Funding & Service

Webinar and Update to the “Future Manufacturing (FM)” Solicitation

NSF has updated the “Future Manufacturing (FM)” solicitation (NSF 21-564) by revising the goal:

The goal of Future Manufacturing is to support fundamental research and education of a future workforce to overcome scientific, technological, educational, economic and social barriers in order to enable new manufacturing capabilities that do not exist today.

A webinar about the solicitation will be held Friday, Feb. 26, 1-2 pm EST. Registration for the webinar is required and can be found here.

Interested researchers can find a description of the opportunity and a link to the details on the Future Manufacturing program’s web page. Full details, requirements, and review criteria can be found in the solicitation itself. The NSF has also posted an overview of the Future Manufacturing awards made in 2020. Submit further questions to FutureManufacturing@nsf.gov.

BIO and COVID-19 Recovery Efforts

Updated 5 Mar 2021: A recording of the session is now available (Access Passcode: ++6ZM*=i).

From BioBuzz, the blog of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO): “Throughout the past year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has supported the research community by providing guidance, funding flexibilities, and deadline extensions. This support will remain a top priority for NSF as we seek to recover from the pandemic. Up-to-date information on these offerings continues to be added to the agency’s Coronavirus Information page.”

A BIO-wide virtual office hour event covering how BIO is supporting those impacted will be held Tuesday, Mar. 2, 11 am – 12 pm EST. For more information on these efforts and to register for the office hour, read the full post, linked here.

Cross-Disciplinary Workshops on Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention

The directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO); Computer Information Science and Engineering (CISE); Engineering (ENG); Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE); and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) at NSF are jointly supporting a series of interdisciplinary workshops (Feb. 16-17; Feb. 22-23; Feb 25-26; additional workshops planned) to engage research communities around the topic of Predictive Intelligence for Pandemic Prevention.

The workshops will bring together experts in the biological, engineering, computer, and social and behavioral sciences to start conversations and catalyze ideas on

  • how to advance scientific understanding beyond state-of-the-art in pre-emergence and emergence forecasting; and
  • real-time monitoring, and detection of inflection point events in order to prevent and mitigate the occurrence of future pandemics.

Each workshop is expected to have up to 50 invited active participants. The community can participate in a listen-only mode and interact through chat and Q&A functions. Individuals are encouraged to participate in as many workshops as possible, as each will cover a different aspect of the topic and all will be interdisciplinary in nature.

Registration info and agendas for each workshop are available at https://www.nsf.gov/events/event_summ.jsp?cntn_id=302023&org=CISE

Workshop 1 (Feb. 16-17, 2021): Rapidly detect and assess the threat of emerging pathogens through advanced biosensing, surveillance, and the tracking of human and non-human populations for risk modeling and pandemic preparedness. Agenda

Workshop 2 (Feb. 22-23, 2021): Understanding of how the global behavior of an organism emerges from the interactions that begin occurring between components at the molecular, cellular, and physiological scales. Agenda

Workshop 3 (Feb. 25-26, 2021): Description: Identification of pre-emergence and the predictions of rare events in multiscale, complex, dynamical systems. Agenda

Additional workshops are currently being planned. Stay tuned.

NSF Announces Call for Center for Advancement and Synthesis of Open Environmental Data and Sciences

Reposted from our friends at the BioBuzz Blog.

NSF has released a new solicitation for a Center for Advancement and Synthesis of Open Environmental Data and Sciences (NSF 21-549). Letters of Intent for the solicitation are due on April 1, 2021

Exemplifying open and team science, the Center will be fueled by open and freely available biological and other environmental data to catalyze novel scientific questions in environmental biology through the use of data-intensive approaches, research networks, and training in the accession, management, analysis, visualization, and synthesis of large data sets.

The Center will provide vision for speeding discovery through the increased use of large, publicly accessible datasets – such as those provided by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio), the LTER network, Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and others – to address biological research questions through collaborations with scientists in other related disciplines, as well as key questions that emerge at interfaces between biology, informatics, and a breadth of environmental sciences.

It also will foster the development of generalizable cyberinfrastructure solutions and community-driven standards for software, data, and metadata that support open and team science, and role-modeling best practices.

The Center will be a leader in diversifying the data-intensive environmental science workforce across demographic, geographic, institutional, and disciplinary dimensions and will further enable data-driven discovery through immersive education and training experiences to provide the advanced skills needed to maximize the scientific potential of large volumes of available open data.

