Accelerating Innovations in Biomanufacturing Approaches through Collaboration Between NSF and the DOE BETO funded Agile BioFoundry (NSF-DOE/ABF Collaboration)

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Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 22-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after October 4, 2021. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 22-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Invites proposals focused on using the Design-Build-Test-Learn capabilities at the Agile BioFoundry to develop testable prototypes based on the latest advances in synthetic engineering biology.


The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (DOE BETO) recognize the critical roles that synthetic and engineering biology play in advancing the U.S. Bioeconomy. To translate advances in synthetic and engineering biology into products and processes that will impact the  U.S. bioeconomy, there is a need to accelerate innovation and adopt new biomanufacturing approaches.  The integrated Design-Build-Test-Learn (DBTL) capabilities of the DOE BETO funded Agile BioFoundry (ABF) offer a unique resource to the academic community to develop and implement innovative biodesign and biomanufacturing technologies and practices. 

To help advance the U.S. bioeconomy, these agencies invite proposals from researchers at institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations (eligible PIs). The proposals must leverage the unique DBTL capabilities available at the ABF to translate the latest advances in synthetic biology and engineering biology basic research into testable prototype processes and products that are potentially scalable and manufacturable and can be appropriately validated.  Of particular interest are proposals that both leverage the DBTL capabilities of the ABF to translate basic science into bioeconomy-relevant innovation and also lead to the development of generalizable rules or theories of biological systems that enhance our understanding of basic science.

In order to facilitate the utilization of the integrated DBTL capabilities available at the ABF and ensure the readiness of basic research projects for their translation to ABF platforms, NSF would support efforts of eligible PIs and their students, postdoctoral fellows, and other lab personnel on projects that can leverage the unique capabilities of the ABF.  NSF support would be for all activity at the institution of higher education or non-profit organization that occurs in parallel to, or prior to, the work at ABF that readies the project for translation to practice.  In order to increase collaboration across sectors and workforce development, NSF, through this program, can also support short term faculty fellows, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students or undergraduate student interns that are hosted by national laboratories or ABF.   DOE BETO will cover the costs for implementation of approved projects at ABF.  Partnering with industry is encouraged for technologies both to facilitate eventual scale up and regulatory approval. 

Investigators are advised to consult with ABF early in their proposal planning process. More information on the capabilities of the Agile BioFoundry can be found at The required mechanism for collaboration with the Agile BioFoundry is to use the Agile BioFoundry Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). For more information about the CRADA, including a template CRADA, please visit

NSF will coordinate and manage the review of proposals.  Proposals will be shared with DOE BETO Technology Managers.

Program contacts

David Rockcliffe (703) 292-7123 BIO/MCB
Steven W. Peretti (703) 292-8320 ENG/CBET
Ramon Gonzalez (703) 292-8046 BIO/MCB
Mamadou Diallo (703) 292-4257 ENG/CBET
Raymond A. Adomaitis (703) 292-8320 ENG/CBET
Gayle Bentley (202) 586-5188

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