Thermal Transport Processes

The Thermal Transport Processes program is part of the Transport Phenomena cluster, which includes also 1) the Combustion and Fire Systems program; 2) the Fluid Dynamics program; and 3) the Particulate and Multiphase Processes program.

The Thermal Transport Processes program supports engineering

credit: Flickr

research projects that lay the foundation for new advances in thermal transport phenomena.

These projects should either develop new fundamental knowledge or combine existing knowledge in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat and mass transfer to probe new areas of innovation in thermal transport processes.

The program seeks transformative projects with the potential for improving basic understanding, predictability and application of thermal transport processes.

Projects should articulate the contribution(s) to the fundamental knowledge supporting thermal transport processes and state clearly the potential application(s) impact when appropriate.

Projects that combine analytical, experimental and numerical efforts, geared toward understanding, modeling and predicting thermal phenomena, are of great interest.

Collaborative and interdisciplinary proposals for which the main contribution is in thermal transport processes fundamentals are also encouraged.

Emphasis is placed on research that demonstrates how thermal transport phenomena affect the existence, behavior and dynamics of components and systems.

Priority is given to insightful investigations of fundamental problems with clearly defined economic, environmental and societal impacts.

Some specific areas of interest include:
Heat and mass transport in geometrically complex surfaces and structures; thermal-related turbulence; development of form-function relationships in thermal processes; thermal design methodology; radiation amplification, controlling, and extinction; interfacial gas-solid and liquid-solid thermal and species-driven phenomena.

Thermal-electric energy conversion; battery-related thermal issues; power generation and propulsion; phase-change and supercritical energy cycles; non-equilibrium thermal processes.

Biological heat and mass transport:
Biomimicry; intra- and extra-cellular thermal transport; freeze resistance mechanisms; thermotherapy and thermoregulation; organ conservation (freezing and thawing).

Nanothermics, microthermics, and mesothermics:
Scaling up nanoscale heat transport processes or coupled heat-mass transport processes; utilization of new multi-functional, meta- and graded-materials in thermal transport; nano-texturing and phase-change; multi-scale thermal transport in a process.

Proposals including chemical kinetics should be submitted to the ENG/CBET Combustion and Fire Systems program.

Proposals dealing mainly with materials synthesis, processing and characterization should be directed to the ENG/CMMI Advanced Manufacturing program or the Division of Materials Research (DMR) in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate.

Proposals at the interface of computational/mathematical sciences and thermal transport are encouraged, but should be submitted to the Computational and Data-Enabled Science & Engineering (CDS&E) Program.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered.

However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the program director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.

Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research.

The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

The duration of unsolicited proposal awards in CBET is generally up to three years.

Single-investigator award budgets typically include support for one graduate student (or equivalent) and up to one month of PI time per year (awards for multiple investigator projects are typically larger).

Proposal budgets that are much larger than typical should be discussed with the program director prior to submission.

Proposers can view budget amounts and other information from recent awards made by this program via the “What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)” link towards the bottom of this page.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.

Award duration is five years.

The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year.

Learn more in the CAREER program description.

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements:
PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the program director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.

Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged.

Please note that RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI proposals can be submitted anytime during the year.

Details about RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI are available in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Part 1, Chapter II, Section E:
Types of Proposals.

Proposals that are not compliant with the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.
Related Programs

Engineering Grants

National Science Foundation

Agency: National Science Foundation

Office: National Science Foundation

Estimated Funding: $7,047,000

Who's Eligible

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Obtain Full Opportunity Text:
NSF Program Desccription PD-20-1406

Additional Information of Eligibility:
State and local agencies, public or private nonprofit institutions/organizations, Federally recognized Indian tribal governments, State colleges and universities, public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply.

Full Opportunity Web Address:


Agency Email Description:
If you have any problems linking to this funding announcement, please contact

Agency Email:

Date Posted:

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