NSF 14-570


The Office for Research Development is requesting letters of intent for the National Science Foundation (NSF) – Theory Institute in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics 2014 program.

ORD Letter of Intent submission deadline:  October 13, 2014

Agency Deadline:  December  8, 2014

Anticipated Funding Amount:  $2.5 - 5,000,000

Estimated Number of Awards: 1

Limit on Number of Proposals per Organization: 1

Program Synopsis:

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.

In an effort to provide the highest level of excellence and viability for funding, a review process will be put in place if more than one proposal is submitted. The finalist will be asked to represent Oregon State University and to submit their proposal to the NSF-Theory Institute in AMO Physics program by the NSF deadline of December 8, 2014.

Information:  Mary Phillips, Director, Office for Research Development at mary.phillips@oregonstate.edu

General guidance for preparation of letters of intent to the Research Office:

COVER SHEET (1 page)

  • Solicitation Name and Descriptive Title
  • Project Summary:  3 or 4 sentences or bullet points that provide an overview of the objective of your proposed research, how you plan to do it, and the expected outcome.
  • Unique Aspects:  3 or 4 sentences or bullet points that highlight how your research/approach is different/better.
  • Key PI/co-PIs:  5 or 6 sentences or bullet points that highlight team expertise as it relates to the project.
  • Budget:  Example:  The total cost of the project is anticipated to be $ X, with $ Y being requested from the NSF.  NSF funds will be used for: $ A for personnel; $ B for operations, and $ C for broader impacts/subcontracts etc. 
  • Justification for NSF support: One paragraph explaining why this research fits with the RFP and strategic goals of NSF. 


  • Problem statement - Clear and concise statement of 1) research question(s) and how the project will address the research question(s); 2) what technical barriers need to be overcome to perform the research; and 3) how the proposed research can lead to the advancement of research/knowledge in this area.
  • Conceptual framework:  Conceptual framework describing, for example, how the synthesis of various project components, approaches, and participant expertise are linked together to address the problem of interest.  Graphics may be used.
  • Proposed activities: Describe the project to be undertaken and provide the technical specifications of the research activities and timelines that will be undertaken.
  • Expected results: Describe the outcome you anticipate from the research. (Remember your initial motivation for wanting to do this!)
  • Peer Groups: Who else is doing something similar, why their discoveries are useful for you, and what discriminates you.
  • Broader Impact/Metrics for Success: What metrics are the most appropriate for evaluating the success of the proposed project (e.g., peer-reviewed papers, policy-directed efforts, databases, models, development of new resources, etc.)? If successful, who would most likely use the knowledge or tools developed?
  • Fundraising:  List any matching fund requests, industry commitments etc.  List any similar current proposals pending.

Suggested Reviewers: (1 page) Optional – but as you write envision who might be a reviewer of your proposal or the Program Officer.

  • Reviewer 1: Area of expertise
  • Name
  • Title
  • Contact
  • State why you think this person would be a good reviewer.
Date Open: 
Sunday, September 1, 2013
National Science Foundation