Interagency Synthetic Biology Working Group (SBWG)

SBWG Agency Funding Opportunities

Learn more about funding opportunities from various SBWG agencies below.

Department of Defense (DOD)

AFOSR solicits proposals for research through various Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs). The synthetic biology and related research are funded as a part of the Natural Materials and Systems; Human Performance and Biosystems; and Biophysics portfolios within Chemistry and Biological Sciences. Funding Opportunities.

The Army supports a variety of basic and applied research programs which include synthetic biology and biotechnology as research interest areas. 

BTO develops capabilities that embrace the unique properties of biology and applies those features to revolutionize how the United States defends the homeland. Funding Opportunities.

The Office of Naval Research Human and Bioengineered Systems Division's mission is to direct, plan, foster and encourage science and technology in cognitive science, computational neuroscience, bioscience and bio-mimetic technology, physiology and biophysics, immunology, social/organizational science, training, human factors, and decision making as related to Naval needs. Learn more.

The Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship (VBFF) is the Department of Defense’s most prestigious single-investigator award and supports basic research with the potential for transformative impact. Learn more.

Department of Energy (DOE)

The goal of the Biological Systems Science Division within the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program is to provide the necessary fundamental science to understand, predict, design, and manipulate biological systems that underpin innovations for bioenergy and bioproduct production and to enhance our understanding of natural environmental processes relevant to DOE. Learn more about funding opportunities here.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. NIH has many opportunities for synthetic biology funding that may not necessarily be classified by the approach. The NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts is NIH's official publication of notices of grant policies, guidelines and funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). Learn more.

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Biological Technologies

Supports SBIR and STTR awards in a variety of biotechnology areas including synthetic biology.


Supports fundamental materials research including the use of synthetic biology for novel material design.  Infrastructure for biomaterials including synthetic biology enabled materials research is supported through the Materials Innovation Platform and Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Programs.

CCF: Foundations in Emerging Technologies

Supports fundamental research in disruptive technologies and models in computing and communication in all areas including construction and design of novel hybrid programmable biological systems capable of computing and information processing.

Cellular and Biochemical Engineering

Supports fundamental engineering research that advances understanding of cellular and biomolecular processes. 

Chemistry of Life Processes

Supports fundamental research at the interface of chemistry and biology including aspects of synthetic biology that leverage the power of chemistry to understand biology.

Designing Synthetic Cells Beyond the Bounds of Evolution

Specific opportunity to develop synthetic cells or cell-like systems to explore basic biological questions, and apply synthetic cells or cell-like systems in new biotechnology applications.

Enabling Discovery through Genomic Tools (EDGE)

Supports the development of genomic tools for non-model organisms and their use in elucidating the genomic basis of complex traits.

Plant Genome Research Program

Supports genome scale research in plant biology and tool development including synthetic biology tool development to enable plant genomics research.

Plant Synthetic Biology

Specific opportunity to develop tools to facilitate synthetic biology in plants as well as using synthetic biology tools to better understand plant biology.

Sentinel Cells

Support for development of sentinel cells for surveillance and response to emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19 using tools of synthetic biology.

Systems and Synthetic Biology

Supports using the tools of synthetic biology to better understand biology as well as advancement of synthetic biology tools.



U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants program (BRAG)

RFA developed in coordination with FDA, EPA, and USDA-APHIS. Risk to environment from GE organisms and synbio products.

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI)

Supports research in plant, animal, and microbial biotechnologies including synthetic biology.

Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI)

Supports research in specialty crops on use of biotechnology methods including synthetic biology.

Assessment Tools for Biotechnology Products (US- EPA)

Support the development of improved science-based human health and environmental risk assessments of new biotechnology products, including those developed through synthetic biology, genome editing, and metabolic engineering.

Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative (US-FDA)

Provide education and outreach to the public on agricultural biotechnology and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology.