What is a NSE Center?

The nanoscale science and engineering centers are a new program for NSF.  For this reason, we don't have a lot of prior history to go on.  However, NSF funds several levels of programs which are "Centers" and could be used as good examples of what the NSE Centers are all about.

Nanoscience and Engineering Centers. This year is the first time these have been announced.  They are funded at the 1-4M$/year level for five years and can go through one competitive review to extend their lifetime to 10 years.  NSECs "will address major opportunities and challenges in nanoscience, engineering and technology".   Based on the proposed budget amounts and language, they appear to be more similar to a MRSEC than a STC.

Science and Technology Centers, or STCs.  Typically funded at a higher level than MRSECs these centers span a broad range of disciplines.  This includes the one here at Rice, CITI. 

Materials Research and Engineering Centers or MRSECs.  These are funded at the 1-4M$/year level for five years and can go through one competitive review to extend their lifetime to 10 years.   MRSECs are aimed at solving complex problems in materials science.  They typically involve 15-25 PIs at roughly $80K/PI per year.   Like an STC there is a fair amount of outreach but somewhat more limited in scope. There are 30 of these centers.   


The NSE Center concept is a new program by NSF.  You can read all of the details in NSF call 00-119.  Selected blurbs are on the attached page.