National Science Foundation

NSF: Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC)

Program Summary

The Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC) program supports university-based centers and institutes where the collective efforts of a larger group of individuals can enable transformational advances in the most promising research areas. The program is designed to foster major breakthroughs at the intellectual frontiers of physics by providing needed resources such as combinations of talents, skills, disciplines, and/or specialized infrastructure, not usually available to individual investigators or small groups, in an environment in which the collective efforts of the larger group can be shown to be seminal to promoting significant progress in the science and the education of students. Activities supported through the program are in all sub-fields of physics within the purview of the Division of Physics: atomic, molecular, optical, plasma, elementary particle, nuclear, astro-, gravitational, and biological physics. Interdisciplinary projects at the interface between these physics areas and other disciplines and physics sub-fields are also included, although the bulk of the effort should fall within one of those areas within the purview of the Physics Division. The successful PFC activity will demonstrate: (1) the potential for a profound advance in physics; (2) creative, substantive activities aimed at enhancing education, diversity, and public outreach; (3) potential for broader impacts, e.g., impacts on other field(s) and benefits to society; (4) a synergy or value-added rationale that justifies a center- or institute-like approach.


No more than two preliminary proposals may be submitted by any one institution. The same limitation applies to full proposals.

Any one individual may be the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) for only one preliminary proposal. The same limitation applies to full proposals. Individuals may be listed as participating senior investigators on more than one proposal.

Award Information

Individual PFC awards are expected to range in size between $1.0 million/year and $5.0 million/year. The number of awards in FY 2014 is expected to be in the range 5-7, depending upon the availability of funds and the quality of proposals received. Awards will be made for five years, with an option for a one-year extension, contingent on satisfactory review, during which the PFC is eligible to apply for renewal. Proposals from existing (re-competing) PFCs will be evaluated in open competition with new proposals. If a proposal from an existing Center is not successful, phase-out support may be provided at a reduced level for up to two years under the current award. If a proposal from an existing PFC is successful, a new cooperative agreement will be awarded. Anticipated date of awards: On or about August 1, 2014.

To comply with the limitation of two preliminary proposals per organization, please contact Mary Hall Reno ( / 335-1689) in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, if you are interested in applying.

Date Due to DSP or UIF07/29/2013
Date Due to Sponsor08/05/2013
Required LOI Due DateN/A
Non-Required LOI Due DateN/A
Sponsor URL:

Admin/Reviewer Login here first

Back to the WINS main page