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About Biological Sciences (BIO)

The mission of the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) is to enable discoveries for understanding life. BIO-supported research advances the frontiers of biological knowledge and provides a theoretical basis for prediction within complex, dynamic living systems through an integration of scientific disciplines.

Areas of Support (also see interactive org chart)

The Directorate for Biological Sciences supports research to advance understanding of the principles and mechanisms governing life. Research studies extend across systems that encompass  biological molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems up to and including the global biosphere. Comprehensive concepts that bridge and unify the diverse areas of biology include complexity, robustness, communication, resilience, adaptability and cooperation.  Achieving a coherent understanding of the complex biological web of interactions that is life is a major challenge of the future.  This challenge will require that knowledge about the structure and dynamics of individual biological units, networks, sub-systems and systems be compiled and connected from the molecular to the global level and across scales of time and space.  Integral to all activities across the directorate is a commitment to integrate research and education, broaden participation, and promote international partnerships.

The Directorate of Biological Sciences is organized into Divisions:

The Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) invests in the innovation and capacity-building of cutting-edge research infrastructure for fundamental biological science that includes human capital, technologies, institutes and centers, and mid-to-large scale facilities.

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) supports fundamental evolutionary and ecological research on species, populations, communities and ecosystems, across all spatial and temporal scales.

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) supports fundamental research aimed at understanding organisms as units of biological organization, encouraging the use of integrative, interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex problems in organismal biology.

The Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) supports quantitative and interdisciplinary approaches to deciphering the molecular underpinnings of complex living systems.

The Emerging Frontiers (EF) Division supports supports multidisciplinary research opportunities and networking activities that arise from advances in disciplinary research.  By encouraging synergy across disciplines, EF provides mechanisms by which new initiatives will be fostered and subsequently integrated into the other Divisions' core activities.

Funding Opportunities Information:

To discover more information about BIO's programs, please click “Programs” in the left navigation bar.

For information about active BIO funding opportunities including cross-directorate and NSF-wide activities, please click "Funding" in the left navigation bar.

For “Dear Colleague Letters” and BIO's guidance on data management plans, please click "Additional Resources" in the left navigation bar.

Media Inquiries:

NSF Public Communications & Media Policy:

Media inquiries should be directed to the NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Division of Public Affairs: (703) 292-8070 or

Legislative Inquiries:

Legislative inquiries should be directed to the NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, Division of Legislative Affairs: (703) 292-8070 or

Budget Information:

The budget request for the Directorate for Biological Sciences is accessible through the Table of Contents of the NSF Budget Request to Congress. To access current and previous year budget requests, visit the NSF Budget Page.

NSF Scientific Integrity Policy:


Biological Sciences Directorate Organization Chart

BIO Org Chart Link to Emerging Frontiers(EF) Link to Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) Link to Human Resources Link to Research Resources Link to Research Resources Link to Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) Link to Population and Community Ecology Link to Ecosystem Science Link to Evolutionary Processes Link to Systematics & Biodiversity Science Link to Division of Organismal Systems (IOS) Link to Behavioral Systems Link to Developmental Sysytems Link to Nerual Systems Link to Physiological and Structural Systems Link to Plant Genome Research Program Link to Division of Biological Infrastructure (MCB) Link to Cellular Dynamics and Function Link to Genetic Mechanisms Link to Molecular Biophysics Link to Systems and Synthetic Biology

Directorate for Biological Science (BIO)

Organization chart effective May 2021