Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 81 | 23. September 2021

NSF-DFG Lead Agency Activity on Chemistry and Transport in Confined Spaces (NSF-DFG Confine)

Recognising the importance of international collaborations in promoting scientific discoveries, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on research cooperation. The MoU provides an overarching framework to enhance opportunities for collaborative activities between U.S. and German research communities and sets out the principles by which jointly-supported activities might be developed. To facilitate the support of collaborative work between U.S. researchers and their German counterparts under this MoU, the Division of Chemistry (CHE) and the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems (CBET) at the NSF and the Divisions of Physics and Chemistry (PC) and Engineering Sciences (ING 1) at the DFG are pleased to announce a Lead Agency Activity in the areas of chemistry and transport in confined spaces.

Chemical and physical processes that operate under spatial confinement often exhibit complex, interesting, and poorly understood variations in chemical properties and physical dynamics. Many such systems are intrinsically nonlinear and dynamic, often involving simultaneous reaction, diffusion and convection and/or chemical processes far from equilibrium. Improved experimental and computational tools are needed to predict how variations over the confinement length scale affect the overall dynamics and efficiency of large-scale processes. Much of the needed research requires synergistic efforts among those versed in the applications and experts in measurement techniques, modelling methods, and data analysis.

Proposals eligible to apply for this lead agency activity will need to have a research focus relevant to the topic areas identified above. Proposals of German applicants are accepted in the subject areas 321–327 and 403, 404 of the DFG’s subject classification (see below under Further Information). US researchers should review the CHE and CBET programme descriptions for research supported through these NSF divisions.

Proposals will be reviewed by either NSF or DFG as the lead agency, depending on where the largest proportion of research lies. Proposals must provide a clear rationale for the need for a US-German collaboration, including the unique expertise and synergy that the collaborating groups will bring to the project.

For applicants to be invited to submit a formal proposal, an Expression of Interest (EOI) is required and should be submitted to the prospective lead agency no later than 29 November 2021, 5pm local time.

Upon confirmation from both funding organisations that the collaborative research proposal is appropriate for the NSF-DFG Confine solicitation, the lead agency will contact the researchers to inform them that they may submit a full research proposal.

All full research proposals must be submitted by 7 March 2022, 5pm local time (for first-time users of the DFG’s online submission system “elan” pre-registration is necessary by 21 February 2022).

For more detailed information on this solicitation including specific instructions for applicants in Germany, please refer to the full call text (see below under Further Information).

Notification of results

Applicants will be informed in writing of the results of the review and, where applicable, of the subsequent administrative steps according to the respective national regulations. The selection of the projects will be completed by September 2022.

Please note the DFG’s data protection notice on research funding, which can be viewed and downloaded at If necessary, please also forward this information to those individuals whose data will be processed by the DFG due to their involvement in your project.

Further Information

Full call text including specific instructions for applicants from Germany:

Information on submitting proposals to the NSF:

DFG’s subject classification:

DFG’s data protection notice on research funding:

Contacts persons at the DFG:


ING 1:

Contact persons at the NSF: