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NIMBioS Innovator Workshops

Innovator Workshops at NIMBioS aim to enhance understanding of important questions at the intersection of biology and mathematics and to generate new approaches for addressing them.

Organized by active researchers in academia, government or industry, Innovator Workshops at NIMBioS provide a dynamic, highly interactive forum for the presentation and discussion of cross-disciplinary research at the forefront of biological, mathematical, computational, and social science.

Over the course of 3 to 5 days, these workshops gather experts in the field and provide outstanding networking opportunities. A key outcome is the development of new collaborations.

Innovator Workshops offer a more streamlined review process as opposed to our traditional Investigative Workshops.


  • For nearly a decade, NIMBioS has hosted more than 40 successful workshops with more than 1,500 participants on a wide variety of topics.
  • Access to NIMBioS expertise in creating, promoting and managing successful workshops in cross-disciplinary areas
  • State-of-art technology and advanced physical infrastructure that promotes interaction and enhances collaboration
  • A beautiful setting for learning at Tennessee's flagship land grant university near the Great Smoky Mountains


Innovator Workshops can provide you with the path to disseminating your research for broader impact.

Today grant applicants are expected to justify the "broader impact" of proposed research, and grant reviewers are expected to consider explicitly the adequacy of the proposal's resources for broader impacts. Innovator Workshops are one way to do that.

Support Options

NIMBioS covers all expenses (travel, lodging and meals) for organizers/instructors. NIMBioS does not provide honoraria or stipends. Participants selected from the open applicant pool cover their own expenses and pay a nominal registration fee.

I have never experienced a more efficient, hassle-free workshop as an organizer than with NIMBioS. Because everything was set-up, this allowed me to focus on the workshop itself and the resulting collaborations and future projects that developed from this meeting. I have nothing but praise for NIMBioS, and I wish their model was emulated more. —Workshop Organizer


Proposals are considered three times each year with deadlines on July 1, November 1, and April 1. Researchers interested in organizing a workshop must submit a formal application to NIMBioS describing the proposed topic and key questions to be addressed. Besides submitting an application, organizers identify and secure commitments from up to 4 primary presenters whose expenses will be fully covered by NIMBioS. An additional 25 to 35 participants will be identified through an open application process for approved workshops. These additional participants cover their own expenses. We expect to have some supplements for graduate students.

If you have questions or would like to discuss ideas about a possible Innovator Workshop, please contact Dr. Sergey Gavrilets, NIMBioS Associate Director for Scientific Activities ( or Dr. Chris Welsh, NIMBioS Deputy Director, (865-974-9334,

Application and Submission Process

To apply, you must complete an application on our online registration system:

  1. Click here to access the system.
  2. Login or register.
  3. Complete your user profile (if you haven't already). ALL organizers must create user profiles on our system.
  4. Find Innovative Workshop Request for Support under Current Events Open for Application and click on Apply. ONLY ONE organizer should submit the actual application through the system. As part of this process, you will be prompted to upload a detailed application in pdf format (see guidelines below).

Guidelines for PDF upload required in online application:

  1. Cover sheet (1 page)
    1. Descriptive title
    2. Short title (25 characters max)
    3. Name and contact information for at least two PIs (at least one with biological expertise and one with mathematical/computational expertise)
    4. Project Summary (250 words max) - appropriate for public distribution on the NIMBioS web site
    5. Keywords (up to 5 keywords different from those used in the title)
    6. Proposed dates
    7. Conflict of interests with the members of the Advisory Boards or the NIMBioS Leadership Team
  2. Main body (2 pages total)
    1. Central Theme – Justify the importance of the Central Theme, and why the Workshop and its Primary Presenters will capture the attention and imaginations of the participating scientists. Provide sufficient details on both biological and mathematical/computational challenges that the group aims to tackle. Discuss kinds of networks and grand-scale collaborations you hope to inspire. Discuss the kinds of networks and grand-scale collaborations you hope to inspire as well as what other products that might result from your workshop.
  3. References
  4. Primary Presenters and Organizers (1-2 pages)
    Include a table with 3 columns, as follows: first column: names; second column: titles and affiliations (including departments); third column: areas of PhD and the areas of expertise most relevant for the Workshop. If non-US participants are proposed, briefly describe why their participation is essential. NIMBioS will completely cover the expenses of the organizers and primary presenters (up to 6 people total). If however they are willing to cover (part of) their expenses, the corresponding NIMBioS funds will be shifted toward supporting graduate students' participation in the workshop.
  5. Diversity Portrait – Include a brief statement describing the various aspects of diversity among the organizers and primary presenters. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific. Be specific, e.g. state explicitly "there are X females, Y African-Americans, Z Hispanics," etc.
  6. Budget – (This is not in dollars, but do provide numbers of trips to NIMBioS broken down by number of US domestic and international flights and total days of local support for organizers and primary presenters.)
  7. Short CV of the PIs (2 pages for each). Do not include talks, society memberships, nor papers in preparation.

Note that applications must be submitted as a single pdf file including all of the components listed above (items 1-7). Applications should not exceed the length limits specified above (use 12-pt type fonts, single-space pages with at least 0.5 in margins). Graphics should be embedded directly into the application document.

Note that information contained in applications for NIMBioS support are governed by the NIMBioS Privacy Policy.

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University of Tennessee
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PH: (865) 974-9334
FAX: (865) 974-9300
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NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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