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Funding Opportunity: NSF BioFoundries

Catherine Chen, Kendra Hillman, Emily Wilcoxson
June 08, 2023

NSF has released its solicitation for a new infrastructure program to support biotechnology and the bioeconomy: BioFoundries to Enable Access to Infrastructure and Resources for Advancing Modern Biology and Biotechnology (BioFoundries). A BioFoundry should be a scientific ecosystem that “develops innovative (bio)technologies, invents new processes and workflows, integrates advanced computation, and creates reproducible results and shareable knowledge-bases to accelerate the design-build-test-learn pipeline from basic research to translation.” This ecosystem should be an innovation hub as well as a user facility.

While BioFoundry research can focus on any topic(s) in the biological or biotechnological fields supported by NSF, they “must to aim to integrate advances in [those] fields with innovations in automation, high-end measurement infrastructure, nanotechnology, micro-fabrication, integrated testing and data acquisition, and AI-enabled analysis and automation of the scientific discovery process.” BioFoundries must facilitate translation of basic research to societally beneficial outcomes, and must provide broad access to its infrastructure.

Limited Submissions: ASU may submit only one (1) application to BioFoundries. The internal deadline for submission is June 23, 2023 by 5:00pm. The internal application site can be found here. Once the internal deadline has passed, an internal panel will review all applications and select the application that is most competitive.  

Sponsor Deadlines: Applicants must submit a letter of intent by August 1, 2023 to indicate participation in the full proposal. Full proposals are due to the sponsor via by October 2, 2023.

Proposal timeline

Budget: NSF is planning on awarding 2 to 4 teams totaling $15,000,000 to $24,000,000 each over a six-year period via a cooperative agreement. NSF anticipates that the initial ramp-up period (Years 1 and 2) will incur higher costs due to the need for equipment purchases and /or facility commissioning and lower personnel costs in the absence of major equipment, and proposed budgets should reflect this. Read the Program Description and Budget requirements closely to understand supported and non-supported costs. 

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions: Prepare the following AFTER selection by the Limited Submissions Panel. 

  1. A one-page letter of intent prior to the full proposal. 
  2. The full proposal must include a 37-page project description with clearly defined sections as outlined in the solicitation.

Please email to receive a required document checklist and annotated outline of the full proposal.

Prospective PIs should consult a program director prior to submitting to the BioFoundries Program. The list of Program Officers can be found in the solicitation and on the program website.

Additional Resources: