Designing Synthetic Cells Beyond the Bounds of Evolution (Designer Cells)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

Because of recent technological advances in synthetic biology and bioengineering, researchers are now able to tailor cells and cell-like systems for a variety of basic and applied research purposes. The goal of this solicitation is to support research that (1) develops cell-like systems to identify the minimal requirements for the processes of life, (2) designs synthetically-modified cells to address fundamental questions in the evolution of life or to explore biological diversity beyond that which currently exists in nature, and (3) leverages basic research in cell design to build novel synthetic cell-like systems and cells for innovative biotechnology applications.  

Highest funding priority is given to proposals that have outstanding intellectual merit and broader impacts, while proposals with weaknesses in either category (or those that are perceived as likely to have an incremental impact) will not be competitive. Proposals submitted to this solicitation should address social, ethical, and safety issues associated with designing and building synthetically modified cells as an integrated component of the project.

Full Proposal Deadline Date: February 1, 2024

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Proposals may only be submitted by the following:

  • Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) - Two- and four-year IHEs (including community colleges) accredited in, and having a campus located in the US, acting on behalf of their faculty members. Special Instructions for International Branch Campuses of US IHEs: If the proposal includes funding to be provided to an international branch campus of a US institution of higher education (including through use of subawards and consultant arrangements), the proposer must explain the benefit(s) to the project of performance at the international branch campus, and justify why the project activities cannot be performed at the US campus.
  • Non-profit, non-academic organizations: Independent museums, observatories, research laboratories, professional societies and similar organizations located in the U.S. that are directly associated with educational or research activities.
  • Tribal Governments: The governing body of any Indian or Alaska Native tribe, band, nation, pueblo, village, or community that the Secretary of the Interior acknowledges to exist as an Indian tribe under the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994 (25 U.S.C. 479a, et seq.)

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 5 to 7

Anticipated Funding Amount: $6,000,000

Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size and duration are subject to the availability of funds.

Funding Type

Grant

Eligibility

Faculty

Category

Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical
Medical - Basic Science
Social Sciences

External Deadline

February 1, 2024