Funding & Service


The NSF Convergence Accelerator has issued a new funding opportunity for three new research track topics: Equitable Water Solutions, Real-World Chemical Sensing Applications, and Bio-Inspired Design Innovations.

Researchers and innovators have two submission pathways to submit their proposals: Solicitation, NSF-23-590, and Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), NSFBAA-CA23-01.

  • Required letters of intent are due by July 11, 2023.
  • Full proposals are due by 5 p.m. local time on August 22, 2023.

More information on the tracks and potential topics can be found on the program webpage.

Opportunities to Learn More: Upcoming Webinars

Join an NSF Convergence Accelerator webinar to learn about the program and the current funding opportunity.

Webinars Dates: May 25, 2023 and June 6, 2023 from 3 – 5 p.m. EDT.

During the webinars, participants will learn about:

  • The program’s model and fundamentals, including:
    • The program’s phased approach
    • Innovation processes used to accelerate basic research into practice
  • The solicitation opportunity and the research track focuses
  • Required Convergence Accelerator fundamentals, and important submission information.

The goal of these webinars is to bring awareness of this exciting opportunity to develop use-inspired solutions to have a positive impact on national and societal challenges. 

Optional 30-minute Track Breakouts

At 4:30 p.m. EDT, join us for an optional 30-minute breakout session featuring the three track topics. Here you can ask additional questions and engage with similarly interested stakeholders and researchers to potentially assist you in forming your team and formulating your proposal.


A new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) announces the availability of high-quality commercial Earth observation data to all NSF-funded researchers at no additional cost through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Commercial SmallSat Data Acquisition (CSDA) Program.

To inform and assist interested researchers, this DCL describes the process for gaining access to this imagery, the currently available datasets, and related training resources.

Check out the Dear Colleague Letter: Availability of Earth Observation Data for NSF-Funded Researchers for full terms and conditions and how to apply.


If you are considering applying for the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty, consider attending an upcoming CAREER program informational session. The deadline for CAREER submissions (NSF 22-586) is July 26th, so get your questions in early!  Program directors from the BIO directorates and the CAREER Coordinating Committee will be available to answer your questions at the following sessions.

May 10, 2023
2 – 3 PM ET
MCB Virtual Office Hours: Faculty Early-Career Development program (CAREER)
May 15, 2023
3 – 4:30 PM ET
2023 NSF CAREER Program Informational Webinar
May 16, 2023
3 – 4 PM ET
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) Virtual Office Hours
May 18, 2023
1 – 2 PM ET
May Virtual Office Hours with the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
May 25, 2023
3 – 4:30 PM ET
2023 NSF CAREER Program Informational Webinar MCB/BIO Program Director, Engin Serpersu, will be available to answer BIO-specific questions


NSF, in partnership with KnowInnovation, will be hosting a virtual Town Hall and two Scoping Sessions (one in-person and one virtual) focused on LIFE: Leveraging Innovations From Evolution. LIFE aims to bring together diverse scientists to think on specific research challenges and opportunities, including technological and educational training needs, that leverage convergent evolution to investigate the evolution of innovation and adaptive traits.

About the Town Hall

The informational Town Hall on May 15, 2023, 1:00 – 2:30pm ET will include an overview of the goals of LIFE and provide details on the Scoping Sessions.

Register for the Town Hall by clicking here.  Deadline to register is May 14, 2023, 5:00 pm EDT.

About the Scoping Sessions

The Scoping Sessions will be held in-person in Indianapolis (August 14-16, 2023) and virtually (September 11, 13, 15, 2023).  These sessions will be highly interactive, with discussion- and solution-based formats aimed at providing actionable outcomes and recommendations to NSF for both near- and long-term research priorities.

Goals include:

  • Engaging the life sciences and adjacent communities to focus on research challenges and opportunities pertaining to evolutionary innovations within a convergent evolution framework to better understand generalizable as well as unique solutions to life’s common problems. 
  • Articulating needs, strategies, and recommendations to enable transdisciplinary research into life’s evolutionary innovations and solutions to changing environments. This includes research, infrastructure, and educational priorities.
  • Jumpstarting ideas, building new networks and teams, and outlining the most exciting areas of research that would leverage natural systems and convergently evolved innovations to help us more efficiently and effectively engineer new and sustainable technologies that power our economy.

Who Should Apply?

If you are eager to engage with diverse researchers to spark creative paths forward to advance our understanding of LIFE, join us!

We encourage researchers with interest and expertise in a variety of fields, including but not limited to the following: Systematics, Evolutionary Biology, Developmental Biology, Biomechanics, Physiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Cellular Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Chemistry, Computational Biology, Biological Informatics, Mathematical Modeling, Biogeography, Ecology, Synthetic Biology, Cyberinfrastructure, Biophysics and Engineering.

