosensors are sensors that contain a biological sensing element. Proposed projects might include but are not limited to real-time sensors, microbial component-based sensors, sensors for monitoring fluxes of metabolites, nanobiotechnology-based sensors, biomedical sensors, micro- or nanofluidic-based sensors, and disease and toxin monitoring. Sensors that are not biosensors should refer to the EI topic. Anthony Walters (

BT2 - Life Sciences Research Tools:  Developing novel technologies that will advance scientific research across the biological spectrum. This may include enabling technologies for drug discovery (high-throughput screening assays and platforms, and high-content screening assays and platforms; novel high-content screening technologies based on characterization of physical properties of cells are of high interest). Proposals should focus primarily on the development of innovative consumables, processes, and services where there is significant market opportunity. Ruth Shuman(

BT3 - Bioinstrumentation: The development of technology for novel or improved instrumentation primarily for biological research applications. Ruth Shuman( and Juan Figueroa (

BT4 - Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering: Using synthetic biology to engineer novel biologically-based (or inspired) functions that do not exist in nature. This approach may be applied at all levels of the hierarchy of biological structures - from individual molecules to whole cells, tissues, and organisms. Ruth Shuman(

BT5 - Fermentation and Cell Culture Technologies: Proposed projects might include but are not limited to novel or improved microbial fermentation or mammalian and plant cell culture technologies, bioreactors, processes, scale-up, development of expression platforms, and purification. Ruth Shuman (

BT6 - Computational Biology and Bioinformatics: Developing and applying computationally intensive techniques (e.g., pattern recognition data mining, machine learning algorithms, and visualization) and may include but are not limited to sequence alignment, gene finding, genome assembly, drug design, drug discovery, protein structure alignment, protein structure prediction, prediction of gene expression and protein-protein interactions, genome-wide association studies and the modeling of evolution. Proposed projects might include the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques and theory to solve problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data. Anthony Walters(

2: Biomedical Technologies


BM1 - Materials for Biomedical Applications: Proposed projects might include but are not limited to biomaterials, bio-mimetic and bio-inspired materials, improved implants, bio-device coatings and anti-microbial coatings. Development of new nanomaterials should refer to the NM topic. Ruth Shuman (

BM2 - Diagnostic Assays and Platforms: Proposed projects should focus on transformational diagnostic technologies. Proposed projects might include but are not limited to non- or minimally-invasive disease diagnosis, detection, and monitoring, biomarker development, disease-specific assays, and point-of-care testing for diseases.Ruth Shuman (

BM3 - Drug Delivery: Proposed projects might include but are not limited to improved drug delivery formulations and devices, biological delivery through implanted tissues. Development of new nanomaterials for drug delivery should refer to the NM topic. Ruth Shuman (

BM4 - Tissue Engineering and Repair: Using innovative approaches to meet research challenges and market opportunities in tissue engineering and repair. Proposed projects might include but are not limited to artificial tissues, artificial blood vessels, small caliber grafts for small vessel replacement, disease specific tissue engineering, stem cell based therapies, and orthopedic implants. Ruth Shuman (

BM5 - Biomedical Engineering: Using engineering approaches to solve problems in medicine.  Proposals should focus on the early-stage development of therapeutic devices.  Proposers are encouraged to form an interdisciplinary team that includes relevant engineering as well as biology/health related expertise. Ruth Shuman(

3: Environmental Technologies


ET1 - Environmental Monitoring and Mitigation: Such applications include but are not limited to methods to reduce human ecological and environmental impacts, microbial contamination sensing and control, removal of toxic compounds for human and animal safety, novel bioremediation technologies, water treatment (municipal and/or point-of-use), air pollution monitoring and mitigation to remove gaseous pollutants and particulates, environmental compatibility and sustainability, pathogen and toxin diagnostics, control of introduction of exotic species, improvement of the environment, monitoring of pollutants, and generally decreasing the environmental impact of humans on the planet. In addition, proposed projects might include methods to reduce the use of fertilizer and/or increase the efficiency of plant nutrient assimilation, methods to reduce the use of chemical pesticides, and non-chemical replacements for existing pesticides. Sensors for environmental monitoring should refer to the EI topic. Anthony Walters(

ET3 - Bioenergy: Proposed projects might include novel approaches to biomass conversion to energy; novel methods to generate energy from marine, plant, algal, and microbial bio-energy sources; microbial fuel cells; hydrogen production; and methods for distributed bio-energy production; Innovations in high-yielding biomass crops for energy production that do not compete with food supply. Prakash Balan(

