Designing Synthetic Cells Beyond the Bounds of Evolution

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Deadline: Feb 1, 2024

Grant amount: US $500,000 - US $2,000,000

Fields of work: Synthetic Biology

Applicant type: Organizations, Individuals

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world


Because of recent technological advances in synthetic biology and bioengineering, researchers are now able to tailor cells and cell-like systems for a variety of basic and applied research purposes. The goal of this solicitation is to support research that

  • develops cell-like systems to identify the minimal requirements for the processes of life
  • designs synthetically-modified cells to address fundamental questions in the evolution of life or to explore biological diversity beyond that which currently exists in nature
  • leverages basic research in cell design to build novel synthetic cell-like systems and cells for innovative biotechnology applications.

Highest funding priority is given to proposals that have outstanding intellectual merit and broader impacts, while proposals with weaknesses in either category (or those that are perceived as likely to have an incremental impact) will not be competitive. Proposals submitted to this solicitation should address social, ethical, and safety issues associated with designing and building synthetically modified cells as an integrated component of the project.

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National Science Foundation (NSF)

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This page was last reviewed January 15, 2023 and last updated January 15, 2023