2021 notice of intentions
The lead agency scheme allows US and UK researchers to submit a single collaborative proposal that will undergo a single review process by the lead agency, on behalf of both NSF/BIO and BBSRC.
In 2020, proposals will be accepted for UK-US collaborative projects in the areas of intersection between NSF/BIO and BBSRC as set out below.
Proposals must address the priorities of both BBSRC and participating NSF/BIO Divisions. Proposers must provide a clear rationale for the need for a US-UK collaboration, including the unique expertise and synergy that the collaborating groups will bring to the project.
Proposers should note that the lead agency scheme does not represent new or ring-fenced funding. Proposals will be assessed in competition with all others submitted to our normal solicitations/responsive mode round, and outcomes will be subject to both success in peer review and the availability of funds from both BBSRC and NSF/BIO.
Development of novel informatics approaches and cyberinfrastructure resources to enable novel and effective use of data in biological research, addressing key challenges faced by researchers and supporting generation of new knowledge from biological data.
Proposals must be aligned to both NSF’s Division of Biological Infrastructure programs in informatics and cybersecurity and BBSRC’s Data Driven Biology Responsive Mode priority. In addition, principal investigators are advised to consult the appropriate program officer to ensure that their portion of the project is compliant with the targeted program.
Full proposals for biological informatics should be submitted to one of the following:
Microbes and the host immune system
Proposals are invited that take an integrated approach to answer important questions relating to the immune system and host-microbe interactions. Microbes impact their hosts in manners that result in greatly different outcomes, which can include symbiotic, mutualistic or pathogenic infection. Key to these outcomes is the response and resilience of the host innate and adaptive immune system, as well as the microbial players (bacterial, fungal, viral) and the underlying physiological context.
Relevant areas of investigation include systems using genetically similar hosts or microbes that result in different phenotypic outcomes of infection. The use of comparative cross-species approaches to develop insights that have broad relevance across biological organisms is encouraged, as is research to understand the influence of coinfection and the wider microbiome, and the influence of host physiology through the life course. Proposals should aim to identify molecular mechanisms or develop systems-level understanding. Proposals that focus on industrial applications will not be accepted. Proposals that focus solely on human or mouse immune systems will not be accepted. Proposals must aim to progress knowledge of immunology in non-human animals or plants.
Full proposals for microbes and the host immune system should be submitted to one of the following:
Proposals are invited that seek to investigate the biological molecules and biomolecular systems that give rise to quantum mechanical effects in living organisms. Studies have shown that such phenomena are important to a number of fundamental biological processes, including photosynthesis, olfaction, cellular respiration and vision, yet the specialised features that enable such effects are not well understood.
Relevant areas of investigation include the features of proteins that enable quantum effects to occur at physiological temperatures, and the significance of the relatively large size of most protein complexes that exhibit quantum phenomena in contributing to the superposition of quantum states that give rise to quantum entanglement or quantum coherence. Mechanistic insight into the extended coherence times observed in biological systems are also of interest.
In addition to biophysical mechanisms, proposals that aim to provide insights into the prevalence of quantum phenomena in biological systems across the tree of life and their evolutionary origins are also welcome.
Proposals must aim to progress biological understanding and are expected to integrate research and methodologies from both (bio)physics and biology.
Full proposals for quantum biology should be submitted to one of the following:
Can we design, build and control a synthetic cell? Realising this grand challenge will enable us to uncover the molecular and physical organisation of cells that enable storage and transmittal of information, capture and transformation of energy, and adaptation and regulation of cellular systems that make life possible. Natural cells emerge from the coordinated operation of a large number of biomolecules with their environment. One goal of synthetic cell research is to decipher the basic requirements of a living cell by understanding the myriad functions that make it resilient and adaptive. To this end, proposals are expected to focus on building a synthetic cell in order to understand biology. For example, the identification of genes, metabolic pathways and cellular components and the molecular mechanism by which they exert their function can inform and accelerate the design and building of synthetic cells. Such cells might be protocells containing only the most basic cellular components that allows an understanding of the origin of life, artificial cells that contain both natural and synthetic cellular components or minimal cells that use natural molecules to build self-replicating cellular entities through ‘bottom up’ approaches. Proposals focused exclusively on building a synthetic cell as a biomanufacturing platform or as a therapeutic moiety will not be accepted.
Full proposals for synthetic cell should be submitted to one of the following: