NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST Centers) in Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Research (NSF 23-158)

September 26, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) encourages the submission of new CREST Center proposals focusing on social, behavioral and economic sciences research. The CREST program supports the creation of research centers that will lead to strong societal impacts. Projects supported under the CREST program are 5-year research awards that increase research capacity and infrastructure at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) as defined in the CREST Centers program solicitation (NSF 23-595).

The CREST Centers are large-scale, interdisciplinary research centers that establish collaborative partnerships with other institutions of higher education (IHEs), national laboratories, private sector research laboratories and non-profit organizations in pursuit of the CREST Center’s vision and goals. The collaborations should help achieve the research, capacity-building and broadening participation goals of the CREST Center.

This DCL calls for SBE CREST Center proposals that address the social, political, cultural, or cognitive dimensions of the theme, Advancing Emerging Technologies. Examples of research areas may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Large Language Models (LLM)
  • Machine Learning
  • Smart and Connected Devices
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Cybersecurity
  • Assistive and Adaptive Technology

This DCL is a collaborative effort between the Directorate for STEM Education’s Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EDU/EES) and the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), responding to the White House initiatives to position the nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership by harnessing cross-cutting, interdisciplinary research at MSIs. Proposals responding to this DCL must be submitted to the CREST Centers program solicitation (NSF 23-595). They will be subsequently managed by a cross-disciplinary team of NSF program directors from EDU/EES and SBE.

SBE supports research to understand the social, behavioral and economic aspects of a rapidly changing world and how society is affected by its social, economic and natural environments. Fundamental and use-inspired research supported by the directorate advances understanding of people, organizations and society, while revealing emerging opportunities to address grand challenges affecting individuals’ ability to live healthy and productive lives.


Preliminary proposals are required and should follow CREST Centers program solicitation requirements (NSF 23-595). Before submitting a preliminary proposal in response to this DCL, prospective Principal Investigators (PIs) are strongly encouraged to discuss their project ideas with program directors listed below under points of contact.

Proposals must focus on at least one program area currently supported by the SBE directorate (consult the list of current SBE programs). Additionally, proposals are strongly encouraged to include senior and early career researchers with expertise in SBE program areas. One SBE CREST Center award is anticipated.


Luis Cubano, lcubano@nsf.gov
Naomi Hall-Byers, nhallbye@nsf.gov
Jorge Valdes Kroff, jvaldesk@nsf.gov


James L. Moore III
Assistant Director
Directorate for STEM Education (EDU)

Sylvia Butterfield
Acting Assistant Director
Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)

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