Division of Environmental Biology (Core Programs) (DEB)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) Core supports research and training on evolutionary and ecological processes acting at the level of populations, species, communities, ecosystems, macrosystems, and biogeographic extents. DEB encourages research that elucidates fundamental principles that identify and explain the unity and diversity of life and its interactions with the environment over space and time. Research may incorporate field, laboratory, or collection-based approaches; observational or manipulative studies; synthesis activities; phylogenetic discovery projects; or theoretical approaches involving analytical, statistical, or computational modeling. Proposals should be submitted to the core clusters (Ecosystem ScienceEvolutionary ProcessesPopulation and Community Ecology, and Systematics and Biodiversity Science). DEB also encourages interdisciplinary proposals that cross conceptual boundaries and integrate over levels of biological organization or across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Research addressing ecology and ecosystem science in the marine biome should be directed to the Biological Oceanography Program in the Division of Ocean Sciences; research addressing evolution and systematics in the marine biome should be directed to the Evolutionary Processes or Systematics and Biodiversity Science programs in DEB. 

All programs in the Directorate for Biological Sciences strive to achieve the goals laid out in the NSF Strategic Plan. Among these goals are: (i) to empower Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) talent to fully participate in science and engineering; (ii) to enable creation of new knowledge by advancing the frontiers of research and enhancing research capability; and (iii) to benefit society through translation of knowledge into solutions. In line with these goals, DEB welcomes the submission of proposals to this funding opportunity that include the participation of the full spectrum of diverse talent in STEM, e.g., as PI, co-PI, senior personnel, postdoctoral scholars, graduate or undergraduate students or trainees.  This includes historically under-represented or underserved populations, diverse institutions including Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and two-year colleges, as well as major research institutions. Proposals from EPSCoR jurisdictions are especially encouraged. 

Also aligned with the NSF Strategic Plan, DEB encourages submission of proposals in support of discovery-based explorations, as well as use-inspired, solutions-focused research, including proposals that address priority areas associated with building a resilient planet and biotechnology and the bioeconomy. Some examples of topics that address priority areas associated with building a resilient planet and biotechnology and the bioeconomy can be found in the life on a warming planet and bioeconomy metaprogram descriptions. The CHIPs Act of 2022 and the Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe and Secure American Bioeconomy highlight the importance of these two areas with respect to safeguarding national security and promoting prosperity. DEB also strongly encourages proposals that leverage NSF resources that facilitate integration across the biological sciences, such as the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), data networks, synthesis centers, and institutes.

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

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.

Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 120 each year, pending availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $100,000,000 for new awards each year pending availability of funds.

Funding Type





Environmental & Life Sciences