ET4 - Renewable Fuels: Proposed projects might include development of commercially viable renewable fuel options, and not limited to drop-in replacements to non-renewable transportation fuels, that when used reduce SOx, NOx, particulate, and/or other emissions. .  For instance, projects might address bio-fuels and/or specifically bio-diesel fuels and the development of low cost raw materials that make this technology cost competitive with petroleum derived diesel. Prakash Balan (

ET5 - Transportation, Engines, and Combustion: Proposed projects might include, but are not limited to, reduction of engine emissions, reduction of greenhouse gases resulting from combustion, vehicle weight reduction, improved engine efficiency, and SOx, NOx, and particulate reduction resulting from combustion, reduction in wear and environmental pollutants. Combustion technologies to be implemented with internal combustion engines and other applications including improved combustion in automotive engines. Anthony Walters (

4: Chemical Technologies


CT2 - Energy Supply and Use: Proposed projects might include, but are not limited to, direct conversion and utilization of thermal energy, and chemical conversion of greenhouse gasses. This topic specifically excludes photovoltaics; see the NM topic. Biofuel proposals should be submitted to the ET4 subtopic above. Anthony Walters(

CT3 - Bio-Based Chemicals and Renewable Chemical Process Technology: Novel chemical and biochemical processes built on sustainable, energy efficient and waste minimization or waste elimination paradigms, including, but not limited to, lignin, cellulose and renewable feedstocks; integrated bio-refinery innovations to produce bio-based chemicals as direct and sustainable alternatives to chemicals derived from non renewable sources; reactions/processes that use chemical or biochemical reactions mechanisms that facilitate synthesis that can be done at or close to ambient temperature; new or novel green chemistry processes; processes that facilitate energy efficient recycling and reuse of commercially significant chemical products that would result in waste minimization and reduced environmental pollution. Prakash Balan(

CT4 - Separation Technologies: Efficient separation technologies that enable ease in phase separations, reduce or eliminate the amount of waste generated and energy required, and promote a sustainable environment with applications such as, but not limited to, environmentally benign separations for multicomponent liquid and gas streams, fuels, critical and strategic metals and minerals extraction, recycle and recovery by separation of higher value materials from waste, alternative energy efficient and novel separation techniques, including but not limited to organic/inorganic membranes, micro porous media etc, in applications involving but not limited to drinking water, waste water treatment, biopharmaceuticals, food and beverage, medical, microelectronics applications. Development of new nanomaterials should refer to the NM topic. Prakash Balan (

CT5 - Polymeric Materials: Limited to novel polymeric materials designed to replace current materials that are not produced in a non-sustainable manner, have hazardous by-products and/or, are not biodegradable. Examples include, but are not limited to, novel polymeric materials from recycled materials, polymers from a biomass based feed stock, bioengineered plastics and biochemically produced polymers and precursors that lead to biodegradable polymers. This topic specifically excludes composite materials; refer to the NM topic. Prakash Balan (

CT6 - Novel Catalytic Systems: Catalytically (including biocatalytic approaches) produce commodity and specialty chemicals from renewable sources with substantially improved energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact compared to current approaches. Examples are systems with novel homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts and biocatalysts, co-catalysts, promoters, and/or supports that are highly active and selective; enabling simplification of complex multistep chemistries into a single step with byproduct elimination or minimization and ideally completed in a single reactor involving catalysts that are based on environmentally friendly and non-toxic metals, non-metallic and earth-abundant elements. Prakash Balan (

2: Education Applications (EA)


The Education Application (EA) topic addresses the challenges of advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education for all American students, to nurture innovation, and to ensure the long-term economic prosperity of the Nation. The urgency of this task is underscored by the need to ensure that the United States continues to excel in science, technology, and innovation in the 21st century.  Proposed applications should provide storyboards, sketches, or descriptions of how the proposed application will work and provide examples of how users would interact with the application. Projects that propose technologies or products similar to those in the marketplace must make the case that their efforts are not incremental and will lead to sufficient revenues that justify an NSF SBIR investment.  Projects that can be easily replicated by potential competitors are not responsive to the Educational Application (EA) topic.

