Call for Multidisciplinary Research Clusters

25 December 2023 | 17:59 Announcements
INSF announces a call for multidisciplinary research clusters with a focus on distinguished Iranian faculty members and the establishment of convergent research teams.
Call for Multidisciplinary Research Clusters

In line with supporting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research to address the national challenges and promoting transformative research, the Iran National Science Foundation (INSF) funds the formation of multidisciplinary research clusters established by distinguished Iranian faculty members and consisting of convergent research teams.

Call Description

Forming and leading a multidisciplinary research cluster significantly differs from a national, applied, or innovative research proposal, designed in collaboration with domestic and international partners. The cluster leader must direct multiple scientific teams in various yet convergent disciplines, and through scientific and research methods, provide an outstanding service in solving a national challenge or opening a novel and transformative frontier in Iranian research. 

The following are a few examples of possible expected outcomes of research clusters on the national and international scales:

  • leading the polio eradication initiative
  • leading the production and commercialization of the coronavirus vaccine
  • indigenous production of mobile phone SIM cards
  • manufacturing chips used in smart cards
  • leading the satellite manufacturing project
  • production of indigenous broiler chicken breeds
  • production and supply of indigenous insulin
  • production of induced pluripotent stem cells (an example of transformative research successfully implemented in the past)
  • research and development of wireless charging technology for batteries ((an example for a transformative research successfully implemented in the past)

It should be noted that in the final selection of the research clusters receiving this research funding, attention will be given to addressing current research needs, transformative topics, and the quality of scientific activity of the applicants in the last 5 years.

Call Areas:

In this call, 12 research areas are targeted:

  • Cellular and molecular biomedicine
  • Brain research
  • Food, medicine, and health
  • Data science, computation, and development of biological big data
  • Sensors and rapid tests
  • Environment and climate changes
  • Renewable energies
  • Optics and quantum computing and studies
  • Complex systems and artificial intelligence
  • Catalysts, biocatalysts and enzymes
  • Preservation of biodiversity and genetic resources
  • Tectonics and economic geology

Cluster Members:

  1. The cluster leader (primary investigator) is a faculty member at an Iranian university or research institute who must meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • Be among the top 1 percent of the world's most cited researchers in their field of study (according to Essential Science Indicators)
    • Have at least 2000 citations according to the Web of Science (except for multi-authored articles)
    • Have at least one publication as the corresponding author in the top 1 percent of the world’s highly cited journals indexed in JCR, or in the most distinguished journal of the field of study should the number of indexed journals in the field be less than 100.
    • Provided a significant service to solve a societal problem.
  2. At least two faculty members of Iranian or international universities or research institutes as cluster main members, with clearly defined roles and commitments within the cluster working in a different field of study than the cluster leader. At least one main member must work in the basic sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, geology, and basic medical sciences)
  3. Postdoctoral researchers supervised by faculty members of the cluster (if needed)
  4. Doctoral and master students (if needed)

Proposals must be submitted through the INSF Research Management System.


  • Start of the Call: December 2, 2023
  • Deadline for submitting research proposals: January 20, 2024
  • Announcement of final results: Mid-March 2024
  • Start of research projects: Mid-April 2024 

Number and Amount of Funding:

Each cluster receives funding for 3 years. After the first year, continued support in subsequent years will be based on the evaluation of the previous year's achievements. Extension after the third year is possible in special circumstances up to the fifth year. The maximum funding amount for each cluster in the first year is 15 billion Rials, and in subsequent years, it will be variable based on inflation conditions.

It is anticipated that 5 to 10 clusters will be formed in this call, which is expected to gradually increase over 5 years in future calls. 

Contact Information

For further inquiries, please contact Dr. Moradhaseli, the Cluster Program Officer, via email at or by phone at 02182161112.

tags: INSF Research Clusters convergent disciplines transformative research