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Microbial Observatories (MO) and Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


Microorganisms are the oldest, most diverse and most abundant forms of life on Earth. However, the identity, physiology and interactions of the vast majority of these microbes, as well as the processes they mediate in the environment, remain unknown or poorly understood. Advances in molecular biology, genomics and bioinformatics, and cultivation technologies herald a new age of exploration of the microbial world. The Microbial Observatories (MO) and Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP) activities will support research to discover and characterize novel microorganisms, microbial consortia, communities, activities and other novel properties, and to study their roles in diverse environments.

The Microbial Observatories activity is a continuation of MO competitions held since 1999 (for a list of prior awards, see http://www.nsf.gov/bio/pubs/awards/mo.htm). The long-term goal of this activity is to develop a network of sites or "microbial observatories" in different habitats to study and understand microbial diversity over time and across environmental gradients. Projects supported are expected to establish or participate in an established, Internet-accessible knowledge network to disseminate information resulting from these activities. In addition, educational and outreach activities such as formal or informal training in microbial biology, and activities that will broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in microbial research and education are expected. Beginning with the October 2005 target date, the USDA/CSREES will partner with NSF to support MO projects relevant to agroecosystems.

Microbial Interactions and Processes (MIP) expands the range of the MO competition to support microbial diversity research projects that need not be site-based, and that are smaller and/or shorter in duration than MO projects. MIP projects will be considered for funding by NSF only. This expanded activity will fund integrative studies that explore novel microorganisms, their interactions in consortia and communities, and aspects of their physiology, biochemistry and genomics in relationship to the processes that they carry out in the environment.

Updates and announcements

Program contacts

  • John L Sherwood - National Program Leader
    CSREES, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Phn: (202) 690-1659 Fax: (202) 401-1782 Email: jsherwood@csrees.usda.gov
    STOP 2241, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20250-2241
Matthew D. Kane
Program Director
mkane@nsf.gov (703) 292-7186 BIO/DEB
John L. Sherwood
National Program Leader
jsherwood@csrees.usda.gov (202) 690-1659 CSREES, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Lita M. Proctor
Program Director
lproctor@nsf.gov (703) 292-5190

Awards made through this program

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