NSF Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks

Sponsor Deadline: 

Jul 28, 2021


National Science Foundation

UI Contact: 

Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks (D-ISN)


deadlines  July 28, 2021   and   April 22, 2022

The Disrupting Operations of Illicit Supply Networks (D-ISN) Solicitation supports research projects that take a systems approach to advance fundamental understanding of how networks that traffic in illicit or illicitly-produced goods and services operate, leading to technological breakthroughs that bolster our ability to disable these networks.
Criminal networks that illegally traffic in everything from people and drugs to human organs, natural resources and nuclear material pose grave threats to the health, prosperity and security of our Nation. As an important example, the opioid epidemic in the United States has largely been fueled by new synthetic opioids that are primarily produced in overseas facilities and distributed to the US through intermediate countries. These illicit supply chains flourish across national boundaries, both taking advantage of and contributing to regional instability. The profits generated through these activities finance ongoing conflicts across the globe. Making use of the same communications, logistics, transportation, and financial infrastructure that enable globally integrated commercial supply chains, illicit flows are now estimated to account for 4-6% of global GDP, or roughly $2 trillion annually. Moreover, these networks use exploitative labor, such as child labor, forced labor and human trafficking, to source and produce goods and services that contribute to both illicit and legal commercial supply chains.