Proposals must address one of the subtopics that are outlined below. Proposals that are not responsive to the subtopics outlined below will be Returned Without Review by NSF. When submitting a proposal to the EA Topic, you must indicate the corresponding subtopic under which you are submitting the proposal, e.g., EA1 for proposals in the area of "Pre-college Education Applications” or EA5 for proposals in the area of "Tools for Learning". In addition, use the code as the first item in the key words/phrases portion of the Project Summary of your proposal.

1: Pre-college Education Applications

Pre-college serious game-based, augmented reality and mobile learning applications suitable for STEM areas are encouraged. Technologies with a strong potential to compete in an environment where many educational programs may be offered for free or at low cost are strongly encouraged.  Applications that target specific educational subject areas must address how the application’s content aligns to the voluntary national education standards, state standards, or standards recognized by national accreditation associations.  Incremental tutorials on STEM content (science, technology, engineering, and math) are non-responsive to this subtopic.

2: College and Post-college Education Applications

Applications are encouraged that use converging technologies such as visualization, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, GPS, and new tools which when combined, will have the potential to deliver powerful educational opportunities in STEM disciplines. Innovative educational applications that build upon information, communication technologies, immersive interfaces, serious game-based, and open educational resources are encouraged.  Content-specific projects must indicate how they plan to effectively compete with free and open applications offered by universities and institutions.

3: Assessment Applications

The large-scale testing of educational outcomes can benefit from innovative applications that provide solutions for development, administration, scoring and reporting of tests and other assessment procedures. Innovative applications are strongly encouraged that provide practical solutions to combined knowledge, critical thinking and problem solving, and balanced assessment testing across classroom, district, state and national levels.

4: Entrepreneurship Education Applications

Entrepreneurship education should integrate diverse topics as strategic planning, business model development, opportunity recognition, product entry, intellectual property, project management, legal requirements and business constraints.  Converging technologies that integrate curricula and training for success in the contemporary global economy are appropriate. Single technology solutions may be non-responsive to this subtopic.

5: Tools for Learning

Hardware and software tools that are used for learning and teaching are appropriate for this subtopic when the primary innovation and R&D activities are focused on education.  Portals, electronic publishing, and content authoring tools are responsive to this subtopic only if they contain highly innovative components with strong commercial potential. Refer to other SBIR topics for projects where the primary innovation and/or R&D work is in the area of assistive devices, instrumentation, materials, communications, and other business applications. Applications designed to teach specific content are not responsive to this topic and must be submitted under EA1 or EA2.

3: Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies (EI)


The National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program seeks state-of-the-art, high-risk, high-potential innovation research proposals in the area of Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies. These proposals should seek to provide economic and technological benefits that will motivate their successful adoption in the commercial marketplace.

The NSF SBIR Program conceptualizes Electronics, Information and Communication Technologies in the form of a five-layer stack. Each layer of the stack builds upon the layer(s) below and supports the layer(s) above. At the foundation of this stack are devices. Devices (ED) are the building blocks for Components (EC) that are assembled into Systems (ES) built for Applications (IA) that are employed to deliver Services (IS). Innovations across the stack can range widely, and hardware as well as software innovations will be supported. Considering the two ends of the stack, device innovations will typically employ unique physical phenomena for their competitive advantage and be embodied in hardware, whereas innovations in services will typically be more architectural in nature and be embodied in software.

Proposals must address one of the subtopics that are outlined below. Proposals that are not responsive to the subtopics outlined below will be returned without review. When submitting a proposal to the EI Topic, code the proposal to the corresponding subtopic under which you are submitting the proposal, e.g., ES5 for proposals in the area of "Robotics". In addition, use the code as the first item in the key words/phrases portion of the Project Summary of your proposal.

1: Services


Enterprises large and small, for-profit and non-profit, must respond to customer needs, manage internal activities, and adapt to competitive market pressures much more rapidly than at any other period in human history. Enterprises that effectively and efficiently combine computing, communication, services and business process advances become leaders in their respective markets. These developments have created significant commercial opportunities for software that support the following areas: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali Nair

  • IS1. Security and Privacy
  • IS2. Knowledge Discovery, Search, Data Mining, Data Management and/or Visualization
  • IS3. Digital Arts
  • IS4. Financial Services
  • IS5. Personalized User Services
  • IS6. Virtualization  
2: Applications


