Funding & Service

10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment

This infographic shows a black background with a white and blue title reading "10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment." The following text says, "The mission of the National Science Foundation is "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperty, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." NSF's 10 Big Ideas "to position our Nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering leadership, and to invest in basic research that advances the United States' prosperity, security, health, and well-being" include:..." followed by an image accompanying each of the titles of the 10 big ideas. An image of a chess board says "Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype." An image of data with ones and zeros says "The Quantum Leap: Leading the Next Quantum Revolution." "Windows on the Universe: The Era of Multi-messenger Astrophysics" with an image of a nebula An image of data streaming says "Harnessing the Data Revolution." An image of circuits leading to a brain says "Work at the Human Technology Fronteir: Shaping the Future." An image of buildings in the night sky says "Mid-scale infrastructure." An image of a glacier breaking apart into the ocean says "Navigating the New Artic." An image of a lightbulb with a sapling says "NSF 2026: Seeding Innovation." An image of three arrows converging on a blue background says "Growing Convergent Research at NSF." An image of people doing research, communicating, a pencil drawing, representing diversity in science says "INCLUDES." The text on the bottom says, "Learn More at https//" next to the NSF logo in black and white. images credited in order of appearance: ANDROMACHI; Mmaxer; NASA images; GarryKillian; Sergey Tarasov; Panimoni; Netta Arobas; Somchaij; Satenik Guzhanina. NSF INCLUDES available at

New Funding Opportunity: MathBioSys

The infographic shows a new funding opportunity. The title in yellow with a blue background at the top says New Funding Opportunity: MathBioSys. The rest of the image is grey with white angled lines and white or yellow text. A drawing of a light bulb on top of math layered with biological drawings and the words MathBioSys is the middle of the image. The text reads, "To faciliate collaborations among mathematicians, statisticians, and biologists, the NSF Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and the Simons Foundation Divisions of Mathematics and Physical Sciences and Life Sciences will jointly sponsor up to... 3 New Research Centers. The NSF-Simons Research Centers for Mathematics of Complex Biological Systems (MathBioSys) soliciation calls for 5-year proposals with innovative collaborative research new interdisciplinary connections, and education and workforce training at the intersection between mathematics and molecular, cellular, and organismal biology. Letter of Intent Due Date: August 10, 2017. Full Proposal Due Date: September 29, 2017. For more details, go to to read program soliciation: NSF 17-560. Questions? Contact: Dr. Arcady Mushegian, Program Director BIO/MCB, For all other NSF Divisions, refer to the Agency Contacts section of program soliciation NSF 17-560 to find the appropriate point of contact, or direct your email messages to the Program Directors on the MathBioSys Working Group at The bottom of the image shows the NSF and Simons Foundation logos.

Photo Credit: Adapted from Juliann/ 

NSF-Simons Research Centers for Mathematics of Complex Biological Systems hosted a webinar with Q & A on Thursday, June 15, 2017, and the slides presented can be viewed at:

Please read solicitation NSF 17-560 for more information.



A new NSF Dear Colleague Letter (DCL; NSF 17-031) has been posted: Request for Information on Future Needs for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure to Support Science and Engineering Research (NSF CI 2030).

From the DCL:

“NSF Directorates and Offices are jointly requesting input from the research community on science challenges and associated cyberinfrastructure needs over the next decade and beyond. Contributions to this Request for Information will be used during the coming year to inform the Foundation’s strategy and plans for advanced cyberinfrastructure investments. We invite bold, forward-looking ideas that will provide opportunities to advance the frontiers of science and engineering well into the future.”

We encourage MCB to weigh in – what do you see as the cyberinfrastructure that will be needed to advance molecular and cellular biosciences?

The DCL points to an external submission website ( Please note that the deadline for submissions is April 5, 2017 5:00 PM ET. Questions about this effort and the submission process should be sent to Dr. William Miller, Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, at this email address:


Although university-driven research projects provide a rich academic research experience for PhD candidates, a variety of recent studies indicate that many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career options for current Ph.D. graduates will be outside academia. Recognizing the impact of these trends in employment opportunities  for Ph.D. holders, NSF has made improving graduate student preparedness a priority for FY 16-17.


The graph above indicates that the percentage of doctoral candidates in the life sciences with a “definite commitment for employment or a postdoc position” as they approached graduation declined to the lowest point of the previous 20 years. Source: National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. 2015. Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities: 2014. Special Report NSF 16-300. Arlington, VA. Available at

Hosting a new supplementary funding opportunity is one way MCB supports this agency priority goal. The “Improving Graduate Student Preparedness for Entering the Workforce, Opportunities for Supplemental Support” (NSF 16-067) supplemental funding opportunity was announced in June 2015.

“There is very little formal training [for graduate students] in even recognizing the diverse career options available” to them, observes Dr. Linda Hyman, Division Director of MCB. “The bio-sciences community needs a change in training that hasn’t happened in many years.” The decision to provide this opportunity for supplemental funding is data-driven, adds Dr. Hyman, based on information in a published by the National Institutes of Health in 2012.

NSF 16-067 was intentionally written in broad terms to encourage junior scientists and senior students confronting the urgency of addressing “what’s next.” The supplement provides PIs with an avenue for encouraging their students to explore careers outside academia. The funding may be used to attend professional development courses, serve in an internship in the private sector, or build specialized skills that could help them be more competitive in the job market in arenas such as public policy, communications, industry, and technology transfer.

“This supplement helps PIs provide professional development opportunities for their students  in areas that may be outside their comfort zone,” says Dr. Hyman. “Our hope is that the community will use the supplement to expand awareness of and increase preparedness for the many career options available to new graduates.”

Principle Investigators who are current MCB awardees are encouraged to explore non-academic career development and NSF 16-067 with their students. Supplemental requests will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Requests should be made no later than April 3, 2017 for FY 2017 consideration.