Research Funding

International Collaborations in Organismal Biology Between US and Israeli Investigators (ICOB)

Preliminary Proposal Deadline:  September 4, 2012


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is partnering with the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) to support collaborative research between US and Israeli investigators in areas of biology supported by the NSF Division of Integrative Organismal Systems. The Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) supports research aimed at an integrative understanding of organisms.  The goal is to predict why organisms are structured the way they are, and function as they do. Projects that innovatively apply systems biology approaches, i.e. approaches that combine experimentation, computation, and modeling, and which  lead to new conceptual and theoretical insights and predictions about integrated organismal properties that may be experimentally verified, are particularly encouraged.

In the context of greater accessibility to ever-expanding and increasingly detailed biological information, the overriding objective of IOS is to support research to understand the fundamental nature of life by understanding the emergent properties of organisms. Some of these properties include but are not restricted to: complexity (how interwoven organismal components or processes produce more than a sum of their parts), robustness (the degree to which an organism resists perturbation or stressful influences); communication (the  processes that enable individual components in a system to instruct one another or alter one another’s behavior); resilience (the ability to recover from perturbation or stress), adaptability (the capacity of organisms to change in response to perturbations in ways that maintain overall organismal integrity), and cooperation (behaviors of cells or organisms that benefit more than the individual). These emergent properties can be understood through studies of the evolution, development, behavior, regulatory processes and structural properties of all organisms. Therefore comparative studies and the use of a wide variety of organisms as models are encouraged.

Understanding these emergent, systems properties of organisms requires integrative, interdisciplinary approaches. The Division encourages proposals that include analyses across multiple levels of biological organization, from molecular through ecological, theoretical as well as advanced computational techniques, and interdisciplinary collaborations involving scientists from all areas of biology, behavioral science, physical science, mathematics, engineering, and computer science.

The scientific emphases of IOS are:
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