A new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) was issued by the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) on the development of new tools and methods to advance our understanding of cells. Tool Development for Cell Biology, or Tools4Cells (NSF 21-057), seeks to expand our knowledge of cells using interdisciplinary approaches that can leverage advances in other fields and apply them to cell biology. Some examples of these advances include gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 applied to probe gene localization, and the application of cryo-EM and x-ray free electron lasers to the study of protein structure and dynamics.
Read more about the DCL criteria and proposal submission details here.
The field of molecular and cellular biosciences has generated vast amounts of knowledge about cellular parts and processes through advances in biophysical, -omics, and imaging technologies, among others. The work of synthesizing this information, such as harmonizing and collectively interpreting divergent datasets, developing new analytical approaches and tools, building models and theories, and integrating knowledge from within and across various disciplines, can have a transformative impact on all of biology.
NSF has a history of supporting information synthesis through large scale centers, such as the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), that have engaged thousands of investigators over 10-year investment periods and have led to striking advances in their fields.
To begin planning for a synthesis center, the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences has released a Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 21-017) announcing the availability of conference funding to build networks of scientists with diverse perspectives to formulate ideas for a synthesis center in molecular and cellular sciences. To be considered for FY 2021 funding, proposals responsive to this DCL should be received before April 21, 2021. Proposals will be awarded on a rolling basis. Important details about preparing and submitting a competitive conference proposal are included in the announcement.
Participants from academia, industry, government, non-profit, and other sectors are encouraged to submit their ideas at https://bit.ly/31sNzDg. Responses to the RFI are due by November 9, 2020.
Upcoming Webinars for RFI Interested individuals may join the Convergence Accelerator on October 21 or 27, 2020 to learn about the program’s ideation process, specifically focusing on the FY 2022 RFI on future topics. Attendees will learn about the Convergence Accelerator’s model and fundamentals, designed to leverage a convergence approach to transition basic research and discovery into practice. Through this program, fundamental knowledge generated by MCB-supported science can be transitioned to address complex societal issues.
The goal of this webinar is to bring awareness of this exciting opportunity to accelerate NSF-funded research and discovery to further societal impact.
NSF recently released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL)
inviting the community to provide input on data-intensive science and
engineering research questions and challenges and the essential data-related
cyberinfrastructure (CI) services and capabilities needed to publish, discover,
transport, manage and process data in secure, performant and scalable ways to
enable that data-intensive research.
This is an opportunity for the BIO community to provide input on
questions, challenges and associated needs specifically related to data-focused
CI. While this DCL is not a funding opportunity, all input would be used to
inform the refinement of NSF’s CI investment strategy and planning of future
NSF funding opportunities.
For more information on how to submit ideas, please refer to the
DCL (NSF 20-015) or
contact the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submissions is December 16, 2019.
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) became fully operational this year, and public sources of data are now freely available. Additionally, a recent Dear Colleague Letter announced an intent to compete management of future operation and maintenance of the network. Read more about it on Bio Buzz, BIO’s blog from the office of the Assistant Director.
Funding opportunities are available in fiscal years FY 2019
and FY 2020 to provide support for proposals from interdisciplinary teams
comprised of mathematical, computational, and biological scientists to develop MODels for Uncovering Rules and Unexpected Phenomena in Biological Systems (MODULUS). The divisions of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB)
and Mathematical Sciences (DMS) are seeking to cultivate innovative modes of
collaboration among researchers working at the interface of mathematics and
molecular and cellular biology. The MODULUS DCL encourages the formation of
nascent collaborative teams that use novel mechanistic mathematical models to
guide systems-scale exploration and discovery of new biological phenomena,
rules, and theories that govern molecular interactions and emergent behaviors
in living systems.
Proposals in response to this DCL may be submitted to the
current core solicitations, either in DMS via the Mathematical Biology Program
18-7334, or the MCB solicitation NSF
18-585 and directed to the Systems and Synthetic Biology program. Full
details on program priorities, submission requirements, and important dates are
available via the
The March 1 deadline for submissions to the NSF 19-027 (Dear Colleague Letter: Request for Information-Integration Institutes for Cross-cutting Biology) remains unchanged. For more information about this DCL, please visit the BIO Buzz article posted at this link.
The NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences has published a Dear Colleague Letter: Request for Information seeking ideas from the community on Integration Institutes for cross-cutting biology. These institutes would support collaborative teams of researchers to address questions that span multiple levels of organization in living systems and require expertise from diverse biological subdisciplines.
In response to popular feedback, and in the interest of our community, MCB will be following in GEO’s footsteps to eliminate deadlines for future proposals. We will release a new solicitation in mid-2018 which will detail the procedure and funding priorities for proposals submitted with “no deadline.” Funding for the proposals submitted under the no-deadline solicitation will begin during the 2019 fiscal year.
Eliminating proposal deadlines offers three key advantages. First, no-deadlines allows PIs to be more strategic in building collaborations; second, no-deadline reduces the time crush on institutions; and third, no-deadlines enables NSF-BIO to work more collaboratively across the directorate to fund science that crosses levels of biological organization. NSF anticipates that this change will result in more complex, interdisciplinary projects that have the potential to dramatically advance biological science.
More information about the change will be released through FAQs, webinars, presentations, and this blog as it arrives. Read more in the Dear Colleague Letter (NSF 18-11).