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News Release 14-139

NSF invites proposals for Ebola-related fundamental research

Rapid response grants available to better understand and protect against the virus

A researcher in protective gear works in a lab.

NSF-funded genomic sequencing recently revealed mutations, insights into the Ebola outbreak
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October 16, 2014

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a letter to the scientific community inviting proposals for rapid response grants for investigations related to Ebola. NSF seeks proposals for basic research to enhance understanding of Ebola and its spread; to design devices, materials and processes to detect and protect against the virus; and to improve education and communication about preventive measures.

NSF's Rapid Response Research (RAPID) awards are particularly suited to research with an urgent need, which the growing threat of Ebola in the United States and elsewhere might warrant. NSF encourages researchers interested in conducting time-sensitive fundamental science and engineering research related to Ebola to apply for funding via this mechanism. Other situations where RAPID awards have been given include the recent West Virginia chemical spill, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

NSF is the only U.S. federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Already, NSF funds many scientists and engineers in research related to Ebola.

For example, NSF has been part of interagency mathematical science funding aimed at developing novel methodology to estimate as accurately as possible--to the point of providing real-time assessment--the rate of Ebola transmission. This would then allow adaptive intervention measures that could be applied and better control outbreaks. Others have explored areas that become relevant as the virus affects various systems. NSF-funded experts in systems engineering, for instance, may help inform Ebola screening methods at airports. Researchers may also contribute in the areas of rapid diagnostics, manufacture of vaccines and/or other biologics, environmental decontamination, systems optimization, and risk analysis.


Media Contacts
Ivy F. Kupec, NSF, (703) 292-8796,

Program Contacts
Jane Silverthorne, NSF, (703) 292-7171,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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