Funding Alert: Up to $3 Million for Work on Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

Up to $3 Million dollars (per award) is available for startups that can accelerate astrophysics work within the scientific community, improve astrophysics instrumentation, or develop the next generation of observatories.


Closing date: October 15, 2020
Expected number of awards: 200
Award amount: Up to $3M (and can go over $3M with special consideration)
How to apply: Start here

What is the National Science Foundation?

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health. With an annual budget of about US$7.8 billion, the NSF funds approximately 24% of all federally supported basic research conducted by the United States’ colleges and universities. In some fields, such as mathematics, computer science, economics, and the social sciences, the NSF is the major source of federal backing.

Why multi-messenger astrophysics?

The Universe is the ultimate laboratory, and we can now probe it as never before through several powerful and diverse windows – electromagnetic waves, high-energy particles, and gravitational waves. Each of these windows provides a different view. Together they reveal a detailed picture of the Universe that will allow us to study matter, energy, and the cosmos in fundamentally new ways.

The NSF’s Big Idea “Windows on the Universe” is implemented through this WoU-MMA program. WoU-MMA identifies three categories of messengers – electromagnetic waves, high-energy particles including neutrinos and cosmic rays, and gravitational waves. The goals of WoU-MMA are to build the capabilities and accelerate the synergy and interoperability of the three messengers to realize integrated, multi-messenger astrophysical explorations of the Universe.

How does this funding work?

This program is funding awards that have significant components of multi-messenger astrophysics. The NSF is welcoming proposals that address at least one of the following criteria:

  1. Coordination: Hardware, software, or other infrastructure to coordinate observations involving more than one messenger.
  2. Observations: Observations of astrophysical objects or phenomena that are potentially sources of more than one messenger, including the use of existing observatories, experiments, and data archives, as well as the development and construction of new capabilities for advancing multi-messenger astrophysics.
  3. Interpretation: Theory, experiment, simulations and other activities to understand or interpret observations of astrophysical objects that are sources of more than one messenger.

This program focuses on three broad areas of investment:

  1. Enhancing and accelerating the theoretical, computational, and observational activities within the scientific community
  2. Building dedicated instrumentation and capabilities
  3. Exploiting current facilities and developing the next generation of observatories

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