NSF News: New Solicitations and Office Hours

New Solicitation & Office Hours: Molecular Foundations for Biotechnology (MFB 2.0): Partnerships to Transform the Industries of the Future (NSF 22-554) 

This initiative calls for fundamentally new approaches in molecular sciences to drive new directions in biotechnology, a critical and emerging technology of the 21st century. This is the second year of a campaign targeting broad annual themes to be pursued through collaborative high risk/high reward projects.

This year’s solicitation calls for synergistic scientific research collaborations that involve innovative machine learning (ML) methods to foster advances in research on the function of biomolecular systems and have the potential to drive innovation in biotechnology.

The solicitation seeks to catalyze synergistic and innovative work at the interface of ML/AI on one hand and the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences and engineering on the other hand that goes beyond sequence-structure relationships and addresses standing challenges in biology. The funded research should have potential implications for biotechnology.

The solicitation calls for synergistic, interdisciplinary research endeavors that:

  1. bring together computer science expertise in ML/AI on one side and Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Engineering, and/or Mathematics on the other side,
  2. focus on integrated, convergent research projects that create new mechanism-guided machine learning frameworks for the prediction and detailed characterization of the function of biological macromolecules (e.g., protein, nucleic acids, and macromolecular assemblies of both protein and nucleic acids),
  3. test the validity, specificity, and generalizability of the proposed ML frameworks with robust experimental platforms.

For more specific information on the focus areas and application for this solicitation see the Program Solicitation here: https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/molecular-foundations-biotechnology-mfb

Letter of Intent Due Date (required): February 14, 2022
Full Proposal Deadline:  April 14, 2022

MFB Virtual Office Hour to answer questions about the solicitation is scheduled for Friday, January 28, at 4 PM EST. Register in advance here: https://nsf.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_jGqzXj5STwmBBOqv0zmYfQ

New Solicitation: 2022 Signals in the Soil (SitS) (NSF 22-550)

Understanding of dynamic changes in soils is hampered by the inability to make site-specific measurements of key variables, in situ, and by the lack of integration among dynamic measurements of biological, chemical, and physical properties at various spatial and temporal scales.

This solicitation encourages research proposals that integrate basic science and engineering approaches in a convergent manner to:

  1. develop the next generation of sensors and/or instruments capable of measuring biological, chemical, and physical variables in situ with minimal disturbance;
  2. advance the state of the science for biosensing to close the development gap with chemical- and physical-sensing,
  3. improve our understanding of signaling molecules and interactions that would allow prediction of large scale ecosystem behavior, and
  4. integrate, as appropriate, human dimensions of soil knowledge and use.

The development of sensor systems that include all the needed components to operate the sensor, communicate its signals, integrate these signals with other data streams, and perform analytics needed to produce observations at desired temporal and spatial scales are within the scope of the solicitation. Research that uses sensor technologies to address mechanisms of biological signaling between organisms in the soil (microbes, fungi, plants, animals, or any combination) is also within the scope of this solicitation. The focus can be either natural or managed soil systems or both. For more information see the solicitation and program web site: https://beta.nsf.gov/funding/opportunities/signals-soil