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.

New Solicitation: Future Manufacturing

an image of a welding assembly. Image credit: SasinTipchai/
Image credit: SasinTipchai/

In response to the Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, a report by the National Science & Technology Council, NSF has released a new solicitation, Future Manufacturing (FM) (NSF 20-552). This solicitation aims to support fundamental research and education of a future workforce that will enable manufacturing that does not exist today or exists at such small scales that it is not viable (“Future Manufacturing”).

The solicitation is relevant to basic research in biology, says Dr. Elebeoba May, program officer in the Systems and Synthetic Biology cluster. “This solicitation encourages interdisciplinary research that pushes the boundaries of what is currently possible in manufacturing. With respect to the biosciences, this is an opportunity to investigate how biology ‘manufactures’ from the molecular to the macroscale and use those insights to inform next-generation manufacturing products and practices.”

There are three thrust areas for FY20 submissions: Future Cyber Manufacturing Research, Future Eco Manufacturing Research, and Future Biomanufacturing Research. Additionally, the solicitation will support the following three award tracks:

Future Manufacturing Research Grants (FMRG) (two types)
Type I — $500,000 to $750,000 per year for up to five years,
Type II — $750,000 to $2,000,000 per year for up to five years; and
Future Manufacturing Seed Grants (FMSG)
Awards in this track will provide support for up to two years at a level not to exceed $250,000 per year; and
Future Manufacturing Networks (FMNet)
Awards in this track will provide up to five years of support at a total amount of $500,000.

Letters of intent are due April 10, 2020, with full proposals due June 5, 2020. Full details on program priorities, program officer contact information, and submission requirements can be found in the solicitation. A webinar will be held on Thursday, Mar. 26. Details will be available later.