A webinar will be co-hosted on Wednesday January 25th, 2023 by teams from the NSF, BETO, and ABF.  The webinar will describe the objectives of this funding opportunity, discuss key considerations, as spelled out in the solicitation, lay out steps for submitting, and emphasize key dates.

To register for this webinar – Click Here.

The Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office (DOE BETO) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences in the Biological Sciences Directorate and Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems in the Engineering Directorate announce a collaborative funding opportunity, “Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaboration Between NSF and the DOE BETO funded Agile BioFoundry (NSF-DOE/ABF Collaboration)”,  NSF 22-549

To help advance the U.S. bioeconomy, 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. The topical areas of interest should align with the broad interests of both NSF and DOE BETO.

Thematic areas of particular interest include: 1) expansion of the range of host organisms amenable to the tools of synthetic and engineering biology; 2) development of novel biotechnology approaches to mitigate climate change; 3) projects that advance a circular bioeconomy; and 4) development of affordable, bio-based, sustainable aviation fuel or other products of interest to NSF and DOE BETO that can demonstrate significant climate change mitigation and/or greenhouse gas reductions over a petroleum baseline. The potential economic and environment impact of the project is also a consideration.

Researchers from institutions of higher education and nonprofits are eligible to apply.  Prior to submission of the NSF proposals, project ideas must be evaluated by ABF for feasibility (see below).  Full proposals will be submitted to and reviewed by NSF, and projects selected for support will be confirmed for suitability by ABF.  Successful projects will include funding from NSF for the work performed at the Principal Investigator’s (PI’s) institution and funding from BETO to support the part of the project to be completed by the ABF. DOE BETO will support the work at ABF through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Visit ABF’s Work-With-Us page for more details, including the current CRADA document. 

The deadline for proposal submission is Tuesday, April 18th, 2023.  Proposed projects entail close collaboration with the ABF team. Therefore, prior to submission, PIs are required to request a feasibility review of the project for which ABF collaboration is desired, using the template located here. Once a project has been deemed feasible by the ABF, PIs will coordinate with ABF investigators and refine scope and budget details. PIs will be provided a feasibility evaluation document to submit with their NSF proposals. The proposal timeline is as follows:

  • February 15th, 2023 – PIs submit outline of proposed work to ABF for feasibility review. Prior to submission deadline, PIs are encouraged to review ABF capabilities.
  • March 1st, 2023 – ABF provides feedback to PIs and NSF on the feasibility of the proposed work. PIs with a positive feasibility review will coordinate with the ABF team to refine scope and budget for the full proposal.
  • April 18th, 2023 – PIs submit full proposal along with feasibility review documentation from ABF.

NSF will review proposals according to the standard merit review criteria along with specific criteria that are detailed in the solicitation.  Proposers are encouraged to review ABF capabilities and intellectual property provisions of the CRADA prior to submission. 

For full details on submission instructions, solicitation requirements, and contact information, see NSF 22-549.


The Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Engineering (ENG) Geosciences (GEO), Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), in collaboration with the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnership (TIP), have led a series of workshops that catalyzed community engagement in topics relevant to the Regional Innovation Engines (Engines) funding opportunity that seeks to expand our Nation’s innovation capacity and enhance the Nation’s economic and industrial competitiveness.

The workshops focused on topics that addressed how advances in biotechnology and other fields could advance the U.S. bioeconomy to solve pressing societal problems.  Workshops were facilitated by University Industry Demonstration Partnerships (UIDP) and brought together stakeholders from academia, industry, government, and private foundations.

More information and links to the workshop reports can be found below.

A final workshop on Innovation Ecosystems for Adaptive Sustainable Health  will be held on May 10-11, 2022.

Once finalized, all workshop reports will be made available on the UIDP website, check back here for more information.

Common topics discussed in the workshops that are crucial in establishing successful Engines include:

  • Advancements in fundamental science and technology
  • Developing data repositories on shared and standardized platforms
  • Working across the value chain to translate innovation into impact
  • Identifying best practices in establishing partnerships and stakeholder engagement
  • Collaborating with social scientists to ensure effective messaging that fortifies public trust of new technologies
  • Establishing a resilient and sustainable supply chain
  • Establishing robust cross-disciplinary training and education programs

Learn more about the Engines Program
Individuals interested in Regional Innovation Engines should consult the Broad Agency Announcement – including the FAQs, which lay out possible topics of interest.  Also, consider attending the webinars hosted by the TIP Directorate, the first of which is May 17, at 1 PM EDT. The link for registration is here.

Shape the Future of Synthetic Biology! Apply for Funding to Mentor High School iGEM Teams

Reposted from BIO Buzz: Blog of the BIO Office of the Assistant Director.

NSF is calling for requests for supplements and proposals to support high school teams participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine – or “iGEM” – competition.

Attracting diverse students to STEM careers at a young age is essential to ensure the realization of a vibrant U.S. bioeconomy that will fuel innovation, economic growth and job creation. Synthetic biology has emerged as a major driver of innovation and technological advancement; as such, active researcher engagement of young people in synthetic biology is an important early step in workforce development to support a growing bioeconomy.

iGEM has emerged as the premier opportunity to engage students in creative research and technology development projects in synthetic biology. Annually, over 6,000 students from around the world at the high school, undergraduate, and master’s level participate in iGEM, working to design, build and test creative solutions to societal challenges using the tools of synthetic biology.

To support early career workforce development in this growing field, NSF is encouraging principal investigators of existing NSF awards to apply for supplements through the Research Assistantships for High School Students (RAHSS) mechanism to support iGEM teams. Supplements can vary in size but are expected to average approximately $10,000 per team. Additionally, NSF encourages the submission of Research Coordination Networks (RCN) proposals that would support dissemination of best practices for working with high school iGEM teams, and/or ways of remote mentoring of teams that are not located near a research university with synthetic biology capabilities. RCN proposals can be submitted at any time to the Biological Sciences or Engineering Directorates.

For more information on iGEM and how researchers can participate, visit