Funding Opportunities

Current MCB funding opportunities

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) and the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) accept proposals to core solicitations as well as special solicitations. MCB also announces its interest in specific areas or alerts the community to new opportunities through Dear Colleague Letters. Below are opportunities which may be of interest to MCB applicants.

MCB Solicitations: 

  • Investigator-Initiated Research Projects: NSF 18-585
  • Transitions to Excellence in MCB Research (Transitions): NSF 20-505

Solicitations of Interest to MCB PIs:

  • Future Manufacturing: NSF 20-552
  • Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER): NSF 20-525 (NSF Wide)
  • Integration Institutes:  NSF 20-508 (BIO)
  • Understanding the Rules of Life (URoL) Epigenetics: NSF 20-512 (NSF Wide)
  • URoL: Microbiome Theory and Mechanisms: NSF 20-513 (NSF Wide)
  • Semiconductor Synthetic Biology for Information Storage and Retrieval (SemiSynBio-II): NSF 20-518
  • National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Institutes: NSF 20-604 (NSF Wide)

Dear Colleague Letters (DCL) of interest to MCB PIs:


  • Sentinel Cells for Surveillance and Response to Emergent Infectious Diseases (Sentinels): NSF 20-105
  • Plant Synthetic Biology: NSF 20-045
  • NSF Convergence Accelerator: NSF 20-061
  • Models for Uncovering Rules and Unexpected Phenomena in Biological Systems (MODULUS): NSF 19-054


  • ANR – NSF/Physics/MCB Lead Agency Opportunity at the Physics – Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Interface: NSF 20-120
  • UKRI/BBSRC- NSF/BIO Lead Agency Opportunity in Biological Informatics, Microbes and the Host Immune System, Quantum Biology and Synthetic Cell (BBSRC): NSF 20-118
  • Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under National Science Foundation (NSF) and US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Research Opportunities: NSF 20-094


  • Research Experience for Teachers (RET): Funding Opportunity in the Biological Sciences: NSF 18-089. Supplements may also be requested directly from your Program Director.
  • Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS) Funding to Broaden Participation in the Biological Sciences: NSF 18-088. Supplements may also be requested directly from your Program Director.
  • Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding Opportunity NSF 18-102. Supplements may also be requested directly from your Program Director.

Special Research Funding Opportunities:

  • EAGER/RAPID/RAISE/Conference (by invitation only). All submissions must be made in accordance with the PAPPG: NSF 20-1
  • Research Coordination Networks (RCN): NSF 17-594  

Opportunities for Undergraduate- and Minority- Serving Institutions:

  • Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions NSF 14-579
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP): NSF 20-542 (NSF wide)
  • Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program): NSF 20-599 (NSF wide)
  • Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) and Research Opportunity Award (for ROA): NSF 14-579
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): NSF 19-582

Opportunities for Students and Postdoctoral Researchers:  

  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP): NSF 20-587 (NSF wide)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB): NSF 20-602 (Division of Biological Infrastructure)