The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on March 19, 2020, focused on two new Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs):
NSF 20-044 IMAGiNE 2020: Organisms in a Dynamic Environment – encourages research investigating how genomes, phenomes, and the environment interact to influence the development, expression and evolution of complex traits.
NSF 20-045 Plant Synthetic Biology – encourages research combining plant biology with synthetic biology to facilitate tool development, model development and validation, or to investigate biosynthetic pathways in plants.
Attendees had several questions about these opportunities; some common themes were:
- How would IMAGiNE proposals be handled in the review process? – IMAGiNE proposals will be reviewed by the core program/cluster they are submitted to, and they may be co-reviewed based on the focus of the research.
- In the IMAGiNE DCL there is discussion of leveraging large datasets (eg., NEON). Is this the only sort of dataset that can be leveraged? – Both large, freely available datasets, such as NEON, and smaller, local datasets could be used in IMAGiNE research that focuses on understanding the interaction between organisms and their environment.
- How would one distinguish regular core program proposals, Rules of Life proposals, and IMAGiNE proposals? – Core program proposals address questions central to the scope of the recipient cluster/program. Rules of Life proposals must be co-reviewed between two Divisions in BIO; therefore, they would be expected to cross scales and have a strong integrative component. IMAGiNE proposals should also be integrative in nature but should specifically focus on understanding how organisms react to and interact with their environment. Investigators submitting IMAGiNE proposals are encouraged to leverage available datasets to ask questions about organismal robustness and resilience. IMAGiNE proposals could be submitted directly to a relevant cluster/program and may be co-reviewed.