Summary of FY2002 Budget Request to Congress - National Science Foundation


The FY 2002 Budget Request for the Biological Infrastructure (DBI) Subactivity is $72.49 million, a decrease of $2.32 million, or 3.1 percent, from the FY 2001 Current Plan of $74.82 million.

(Millions of Dollars)

   FY 2000
FY 2001
Current Plan
FY 2002
Amount Percent
Research Resources 49.34 58.46 56.04 -2.42 -4.1%
Human Resources 15.68 16.35 16.45 0.10 0.6%
Total, Biological Infrastructure $65.03 $74.82 $72.49 -$2.33 -3.1%

Totals may not add due to rounding.

The goal of the Biological Infrastructure Subactivity (DBI) 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. 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 biologists, mathematicians, physicists, chemists, computer scientists, and engineers are supported to develop new research tools such as databases, informatics, and new instrumentation for the biological sciences. Also included in DBI's responsibilities is development of research resources, such as genome sequencing of rice and improvement of natural history collections and biological field stations.

The Research Resources program supports a range of activities including 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.

Today's research in biological sciences produces massive amounts of disparate types of data. Making the data available and accessible to the research community has become a major challenge. At the same time, it has opened up an opportunity to develop innovative solutions to the problem and DBI is investing increasingly in research on biological databases and bioinformatics tools. For example, this program has supported the development of an innovative informatics project called "Specify." The project is a collaboration of the museum community, a supercomputer center, and biodiversity researchers, and has developed web-based software tools for cataloguing biological resource collections distributed all over the world. These tools allow individual collections to submit data directly into an integrated species database and allow individual researchers to use the data for their research. "Specify" supports research in diverse biological systems (plants, mammals, birds, fish, etc.). By using "Specify" as a tool, investigators were able to produce highly useful datasets and experimental materials such as the genome map and chromosome-specific DNA clone libraries of a fungus, and a predictive model of the movement of an invasive species. All of the resources are placed in the public domain and are widely used by the community. The project also provides a number of education and outreach opportunities including summer research experiences for students who are members of underrepresented groups.

The Human Resources program supports a range of activities centered on broadening participation, ensuring adequately and appropriately trained scientists for the future, and fostering the integration of research and education. These activities include postdoctoral research fellowships, sites for biological research experiences for undergraduates, and the NSF-wide program for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT). The interdisciplinary nature of the research training activities is especially effective in integrating frontier research with education at the undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels and in fostering both industrial and international experiences for participating students.

The Research Resources program will provide infrastructure support of $56.04 million for:

  • "2010 Project": DBI's role in support of the "2010 Project" will focus on development of informatics tools for integrating primary genome sequence data with experimentally verified annotation data.

  • Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE): Focus will be on providing infrastructure support to meet the increased needs for instrumentation and research resources/tools, including bioinformatics.

  • Information Technology Research (ITR): Support within the DBI Subactivity includes biological informatics and databases to support interdisciplinary research on the development of informatics tools necessary to advance the biological sciences, which is now essential given dramatic increases in the kinds and amount of data being generated and used by biologists. The entire biological science community will use these tools.

  • Nanoscale Science and Engineering: Instrumentation development will be a central contribution to this area of research.

  • Genome-Enabled Science: DBI will provide infrastructure support, including continued participation in the international rice genome sequencing project, collection and distribution of genome research resources such as DNA libraries and living stocks, and development of interactive databases of genomics information.

  • Systems Biology: Focus will be on developing instrumentation and techniques for systems biology, including complex sensors and imaging systems, new analytical capabilities, and virtual instrumentation facilities that allow real time experimentation via remote Internet access.

The Human Resources program will provide support of $16.45 million for programs that broaden participation while fostering the integration of research and education, including:

  • Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) program;

  • Postdoctoral Fellowships Programs in Biological Informatics and in Microbial Biology, and for members of underrepresented groups in NSF-supported fields, and

  • Innovative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) sites projects that utilize non-traditional ideas such as industry internships or international experience to increase the scope of undergraduate research experience and to expand the target groups to community college students and K-12 school teachers, as well as aspiring teachers. Increased participation of under-represented minorities is a top priority for this activity.

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