Biological Sciences        Page 16

Biological Infrastructure


   The FY 1999 Budget Request for the Biological Infrastructure Subactivity is $79.05 million, an increase of $6.33 million, or 8.7 percent, over the FY 1998 Current Plan of $70.99 million.

(Millions of Dollars)
  FY 1997
FY 1998
FY 1999
Research Resources 59.47 57.22 65.15 7.93 13.9%
Human Resources 11.52 15.50 13.90 (1.60) -10.3%
TOTAL, BIOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE $70.99 $72.72 $79.05 $6.33 8.7%

   The goal of the Biological Infrastructure Subactivity (DBI) is to assure that essential infrastructure for contemporary research is available to scientists in all areas of biological science, from the molecular to the ecosystem level, for both disciplinary and interdisciplinary efforts. The kinds of resources supported range from physical infrastructure such as instrumentation needed by groups of researchers to training in biological research for students ranging from undergraduates to postdoctoral fellows in emerging areas of research. In addition, teams of biologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists are supported to develop databases and new computational tools for the biological sciences.

   Research Resources supports: multi-user instrumentation; the development of new instruments with improved resolution or sensitivity; genome sequencing of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana; upgrades to biological field stations and marine laboratories; support of living stock collections ranging from microbes to plants and animals; collaborative research at undergraduate institutions; computational biology; database activities; and research collections in systematics and ecology. These various research resources provide the essential platforms and tools for effective research in modern biology.

   Human Resources supports: postdoctoral research fellowships; sites for biological research experiences for undergraduates; and interdisciplinary research training groups, including the NSF-wide program for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT). The interdisciplinary nature of the research training group activities is especially effective in integrating frontier research with education at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels and also in fostering both industrial and international experiences for participating students.

   The FY 1999 Budget Request includes an increase of $6.33 million for a total of $79.05 million to provide:
  • An increase for Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence (KDI) to support: development of research tools necessary to advance the goals of KDI including bioinformatics tools to access massive datasets that are located all over the world; and computational biology tools to analyze those data leading to new insights into the understanding of fundamental biological processes.
  • DBI participation in the BIO-wide special competition for "Integrated Research Challenges in Environmental Biology." The focus of the competition will be on complex, difficult questions in environmental biology that require a multi disciplinary, multi-faceted approach to answer. DBI will provide support for infrastructure needs of the new program such as multi-user equipment, development of new instrumentation, data management strategies, and building of new research tools to integrate data obtained at molecular, cellular, organismal and evolutionary levels.
  • Support for activities in Educating for the Future (EFF). Specifically, DBI will increase support for REU and CAREER programs. Training of undergraduate students in both computer science and biology will be supported through an expanded REU supplement program and a new postdoctoral fellowships program in bioinformatics. The instrument development, bioinformatics and computational biology programs will increase their support for RUI and CAREER projects.
  • In FY 1999, BIO will participate in a Foundation-wide initiative on Research on K-12 Education and Training Technologies. BIO will provide an increase of $1.0 million to support mentoring and training activities as a supplement to existing awards at LTER sites and research collection sites at museums and botanical gardens.
  • Due to the phase-down of the Research Training Groups (RTG) program, Human Resources shows a slight decrease in FY 1999. Instead, BIO is participating in the NSF-wide IGERT program, in which a significant investment was made by BIO in FY 1998.

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