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NSF-BSF Program in Ecology and the Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID)

Grants to USA and Israel Research Institutions for Collaborative
Research Projects on the Transmission of Infectious Disease

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United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) and U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) - Biological Science Directorate (BIO) - Environmental Biology Division (DEB)

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Grants to USA and Israel research institutions for collaborative research projects on infectious diseases. Funding is intended to support studies on the evolutionary and ecological factors that affect transmission among animals, human beings, and plants, in order to further the ability to predict and control these diseases.

The U.S. – Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) is accepting applications in joint funding programs in Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (EEID), with the Environmental Biology Division (DEB), in the Biological Science Directorate (BIO) of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), and in cooperation with other agencies.

The central theme of submitted projects must be quantitative or computational understanding of pathogen transmission dynamics. The intent is discovery of principles of infectious disease transmission and testing mathematical or computational models that elucidate infectious disease systems. 

Projects should focus on the determinants and interactions of transmission among humans, non-human animals, and/or plants. This includes, for example, the spread of pathogens; the influence of environmental factors such as climate; the population dynamics and genetics of reservoir species or hosts; the cultural, social, behavioral, and economic dimensions of disease transmission. Research may be on zoonotic, environmentally-borne, vector-borne, or enteric diseases of either terrestrial or freshwater systems and organisms, including diseases of animals and plants, at any scale from specific pathogens to inclusive environmental systems. 

Proposals for research on disease systems of public health concern to developing countries are strongly encouraged, as are disease systems of concern in agricultural systems.

Specifically, proposals must address ecological dynamics and among-host transmission, even when evolutionary studies are a substantive part of the proposal.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 187107

Estimated Size of Grant:

The size of the BSF grant to the Israeli is expected to be up to $80,000/year for experimental programs and up to $55,000/year for theoretical or computer based research, subject to the availability of funds. If more than a single Israeli group is involved in the research, the budget may be increased by up to 50%.

Term of Contract:

BSF will follow the decision by the U.S. funding agency regarding the length of the project.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications must be submitted jointly by an Israeli, and an U.S. scientist from a U.S. research institution. The addition of a UK, or a Chinese scientist to the proposal, to form a multinational proposal, is also allowed.

Investigators are encouraged to develop the appropriate multidisciplinary team, including for example, modelers, bioinformaticians, genomics, researchers, social scientists, economists, epidemiologists, entomologists, parasitologists, microbiologists, bacteriologists, virologists, pathologists or veterinarians.

Cooperative research is a fundamental requirement for the BSF and is viewed by the Foundation as active collaboration between Israeli and American scientists. A joint research program must be presented in the form of a single, coordinated application, in which the roles and tasks of the respective partners are clearly defined. Each application should have at least two principal investigators (but not more than six), one from an Israeli institution and one from a U.S. institution.

All regulations regarding eligibility of the BSF (for the Israeli PI) or the NSF (for the U.S. PI) will apply to this program. A U.S. scientist submitting an application with an Israeli colleague to the NSF, is only subject to the NSF eligibility rules.

For the BSF submission: Israeli and American principal investigators must have obtained a PhD, MD or an equivalent degree, and must be faculty members or the equivalent of the submitting institutions. Graduate students or postgraduate fellows are not eligible to submit applications.

Scientists who wish to apply for grants must submit their applications through a legal entity. The BSF accepts research applications from non-profit organizations only, including institutions of higher learning, government research institutions and hospitals.

Investigations that are outside the scope of this EEID announcement include:

- Those limited solely to genetic patterns of evolutionary change (e.g., comparative genomics),
- Those that focus solely on human diseases without considering the broader ecological context,
- Those that focus solely on within-host biological processes,
- Those that focus solely on vector species ecology, and
- Those that have not pre-indentified at least one pathogenic organism that will be e focus of the study (i.e., metagenomic surveys to identify the pathogenic organism are not included in this solicitation).

Projects focusing on marine systems are no longer accepted, except for those dealing with aquacultural systems within the purview of the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Pre-Application Information:

Full proposals should be submitted to the BSF no later than 5 pm (Israel time) on November 26, 2019. NSF deadline is November 20, 2019.

Prior to submission, the U.S. applicant should contact the appropriate NSF program manager to discuss the research focus of his international project.

The full proposals will be submitted to the program twice:
- The U.S. scientist (only) will submit to the NSF using its regulations and submission system.
- The Israeli scientist (only) will submit to the BSF, also providing the U.S. scientist information, according to its regulations and submission system.

Applications are to be submitted to the NSF according to its submission regulation, even if the application may eventually be chosen for a grant by the NIH or USDA.

The NSF accepts applications only from U.S. scientists. Submission to the NSF should be made by the U.S. PI alone, but he has to note in the cover page that it is an “NSF-BSF Application” (the Israeli does not appear as a formal co-PI on the application).

If awarded a grant, the U.S. scientist will receive a grant from the NSF, while the Israeli scientist will receive a grant from the BSF.

All inquiries regarding the eligibility of the research topic must be made by the U.S. PIs to the program directors at NSF. BSF will not respond to any query regarding topic eligibility.

Each Israeli scientist is allowed to submit up to two applications/year, if at least one of them is to any of the NSF-BSF programs that have no deadline.

Israelis with active grants are allowed to submit an additional application to any of the NSF-BSF programs with no deadline (they don’t have to wait for the last year of their grant before submitting).

It is allowed to submit both to an NSF-BSF program and the regular BSF program, including similar applications. In the event that both applications are awarded grants, they will be funded, unless the research applications are mostly similar, in which case only the NSF-BSF program will be funded.

In case of similar NSF-BSF and regular BSF applications, in which the NSF evaluation was not completed by the time the regular BSF awards are made, the BSF will defer its decision regarding a possible grant to this application, until the NSFBSF awards are announced.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For U.S. submissions to the NSF:
For Israeli submissions to the BSF:

Questions regarding the applicability of the proposed research for this program should be directed by the U.S. partner to the program officer at the NSF.

General inquiries about the mission and programs of NSF:

National Science Foundation
(703) 292-5111

Inquiries about FastLane:

Other questions regarding this special NSF-BSF program can be discussed with the BSF management by mail or phone (972-2-5828239): Dr. Rachel (Heni) Haring ( ext. 110) or Ms. Yael Dressler ( ext. 103). Questions regarding the online application system should be directed to Ms. Orli Rozencwajg ( ext. 109).

BSF email:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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