National Science Foundation

NSF: Theory Institute in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

Program Summary

The Theory Institute in Atomic, Molecular and Optical (AMO) Physics will be a center to advance theoretical AMO physics and lead in motivating and explaining new experimental work in AMO and other areas of science. The goal of this institute is to foster cutting edge research, serve as a focus for theoretical AMO science, and to enhance the visibility of the field. It will bring together diverse groups both inside and outside of the AMO community to promote connections leading to frontier science, while fostering a vibrant environment at all levels from student to senior investigator. Funding for the institute is designed to foster major breakthroughs at the intellectual frontier of AMO physics by providing resources beyond those 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. Although interdisciplinary aspects may be included, the bulk of the effort must fall within theoretical atomic, molecular, and optical physics within the purview of the Division of Physics. The successful institute will demonstrate: (1) the potential to advance AMO science; (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; and (4) a synergy or value-added rationale that justifies a center- or institute-like approach.


No more than one proposal may be submitted by any one institution.   Any one individual may be the Principal Investigator (PI) or co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) for only one proposal. Individuals may be listed as participating senior investigators on more than one proposal.

Award Information

The center award is expected to be at the level of $500K-$1M/year. At most, one award is expected in FY 2015 depending upon the availability of funds and the quality of proposals received. Awards will be made for five years, with an option to apply for a 5-year renewal. If a renewal is desired, the center must in year 4 submit a 5-year renewal proposal and if approved, the awards will be renewed for 5 years. If not approved, one to two years of phase down funding will be provided to terminate the center.  
Anticipated date of awards: On or about August 1, 2015.
To comply with the limitation of one application per institution, if you are interested in applying, please contact Mary Hall Reno ( or 319-335-1689) in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, by October 13, 2014.

Date Due to DSP or UIF12/01/2014
Date Due to Sponsor12/08/2014
Required LOI Due DateN/A
Non-Required LOI Due DateN/A
Sponsor URL:

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