NSF Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Research Grants, Scholars Awards, and Conference and Workshop Support

The Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program supports research that uses historical, philosophical, and social scientific methods to investigate the intellectual, material, and social facets of the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical (STEM) disciplines, including medical science. Deadlines: February 2, 2018 (February 2 annually thereafter) and August 3, 2018 (August 3 annually thereafter).

STS researchers strive to understand how STEM fields contribute to the development and use of systems of knowledge, the production and use of materials and devices, the co-evolution of socio-technical systems and their governance, and the place of science and technology in the modern world.

STS research endeavors to understand how scientific knowledge is produced and sanctioned, and how it is challenged and changes. It explores broader societal ramifications and underlying presuppositions. STS research studies how materials, devices, and techniques are designed and developed; how and by whom they are diffused, used, adapted, and rejected; how they are affected by social and cultural environments; and how they influence quality of life, culture, and society. STS research explores how socio-cultural values are embedded in science and technology, and how issues of governance and equity co-evolve with the development and use of scientific knowledge and technological artifacts.

STS researchers make use of methods from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, communication studies, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology. STS research includes interdisciplinary studies of ethics, equity, governance, and policy issues. STS studies may be empirical or conceptual.

The STS program supports proposals across the broad spectrum of STS research areas, topics, and approaches. Examples include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Societal aspects of emerging high-tech technologies (e.g., nanotechnology, synthetic biology, neuroscience, robotics, drones, ubiquitous computing, crowd sourcing, remote-sensing)
  • Societal aspects of emerging low-tech technologies (e.g., paper microscopes; whirlwind wheel chairs)
  • Issues relating to equity, ethics, governance, sustainability, public engagement, user-centeredness, and inclusiveness.
  • Integration of traditional STS approaches with innovative perspectives from the arts or humanities.
  • Ethical, policy, and cultural issues regarding big data, surveillance and privacy in an increasingly networked world, and
  • The science of broadening participation in STEM disciplines.

The STS program supports several distinct modes of funding in order to accommodate the diverse research needs of the STS community. Modes of support include Standard Research Grants and Grants for Collaborative Research, Scholars Awards, Postdoctoral Fellowships, Conference and Workshop Support, and Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants.

For more information, visit the NSF Science, Technology, and Society Program.