Advancements in applications provide value by enabling increased user productivity or enhanced quality of life. Examples of previous innovations in applications include: the spreadsheet, email and web browser. Software innovations (for both consumer and enterprise applications) that enable significant business opportunities in the following areas will be supported under this solicitation:

  • IA1. Mobile Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali Nair
  • IA2. Tools for Facilitating Collective Intelligence (Cognizant Program Officer: Glenn Larsen
  • IA3. Peer-To-Peer Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Glenn
  • IA4. Broadband-enabled Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Glenn
  • IA5. Collaboration-enabled Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Glenn Larsen
  • IA6. Design/Test Software for Components/Devices (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali Nair 
3: Systems


Systems' innovations combine multiple sub-elements and components together to enable the delivery of new value. Examples of previous systems innovations include the MP3 player, the artificial heart and the radio telescope. Software and hardware that enable significant, differentiable business opportunities in the following areas will be supported under this solicitation:

  • ES1. Human Computer Interaction: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali
    • Applications employing speech, touch, vision or biometric technologies
    • Spoken language systems - conversational dialog management, semantic language analysis or interpretation
  • ES2. Virtual/Mixed Reality Environments: (Cognizant Program Officer: Glenn Larsen
  • ES3. Human Assistive Technologies: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali
    • To support the physical and educational needs of individuals with disabilities – e.g. vision, hearing, cognitive, motor related
  • ES4. Wireless Systems: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan
    • Reconfigurable wireless systems
    • Minimal interference, graceful degradation wireless systems
    • Hardware solutions to security in wireless systems
    • Ultra-compact, low cost systems
    • For advances in healthcare delivery
    • Sensor based systems
    • Broadband systems
    • Nanotube RFID
  • ES5. Robotics: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali Nair
    • Improved time imaging, visualization, dexterity and manipulation
    • Haptic, real-time and bio-inspired feedback
    • Semi-autonomous tele-robotics
    • Naturally inspired, biomimetic, neuromechanical robotics
    • Precision agriculture robotics
    • Robotics in healthcare (robotic prosthesis, robot-assisted rehab, miniature robotics, high throughput technologies – imaging, screening of drugs, surgical procedures)
    • Concepts for protecting human hands (in various extreme environmental conditions)
    • Robotics in agile manufacturing
    • Robotics in education
  • ES6. Energy and Power Management Systems: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan Figueroa
    • Electronic systems for energy efficiency, smart grids and smart buildings
    • Electronic systems for portable energy sources for mobile technologies and off-grid type applications
    • Power management systems for energy scavenging/harvesting and compact energy conversion systems
    • Interface devices between batteries and super-capacitors
    • Novel voltage conversion, micro-inverters and DC-DC voltage converters
    • Compact hi-voltage, hi-power systems
  • ES7. Scientific Instrumentation: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan
    • Astronomical
    • Geophysical
    • Instrumentation in support of other areas of scientific and engineering research (for related subtopics refer to N5: Instrumentation for Nanotechnology and BT5: Bioinstrumentation)
  • ES8. Optoelectronic Systems: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan Figueroa(
    • Imaging and display systems
    • Plastic logic devices/displays
    • Superluminal computing
    • All-optical processing/computing
    • Novel application of hybrid systems
  • ES9 - Medical Imaging Technologies: Proposed projects might include but are not limited to novel or improved imaging techniques for localization and diagnosis of infectious events, imaging technologies for the detection and localization of cancer, detection and/or imaging agents

(Cognizant Program Officer: Juan Figueroa

4: Components


Components represent basic building blocks for most engineered systems. By themselves, components are not typically consumed by end-users and they must be assembled together with other components to provide complete solutions. Examples of previous component innovations include: Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)-based accelerometers, Sigma-Delta Analog to Digital Converters (ADC) and Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (OADM). Hardware that enables significant, differentiable business opportunities in the following component areas will be supported under this solicitation:

  • EC1. High Performance Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)-enabled applications: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan Figueroa
  • EC2. Optoelectronic Components: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan
    • Light generation
    • Lighting components
    • Light processing, control and transformation
  • EC3. Sensors: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali Nair
    • Sensor-based smart transportation
    • Environmental sensing (for related subtopics refer to ET1: Water Monitoring and Treatment, ET2: Air and Soil Monitoring and Mitigation, and BT3: Biosensors)
    • Electrical/magnetic/optical/physical sensors
    • Acoustic emission monitoring
    • Body-area sensors/actuators for real-time, closed-loop health monitoring
    • Wireless sensors and wireless detection of sensor I/O
  • EC4. Packaging and Thermal Management: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali Nair
  • EC5. Radio Frequency (RF) Components: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali
    • Millimeter wave/terahertz technologies, applications and products
    • Ultra-compact, all-integrated RF components
    • Anti-counterfeiting labels/seals
5: Devices


