The Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) within the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering announced creation of the Engineering for Civil Infrastructure (ECI) program. The ECI program represents a new and integrated vision for fundamental research to underpin transformative innovations for the built environment that are resilient, economical, and adaptable to enhance national prosperity and societal benefits, the NSF said.

In support of this vision, the ECI program replaces the Engineering for Natural Hazard (ENH), Geotechnical Engineering and Materials (GEM), and Structural and Architectural Engineering and Materials (SAEM) programs. ECI will also support research in construction engineering that is compatible with this vision.

The ENH and SAEM programs will no longer accept proposals. The GEM program will not accept proposals after 5:00 p.m. submitter’s local time on Dec. 29, 2017. Active awards in ENH, GEM, and SAEM programs will be managed by the ECI Program Directors and will remain eligible for supplements and extensions.

New program highlights

The ECI program supports fundamental research that will shape the future of the nation’s constructed civil infrastructure, subjected to and interacting with the natural environment and to meet the needs of humans. In this context, research driven by radical rethinking of traditional civil infrastructure in response to emerging technological innovations, changing population demographics, and evolving societal needs is encouraged.

The ECI program focuses on the physical infrastructure, such as the soil-foundation-structure-envelope-nonstructural building system; geostructures; and underground facilities. It seeks proposals that advance knowledge and methodologies within geotechnical, structural, architectural, materials, coastal, and construction engineering, especially that include collaboration with researchers from other fields, including, for example, biomimetics, bioinspired design, advanced computation, data science, materials science, additive manufacturing, robotics, and control theory.

Research may explore the following:

  • holistic building systems that view construction, geotechnical, structural, and architectural design as an integrated system;
  • adaptive building envelope systems;
  • nonconventional building materials;
  • breakthroughs in remediated geological materials; and
  • transformational construction processes.

Principal investigators are encouraged to consider civil infrastructure subjected to and interacting with the natural environment under “normal” operating conditions; intermediate stress conditions (such as deterioration, and severe locational and climate conditions); and extreme single or multi natural hazard events (including earthquakes, windstorms, tsunamis, storm surges, sinkholes, subsidence, and landslides).

Principal investigators are expected to bear in mind broader impacts associated with, for example, economic, environmental, habitant comfort, and societal benefits, which may include implications for resource and energy efficiency, life cycle, adaptability and resilience, and reduced dependence on municipal services and utilities.

Full program details are available at: