Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI-2024/25): Biocomputing through EnGINeering Organoid Intelligence (BEGIN OI)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) program of the NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) serves a critical role in helping ENG focus on important emerging areas in a timely manner. The EFRI Biocomputing through EnGINeering Organoid Intelligence (BEGIN OI) solicitation supports foundational and transformative research to advance the design, engineering, and fabrication of organoid systems that are capable of processing information dynamically while interfacing with non-living systems.

This solicitation will be coordinated with the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO), the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE).

The EFRI program seeks proposals with potentially transformative ideas that represent an opportunity for a significant shift in fundamental engineering knowledge with strong potential for long term impact on national needs or a grand challenge. The proposals must also meet the detailed requirements delineated in this solicitation.

INFORMATIONAL WEBINAR: The Emerging Frontiers and Multidisciplinary Activities (EFMA) Office will host an informational webinar in November 2023 to discuss the EFRI FY 2024/25 solicitation and to answer questions. Details on how to join this webinar will be posted on the EFRI website and Solicitation Website.

2024 Deadlines:

  • Required Letter of Intent: Jan. 17, 2024
  • Full Proposal: Feb. 22, 2024


2025 Deadlines:

  • Required Letter of Intent: Sep. 12, 2024
  • Full Proposal: Dec. 12, 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.

For proposals submitted by Institutions of Higher Education, the lead Principal Investigator (PI) must be full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty. For proposals submitted by Non-Profit, Non-Academic Organizations, the lead PI must meet all of the following requirements: (1) the PI has a continuing appointment that is expected to last the four years of an EFRI grant; (2) the appointment has substantial research responsibilities; and (3) the proposed project relates to the PI’s job responsibilities as well as to the mission of the department or organization.

A minimum of one PI and two co-PIs must participate in each proposal. Either the PI or one of the co-PIs must have a full-time, tenured or tenure-track faculty appointment within a College/Department of Engineering.

Individuals may participate as either PI or co-PI in only one proposal submitted to this solicitation in a single fiscal year. It is the responsibility of the submitting organization to ensure that the PI and all co-PIs are participating only in one proposal as either PI or co-PI and not in any others submitted in response to this solicitation in a single fiscal year.

If an individual is listed as PI or co-PI on more than one proposal in response to this solicitation in a single fiscal year, all proposals in excess of the limit for any person will be returned without review in the reverse order received, based on the proposal submission time stamp on the Cover Sheet.

Amount Description

The anticipated budget for this program solicitation is $15,000,000 in FY 2024 and $15,000,000 in FY25, pending the availability of funds. Each award will be funded as a Standard Grant or Continuing Grant. The anticipated number of awards for in each fiscal year is 7-8 awards. Each project team may receive support of up to a total of $2,000,000 spread over four years. It is not expected that all awards will receive the maximum amount; the size of awards will depend upon the type of research program proposed.

If a proposal involves multiple organizations, it must be submitted as a single proposal with subawards: separately submitted collaborative proposals are not permitted.

    Funding Type





    Engineering and Physical Sciences
    Environmental & Life Sciences
    Social Sciences

    External Deadline

    January 17, 2024