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.

Learn more about SemiSynBio-III

March 25, 2022

Learn more about the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology Circuits and Communications for Information Storage (SemiSynBio-III) program (NSF 22-557):

The SemiSynBio-III solicitation seeks high-risk/high-return interdisciplinary research on the integration of synthetic biology with semiconductor technology.

Several recent breakthroughs in synthetic biology have demonstrated the suitability of biomolecules as carriers of stored digital data for memory applications. At the same time, the semiconductor industry has accumulated unique tools and expertise in design and fabrication of complex hybrid systems, which incorporate unconventional materials, to meet future information storage needs. Next-generation information storage technologies will be driven by biological principles and the use of biomaterials in the fabrication of devices and systems to store data for more than 100 years and with storage capacity that is 1,000 times more than current storage technologies. In theory, a few kilograms of nucleic acid with the proper encoding could meet all the world's data storage needs in a form that is chemically stable for centuries. This feature is not matched by the projected longevity of current electronic, magnetic, or optical technologies based on inorganic semiconductors.

The SemiSynBio-III program aims to seed and foster collaborations among researchers in biology, physics, chemistry, materials science, computer science, and engineering disciplines to develop new cross-disciplinary projects and curricula that will model and integrate concepts, tools and methodologies. The goal of this program is to stimulate non-traditional thinking about the issues facing the semiconductor industry by:

  • Developing computational and experimental models of bio-molecular and cellular-based systems.
  • Addressing fundamental research questions at the interface of biology and semiconductors.
  • Designing sustainable biomaterials for novel bio-nano hybrid architectures and circuits that test the limits intransient electronics.
  • Fabricating hybrid biological-semiconductor electronic systems with storage functionalities.
  • Scaling-up and characterization of integrated hybrid synthetic bio-electronic storage systems.

Proposals are required to include an objective of educating a new cadre of students that will meet the need of industries in the joint expertise of semiconductor and synthetic biology.