For more information on the solicitation, including a list of cognizant Program Officers, please visit the program page.

Two Mid-CAREER solicitations: Transitions and MCA

MCB offers two special opportunities for mid-to-late-career scientists looking to enhance their research programs. A brief comparative overview is provided below.

Transitions to Excellence in
Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
Research (Transitions)
Mid-Career Advancement (MCA)
NSF 21-508NSF 21-516
MCB-specific solicitationNSF-wide solicitation
Open to all mid-career scientists, typically at Associate or Full Professor rank (or equivalent).Open to Associate Professor rank, 4th year onward (or equivalent).
Enables mid-career or later-stage scientists to pursue exciting new avenues of inquiry and expand or transition their research toward greater impact.Supports mid-career scientists to reinvest in their research amid high service and teaching responsibilities, through collaborative partnerships.
Offers PI salary for a sabbatical or similar professional development mechanism and additional 2 years of funding to continue building the research program.Offers PI and mentor salary, and funding to support associated research and training activities.
Priority is given to proposals built on a strong record of prior accomplishment and a compelling plan for moving the research in new directions. Projects that explore cross-disciplinary dimensions are encouraged.Priority is given to proposals demonstrating a substantive benefit to the PI’s research and career trajectory. Projects that explore cross-disciplinary dimensions are encouraged.
Deadline: Proposals are accepted at any time.Target Date: February 01, 2021 and the first Monday in February, annually thereafter.
Budget: $750,000 total over 3 years, including PI salary (6 mo)Budget: PI salary (6.5 mo), mentor salary (1 mo), and $100,000 total for research over 3 years.
Full list of requirements and funding priorities is in the solicitation, including Program Officer contacts, additional information can be found in the FAQsFull list of requirements and funding priorities is in the solicitation, including Program Officer contacts.

MCA will be hosting a webinar for more information and to answer any questions on Friday January 15 12PM EST. Register in advance here, a confirmation email will be sent which includes instructions on how to join.

Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO) Solicitation NSF 21-543

A new solicitation has been issued by the Directorate for Biological Sciences that is relevant to MCB Investigators, Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO; NSF 21-543). The program replaces the Rules of Life track, which was previously a part of the core program solicitations in the four Divisions of the Directorate for Biological Sciences. The new program refines and expands the former submission track.

The IntBIO solicitation invites submission of collaborative proposals that tackle bold questions in biology and require an integrated approach to make substantive progress. Integrative biological research spans subdisciplines and incorporates cutting-edge methods, tools, and concepts from each to produce groundbreaking biological discovery.

Note that proposal submissions to IntBIO have a deadline of March 16, 2021. Also note that, as BIO progresses in migrating proposal submissions to Research.gov, submissions to IntBIO must be made through Research.gov or Grants.gov.

Join MCB’s next Virtual Office Hours on Wednesday, January 13th from 2pm-3pm where we will discuss the IntBIO solicitation. Program Officers will introduce the solicitation, highlighting key aspects, and representatives from each of the program will be available for questions.

REGISTER FOR MCB’s VOH HERE

DEB’s next Virtual Office Hour on Monday, January 11th from 1pm-2pm EST will also cover the solicitation.

REGISTER FOR DEB’s VOH HERE

Informational EDGE Webinar: January 15, 2021, 2:00pm ET

The following is reposted from the IOS in Focus blog:

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS), together with the Divisions of Biological Infrastructure (DBI), Environmental Biology (DEB), and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will host a webinar about the Enabling Discovery through GEnomics (EDGE) program, which recently released a new solicitation, (NSF 21-546). Following a brief presentation, program directors from all of the Divisions and agencies will be available to answer questions from participants.

Through the EDGE program, the NSF and the NIH support genomic research that addresses the mechanistic basis of complex traits in diverse organisms within the context (environmental, developmental, social, and/or genomic) in which they function. The program also continues to support the development of innovative tools, technologies, resources, and infrastructure that advance biological research focused on the identification of the causal mechanisms connecting genes and phenotypes. 

Information on how to join the webinar live can be found below. The slides and transcript of the webinar will be posted here on the IOS blog as well as the EDGE program website after the live event.

All are welcome to join and ask questions!

