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Division of Integrative Organismal Systems

US and UK scientists collaborate to design crops of the future.  Three Ideas Lab projects and a fourth NSF-sponsored project aim to transform future farming while reducing pollution and energy consumption.   See Press Release 13-147 for further details 

Diane Jofuku Okamuro
bio-nitrogen@nsf.gov, (703) 292-4400

Gregory W. Warr
bio-nitrogen@nsf.gov, (703) 292-8284

Solicitation 12-579

Important Notice to Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 13-1, was issued on October 4, 2012 and is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 14, 2013. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 13-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Please be aware that significant changes have been made to the PAPPG to implement revised merit review criteria based on the National Science Board (NSB) report, National Science Foundation's Merit Review Criteria: Review and Revisions. While the two merit review criteria remain unchanged (Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts), guidance has been provided to clarify and improve the function of the criteria. Changes will affect the project summary and project description sections of proposals. Annual and final reports also will be affected.

A by-chapter summary of this and other significant changes is provided at the beginning of both the Grant Proposal Guide and the Award & Administration Guide.

Current but no Longer Receiving Proposals

Nitrogen is critical to plant growth. A limited number of plant species have the capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbioses with nitrogen fixing bacteria; the rest need to obtain their nitrogen through soluble compounds in soil. For the majority of crop plants, nitrogen availability has been increased through the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers.  However, application of artificial fertilizers is costly and is limited in developing countries, where the cost and lack of infrastructure are barriers. The process by which these fertilizers are produced is energy-intensive and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Further, much of the nitrogen applied to agricultural land through fertilizers is not used by the crop and is lost as run-off into water courses or as greenhouse gases through denitrification, resulting in deleterious impacts on the environment.

The ultimate aim of this Ideas Lab between the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the US and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in the UK is to help meet the challenge of sustainably producing enough food for a growing population while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.  The aspiration is that mixing researchers from diverse scientific backgrounds will engender fresh thinking and new approaches that can be used to increase nitrogen availability to crop plants whilst maintaining or increasing yield, and hence decrease the need for the application of fertilizer.  In addition, by bringing together highly qualified researchers from the US and the UK, the intention is to form strong transatlantic alliances, where the resulting synergies from the expertise of each partner allow for significant added value.

US researchers may submit preliminary proposals onlyvia FastLane for participating in the Ideas Lab in which a set of multidisciplinary ideas will be developed. These will be submitted as full proposals. Alternatively, US researchers who cannot or do not desire to participate in the Ideas Lab can submit full proposals directly via FastLane or Grants.gov in response to this solicitation. Collaboration among researchers from USA and UK is strongly encouraged in the full proposals. 

The link to the BBSRC announcement is http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/2012/ideaslab-nitrogen-improving-on-nature.aspx.

Additional Funding Opportunities for the MCB Community
Current Activities: no longer receiving proposals - EF
Current Activities: no longer receiving proposals - IOS

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

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