Budget 2000 Biological Infrastructure
NSF Fiscal Year 2000
Budget Requests Excerpts

Biological Infrastructure


   The FY 2000 Budget Request for the Biological Infrastructure Subactivity is $64.91 million, an increase of $2.23 million, or 3.6 percent, over the FY 1999 Current Plan of $62.67 million.

(Millions of Dollars)
  FY 1998
FY 1999
FY 2000
Research Resources 45.66 46.82 47.82 1.00 2.1%
Human Resources 15.46 15.85 17.08 1.23 7.8%
TOTAL, DBI $61.12 $62.67 $64.91 2.23 3.6%

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. The kinds of resources supported range from physical infrastructure, such as multi-user instrumentation, to training in biological research for students ranging from undergraduates to postdoctoral fellows in emerging areas of research. In addition, teams of biologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists are supported to develop databases and new informatics tools for the biological sciences.

Research Resources supports: 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; collaborative research at undergraduate institutions; informatics tools development; database activities; and research collections in biological sciences. These various research resources provide the essential platforms and tools for effective research in modern biology. Instrumentation development is particularly critical to advancing modern biology, which is becoming increasingly dependent on highly sophisticated instruments. For example, this program supports the development of imaging instrumentation such as a new generation of micrography and electron crystallography. The new imaging instrumentation takes images of not only the static biological structure, but also dynamic biological processes. As imaging technologies must be accompanied by software that allows analysis of images captured by the instruments, instrumentation development activities almost always include biologists, computer scientists, and engineers working together as a team.

Human Resources supports: 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 training activities is especially effective in integrating frontier research with education at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels and also in fostering both industrial and international experiences for participating students. An example is the five-year NSF-Sloan Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Molecular Evolution which ended as planned in FY 1998. This program, which supported over 100 postdoctoral fellows and young scientists for interdisciplinary research training in molecular evolution, was seminal in nurturing an important emerging field of biology. These researchers now form the core of the exciting new field of evolutionary biology that studies the development of biological form and function over time and across various levels of biological organization, from molecules to populations.

The FY 2000 Budget Request includes an increase of $2.23 million for a total of $64.91 million to provide:

  • Increased Research Resources of $1.0 million, for a total of $47.82 million, to continue the existing activities with an increased focus on:

    • Information technology including biological informatics and databases to support the development of research tools necessary to advance the biological sciences, such as bioinformatics tools that access massive datasets located all over the world and analyze those data. These tools will be used by the entire biological science community, leading to new insights into fundamental biological processes.

    • DBI activities related to biocomplexity that will focus on providing infrastructural support to meet the increased needs for instrumentation and research resources.

  • Increased Human Resources of $1.23 million, for a total of $17.08 million. This includes:

    • Support for activities in Educating for the Future (EFF). Specifically, DBI will initiate a new postdoctoral fellowship program in microbial biology, with a focus on the fundamental biology of microbes, to build up the human resource base for microbial programs such as LExEn, Microbial Observatories, biocomplexity, and world-wide efforts to sequence various microbial genomes. International experience will be strongly encouraged for these fellows. Continued support will be provided for the Postdoctoral Fellowships Program in Biological Informatics.

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