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The FY 2004 Budget Request for the Biological Infrastructure (DBI) Subactivity is $79.96 million, an increase of $7.64 million, or 10.6 percent, from the FY 2003 Request of $72.32 million.


Biological Infrastructure Funding
(Dollars in Millions)

FY 2002
FY 2003
FY 2004
Research Resources
Human Resources
Total, Biological Infrastructure

The goal of the Biological Infrastructure Subactivity is to ensure that essential infrastructure for contemporary research is available to scientists in all areas of biological science, from the molecular to the ecosystem level, for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary efforts. Innovations in infrastructure support are vital to the advancement of 21st Century Biology across the BIO Activity. Resources supported range from physical infrastructure, such as multi-user instrumentation, to training in biological research for students at undergraduate and postdoctoral levels. In addition, teams of scientists including biologists, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, computer scientists, and engineers are supported to develop new research tools. Development of research resources, such as genome sequence databases and improvement of natural history collections and biological field stations, is also supported.

Research Resources supports a range of activities including operation and management of the National Ecological Observatories Network (NEON), multi?user instrumentation; the development of instruments with new capabilities, improved resolution or sensitivity; upgrades to biological field stations and marine laboratories; support of living stock collections ranging from microbes to plants and animals; development of biological databases and informatics tools; and research collections in biological sciences. These various research resources provide the essential platforms and tools for effective research in modern biology.

Research Resources will provide infrastructure support of $54.99 million, an increase of $7.05 million, for:

  • Support for Mid-Size Facilities increased by $4.05 million over FY 2003. BIO will expand support for operations, maintenance and sustainability of mid-size scientific facilities, such as field stations, marine labs, natural history collections and living stock centers, all resources unique to biological research; and

  • Support for NEON, totaling $6.0 million, an increase of $3.0 million in FY 2004. Funding will be used for operational support for and coordination of two National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) sites. Construction and instrumentation costs for NEON are discussed in the Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction section.

Highlights of areas supported:

Research Resources provided support to the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve field station to develop a wireless communication system and install an array of sensing devices. These improvements to a remote field station will feed into major collaborations with other NSF-funded projects, such as ROADNet (Real-time Observatories, Applications, and Data Management Network) and HPWREN (High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network). With improved data collection and distribution, scientists and field station staff will be able to better inform policy makers, natural resource managers, and the general public on how to address critical questions about the environment and to teach students about environmental research.

Human Resources supports a range of activities centered on ensuring adequately and appropriately trained scientists for the future, broadening participation, and fostering the integration of research and education. Increasingly, emphasis is being placed on training a new generation of scientists who are well equipped to advance biology of the 21st Century. Human Resources will provide support of $24.97 million for programs that broaden participation while fostering the integration of research and education. This includes: NSF-wide activities such as Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program, Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12), and ADVANCE; increased stipends for students on IGERT and GK-12 awards; Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites projects, the Undergraduate Mentorship in Environmental Biology (UMEB), and the Collaborative Research at Undergraduate Institutions (C-RUI) programs, designed to encourage interdisciplinary research experiences for faculty and students at predominantly undergraduate institutions. Beginning in FY 2004, C-RUI and UMEB will be funded in alternate years. Support will increase for Research Experience for Teachers (RET).

A specific example of the impact of the DBI investment in the human resources program is the Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) Sites program. Broadening participation has been emphasized in BIO-supported REU sites. As a result, 10 REU sites are now based at minority-serving institutions. In addition, several sites successfully recruited 100% of their participants from underrepresented groups, including the University of Montana (Native American students), Northern Arizona University (Native American students), Massachusetts Bay Community College (African American, Hispanic and non-traditional students), University of Missouri at Columbia (primarily African American students), Emory University (African American students) and Michigan State University (African American and Hispanic students).