Cellular and Biochemical Engineering

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.

Synopsis

The Cellular and Biochemical Engineering (CBE) program is part of the Engineering Biology and Health cluster, which also includes: 1) the Biophotonics program; 2) the Biosensing program; 3) the Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering program; and 4) the Engineering of Biomedical Systems program.

The Cellular and Biochemical Engineering program supports fundamental engineering research that advances understanding of cellular and biomolecular processes. CBE-funded research may lead to the development of enabling technology for advanced biomanufacturing in support of the therapeutic cell, biochemical, biopharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.

Fundamental to many research projects in this area is the understanding of how biomolecules, subcellular systems, cells, and cell populations interact, and how those interactions lead to changes in structure, function, and behavior. A quantitative treatment of problems related to biological processes is considered vital to successful research projects in the CBE program. 

The program encourages highly innovative and potentially transformative engineering research leading to novel bioprocessing and biomanufacturing approaches. The CBE program also encourages proposals that effectively integrate knowledge and practices from different disciplines while incorporating ongoing research into educational activities.

Major areas of interest for the program include:

  • Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology for biomanufacturing, including the design of synthetic metabolic components and synthetic cells, 
  • Quantitative systems biotechnology,
  • Microbiome structure, function, synthesis, and maintenance,
  • Protein and enzyme engineering, and
  • Single cell and population dynamics and modeling in the context of biomanufacturing.

All proposals should include a description on the potential impact of proposed research on an associated biomanufacturing process.

Proposals whose core innovation involves tissue engineering, organ culture, development of models of healthy or diseased physiology, or design and application of technologies focused on the diagnosis or treatment of disease should be submitted to the Engineering of Biomedical Systems program (CBET 5345). 

INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS

Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact of success in the research on society and/or industry.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

The duration of unsolicited proposal awards in CBET is generally up to three years.  Single-investigator award budgets typically include support for one graduate student (or equivalent) and up to one month of principal investigator time per year (awards for multiple investigator projects are typically larger). Proposal budgets that are much larger than typical should be discussed with the Program Director prior to submission. Proposers can view budget amounts and other information from recent awards made by this program via the “What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)” link towards the bottom of this page.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Learn more in the CAREER program description

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI proposals can be submitted anytime during the year. Details about RAPID, EAGER, and GOALI are available in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Part 1, Chapter II, Section E: Types of Proposals.  

Compliance: Proposals that are not compliant with the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Program Contacts

Steven W. Peretti
speretti@nsf.gov (703) 292-7029 ENG/CBET
Steven M. Zehnder
szehnder@nsf.gov (703) 292-7014 ENG/CBET

Awards Made Through This Program

Browse projects funded by this program
Map of recent awards made through this program