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National Science Foundation HomeNational Science Foundation - Directorate for Biological Sciences
Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)
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Merit Review Broader Impacts Criterion: Representative Activities
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About Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS)

IOS supports research aimed at improving our understanding of organisms as integrated units of biological organization.  The Division welcomes diverse approaches to research addressing organismal questions, and especially encourages integrative and interdisciplinary perspectives on complex problems in organismal biology. The goal is to predict why organisms are structured the way they are and function as they do.  Projects that innovatively apply approaches that combine experimentation, computation, and modeling, and which lead to new conceptual and theoretical insights and testable predictions about integrated organismal properties, including the relationship between genotypes and phenotypes, are particularly encouraged.  Research that integrates data across spatial/temporal/ biological scales, leads to transformative methods, tools and resources, and/or seeks breakthroughs in the areas of phenotypic plasticity and organismal resilience will be given high priority for funding throughout the division. However, research motivated by relevance to human health or addressing the mechanisms of human disease is not appropriate for the Division and will be returned without review. Proposals are welcomed in all areas of science supported by the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, including interdisciplinary projects that cross cluster boundaries. 

In order to identify the correct program within IOS for considering your proposal, please read the cluster descriptions on their respective webpages and then discuss the potential fit with the Program Director you believe is most closely associated to your field of interest. This interaction can be a critical aspect for ensuring that your proposal is assigned to the most appropriate program for review.

Please consult the IOS web page (http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=IOS) for information about Program Directors associated with each programmatic area. Principal Investigators who have questions about the suitability of their research for review in a particular cluster are encouraged to contact a cognizant Program Director.

The scientific programs in IOS are organized into the Clusters below:


IOS continues to support projects that provide unique educational and training opportunities for the next generation of researchers, scientific educators and scientifically literate citizens. In order to address the Broader Impacts review criterion, proposals can contain the development of innovative educational, broadening participation, and outreach activities, or participation in existing institutional infrastructure for education, training and outreach. Successful proposals often demonstrate close integration between the scientific and educational goals. 

In addition to research projects, the Division also supports doctoral dissertation research; conferences, symposia and workshops; grants for rapid response research; EArly-concept grants for exploratory research and participates in a wide variety of NSF-wide activities including the Career Development Program (CAREER) and Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program.

The deadline dates for preliminary proposal and invited full proposal submission to the IOS core programs can be found in the current solicitation on the IOS program page at: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503623&org=IOS&from=home

The Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) target date can be found in the current solicitation on the program web page at:  http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5338&org=IOS&from=home

The BREAD deadline can be found the current solicitation on the program web page at: http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503285&org=IOS&from=home



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