Full Proposal Accepted Anytime
No Deadline - Proposals for this program will be accepted throughout the year.

For information describing the open deadline unsolicited submission process, please see this Dear Colleague Letter.  Additionally, the frequently asked questions about the open deadline found here apply to Molecular Separations. 

Proposals submitted to solicitations, such as the CAREER program, must meet the respective deadlines of those solicitations. There is no deadline for workshop or supplement proposals, proposals for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), or Rapid Response Grants (RAPID). As noted below, PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of proposals of this nature.


 The Molecular Separations program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which also includes 1) Catalysis; 2) Electrochemical Systems; and 3) Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics.

The Molecular Separations program supports research focused on novel methods and materials for separation processes, such as those central to the chemical, biochemical, bioprocessing, materials, energy, and pharmaceutical industries. A fundamental understanding of the interfacial, transport, and thermodynamic behavior of multiphase chemical systems as well as quantitative descriptions of processing characteristics in the process-oriented industries is critical for efficient resource management and effective environmental protection. The program encourages proposals that address long standing challenges and emerging research areas and technologies, have a high degree of interdisciplinary work coupled with the generation of fundamental knowledge, and the integration of education and research.

Research topics of particular interest include fundamental, molecular-level work on:

  • A molecular-level design of scalable mass separating agents (e.g., adsorbents and membranes) targeted for a specific gas, chemical, or water separation
  • A molecular-level understanding of interfacial thermodynamics, fluid nanoconfinement, and/or transport within nanopores or highly engineered surfaces
  • Engineering science that advances a fundamental and/or a mechanistic understanding of mass transport principles and/or design of separation processes
  • Downstream processing of biologically derived chemicals for increased throughput
  • Integrated design of chemical separations with other chemical conversions for process intensification
  • Innovative separation mechanisms or engineering processes, including but not limited to field (flow, magnetic, electrical) induced separations, that target a significant reduction in energy and/or materials requirements in the process industries

NOTE: Field-based particle separations that advance fundamental transport principles with application to a novel separation problem will be considered, with co-review by this program and Particulate and Multiphase Processes (1415). Proposals concerning the separation of components from blood with simultaneous detection using sensors for biomedical diagnostics should be submitted to the Biosensing program (7909). Proposals that deal with deployment or improved performance of existing materials for water purification should be submitted to the Environmental Engineering program (1440).

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered.However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.

Funding agency: 
National Science Foundation
Funding type: