• LOI: 01/07/2020
  • Proposal: 02/19/2020


The Addressing Systems Challenges through Engineering Teams (ASCENT) program will support high-quality and ambitious fundamental research projects that involve the research areas of one or more ECCS clusters and are unsuitable for smaller teams or shorter durations. The ASCENT program is intended to produce results leading to disruptive technologies that lay the foundation for novel scientific and technological concepts to enable significant improvements in the environment, health, quality of life, and national prosperity. Integral to every ASCENT project must be an element to communicate the leadership role of engineering in addressing critical societal needs. A compelling and innovative research problem, critically involving one or more ECCS cluster research areas must lie at the heart of an ASCENT proposal, although integration of disciplinary expertise outside ECCS core disciplines is encouraged. ECCS core topics may be determined from current ECCS cluster descriptions described below, or by consulting with an ECCS Program Officer. The ASCENT program is not intended to support technology translation, although project outcomes may ultimately lead to commercialization.

ECCS Cluster Descriptions:

The Communications, Circuits, and Sensing-Systems (CCSS) Cluster supports innovative research in circuit and system hardware and signal processing techniques. CCSS also supports system and network architectures for communications and sensing to enable the next-generation cyber-physical systems (CPS) that leverage computation, communication, and sensing integrated with physical domains. CCSS invests in micro- and nano-electromechanical systems physical, chemical, and biological sensing systems, neurotechnologies, and high-speed communications & sensing circuits and systems for a variety of application domains including healthcare, medicine, communications, disaster mitigation, homeland security, intelligent transportation, manufacturing, energy, and smart buildings. CCSS encourages research proposals based on emerging technologies and applications for communications and sensing such as high-speed communications of terabits per second and beyond, sensing and imaging covering microwave to terahertz frequencies, personalized health monitoring, secured wireless connectivity and sensing for the Internet of Things, and dynamic-data-enabled autonomous systems through real-time sensing and learning.

The Electronics, Photonics and Magnetic Devices (EPMD) Cluster supports innovative research on novel devices based on the principles of electronics, optics and photonics, optoelectronics, magnetics, opto- and electromechanics, electromagnetics, and related physical phenomena contributing to a broad range of application domains including information and communications, imaging and sensing, healthcare, Internet of Things, energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing. The program encourages research based on emerging technologies for miniaturization, integration, and energy efficiency as well as novel material-based devices with new functionalities, improved efficiency, flexibility, tunability, wearability, and enhanced reliability.

The Energy, Power, Control, and Networks (EPCN) Cluster supports innovative research in modeling, optimization, machine learning, adaptation, and control of networked multi-agent systems, higher-level decision making, and dynamic resource allocation, as well as risk management in the presence of uncertainty, sub-system failures, and stochastic disturbances. EPCN also emphasizes electric power systems, including generation, transmission, storage, and integration of renewable energy sources into the grid; power electronics and drives; battery management systems; hybrid and electric vehicles; and understanding of the interplay of power systems with associated regulatory & economic structures and with consumer behavior.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

No individual may be a PI, CoPI, or Senior Personnel on more than one ASCENT proposal. Please be advised that if an individual’s name appears, in any of the above-mentioned capacities, on more than ONE proposal, all submittals after the first proposal (based on time-stamp) will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.

Contact Information

Cognizant Program Officer(s):

Please note that the following information is current at the time of publishing. See program website for any updates to the points of contact.