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CMMB Faculty Resources NSF

NSF Resources

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER)

  • Criteria for a CAREER award is based on innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology that is relevant to the mission of NSF and community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, education or community outreach. *PI’s can submit one CAREER Award proposal per competition but are limited to 3 CAREER Award competitions.
  • CAREER Budget: The budget request should reflect the scope of research and education plans. The minimum budget amount for the BIO program is $500,000 for 5 years.

Biological Sciences (BIO) Program at NSF
Areas within BIO

Biological Infastructure (DBI): DBI empowers biological discovery by supporting the development and enhancement of biological resources, human capital, and centers.  These investments underpin advances in all areas of biological research. Support for Research Resources includes development of informatics tools and resources, development of new instrumentation, the curatorial improvement and computerization of research collections, improvements of research facilities at biological field stations and marine laboratories as well as in living stock collections. Support for Human Resources includes research experiences for undergraduates (sites), undergraduate research and mentoring in biology, undergraduate interdisciplinary research experiences at the interface of biology and mathematical sciences, research initiation grants to broaden participation and, in selected areas, postdoctoral research fellowships. Support for centers creates opportunities to address targeted but deep biological questions that have major societal impact. In addition, BIO's participation in a variety of crosscutting activities such as IGERT, Graduate Research Fellowships, and Major Research Instrumentation is managed in DBI.

Link to the DBI website:

Current DBI Opportunity: Advances in Biological Informatics due September 22

Environmental Biology (DEB): The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) supports fundamental research on populations, species, communities, and ecosystems. Scientific emphases range across many evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes at all spatial and temporal scales. Areas of research include biodiversity, phylogenetic systematics, molecular evolution, life history evolution, natural selection, ecology, biogeography, ecosystem services, conservation biology, global change, and biogeochemical cycles. Research on origins, functions, relationships, interactions, and evolutionary history may incorporate field, laboratory, or collection-based approaches; observational or manipulative experiments; synthesis activities; as well as theoretical approaches involving analytical, statistical, or simulation modeling.

Link to the DEB website:

Emerging Frontiers (EF): The Emerging Frontiers (EF) Division is an incubator for 21st Century Biology.  EF supports multidisciplinary research opportunities and networking activities that arise from advances in disciplinary research.  By encouraging synergy between disciplines, EF provides a mechanism by which new initiatives will be fostered and subsequently integrated into core programs.

Link to the EF website:

Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS): IOS supports research aimed at improving our understanding of organisms as integrated units of biological organization.  The Division welcomes diverse approaches to research addressing organismal questions, and especially encourages integrative and interdisciplinary perspectives on complex problems in organismal biology. The goal is to predict why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do.  Projects that innovatively apply approaches that combine experimentation, computation, and modeling, and which lead to new conceptual and theoretical insights and testable predictions about integrated organismal properties, including the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes, are particularly encouraged.  Research that integrates data across spatial/temporal/ biological scales, leads to transformative methods, tools and resources, and/or seeks breakthroughs in the areas of phenotypic plasticity and organismal resilience will be given high priority for funding throughout the division. However, research motivated by relevance to human health or addressing the mechanisms of human disease is not appropriate for the Division and will be returned without review.Proposals are welcomed in all areas of science supported by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, including interdisciplinary projects that cross cluster boundaries. 

Link to the IOS website:

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB): The Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) supports fundamental research and related activities designed to promote understanding of complex living systems at the molecular, subcellular, and cellular levels.  MCB supports quantitative, predictive, and theory-driven research and related activities designed to decipher the molecular underpinnings of complex living systems.  MCB encourages proposals that address major biological questions using approaches at the intersections of biology with other disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer sciences, and engineering.  In addition, MCB encourages research utilizing model systems that are appropriate to the questions being addressed. If the proposed research is relevant to a bio-based economy and biological industries, researchers are strongly encouraged to highlight the relevance of their research to bio-inspired solutions to clean energy, biomaterials, industry, and environmental change.  However,as stated in the grant proposal guidelines, "Research with disease-related goals, including work on the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality, or malfunction in human beings or animals, is normally not supported. Animal models of such conditions or the development or testing of drugs or other procedures for their treatment also are not eligible for support."  Proposals that include reference to the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of human disease, or that are relevant to or motivated by the medical importance of the research topic are not appropriate for the Division and will be returned without review.

MCB continues to provide unique education and training opportunities for the next generation of researchers, scientific educators, and scientifically literate citizens. Highest funding priority is given to applications that are outstanding in both intellectual merit and broader impacts.  Successful proposals often demonstrate close integration of scientific and educational aims, and the division encourages creative activities that broaden participation and stimulate an appreciation and curiosity for molecular and cell biology among the widest possible audiences.

Link to the MCB website:

Current MCB Opportunity: Investigator-initiated research project due November 15th

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NSF Grant Proposal Guide

NSF Proposal Checklist

NSF CV Template

NSF Review Criteria        

  • Intellectual Merit- the potential of the project to advance knowledge
  • Broader Impacts- the potential to benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific desired societal outcomes
  • Additional criteria: Integration of Research and Education, and Integrating Diversity