NSF Biology Integration Institutes
While this solicitation focuses on the integration of biological subdisciplines, any field beyond biology may be included as needed to address the overarching biological theme. NSF invites proposals with organizational structures that are best suited to tackle integrative biological questions. New models for team interaction may be needed for productive discipline-spanning research within each Institute. Therefore, while particular activities are not prescribed, proposers must demonstrate thoughtful attention to elements that will make the institutes function cohesively. For example, sustaining communication across disciplines over time requires creative community-building efforts and establishing "habitats" where language and cultural differences between disciplines and people can be addressed and harmonized. These new Institutes face additional challenges of logistics and project management, including: integration and interoperability of data, cyber, and other infrastructure among multiple disciplines, agreement on cross-organizational intellectual contribution and credit plans, development of co-mentorship and personnel exchange programs, and formalization of conflict resolution procedures. Solutions to these challenges will require thorough consideration and may necessitate innovative solutions tailored to the team and questions being addressed. In addition, it is expected that the institutes establish a climate of inclusion and equity through such practices as contemporary team science, open science, and other strategies that effectively include and engage scientists diverse in demography, disciplines, and geographies.
Each Institute must identify a Research Theme, centered around a compelling and broad biological question poised for breakthroughs by collaboration across biological subdisciplines. The Theme must be larger in scope than research projects typically submitted to core programs in the BIO Directorate. While it does not have to span all biological subdisciplines, it should span more than one sub-discipline and be compelling across the subdisciplines spanned.