Origin of Life

Status: Archived

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.

A Joint Ideas Lab Activity Between NSF and NASA


This solicitation describes an Ideas Lab on “Origin of Life.” Ideas Labs are intensive workshops focused on finding innovative solutions to grand challenge problems. The ultimate aim of this Ideas Lab organized by the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geosciences (GEO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Astrobiology Program at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is to facilitate the generation and execution of innovative research projects aimed at identifying and funding potentially transformative research to address grand challenge questions in the origin of life.  The primary aim of this Ideas Lab is to foster the development of a theoretical framework that encompasses the “metabolism first” and “RNA first” theories for the origin of life by stimulating creative thinking and new research on the earliest events leading to life on early Earth.  Understanding plausible pathways for the origin of life will contribute directly to our understanding of the indispensable properties of life on Earth and inform our search for life on other worlds.

US researchers may submit preliminary proposals for participating in the Ideas Lab only via FastLane.  Participation in the Ideas Lab is required to be eligible to submit a full proposal.  Multidisciplinary ideas developed in the Ideas Lab will be submitted as full proposals to NSF or to NASA by invitation only. Collaboration among researchers is strongly encouraged in the invited full proposals. 

Program contacts

Arcady Mushegian
Program Director
amushegi@nsf.gov (703) 292-8528 BIO/MCB
Charles Liarakos
Program Director
cliarako@nsf.gov (703) 292-7904
Paco Moore
Program Director
fbmoore@nsf.gov (703) 292-2707 BIO/DEB
Enriqueta C. Barrera
Program Director
ebarrera@nsf.gov (703) 292-7780
Mary Voytek
Program Officer
mvoytek@hq.nasa.gov (202) 358-1577
Michael New
Program Officer
michael.h.new@nasa.gov (202) 358-1766

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