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About BIO

If you're a new visitor to the Directorate for Biological Sciences website or just want a quick visual and textual summary of our areas of support, please visit the "About BIO" web page where we have added a new interactive organization chart.

NEON Update

March 16, 2016:

  • NSF has completed our process for selecting the new managing organization of NEON and have chosen Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle). The National Science Board fully supported this decision and authorized the Director to make an award to Battelle. An initial cooperative agreement is now in place.
  • Battelle will quickly assume full management responsibility for the project. This initial award establishes a 90-day transition period where the final costs to construct and operate NEON will be negotiated with NSF. This has always been NSF’s plan, since costs presented during selection could only be provisional given the urgent need to get new management in place.
  • Additional detail will be provided in the near future.


DCL: Stimulating Research Using NEON Data Awards:  To see the press release of the new awards, click here.

NSF NEON Frequently Asked Questions - http://go.usa.gov/3jvqe


Announcement of update on CSBR Program

In March, 2016, it was announced that the Collections in Support of Biological Research Program (CSBR) within the Directorate for Biological Sciences’ (BIO) Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) will not be accepting new project proposals in 2016. Proposals submitted by the September, 2015, CSBR solicitation deadline and recommended for funding will be funded and supported for the duration of the award along with continuing increments for prior awards. The CSBR program has been placed on a biennial competition schedule as of 2017 and new project proposals will be considered in the next cycle.  Additional guidance regarding potential opportunities for support for emergency circumstances and priorities for support will be provided by October 1, 2016 in the form of a Dear Colleague Letter and an update on the CSBR web page.

In BIO’s fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget request, plans were included regarding the evaluation of smaller DBI programs, such as CSBR, with the goal of informing the FY18 budget request. The BIO Directorate is currently performing an internal evaluation of DBI research resource programs, including CSBR, which will be completed in November, 2016. This internal evaluation is an opportunity to assess the important role of CSBR in the context of the Postdoctoral Collections Fellowship program and the Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections program, which includes iDigBio. Additionally, the biological collections and research communities have provided very helpful feedback on the CSBR program, and this input will be analyzed and used to assess program needs. The evaluation will be performed by an internal working group, comprising representatives from each of BIO’s divisions and NSF’s Office of Evaluation and Assessment.

The results from the internal evaluation will be used to inform commissioning of a more in-depth evaluation of DBI’s research resource programs, including CSBR. The BIO Directorate recognizes the changes occurring in the biological sciences community regarding infrastructure, specifically data storage, access and analysis. DBI’s programs have overlapping and synergistic goals as well as important connections with the research programs they serve within BIO, so it makes sense to look at all of DBI’s programs in the context of program roles and community needs. An update on the status of the external evaluation will be provided by September 30, 2017.

Dr. James L. Olds

Assistant Director

Directorate for Biological Sciences


NEW A Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) was released announcing NSF's participation in the National Microbiome Initiative. The DCL highlights NSF BIO’s vision and approach to support and encourage microbiome research across the phylogenetic spectrum and biological scales; from host – microbe interactions to ecosystems. NSF BIO also fosters the development of a national research infrastructure to support collaborative science on microbiomes. See the DCL for more information (May 2016).

A Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) was released announcing the intention to foster the development of a national research infrastructure for neuroscience (National Brain Observatory) to support collaborative and team science for achieving a comprehensive understanding of the brain in action and context. See the DCL for more information. (February 2016)

A revised IOS Core Programs solicitation, NSF 16-505, replaces NSF 13-600 (October 2015). The revised solicitation includes two significant programmatic changes:

  • Proposals in the area of plant-biotic interactions should no longer be submitted through the IOS Core Programs solicitation to the Symbiosis, Defense and Self-recognition (SDS) program. These proposals will now be accepted for review by a new program, Plant Biotic Interactions (PBI), jointly supported and managed by NSF IOS and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
  • The revised IOS Core Programs solicitation includes two tracks for proposal submission. The Core track remains essentially unchanged from the description in the previous IOS solicitation (NSF 13-600), except for the changes described above related to the SDS Program. Proposals submitted to the EDGE (Enabling Discovery through Genomic Tools) track should focus on development of functional genomic tools, approaches and associated infrastructure to enable genome manipulation in diverse, emerging model organisms and must include training and rapid dissemination plans.

See the IOS home page for more details.

Recently Announced Funding Opportunities See All

Developing a National Research Infrastructure for Neuroscience
(NSF  16-569) Posted May 26, 2016

EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program Track-1:
(NSF  16-557) Posted March 31, 2016

Plant-Biotic Interactions
(NSF  16-551) Posted March 7, 2016

Innovation Corps- National Innovation Network Sites Program
(NSF  16-547) Posted February 26, 2016

Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science
(NSF  16-544) Posted February 22, 2016

Upcoming Due Dates See All

Division of Integrative Organismal Systems

(NSF  16-505) Full Proposal: June 1, 2016, EDGE Track

Plant-Biotic Interactions
(NSF  16-551) Full Proposal: June 6, 2016

Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science
(NSF  16-544) Full Proposal: June 24, 2016, Design and Development Launch Pilots

EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Program Track-1:
(NSF  16-557) Letter of Intent: July 5, 2016

Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program
(NSF  16-504) Full Proposal: July 11, 2016

Funding Rates
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BIO funding rates chart

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News See All
medal President Obama honors nation's leading scientists and innovators
Released May 20, 2016
Press Release
Matthew Holding How is rattlesnake venom like fine wine? Both have regional varieties
Released May 19, 2016
News From the Field
News thumbnail The BRAIN Initiative
Released June 12, 2013
News From the Field
Discoveries See All
inaugural national science board members wearing party hats It's our birthday!
A celebration of NSF-funded research
Released  May 10, 2016

Fish swimming by a healthy coral reef in the Line Islands in the central Pacific Ocean. Too much algae -- and too many microbes -- threaten coral reefs
'Microbialization' destroys reef habitats
Released  April 26, 2016

Events Calendar See All

November 9, 2015  - December 9, 2016
2016 NRT Informational Webinars

June 1, 2016
Webinar: Understanding SBIR & STTR Phase I Application Process

June 27, 2016
SBIR Road Tour - Wyoming

June 29, 2016
SBIR Road Tour - Nebraska

June 30, 2016
SBIR Road Tour - Kansas

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