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: 

  • Core Programs: NSF 23-548
  • Transitions to Excellence in MCB Research (Transitions): NSF 21-508
  • Synthesis Center for Molecular and Cellular Sciences (SCMCS): NSF 22-608
  • Designing Synthetic Cells Beyond the Bounds of Evolution (Designer Cells): NSF 21-531

Solicitations of Interest to MCB PIs:

  • Molecular Foundations for Biotechnology (MFB): 23-554
  • Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER): NSF 22-586 (NSF Wide)
  • Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaboration Between NSF and the DOE BETO funded Agile BioFoundry (NSF-DOE/ABF Collaboration): NSF 22-549
  • Mid-Career Advancement (MCA): NSF 22-603
  • Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO) Track: Core Programs
  • Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP): NSF 23-514
  • Research Experiences for Teachers Sites in Biological Sciences (BIORETS): NSF 21-584
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): NSF 22-601
  • Track 3 (Helium) in the Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) solicitation:  23-519
  • Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI-2022/23): NSF 21-615
  • Dark Dimensions of the RNA Regulome (D2R2) – An Ideas Lab Activity: NSF 22-510
  • Leading Culture Change Through Professional Societies of Biology (BIO-LEAPS): NSF 22-542
  • Biology Integration Institutes (BII): NSF 23-511
  • Building Synthetic Microbial Communities for Biology, Mitigating Climate Change, Sustainability and Biotechnology (Synthetic Communities): NSF 22-607

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


  • Convergence Accelerator 2023 Topics – Equitable Water Solutions, Chemical Sensing Applications, and Bio-Inspired Design Innovations: 23-066
  • Bio-Inspired Design Collaborations to Accelerate the Discovery-Translation Process (BioDesign): 23-055
  • Sentinel Systems that Detect, Recognize, Actuate, and Mitigate Emergent Biological Threats (DREAM Sentinels): NSF 22-077
  • Plant Synthetic Biology: NSF 20-045
  • Models for Uncovering Rules and Unexpected Phenomena in Biological Systems (MODULUS): NSF 21-069
  • Tool Development for Cell Biology (Tools4Cells): NSF 21-057
  • Announcement of Upcoming Topics for the 2022 NSF Convergence Accelerator Solicitation: NSF 22-036


  • ANR – NSF/MCB/PHY Lead Agency Opportunity at the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences – Physics Interface: NSF 22-129
  • UKRI/BBSRC- NSF/BIO Lead Agency Opportunity in Biological Informatics, Microbes and the Host Immune System, Quantum Biology and Synthetic Cell (BBSRC): NSF 22-107
  • Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under National Science Foundation (NSF) and US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) Collaborative Research Opportunities: NSF 20-094
  • NSF-DFG Lead Agency Opportunity in Molecular and Cellular Biology: NSF 22-015


  • 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 Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): NSF 22-601. 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 23-1
  • Research Coordination Networks (RCN): NSF 23-529

Opportunities for Undergraduate- and Minority- Serving Institutions:

  • Facilitating Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) and Research Opportunity Award (for ROA): 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 22-611 (NSF wide)
  • Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU): NSF 22-601
  • 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 22-614 (NSF wide)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB): NSF 22-623 (Division of Biological Infrastructure)