NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity Funding Opportunity

[reposting an email from the American Society for Microbiology]

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has requested that ASM bring to the attention of interested members the following funding opportunity:

Dimensions of Biodiversity FY 2015
URL: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15533/nsf15533.htm 
Full Proposal Deadline: April 9, 2015 (due by 5 p.m. proposer’s local time)

Synopsis of Program:

Despite centuries of discovery, most of our planet’s biodiversity remains unknown. The scale of the unknown diversity on Earth is especially troubling given the rapid and permanent loss of biodiversity across the globe. The goal of the Dimensions of Biodiversity campaign is to transform, by 2020, how we describe and understand the scope and role of life on Earth.

This campaign promotes novel integrative approaches to fill the most substantial gaps in our understanding of the diversity of life on Earth. It takes a broad view of biodiversity, and focuses on the intersection of genetic, phylogenetic, and functional dimensions of biodiversity. Successful proposals must integrate these three dimensions to understand interactions and feedbacks among them. While this focus complements several core programs in BIO and GEO, it differs by requiring that multiple dimensions of biodiversity be addressed simultaneously, in novel ways, to understand their synergistic roles in critical ecological and evolutionary processes.

Award Information:      

  • Anticipated Type of Award: Standard Grant or Continuing Grant
  • Estimated Number of Awards: 8 to 12
  • Anticipated Funding Amount: $16,000,000 to $22,000,000

More Information:  

Matthew D. Kane, BIO/DEB: (703) 292-7186, Dimensions@nsf.gov

Sincerely,
Ronald M. Atlas, Ph.D.
Chair, Public and Scientific Affairs Board

Moore Foundation EOI call – Marine Microeukaryotes as Experimental Model Systems

Request for Expressions of Interest: Increasing the Potential of Marine Microeukaryotes as Experimental Model Systems through the Development of Genetic Tools

The Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation aims to enable scientists to uncover the principles that govern the interactions among microbes and that influence nutrient flow in the marine environment. MMI is targeting closing gaps in and supporting the advancement of experimental model systems in microbial oceanography to enable new ways to uncover fundamental biological mechanisms.

We are soliciting expressions of interest (EOIs) for early-stage research projects to develop methods to genetically manipulate marine microeukaryotes as a first step in breaking current bottlenecks in the advancement of experimental model systems. MMI has two primary foci for this expression of interest:

  1. Development of genetic tools for diatoms. Diatoms are key players in the world’s oceans, generating ~20% of the world’s organic carbon, and a strong community of researchers is in place suggesting broad use of successfully developed methods. We are specifically interested in projects to develop reverse and/or forward genetics.
  2. Screening laboratory-scale culture collections for transformable marine microeukaryotes.
    MMI will also consider projects to develop genetic tools and methods with other microeukaryotes that show promise for expanding the way the field can test hypotheses. If your idea does not fit category 1 or 2 above, please contact us prior to submitting your EOI.

MMI encourages EOIs from “inter-organismal” teams of researchers – i.e., complementary groups that have experience in a well-established model system and with a microeukaryote that is not currently genetically tractable – whose collaborative effort will bring innovative approaches to the field.

MMI invites you to send an expression of interest via email that briefly outlines a research project (one paragraph or less), using the following template:

  1. The lead researcher’s name, institution, and expertise.
  2. Indication of focus on genetic tools for diatoms (category 1 above) or laboratory culture screening for
    transformability (category 2 above).
  3. For category 1, the name of the organism(s); or, for category 2, the taxonomic group(s) to be screened.
  4. A methodological or technical challenge that is hindering the development of a genetically
    manipulable marine microeukaryotic system that is ripe for solving and how you would address this
    challenge (3-5 sentences).
  5. The research team that would tackle this challenge, and why each team member’s expertise is relevant
    (one sentence per team member; please include institutional affiliations).

The opportunities that best align with MMI’s strategies and goals will be invited to submit proposals. MMI has allocated $7–10M to support this effort and anticipates making multiple, 2–3 year awards beginning in mid- 2015.

Please submit your EOI by Tuesday January 6, 2015 to Samantha Forde at samantha.forde@moore.org.

