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NSF 17-051

Dear Colleague Letter: Announcing Realignment of the Service, Manufacturing, and Operations Research (SMOR) Program and Name Change to the Operations Engineering (OE) Program

February 6, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

The Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI), within the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Directorate for Engineering (ENG) announces a realignment of the Service, Manufacturing, and Operations Research (SMOR) program effective 15 January, 2017. Consistent with that realignment, the program name has changed to Operations Engineering (OE). The OE program will continue to manage existing awards made through the SMOR program and will continue to support quantitative research that addresses operational methods within the service and manufacturing domains, enterprise planning and operations, and other emerging domains, including the public sector. The SMOR program will no longer accept new proposals.


The OE program focuses on fundamental research in quantitative methods strongly motivated by problems that have potential for high impact in engineering applications. Areas of priority for the program include production and advanced manufacturing systems, public safety and security, healthcare delivery, and sustainability. In addition, the program is eager to support impactful research in new and emerging areas, particularly in the deployment of new knowledge to increase productivity and improve service delivery. The program encourages convergence of domain-specific and domain-independent knowledge that can lead to breakthrough, transformative capabilities. Proposed research that is strictly methodological in nature, without addressing the potential for impact in engineered systems, will not be supported in the OE program. Full program details are available at:


The OE program is not intended as the primary source of funding for research on operational methods in domain areas supported by other NSF programs. Research on operational methods in transportation and infrastructure systems is supported by the Civil Infrastructure Systems (CIS) program in CMMI. Research on advanced manufacturing processes and cyber-enabled manufacturing is supported within the Advanced Manufacturing Cluster in CMMI. Research on operational methods in energy and power systems is supported by the Energy, Power, Control and Networks (EPCN) program in ECCS. Research on individual and group decision making, management science, and organizational design is supported by the Decision, Risk, and Management Science (DRMS) program in the Social, Behavior, and Economic (SBE) Directorate.

Basic methodological and algorithmic research in optimization may be more appropriate for the Applied Mathematics (AM) program in the Mathematics and Physical Sciences (MPS) Directorate or the Algorithmic Fundamentals (AF) program in the Computer, Information Systems, and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. The OE program is highly supportive of leveraging funds across NSF programs but is not the primary source of funding for purely methodological or algorithmic research.

Investigators are encouraged to discuss proposal ideas with program officers for program fit prior to submission.


Barry W. Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Director (Acting)
Directorate for Engineering