Science: Marine Microbiology Initiative

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Grant amount: US $40,000 - US $1,600,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Postdoctoral Researcher Faculty College / University

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

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Please note that we do not accept unsolicited grant proposals. Because of our tightly-defined grantmaking strategies, many worthwhile projects fall outside the scope of our funding priorities. However, if you have thoughts or inquiries related to our work that you would like to share, you may send us a brief, ~100-word email. Please understand that due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are only able to commit to reviewing those inquiries that adhere to the ~100-word guideline.

Supporting life on land and sea, driving ocean nutrient cycles, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and making half of the planet’s oxygen. The Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) seeks to gain a comprehensive understanding of marine microbial communities, including their ecological roles in the oceans; their diversity, functions and behaviors; and their origins and evolution. The current focus of the initiative is to advance our understanding of marine microbial communities by enabling researchers to uncover the scientific principles that govern the interactions among microbes and that govern microbially mediated nutrient flow in the sea. To answer these questions, MMI supports current or emerging leaders in the field through investigator awards, multidisciplinary team research projects, community resource projects, as well as projects to develop new instrumentation, tools, technologies and genetic approaches.

Through the efforts of many scientists from around the world, the initiative will achieve these goals by breaking interdisciplinary barriers that are currently slowing the field and by catalyzing new science through advances in methods and technology. We support research that closes gaps that currently hinder scientists from identifying and quantifying nutrient pools in the ocean, deciphering the genetic and biochemical bases of microbial metabolism, and understanding how microbes interact with one another.

We support five grant portfolios. We also convene scientists around topics of key importance and sponsor workshops to promote scientific exchange.

Individual investigator awards for current and emerging leaders in the field
The investigator portfolio builds from the concept that providing leading researchers with the resources and flexibility to follow their scientific instincts and conduct cutting-edge, often risky research leads to innovative, high-impact science. MMI investigators use a diversity of complementary scientific perspectives and tools (such as molecular ecology, evolutionary theory, geochemical analyses, and computational modeling) to change the paradigm for the field and, in so doing, help achieve our long-term goal of "uncovering the underlying principles that govern the interactions among microbes and that influence microbially mediated nutrient flow in representative marine microbial ecosystems." The investigators' research areas form synergistic themes such as studying marine biogeochemical cycles from multiple angles, developing computational models that span from intracellular and microscale phenomena to global scales, and studying the mutualistic and antagonistic interactions among the different domains of life and viruses.

Multidisciplinary Research, Novel Instrumentation and Methods Development
MMI seeks to overcome conceptual, disciplinary, technological, and methodological barriers that currently hinder scientists from understanding nutrient flow in the ocean; from deciphering the genetic and biochemical bases of microbial metabolism, physiology and ecology; and from understanding how microbes and viruses interact with one another and the consequences of these interactions. One grantmaking approach that MMI uses to address these goals is to fund multi-disciplinary research projects, which support collaborations of international scientists with diverse expertise to overcome these challenges using laboratory, field, theory, and computational techniques. MMI also supports instrumentation and methods development projects to enable technological and methodological breakthroughs for a particular discipline and at interdisciplinary interfaces.

Community Resources
We support community resource projects that fund the creation and sharing of data and the development of tools, methods and infrastructure that are of broad use to the entire research community: 
  • iMicrobe, iVirus and VERVENet: bioinformatics and methods resources
  • ProPortal: a discovery environment for Prochlorococcus research
  • Marine Microbial Eukaryote Transcriptome Sequencing Project
  • Viral Genome and Metagenome Sequencing Project
  • Microbial Genome Sequencing Project
  • Environmental Metagenomics Sequencing Portfolio
  • MEGAMER (Microbial Environmental Genomic Applications: Modeling, Experimentation and Remote Sensing)
  • Nature Geoscience
  • Nature Reviews Microbiology

Experimental Model Systems
We support scientists to accelerate the development of genetically manipulable experimental model systems for marine microbial ecology research. This international endeavor taps into the efforts of more than 100 scientists across 33 institutions with a broad range of expertise to collectively tackle the challenge of developing methods to bring the power of genetics and experimental model systems to the ocean. The genetic tools created through this portfolio will allow researchers to more easily disrupt the activities of microbial genes to understand how these organisms function in marine ecosystems. Developing robust model systems is complex and risky because the work is difficult and success is not guaranteed. By taking risks and funding challenging work with a high potential payoff, the foundation helps fuel innovation that can have a significant impact by enabling scientists to more deeply explain the natural world.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

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