NSF Genealogy of Life (GoLife) – 2015 call for proposals

NSF has once again issued its RFP for the Genealogy of Life (GoLife) program. Full proposal deadline is March 25, 2015.

Program Synopsis (from NSF website): 

Comprehensive understanding of life and how and why it changes over time depends on knowledge of the phylogeny (evolutionary relationships) of living and extinct organisms. The goals of the Genealogy of Life (GoLife) program are to resolve the phylogenetic history of all life’s diverse forms and to integrate this genealogical architecture with underlying organismal and environmental data.

The ultimate vision of this program is an open access, comprehensive Genealogy of Life that will provide the comparative framework necessary for testing questions in systematics, evolutionary biology, ecology, and other fields. Strategic integration of this genealogy of life with data layers from genomic, phenotypic, spatial, ecological and temporal data will produce an extensive synthesis of biodiversity and evolutionary sciences. The resulting knowledge infrastructure will enable synthetic research on biological dynamics throughout the history of life on Earth, within current ecosystems, and for predictive modeling of the future evolution of life.

Projects submitted to this program should emphasize increased efficiency in contributing to a complete Genealogy of Life and strategic integration of various types of organismal and environmental data with phylogenies.

This program also seeks to broadly train next generation, integrative phylogenetic biologists, creating the human resource infrastructure and workforce needed to tackle emerging research questions in comparative biology. Projects should train students for diverse careers by exposing them to the multidisciplinary areas of research within the proposal.

Detailed Program Description (from NSF website):

The Genealogy of Life program has four main goals: 1) Taxonomic completeness — containing all described species of a given clade, including those lineages that are extinct, 2) Data completeness —including diverse underlying data layers (e.g., digitized images, specimen collection information, environmental and habitat data, geographic and stratigraphic distributions, genomic and phenomic data, developmental data and ontologies), 3) Dynamic and open structure — allowing the automatic incorporation of new data and taxa, and mechanisms for accessibility to the broad scientific and non-scientific communities, and 4) Training of the next generation of phylogenetic biologists –– integrative training in diverse fields across comparative evolutionary biology. Successful projects will describe how research and training activities will achieve these four overarching goals.

All successful proposals will have the goal of massively increasing the taxonomic and character data space that contributes to making our understanding of life’s genealogy as thorough as possible. When preparing a GoLife proposal, proposers are required to justify the need for phylogenetic analysis on their chosen taxonomic group of study and their approach to advancing data inclusiveness. Taxonomic completeness, as described above in Goal 1, will likely be group-dependent. For example, work on clades that include a rich fossil record should include the fossil taxa in the proposed research. Completeness for other clades will likely be defined differently.

Proposals should focus on poorly sampled clades or data layers within the Genealogy of Life where new data will have a profound impact on new understanding of the pattern of life’s evolution. In accordance with Goal 2 above, justification of data layers to be added is expected to be strategic and to enable future hypothesis-based research. Chosen data layers are likely to be clade-specific. For example, some vertebrate, invertebrate and plant clades will enable approaches that add substantial phenotypic, geochronological, environmental, spatial, and other types of data layers; some prokaryotic clades will enable approaches that add metabolic pathway, genomic and environmental data layers. GoLife proposals should outline the specific types of novel, hypothesis-driven research that would be enabled by the specific phylogenetic and data layer choices that are proposed.

For this year’s solicitation, along with the generation of new phylogenetic data and phylogenetic analyses, GoLife research projects must integrate at least two different data types. Proposals that do not integrate at least two data layers will be returned without review.

Examples of data layers (not an exhaustive list) that could be integrated in GoLife proposals include:

  • a) Genomic/Phylogenomic sequence data
  • b) Genotype-phenotype linkage and mapping
  • c) Morphological data
  • d) Fossil data
  • e) Geochronological data
  • f) Developmental data
  • g) Ontologies
  • h) Geospatial data
  • i) Environmental data
  • j) Digitized voucher specimens
  • k) Encyclopedia of Life webpages
  • l) Behavioral data
  • m) Physiological data
  • n) Metabolic pathways

Length and size of award will depend upon the number and size of the data sets to be added to the Genealogy of Life. Priority will be given to those proposals that provide: 1) the most substantial increase in volume of tree space added, and/or 2) the most significant increase in annotated organismal and environmental data layers. The phylogenetic scope of a GoLife proposal should vastly exceed that of a typical Phylogenetic Systematics core program proposal. Given advances in the field, the size and scope of GoLife proposals should also vastly exceed that of AToL projects.