Participant Instructions for the EDGE Program Webinar:

 When: Jan 15, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 
 Topic: EDGE Program Webinar
 
 Register in advance for this webinar:
 https://nsf.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_G6jcpqjjRFCjcfSy0YbCxA
 
 Or an H.323/SIP room system:
     H.323: 161.199.138.10 (US West) or 161.199.136.10 (US East)
     Meeting ID: 161 766 4900
     Passcode: 468123
     SIP: 1617664900@sip.zoomgov.com  
     Passcode: 468123
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
 
If you require accessibility accommodations to participate in this webinar, send an email to ethiels@nsf.gov 14 days in advance of the webinar specifying the accommodations needed. 

Related NSF/BIO programs and Divisions
Neural Systems
Behavioral Systems
Developmental Systems
Plant Genome Research Program
Physiological and Structural Systems
Division of Biological Infrastructure
Division of Environmental Biology
Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
  
Related NIH/NHGRI Divisions
Division of Genome Science
Division of Genomic Medicine
Division of Genomics and Society
  
Websites
Materials of the webinar will be available on the EDGE program website and the blogs of each of the Divisions in the Directorate for Biological Sciences following the webinar.

Life after Proposal Decline: Call Your Program Director

Headshot of Dr. Karl Thompson, Howard University

Of course there is a lot of emotion involved with a decline,” says Karl Thompson, Associate Professor of Microbiology at Howard University. He admits that when his proposal to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Excellence in Research (HBCU – EiR) solicitation was declined two years ago, he hesitated to contact Pamela Clarke, his university’s Director of Research Development. “I knew she would tell me to reach out to the program director,” he says. She did.

A week later, Thompson called Anthony Garza, program director in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), about the declined proposal. The conversation with Garza helped Thompson recognize the need to improve an aim and to recruit a collaborator to supplement the specific expertise needed on the proposed project. The conversation also affirmed for Thompson that the division was interested in the research area covered by the proposal, he says. Encouraged, Thompson submitted the revised proposal to MCB’s core solicitation (NSF 21-509). This time, the proposal was funded.

Thompson first applied to the EiR solicitation after attending MCB’s first webinar-based workshop for potential applicants. Participating in the mock panel review was a valuable experience, he says, and the webinar overall helped him understand and work with NSF structures.

To develop as an outstanding scientist, you’re going to have a lot of failures—and all of that is learning. – Karl Thompson

“If you make it, you have a track record of declines. To develop as an outstanding scientist, you’re going to have a lot of failures—and all of that is learning,” says Thompson. A review of proposal submissions by 10 of MCB’s most widely recognized awardees indicates that of nearly 300 proposals submitted, nearly half were not funded.  

“I am resilient,” says Thompson, “but it’s not that simple, because I had people along the way who guided me.” He offers this advice to fellow researchers: “Do the mourning. Do the denial. Then snap out of it.” And, call your program director!

Join BIO Program Officers for a Webinar on the Biology Integration Institutes Solicitation

A webinar providing information on NSF 20-601 (Biology Integration Institutes (BII)) will be held Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 1 pm EST. A question and answer session will follow the webinar.

Join the webinar at https://nsf.zoomgov.com/j/1603208549?pwd=S0lDSlpkd2hpZVVJdnVGYVFNdUhYUT09

The event will be hosted by the Directorate for Biological Sciences.

New Solicitation: Designing Synthetic Cells Beyond the Bounds of Evolution (Designer Cells)

A new solicitation (NSF 21-531) invites proposals that use cell design technology to address questions regarding the fundamental processes of life, the evolution of life, and biological diversity beyond extant processes and organisms. Proposals which use this technology for novel biotechnology applications are also welcomed. The goal of this solicitation is to support innovative research that develops and uses synthetic cell-like systems or cells to address at least one of the following themes:

  1. identify the minimal requirements or minimal functional units for the processes of life;
  2. address fundamental questions in the evolution of life on Earth or to explore biological diversity beyond that which currently exists in nature;
  3. provide new functionalities for innovative biotechnology applications.

Proposals submitted to this solicitation should address social, ethical, and safety issues associated with designing and building synthetically modified cells as an integrated component of the project.

Full proposals are due February 16, 2021 and on February 1 annually thereafter via Research.gov. Full solicitation requirements, program priorities, and contact information for program officers can be found in the solicitation NSF 21-531.