Apply for the Scoping Sessions by clicking here.  Deadline to apply is June 5, 2023 by 11:59 pm EDT.


As of April 18th, you are required to submit a plan for Safe and Inclusive Working Environments (SAI Plan) with proposals to the MCB core solicitation that include off-site work.

There are some caveats and more details outlined in the FAQ, but, for the most part, if you are conducting off-site or off-campus research and you are submitting to certain programs within BIO/GEO (see the current list here), you need to have your 2-page supplementary document uploaded with your submission.

As a reminder, this document must address the following four sections:

  1. a brief description of the field setting and unique challenges for the team;  
  2. the steps the proposing organization will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment, including processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, e.g., codes of conduct, trainings, mentor/mentee mechanisms and field support that might include regular check-ins, and/or developmental events;   
  3. communication processes within the off-site team and to the organization(s) that minimize singular points within the communication pathway (e.g., there should not be a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone); and   
  4. the organizational mechanisms that will be used for reporting, responding to, and resolving issues of harassment if they arise.   

You can check out some additional resources and past Virtual Office Hour presentations and recordings here.


We invite you to participate in a workshop aiming to strengthen partnerships among academic, private, and government organizations.

Supported by NSF’s Directorate of Biological Sciences (BIO), the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP) this workshop will build new connections among key biological sciences communities to successfully conduct use-inspired research.

The workshop will consist of a series of events facilitated by KnowInnovation:

  • Two free virtual Pre-Workshop MicroLabs (for an unlimited number of participants)
    • Friday, April 14, 2023, from noon to 2 p.m. MST
    • Friday, May 12, 2023, from noon to 2 p.m. MST
  • In-Person Workshop held June 12-14, 2023 in Boise, Idaho (for 120 selected participants representing diverse groups and organizations; applications will open April 14, 2023)

Participants of the workshop will co-create the structures and processes that guide how diverse organizations support and value use-inspired science and will guide NSF to create use-inspired tracks within the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Office of Integrative Activities. Participants will build connections to new funding and partnership opportunities within and associated with NSF’s new Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships.  Participants will gain insight from government and private organizations who want their science needs to be more broadly understood and incorporated into research priorities.

Who Should Participate?

Representatives from academic, private, and government communities across the science and engineering ecosystem are invited to attend. We especially encourage leaders and researchers from early to senior career stages — including graduate students — and original thinkers from industry to participate. 

Workshop Goals

The ultimate anticipated outcomes of the workshop are documents that will guide and facilitate use-inspired research and science-informed practices.

Those documents will be co-created by participants as they build awareness of the reciprocal benefits of strong partnerships that leverage and inspire innovations in basic and applied science; identify shared interests, community needs, and barriers to functional partnerships; and transfer knowledge.

Register Now


MCB’s no-deadline solicitation for investigator-initiated research projects has been updated with Core Program priorities and other important changes, including a new Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO) track, NSF’s requirement for a Safe and Inclusive Working Environments Plan, and budgetary guidance for education or broadening participation activities.  Below is a summary of some of the changes. 

IntBIO Track
The IntBIO program has been incorporated into the MCB solicitation as a new track. This track invites collaborative proposals to tackle bold questions that require an integrated approach to advance fundamental understanding of biological systems across different scales of organization. IntBIO proposals must span two or more subdisciplinary boundaries in biology and proposers are strongly encouraged to consult with a Program Director about the suitability of their project to the IntBIO track. 

To submit a proposal to the IntBIO track, you must provide additional information described in detail in the solicitation. The proposal must articulate the overarching biological question and expected advances in fundamental knowledge, and it must contain a graphical illustration of the integrative strategy, information about the collaborative team, and (as part of the Broader Impacts section) an integrative training and education plan. The proposal title must start with “IntBIO:”  

Safe and Inclusive Working Environments Plan
A plan for Safe and Inclusive Working Environments is now required as a supplementary document for proposals submitted to the MCB core programs after April 18, 2023 that involve off-campus or off-site research. This requirement reflects NSF’s efforts to foster safe and harassment-free environments wherever science is conducted. As a note, other programs across BIO and GEO are part of this pilot to require a plan as a supplementary document so be sure to read solicitations before you begin a proposals. 

Education and Broader Participation
There is also new guidance for requesting support for Education or Broadening Participation Activities. If such activities are anticipated, support should be requested at the time of proposal submission (details to be provided in supplementary documents). Post-award supplemental funding requests for these activities should be for unanticipated opportunities that arise after an award is made. Typical total budgets are: 

RAHSS – $6,000 per high school student; 

RET – up to $15,000 per school teacher; 

REU – $7,000 – $9,000 per undergraduate student; 

REPS – $650 per week over 12 months, plus fringe benefits and travel per postbaccalaureate student; 

INTERN – maximum $55,000 per graduate student per 6-month period; 

ROA – up to $15,000 per faculty member. 