GoLife projects should leverage existing infrastructure when possible, to avoid redundancy in tools available for comparative biology. Examples of existing infrastructure that GoLife projects could build upon, or access digital data from, include iDigBio, Genbank, Open Tree of Life, etc.

Projects that largely repeat or replicate existing work will not be funded. Additional examples of projects that will not be considered by this program include: 1) projects that only use a single data type (e.g. genomic/phylogenomic or morphological), 2) projects that consist of species surveys, inventories, or descriptions (e.g., Biodiversity: Discovery and Analysis projects), 3) projects that are focused on revisionary systematics (e.g. Advancing Revisionary and Taxonomy and Systematics projects), 4) projects that aim to test a particular hypothesis related to the evolution of a particular group (e.g., Phylogenetic Systematics projects), and 5) projects that are solely focused on the development of new methods or technologies without the generation of substantial amounts of new phylogenetic data. Research proposals that do not focus on poorly sampled clades or data layers within the Genealogy of Life should be submitted to other relevant NSF programs.

NSF Genealogy of Life (GoLife) – call for proposals

A upcoming funding opportunity that may be of interest to RCN members:

Genealogy of Life (GoLife)

NSF Program Solicitation (NSF 14-527)

Proposal Deadline: March 26, 2014

Synopsis of Program: All of comparative biology depends on knowledge of the evolutionary relationships (phylogeny) of living and extinct organisms. In addition, understanding biodiversity and how it changes over time is only possible when Earth’s diversity is organized into a phylogenetic framework. The goals of the Genealogy of Life (GoLife) program are to resolve the phylogenetic history of life and to integrate this genealogical architecture with underlying organismal data.

The ultimate vision of this program is an open access, universal Genealogy of Life that will provide the comparative framework necessary for testing questions in systematics, evolutionary biology, ecology, and other fields. A further strategic integration of this genealogy of life with data layers from genomic, phenotypic, spatial, ecological and temporal data will produce a grand synthesis of biodiversity and evolutionary sciences. The resulting knowledge infrastructure will enable synthetic research on biological dynamics throughout the history of life on Earth, within current ecosystems, and for predictive modeling of the future evolution of life.

Projects submitted to this program should emphasize increased efficiency in contributing to a complete Genealogy of Life and integration of various types of organismal data with phylogenies.

This program also seeks to broadly train next generation, integrative phylogenetic biologists, creating the human resource infrastructure and workforce needed to tackle emerging research questions in comparative biology. Projects should train students for diverse careers by exposing them to the multidisciplinary areas of research within the proposal.

Moore Foundation Data-Driven Discovery Investigator Competition

A upcoming funding opportunity that may be of interest to RCN members:

Moore Foundation Data-Driven Discovery Investigator Competition

Pre-Proposal Deadline: February 24, 2014

Synopsis of Program:Our Data-Driven Discovery Initiative seeks to advance the people and practices of data-intensive science, to take advantage of the increasing volume, velocity, and variety of scientific data to make new discoveries. Within this initiative, we’re supporting data-driven discovery investigators – individuals who exemplify multidisciplinary, data-driven science, coalescing natural sciences with methods from statistics and computer science.

These innovators are striking out in new directions and are willing to take risks with the potential of huge payoffs in some aspect of data-intensive science. Successful applicants must make a strong case for developments in the natural sciences (biology, physics, astronomy, etc.) or science enabling methodologies (statistics, machine learning, scalable algorithms, etc.), and applicants that credibly combine the two are especially encouraged. Note that the Science Program does not fund disease targeted research.

It is anticipated that the DDD initiative will make about 15 awards at ~$1,500,000 each, at $200K-$300K/year for five years. Pre-applications are due Monday, February 24, 2014 by 5 pm Pacific Time. We expect to extend invitations for full applications in April 2014. Full applications will be due five weeks after the invitation is sent, currently anticipated for mid-May 2014.