IOS Virtual Office Hours September 2021 Edition: Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB)

The slides are available here.

The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) held a Virtual Office Hour on September 16, 2021 providing information about the Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB) program. We were joined by program directors from the Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI) in our discussion.

The PRFB solicitation (NSF 21-614) was recently updated and applicants are strongly encouraged to read through the updated solicitation. One important change to be aware of is the due date; full proposals are due by 5:00 PM, applicant’s local time, December 6, 2021.

Another important change, and one that generated multiple questions from attendees, concerns applicants that are currently in positions that require a Ph.D.  Previously you could be in such a position for a maximum of 12 months; this has changed – you can now be in a position that requires a Ph.D. for 15 months and still be able to apply for a fellowship.

There are three competitive areas in the PRFB that you can apply to:

  1. Broadening Participation of Underrepresented Groups in Biology
  2. Integrative Research Investigating the Rules of Life Governing Interactions Between Genomes, Environment and Phenotypes (Rules of Life)
  3. Plant Genome Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

Questions about the competitive areas focused on the Broadening Participation and Rules of Life areas:

  • The Broadening Participation area supports activities that broaden the participation of underrepresented groups explicitly at the postdoctoral level. This is either through the application by, and support of, people from underrepresented groups or through activities that will help increase representation in the sciences.
  • The Rules of Life area will see proposed work that involves multiple sub-disciplines, spans biological scales, and investigates the influences of genotype and environment on expressed phenotypes.

Additional questions focused on mentors and applicant requirements. Recipients will need to be associated with an eligible institution at the time awards are made, will have an identified mentor (or more than one mentor if that is what is needed for successful completion of their research) and should be embarking on a training plan that enhances their scientific and professional development.

For questions on Competitive Areas 1 and 2 please send inquiries to and for Competitive Area 3 please send inquiries to

Please join us on October 21, 2021 for our next IOS Virtual Office Hour on the Integrative Research in Biology (IntBIO) program and on October 26, 2021 for a BIO-wide Virtual Office Hour discussing changes in our soon-to-be-released, updated Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG).