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Division of Biological Infrastructure

Cyberinfrastructure for Biological Research  (CIBR)

Name Email Phone Room
Peter  H. McCartney (703) 292-8470   
Jennifer  W. Weller (703) 292-7121   


Biological processes at all scales from molecules to ecosystems are determined through the encoding, exchange, and interpretation of information.  Advances in the biological sciences are enabled by our capacity to acquire, manage, represent, and analyze biological information through the use of modern instrumentation and computational tools.  Developing an integrated understanding of cell function, regulatory systems, or ecological responses to environmental change are just a few examples of biological research areas that involve the acquisition, observation, experiment, and modeling of large amounts of data. Proposals are invited that offer potentially transformative outcomes through the development of informatics tools and resources that (1) offer novel and significant advances in the use of biological data and/or (2) will enable and stimulate advances through their impact on a significant segment of the biological research community supported by the NSF BIO Directorate.

Awards in CIBR should produce, or substantially expand a finished product that will have demonstrable impact in advancing biological research. Proposals should convey their likelihood of success through greater attention to user engagement, design quality, engineering practices, management plan, and dissemination. Budgets and award durations should accommodate the iterative process of bringing a proof of concept into a robust, broadly-adopted cyberinfrastructure. Development proposals are more outcome-driven than Innovation awards and are typically assessed on their perceived contribution to a broad portfolio of cyberinfrastructure resources. Synergies with, and leveraging of, other existing and ongoing resources are taken into consideration.

CIBR supports development in areas that may include (but are not limited to):

  • Databases consisting of primary data obtained through observation, experimentation, modelling, or synthesis of existing data into new derivative products.
  • New tools for the construction, operation, and utilization of biological databases, including database architectures and infrastructures, data standards designed to be extendable to different biological domains, and data structures for new types of biological information
  • Software or ontologies related to the retrieval, integration, and use of heterogeneous biological information, for example, data discovery, data-mining, data integration or visualization
  • Tools that facilitate biological research workflows, analytic pathways, or integration between the field and the laboratory, or between observation, experiments and models
  • Software and methods for making use of new technologies for the acquisition, communication or visualization of biological data
  • Infrastructure that provides broad community access to shared computational and data resources, commonly referred to as scientific gateways.     

Higher priority will be placed on proposals to create computational tools and data resources that are applicable to a broad range of biological research questions and shared by a broad user community.  Proposals to develop tools or databases that are limited to a specific research project, laboratory, or institution should be submitted to the relevant BIO programs that would normally support that research.