These amounts are for guidance only. Read the solicitation for more details.  


NSF released two new Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) focused on bio-inspired design and prioritizing interdisciplinary collaborations: 

BioDesign DCL 
Through the new BioDesign DCL, the MCB Core Programs aim to facilitate the translation of knowledge generated through research in the biological and engineering sciences to solutions and prototypes needed for societal and economic impacts.  

Specifically, the DCL seeks to:  

  • Encourage early-stage, transdisciplinary collaboration of two or more investigators doing research in biological and engineering sciences with the potential for bioinspired design applications; and 
  • Accelerate the translation of research findings into projects with potential societal and economic impacts that could be ready for commercialization. 

Both full proposals and supplemental funding requests will be accepted. All submissions should test hypotheses about the functioning of living things that are of interest to biologists and engineers; create an iterative process between foundational and use-inspired research to create a design that solves a practical problem; and develop prototypes based on these activities as part of a process of exploring pathways to larger societal and economic benefits. 

Additional participating programs in the BIO, ENG, and TIP Directorates are listed at the end of the DCL. Investigators are strongly encouraged to speak to a participating program director (listed with email contacts in the BioDesign DCL) before submitting a proposal or supplemental funding request. 

Convergence Accelerator Track M 

This DCL alerts the community to an upcoming solicitation from NSF’s Convergence Accelerator with three tracks, including Track M: Bio-Inspired Design Innovations (the other tracks are also BIO-relevant so check them out). Track M aims to bring together cross-sector teams to develop concepts, approaches, and technologies that capitalize on millions of years of evolution to find novel solutions to major societal and economic challenges. The track was chosen based on the results of an NSF-funded community workshop on Bio-Inspired Design. Broad topics within this track may include – but are not limited to – the following: 

  • Development of materials with features such as programmable self-assembly, multi-modal sensing, computation, memory, adaptation, and healing and regenerative capabilities. 
  • Novel manufacturing capabilities that harness advances in synthetic biology, bioengineering, nanofabrication, and 3D printing. 
  • Engineering complex systems with novel properties based on principles of synthetic biology, bioengineering, and robotics or organismal biology (e.g., organoids, microbial consortia, collective swarms). 
  • Computational modeling and theory-enabled methods and tools for bio-inspired designs. 
  • Applications in areas including, but not limited to, environmental monitoring, bioremediation and preservation, sustainable materials, biological manufacturing, personalized healthcare, resilient infrastructure, and agriculture and food production. 

For more information on the Convergence Accelerator program, check out the previous 2022 solicitation and the Convergence Accelerator program page. The 2022 solicitation can provide guidance on review criteria and other topics until the 2023 solicitation is published.  

Should you have questions about this DCL, please contact the Convergence Accelerator program at


NSF has announced a new Global Centers (GC) program, an ambitious effort to fund international, interdisciplinary collaborative research centers that will apply best practices of broadening participation and community engagement to develop use-inspired research on climate change and clean energy. Centers are also expected to create and promote opportunities for students and early career researchers to gain education and training in world class research while enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

International Partnerships

Given the global scale of the challenge of responding to climate change, NSF has partnered with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in Canada, and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in the United Kingdom. These international partners will fund non-U.S.-based parts of teams under one of two tracks in the program.

Program Tracks

  • Track 1: Global Center Implementation will support the first Global Centers involving research partnerships with Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Awards will be up to $5 million total per award of 4-to-5-year duration. Foreign teams will be funded by their respective country agencies.Full proposals for Track 1 are due by May 10, 2023.
  • Awards will be up to $250,000 total per award of 2-year duration.The proposal window for Track 2 is between April 2, 2023 and May 10, 2023.

Opportunities to Learn More

Program Webinar

The GC program team hosted a webinar to introduce the new solicitation to the community and give potential PIs an opportunity to ask questions. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed here.

Virtual Office Hours

The GC program team is also hosting a series of Virtual Office Hours aimed at giving potential PIs an opportunity to ask questions. The series starts on March 7 and ends on May 2. Any questions about the program can be asked at any session, although two of the sessions will have a special focus: Monday March 13 (Non-R1 Institutions) and Monday March 20 (Minority Serving Institutions).Session dates and times can be found on the event page.

There are no restrictions on attending multiple sessions, so please feel free to attend the session which best fits your schedule. The Zoom link will be the same for all sessions.


It’s not too late to request a feasibility review for NSF 22-549, “Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaborations Between NSF and the DOE BETO funded Agile BioFoundry”. The deadline for requesting feasibility reviews from the Agile BioFoundry is extended to March 1st.  

Make your request here.

This funding opportunity will provide support for synthetic and engineering biology research projects that have the potential to leverage the unique capabilities at the Agile BioFoundry to further the development of the fundamental research towards eventual translation. Read more about the Agile Biofoundry here.