Email Print Share

This program has been archived.

Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

Microbial Observatories (MO) and Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP)

MO/MIP no longer accepting proposals

The Directorate for Biological Sciences will no longer issue Program Solicitations for Microbial Observatories (MO) and Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP). EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY NO NEW PROPOSALS ADDRESSED TO THAT SOLICITATION WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR REVIEW. CAREER proposals already submitted to MO or MIP will be reassigned to appropriate programs for review and applicants will be notified by the managing Program Directors. The Directorate expects to fulfill all continuing grant increments for current awards in MO and MIP including new awards made in FY 2008. The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) is augmenting funding to programmatic areas throughout the Directorate for research in microbial biology.  See the Microbial Systems in the Biosphere (MSB) Dear Colleague Letter for further details.

Name Email Phone Room
Matthew  D. Kane (703) 292-7186  655 S  
Lita  M. Proctor (703) 292-5190  655 S  


Solicitation  05-600

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.




Microorganisms are the oldest, most diverse and most abundant forms of life on Earth. However, the identity, physiology and interactions of the vast majority of these microbes, as well as the processes they mediate in the environment, remain unknown or poorly understood. Advances in molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics, and cultivation technologies herald a new age of exploration of the microbial world. The Microbial Observatories (MO) and Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP) activities will support research to discover and characterize novel microorganisms, microbial consortia, communities, activities and other novel properties, and to study their roles in diverse environments.

The Microbial Observatories activity is a continuation of MO competitions held since 1999 (for a list of prior awards, see The long-term goal of this activity is to develop a network of sites or "microbial observatories" in different habitats to study and understand microbial diversity over time and across environmental gradients. Projects supported are expected to establish or participate in an established, Internet-accessible knowledge network to disseminate information resulting from these activities. In addition, educational and outreach activities such as formal or informal training in microbial biology, and activities that will broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in microbial research and education are expected. Beginning with the October 2005 target date, the USDA/CSREES will partner with NSF to support MO projects relevant to agroecosystems.

Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP) expands the range of the MO competition to support microbial diversity research projects that need not be site-based, and that are smaller and/or shorter in duration than MO projects. MIP projects will be considered for funding by NSF only. This expanded activity will fund integrative studies that explore novel microorganisms, their interactions in consortia and communities, and aspects of their physiology, biochemistry and genomics in relationship to the processes that they carry out in the environment.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program