The new solicitation, NSF 18-506 has just been released for the second year of the Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools (EDGE) program. In its first year, EDGE made ten awards totaling over $14 million to enable tests of gene function in non-model organisms.
EDGE supports a greater understanding of the genomes-to-phenomes relationship, an area relevant to Understanding the Rules of Life, one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas for future investment. With budgets up to $2 million, EDGE projects should focus on development of functional genomic tools, approaches, and associated infrastructure to enable direct tests of hypotheses about gene function in the diverse organisms for which such tools and infrastructure are presently unavailable. EDGE proposals must include training and rapid dissemination plans enabling larger communities of investigators to utilize the newly-developed tools.
Examples of relevant tools, approaches, and infrastructure include, but are not limited to:
- Innovative approaches for establishing gene function;
- Development and testing of transformation approaches;
- Expansion of the use of gene editing, knock-out, and overexpression approaches in diverse organisms;
- Development of approaches to test gene function in a variety of targeted, single cells in organisms; and
- Development of approaches and establishment of conditions for routinely maintaining organisms and/or obtaining biological material to test gene function efficiently.
From the first EDGE competition, IOS noted that many systems suffered from two specific impediments to investigations of gene function: 1) achieving proof-of-principle, efficient transformation; and 2) obtaining, on demand, sufficient biological material (specific cell types, life history stages including adults, etc.) to conduct direct tests of gene function efficiently. IOS encourages researchers to consider submitting smaller-scope proposals focused exclusively on overcoming one of these bottlenecks. For proposals aimed at obtaining sufficient biological material to conduct tests of gene function, preliminary data and/or citation of relevant literature demonstrating that proof-of-principle tests of gene function have already been achieved in the focal organism must be included.
With the release of this new solicitation, EDGE is no longer part of the IOS Core Programs Solicitation; EDGE proposals should be submitted directly to NSF 18-506. There are no Letters of Intent (LOI) or preliminary proposals required, only submission of full proposals. Full proposals are due 1 February 2018 by 5:00PM proposers’ local time. Read the entire solicitation for additional submission requirements and special review criteria.
Please see the EDGE FAQ for answers to common questions.
Additionally, questions about EDGE can be sent to BIOIOSEDGE@NSF.GOV.