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Research Funding

NSF launches public competition for big ideas

by Andrea Widener
September 7, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 36

The U.S. National Science Foundation is calling on scientists and the public to help it identify new ways to transform fundamental research through its Idea Machine competition. The winning two to four entries will receive $26,000. University of Virginia chemist Catherine Hunt says she hopes it will help more people in the public learn about the agency. “In order for the public to support us they need to know about us and understand NSF,” says Hunt, who is on NSF’s Mathematical & Physical Sciences Advisory Committee. The competition is part of the agency’s broader 10 Big Ideas plan to guide the future of NSF. Chemistry isn’t front and center in those proposals, Hunt says, so she hopes chemists and students will take this chance to make sure their chemistry ideas are included going forward. “This is a challenge for them to think really big,” she says. “This isn’t about your grant you’re going to write tomorrow. Let’s start shaping the future now.” The competition is open through Oct. 26.


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