Novel devices employ unique physical principles that enable broad advances in technology and industry. They often represent fundamental scientific and technological building blocks that require significant integration with other advanced technologies to provide commercial value. Examples of previous innovations in the device field include: the transistor, the thermocouple and Light Emitting Devices (LED). Hardware that enables significant, differentiable business opportunities in the following device areas will be supported under this solicitation:

  • ED1. Optoelectronic Devices: (Cognizant Program Officer: Juan
    • Light detection devices
    • Novel photonic devices (light emitters; photo detectors)
    • Optical chips
  • ED2. Integrated Circuit Design: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali
    • Novel device or chip architectures
    • Self-assembling chips
    • Dense ICs and high power electronics integration
    • Transparent/flexible/molecular electronic devices
    • Ultra-low-power and ultra-high-power semiconductors
    • Single-die integrated precision analog/dense digital
    • Intelligent/adaptive/smart chips
    • Novel I/O
    • Interfacing and galvanic isolation
    • Test techniques to improve chip design and manufacturability
  • ED3. Other Novel Devices: (Cognizant Program Officer: Murali
    • Quantum-effect devices
    • Spintronic devices


4: Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM)


The Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (NM) topic addresses innovations and development of new materials, devices, machines, structures and manufacturing processes for the advancement of the competitive nature and state of the art for U.S. industry. NM includes materials and manufacturing technologies such as electronic materials and processes, high temperature materials, structural materials, coatings, composites, powder processing, nanomanufacturing, printing, patterning and lithography, machining, casting, joining, additive manufacturing, self-assembly, and other related research areas.

The NM program seeks to support high-risk, high-payoff innovative technologies with the potential for large impact on business, consumers, and society, thereby catalyzing new business opportunities for small businesses in today's global marketplace. NSF is committed to supporting scientific discoveries to benefit society and to emphasize private sector commercialization. Novel technologies aimed at achieving increased performance, reduced cost, and/or new functions or applications are of great interest.

Proposals must address one of the subtopics that are outlined below. Proposals that are not responsive to the subtopics outlined below will be returned without review. When submitting a proposal to the NM Topic, code the proposal to the corresponding subtopic under which you are submitting the proposal, e.g., N1, for proposals in the area of "Nanomaterials", AM5, for proposals in the area of "Structural Materials", and M1, for proposals in the area of "Manufacturing Processes". In addition, use the code as the first item in the key words/phrases portion of the Project Summary of your proposal.


The Nanotechnology subtopic addresses the creation and use of functional materials, devices, and systems with novel properties and functions that are achieved through the control of matter at a submicroscopic scale (from a fraction of nanometer to about 100 nm). Proposals should be market-driven and identify the end users of the proposed technology, and the proposed pathway to commercialization.

N1. Nanomaterials (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace Wang

Material innovations and/or development of novel synthesis, purification, and processing techniques for nanotubes, nanowires, quantum dots, nanoparticles, nanofibers or other nanomaterials.  Refer to the N2 subtopic for innovations related to scale-up manufacturing of existing nanomaterials.

N2. Nanomanufacturing (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace Wang

Innovations for manufacturing at the nanoscale, including self-assembly, nanolithography, nanopatterning, nanotexturing, etc.  Proposals which seek to develop techniques for large-scale production of nanomaterials are encouraged.

N3. Nanoelectronics and Active Nanostructures (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag

Material innovations to develop new or improved nanoelectronics and active nanostructures. Proposals which utilize the unique properties of nanoscale components and features to enable new functionalities are encouraged.  Nanoelectronics involves material innovations at the nanoscale for applications in electronic or optoelectronic devices, which include but are not limited to silicon-based nanoelectronics, molecular electronics, nanosensors, nanospintronics, and hybrid systems.  Examples of active nanostructures are nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), nanomachines, nanoactuators, and molecular machines. 

N4. Nanotechnology for Biological and Medical Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace Wang

Innovations in nanomaterials for biological and medical applications, including synthesis, functionalization and manufacturing of nanomaterials for targeted cancer therapies, localized drug delivery, imaging, bone regeneration, tissue reengineering etc.  Refer to the BC topic for nanotech-enabled biomaterials.

