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NSF seeks Rules of Life proposals on forecasting and emergence in living systems

December 12, 2017

With the Dear Colleague Letter: Rules of Life (RoL): Forecasting and Emergence in Living Systems (FELS) (NSF 18-031), NSF seeks proposals to help refine emerging research areas under the Rules of Life, one of the NSF's ten Big Ideas.

In Rules of Life, "rules" are the general principles or theoretical constructs that explain and predict the characteristics of living systems.

NSF seeks to identify rules for phenomena that cross spatial or organizational levels (from the molecular and sub-cellular to organisms, populations, communities, clades, and biomes) and/or temporal scales (e.g., from macromolecular folding to development to evolutionary processes across all of life).

NSF is seeking catalytic activities to define the key challenges and research imperatives to understand the organizational principles and rules of living systems, encouraging projects that include diverse disciplinary perspectives, including but not limited to those from:

  • biological sciences,
  • computer and information sciences,
  • engineering,
  • geosciences,
  • mathematical and physical sciences, and
  • social and behavioral sciences.

Learn about the scope and types of proposals in Dear Colleague Letter: Rules of Life (RoL): Forecasting and Emergence in Living Systems (FELS) (NSF 18-031)


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) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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