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The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Emerging Frontiers (EF) Subactivity is $68.25 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Emerging Frontiers






Total, Emerging Frontiers






In FY 2003, the Emerging Frontiers Subactivity, established as an incubator for 21st Century Biology, will support evolving multidisciplinary research and networking activities that arise from advances in disciplinary research. By encouraging synergy between disciplines, this new Subactivity will provide a mechanism by which new initiatives will be fostered and subsequently integrated into core programs.

BIO will initiate a new program called Integrated Research Challenges in Biology. The program will invite new ideas for integrative research on major biological questions from a multidisciplinary point of view. Integrative components will include a variety of investigators, skills, processes, organisms and/or systems. Relevant scientific questions will be those recognized both as major challenges in one or more sub-disciplines of biology and as beyond the scope of traditional single-investigator or small-team approaches.

BIO will also continue support for the Research Coordination Networks activity, which seeks to encourage and foster communications and collaborations among scientists with common goals and interests. Groups of investigators will be supported to communicate and coordinate their research efforts across disciplinary, organizational, institutional and geographical boundaries. Networks have a focal theme, which can be a broad research question, a specific group of organisms, or particular technologies or approaches. Innovative ideas for implementing novel networking strategies to promote research coordination and collaboration that enable new research directions or advancement of a field are especially encouraged.

The NSF-wide priority areas will be supported out of this new Subactivity in order to introduce fresh ideas into these model 21st Century Biology activities. The EF Subactivity will facilitate and enable their evolving partnership with the core programs. Support will be provided for:

Biocomplexity in the Environment (BE) research on the dynamics that occur within biological systems and between these systems and the physical environment will be increased by $18.96 million for a total of $35.86 million in FY 2003. Support will continue for the BE NSF-wide competition, while the increase will be used for two new activities directly related to homeland defense and bioterrorism, namely, the Ecology of Infectious Disease and Microbial Sequencing. BIO will also support the 10-year Tree of Life Project to elucidate the relationships among all 1.7 million described species.

Information Technology Research (ITR) research in FY 2003 will increase by $720,000 to $6.80 million and will focus on the area of database development and management and information networking. Examples of relevance include: support for microbial genome databases and algorithms for designing, managing, and linking primary databases, and development of new tools for microbial genomics. Development of innovative data base structures (both hardware and software) that support distributed storage of very dense files of genetic sequence and genomic data; development of relational authority files (databases); and development of real time information networks linking researchers worldwide engaged in Tree of Life research.

Nanoscale Science and Engineering research will increase by $650,000 to $2.98 million, focused on studying the structure and regulation of macromolecular machines and macromolecular complexes that are capable of self-replication and self-assembly. Nanoscale biosensors and information processors provide new opportunities for understanding cellular communication and detection of environmentally important signals.

Mathematical Sciences will receive support of $910,000 for interdisciplinary research involving mathematics, science and engineering, and focus on mathematical and statistical challenges posed by large data sets, managing and modeling uncertainty, and modeling complex, non-linear systems.

  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


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