OSP FO# 11-062

AGENCY: National Science Foundation (NSF)/Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)/Division of Environmental Biology (DEB)/Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)/Division of Emerging Frontiers (EF)

PROGRAM: Assembling, Visualizing, and Analyzing the Tree of Life (AVAToL)

OBJECTIVES: The NSF Assembling the Tree of Life, or AToL, program (http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2010/nsf10513/nsf10513.htm) has made important contributions to the elucidation of relationships within major groups of organisms. To achieve integration and synthesis of these separate phylogenies into a cohesive tree across all of life requires conceptual advances, novel approaches, new kinds of data, data collection, and analysis of massive and diverse data sets. This program provides funding to advance significantly the state-of-the-art in tree construction, visualization and analysis across the tree of life. This will take place through the Ideas Lab project development and review process.

Participants selected through an open application process will engage in an intensive five-day residential workshop to generate project ideas through an innovative, real-time review process. New multidisciplinary teams will form during this workshop to engage in creative problem solving directed at outstanding problems concerning the tree of life. Multidisciplinary integrative approaches calling for communication and interaction among diverse scientists are important to the success of the approach.

In addition to those working in systematics and phylogenetics, AVAToL might benefit from mathematicians and computer scientists to contribute algorithms and models, bioinformaticians or genomicists to contribute data pipelines and novel molecular characters, or statisticians and artists with an interest in novel methods of visualization and interactive use of the tree of life. Therefore, members of the systematics research community, bioinformaticians, genomicists, morphologists, paleontologists, computer scientists, statisticians, mathematicians, educators involved in training the next generation of researchers, and representatives of any other disciplines that might contribute important ideas are all strongly encouraged to apply.

Specific challenges include synthesis across the tree of life (including integration of prior studies and developing standards for future studies), the problem of prokaryotic relationships, tools for visualization and analysis on a large tree or sets of trees, a system for dynamically updating an evolving tree of life, and the best approaches for making the tree accessible for educational purposes.

ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS: The limit on number of proposals per PI applies to the preliminary proposal stage only. Each potential participant for the Ideas Lab must submit a separate preliminary proposal (1 preliminary proposal per person). No Co-PIs are permitted.

Preliminary Proposal (required): May 10, 2011
Full Proposal (invited only): November 4, 2011

FUNDING INFORMATION: The NSF anticipates making two to six awards in FY2012, pending availability of funds and the type, scale, and variety of project ideas developed at the Ideas Lab.

Timothy Collins
Program Director
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22230
Telephone: (703) 292-4763
Email: BIO-AVAToL@nsf.gov
Web: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2011/nsf11534/nsf11534.htm

REMARKS: Applications must be submitted electronically using either the NSF FastLane system or Grants.gov. Collaborative proposals must be submitted via FastLane. For more information about FastLane, or to register as a FastLane user, please contact India Adams (adamsi@bu.edu) or A. B. Effgen (abeffgen@bu.edu) in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at x3-4365. Information about Grants.gov for BU Investigators can be obtained on the OSP website at: http://www.bu.edu/osp/proposal-preparation/electronic-submission/. In addition, for investigators interested in submitting proposals via Grants.gov, NSF has published the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide which may be found online at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/docs/grantsgovguide.pdf. Investigators should contact the OSP Assistant Director assigned to their school or department as soon as possible to coordinate submission through either FastLane or Grants.gov.

Complete program guidelines and application material (NSF 11-534 and NSF GPG 11-1) may be obtained from the web site listed above or from the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). Please distribute this notice to any faculty or staff members who might be interested in the information. For more information, please contact the OSP at X3-4365 or ospinfo@bu.edu, or visit the OSP web site at http://www.bu.edu/osp.