N5. Instrumentation for Nanotechnology (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben

Innovations for new and improved characterization methods and instruments to assist in the development and deployment of nanotechnology and its commercial applications.  Includes imaging and visualization methods (e.g. scanned probe microscopy and electron microscopy) as well as manipulation techniques (e.g. high-precision positioners and actuators), and chemical and spectroscopic methods.



The Advanced Materials subtopic addresses the development of new materials that can advance the competitive nature and state of the art for the U.S. industry. New materials and systems that have the potential for revolutionary changes and paradigm shifts will be given special consideration. Proposals should be market-driven and identify the end users of the proposed technology, and the proposed pathway to commercialization. 

AM1. Electronic and Magnetic Materials (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace

Material innovations for new functionalities or improved performance in electronic and magnetic applications.  Includes conductors, semiconductors, insulators, dielectrics, and magnetic materials for applications in CMOS systems, lithography and printing, flexible electronics, data storage etc.

AM2. Optical and Optoelectronic Materials (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben

Material innovations for improved performance in optical and optoelectronic applications.  Includes materials for light-emitting diodes, liquid crystal and other display materials, active optical materials, and materials for optical and radiation detection applications. 

AM3. Materials for Energy Applications (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace

Material and device innovations in batteries, capacitors and supercapacitors. Material innovations for solar energy harvesting, solar electricity generation and transmission. Includes photovoltaic materials, transparent conductive coatings, battery electrode materials etc. Proposals are encouraged which involve novel materials or processes with significant potential to reduce cost and/or improve manufacturability. 

AM4. High-temperature Materials (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben

Material innovations to improve the performance or allow new functions in high-temperature applications.  Includes bulk materials (e.g. superalloys, ceramics, composites) as well as coatings (e.g. thermal barrier coatings) which are designed for use in high-temperature environments.

AM5. Structural Materials (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben Schrag

Material innovations to improve the performance of materials in structural applications, including structural foams and other lightweight materials, structural alloys, structural panels, structural ceramics; and new processing techniques for structural materials (including materials related to these processes, such as adhesives, sealants, fillers, additives, and binders).  Refer to the BC topic for synthesis and process development of polymer materials. 

AM6. Coatings and Surface Modification (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace

Material and process innovations in surface modifications and coatings. Includes coatings for improved corrosion and wear resistance, surface modifications for specialized applications such as superhydrophobic or biologically/chemically active surfaces, and techniques to improve manufacturability and reduce cost.  Refer to the BC topic for anti-microbial coatings. 

AM7.  Smart and Specialized Materials (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben

Innovations related to smart materials or materials for specialized applications, including smart materials (e.g. piezoelectric, ferroelectric, thermoelectric, magnetostrictive, or electrochromic materials, shape memory alloys, and ferrofluids), materials for high or low thermal conductivity applications, materials for active device applications, and novel materials for sensor or actuator applications.   

AM8. Materials for Sustainability (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben

Material innovations designed for improved sustainability, mitigating adverse environmental impacts, and/or improved public health.  Proposals are encouraged which involve new processes and techniques that allow new or increased use of recycled, renewable, and/or environmentally-benign materials.  New materials intended for water or air purification applications are also encouraged.



The manufacturing subtopic addresses manufacturing innovations that improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the nation's manufacturing sector.  Proposals should be market-driven and identify the end users of the proposed technology, and the proposed pathway to commercialization.

M1. Manufacturing Processes (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace

Innovative processes for molding, forging, casting, joining of dissimilar materials, with an emphasis on environmentally-benign manufacturing techniques. Projects leading to the development of new processes and control techniques, including new hybrid techniques to achieve net shape products and complex multi-scale, multi-functional products with superior quality and performance.

M2. Machines and Equipment (Cognizant Program Officer: Ben

Innovations in machine and control system design for applications in the manufacturing and construction industry that will produce improved efficiency and/or reduced cost. The application of sensors and sensed data to improve throughput, quality and/or performance is also supported.

M3. Modeling and Simulation (Cognizant Program Officer: Grace

Innovations in modeling and simulation of enterprise operations, manufacturing processes, machines and equipment, including predictive modeling of tooling and machine performance, and discrete event simulation of manufacturing systems.