Semiconductor Synthetic Biology Circuits and Communications for Information Storage ( SemiSynBio-III)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF), through its Divisions of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS), Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF), Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB), and Materials Research (DMR) announces a solicitation on the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology Circuits and Communications for Information Storage (SemiSynBio-III). Future computing systems with ultra-low energy storage can be built on principles derived from organic systems that are at the intersection of biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, computer science and engineering. Next-generation information storage technologies can be envisioned that are driven by biological principles with use of biomaterials in the fabrication of devices and systems that can store data for more than 100 years with storage capacity 1,000 times more than current storage technologies. Such a research effort can have a significant impact on the future of information storage technologies. This focused solicitation seeks high-risk/high- return interdisciplinary research on novel concepts and enabling technologies that will address the fundamental scientific issues and technological challenges associated with the underpinnings of synthetic biology integrated with semiconductor technology. This research will foster interactions among various disciplines including biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, computer science and engineering that will enable in heretofore-unanticipated breakthroughs.

Full Proposal Deadline:  April 25, 2022

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Research Theme 1. Developing computational and experimental models of bio-molecular and cellular-based systems.

Research Theme 2. Addressing fundamental research questions at the interface of biology and semiconductors.

Research Theme 3. Designing sustainable bio-materials for novel bio-nano hybrid architectures and circuits that test the limits in transient electronics.

Research Theme 4. Fabricating hybrid biological- semiconductor electronic systems with communications and storage functionalities.

Research Theme 5. Scaling-up and characterization of integrated hybrid synthetic bio-electronic storage systems.

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.

The Principal Investigator (PI) must be at the faculty level as determined by the submitting organization. A minimum of one PI and two co-PIs must participate.

A minimum of one PI and two co-PIs must participate in a proposal, representing expertise in at least three disciplines selected from Biological Sciences, Materials Science, Computer Science and Engineering. A leader addressing each of the three Research Themes must be identified. Interdisciplinary expertise is an advantage in this context. The proposal must specify in a separate paragraph in the introductory section, how the three disciplines are integrated in their research approach.

An investigator may participate as PI, co-PI or senior personnel in no more than one proposal submitted in response to this solicitation. It is the responsibility of the submitting institution to ensure that the PI and all the co-PIs are participating in only one proposal.

If an individual exceeds this limit, proposals will be accepted based on earliest date and time of the proposal submission, i.e., the first proposal received will be accepted and the remainder will be returned without review. No exceptions will be made.



Amount Description

Estimated Number of Awards: 8 to 10

Anticipated Funding Amount: $12,000,000

Individual projects will be funded at up to $1,500,000 for three years depending on the availability of funds.

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

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

April 25, 2022