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 21-509
  • Transitions to Excellence in MCB Research (Transitions): NSF 21-508

Solicitations of Interest to MCB PIs:

  • Designing Synthetic Cells Beyond the Bounds of Evolution (Designer Cells): NSF 21-531
  • Mid-Career Advancement (MCA): NSF 21-516
  • Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER): NSF 20-525 (NSF Wide)
  • Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO): NSF 21-622
  • Research Experiences for Teachers Sites in Biological Sciences (BIORETS): NSF 21-584
  • NSF-Simons Collaboration on a National Institute for Theory and Mathematics in Biology (NITMB): NSF 21-607
  • Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI-2022/23): NSF 21-615
  • Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP): NSF 22-506
  • Dark Dimensions of the RNA Regulome (D2R2) – An Ideas Lab Activity: NSF 22-510

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


  • Conferences to Prepare for the Transformation of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Research through Information Synthesis and Integration: NSF 21-017
  • Sentinel Cells for Surveillance and Response to Emergent Infectious Diseases (Sentinels): NSF 20-105
  • Plant Synthetic Biology: NSF 20-045
  • Models for Uncovering Rules and Unexpected Phenomena in Biological Systems (MODULUS): NSF 21-069
  • LEAding cultural change through Professional Societies (LEAPS) of Biology: NSF 21-049
  • Tool Development for Cell Biology (Tools4Cells): NSF 21-057


  • ANR – NSF/Physics/MCB Lead Agency Opportunity at the Physics – Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Interface: NSF 21-120
  • UKRI/BBSRC- NSF/BIO Lead Agency Opportunity in Biological Informatics, Microbes and the Host Immune System, Quantum Biology and Synthetic Cell (BBSRC): NSF 21-100
  • 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 21-013. Supplements may also be requested directly from your Program Director.
  • Research Experience for Post-Baccalaureate Students (REPS) in the Biological Sciences Supplemental Funding Opportunity NSF 21-085

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 – Excellence in Research Program (HBCU – EiR): 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
  • Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology (BRC-BIO): NSF 22-500

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)