Infrastructure Innovation for Biological Research (Innovation)

Award Info:

Estimated Number of Awards: 20 to 40

Actual number of awards may vary depending on the split of funds across the different programs, which in turn may vary according to submission distribution, individual proposal merits, and budget amounts, and availability of funds.

Anticipated Funding Amount: $18,000,000 to $20,000,000

Approximately $18-20 million is expected to be available for new awards in FY 2021. The size and duration of any individual request should be justified by the amount and complexity of the work to be accomplished. As a rule, the larger the budget, the greater the expected impact on the biological research community.


The Infrastructure Innovation for Biological Research Program (Innovation) supports research to design novel or greatly improved research tools and methods that advance contemporary biology in any research area supported by the Biological Sciences Directorate at NSF. The Innovation Program focuses on research infrastructure that is broadly applicable to researchers in three programmatic areas: Bioinformatics, Instrumentation, and Research Methods. Infrastructure supported by this program is expected to advance biological understanding by improving scientists’ abilities to manipulate, control, analyze, or measure critical aspects of biological systems, which can be essential for addressing important fundamental research questions. Proposals submitted to these programmatic areas can do one of three things to advance or transform research in biology: develop novel infrastructure, significantly redesign existing infrastructure, or adapt existing infrastructure in novel ways. Projects are expected to have a significant application to one or more biological science questions and have the potential to be used by a community of researchers beyond a single research team.

The innovative nature of the proposed work must be emphasized, and proposals with high-risk/high reward potential are welcome. PIs are encouraged to leverage NSF-supported scientific infrastructure, such as databases, data networks, computational resources, software, and centers.