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Conferences and workshops

Using the Rules of Life to Address Societal Challenges: Virtual Events

About the series

In 2016, the National Science Foundation (NSF) unveiled a set of "Big Ideas," 10 bold, long-term research and process ideas that identified unique opportunities to position our Nation at the cutting edge of global science and engineering by bringing together diverse disciplinary perspectives to support convergence research. One of those, Understanding the Rules of Life: Predicting Phenotype, is based on developing a predictive understanding of how key properties of living systems emerge from interactions of factors such as genomes, phenotypes, and dynamic environments (see projects supported by the program here as examples).

As NSF considers ways to promote use-inspired research that reaches beyond curiosity-driven science, we seek multidisciplinary, community feedback on how researchers can use the emerging Rules of Life to address societal challenges by combining approaches from among all the scientific disciplines, including engineering; mathematics; physical sciences; computer science; geosciences; social, behavioral, and economic sciences; as well as the breadth of biological sciences.

To this end we announce a series of free Virtual Events centered on Using the Rules of Life to Address Societal ChallengesThe goal is to bring together researchers with diverse perspectives -- including those from all scientific disciplines, with various levels of experience (from senior scientists to postdocs), from different types of institutions or organizations, and from historically underrepresented groups in STEM -- to share ideas about how Rules of Life approaches and data might be harnessed by multidisciplinary teams to tackle pressing societal challenges.

Outline of Events
A Virtual Town Hall was held on March 15, 2022, which brought together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to discuss using the ‘rules of life’ to address societal challenges and to identify challenges ripe for this approach.

The ideas from that Town Hall have been distilled into the following topics which will serve as focal points for four workshops. Each workshop will consider how all the STEM disciplines (including biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, geosciences, mathematics, physics, social, behavioral, and economic sciences) could be used to tackle a specific problem. All workshops will incorporate cross-cutting themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion and STEM education, training, and workforce development.  The four Virtual Workshops will be held from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST on four separate days (April 14, 19, 21, and 26, 2022) with the topics listed in the dates and times at the top of this page. A Workshop Orientation will be held on April 12, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM EST to help participants get acclimated and provide information on the workshop platform.

'Incubators' for researchers at the postdoctoral level, which will allow for network and reflection on the workshops, will occur from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST on April 22, 2022 (for postdocs attending Workshop 1 or 2) and May 2, 2022 (for postdocs attending Workshop 3 or 4). A Kick-off 'Incubator' for all participating postdocs will be held April 12, 2022 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST and a Wrap-up 'Incubator' for all postdocs will occur from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM EST on May 17, 2022.


 Applications will close on March 29, 2022.

Workshop and 'Incubator' attendance will be by invitation only.

Past events in this series