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Advancing Theory in Biology  (ATB)

ATB research community please note:

The Advancing Theory in Biology special competition has concluded. If you are interested in submitting a proposal to develop new theory, or to extend existing theory, in the biological sciences, please contact a program officer in the appropriate Division, program or cluster in the Directorate for Biological Sciences at the beginning stages of developing your ideas to discuss suitability for the program.   A staff directory is available at:

Name Email Phone Room
Michelle  Elekonich (703) 292-7202   
Neocles  B. Leontis (703) 292-7113   
Saran  Twombly (703) 292-8133   


Solicitation  11-523

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Current but no Longer Receiving Proposals


The Biological Sciences Directorate invites submission of proposals that advance our conceptual and theoretical understanding of living systems. The Advancing Theory in Biology (ATB) solicitation supports the development of new theoretical approaches that will improve our understanding of general biological principles that account for phenomena that occur independently across levels of biological organization. Awards will not exceed a total of $750,000 over a three year period. This total includes all participants in collaborative projects.

This is the final year that a separate competition will be held for Advancing Theory in Biology. After this year, the Biological Sciences Directorate will continue to support the development of new theoretical approaches to account for phenomena at different levels of biological organization through proposals submitted to existing core programs in the Directorate. 



What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program