Request for Applications Seed Networks for the Human Cell Atlas

Funding Agency:
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for three-year projects to form Seed Networks for the Human Cell Atlas (HCA).

The Human Cell Atlas (HCA) is a global effort to create a reference map of all cell types in the human body. It is an ambitious goal to generate a fundamental reference for biomedical research. The HCA was born out of advances in single cell biology that made it conceivable to collect extensive measurements that inform our understanding of cellular heterogeneity in health and disease. Due to the growth of the community, pace of technology, and interest from the international community, the project has gone from conceivable to feasible. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Helmsley Charitable Trust are pleased to announce continued support for the Human Cell Atlas by collaborating on two new funding mechanisms that the community can access through a single application portal. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative seeks to continue the work of the HCA community with a focus on interdisciplinary work and collaboration through the formation of 3 year Seed Networks. The Helmsley Charitable Trust welcomes applications that will construct a detailed atlas of the human gut. CZI Seed Networks aim to solidify growth of the community and result in a first draft of several organs – there is no requirement for a gut component in CZI applications. Additionally, newly formed Networks are designed to catalyze partnership among the scientific community and the funding community so that we can work together toward a first draft of the HCA.

Many diverse collaborations have been initiated in the HCA while many additional groups are looking for ways to contribute and engage further. This Request for Applications (RFA) seeks to support the continued growth of nascent projects and to incubate new networks. The Seed Networks should generate new tools, open source analysis methods, and significant contributions of diverse data types to the Human Cell Atlas Data Coordination Platform. Applications should have a primary focus on the healthy tissues that will contribute to a reference atlas. These projects should establish the HCA as a resource for applications such as clarifying genetic variants associated with disease, cell type-specific drug toxicity, or therapeutic applications. In addition to the Data Coordination Platform, community resources arising from the Seed Networks will be rapidly shared via open source repositories such as, Addgene, GitHub, and bioRxiv.

Seed Networks should consist of at least three principal investigators, including at least one computational biologist or software engineer, together with additional computational biologists, engineers, experimental biologists, and/or physicians. CZI Seed Networks aim to support foundational tools and resources for the HCA and will not require a gut component in the application.

Deadline: Nov. 13, 2018

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

CZI Seed Network Grants have four overarching scientific goals:

  • Build and support networks of collaborating scientists and engineers;
  • Contribution of high-quality data to v1.0 of the HCA;
  • Development of new technologies and benchmark data sets, particularly those anchored in spatial as well as molecular information;
  • Support of computational biology within the Human Cell Atlas community.

Eligibility Requirements

  • All Principal Investigators must have an independent faculty position or equivalent at an accredited college, university, medical school, or other research facility.
  • Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign non-profit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, research institutes, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local government; and eligible agencies of the federal government.
  • Principal Investigators may apply to join multiple Seed Network applications, but will only be funded in a single final Network.
  • Principal Investigators may only serve as Coordinating Principal Investigator on one application.
  • At least one Principal Investigator of the Seed Network must be a computer scientist or software engineer.
  • One Principal Investigator should be designated as the Coordinating PI to take responsibility for managing the group collaboration and be the administrative contact for CZI and any grant partners, including Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
  • Collaboration members may be from the same or different institutions. However, the Coordinating PI must be affiliated with the institution submitting the application and grant funds will be awarded to that institution, which will take responsibility for distributing funds to the institutions of the other members of the collaboration. Note that foreign institutions may not subcontract to US institutions, so please be mindful when selecting the Coordinating PI/institution.
  • Early Career Investigators are strongly encouraged to apply, as Coordinating PIs as well as contributing PIs.
  • Women and underrepresented minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Women and minorities encouraged


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

External Deadline

November 13, 2018