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NIMBioS



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Requests for NIMBioS Support

 

    At a Glance

Overview

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NIMBioS seeks to promote research across the disciplinary boundaries of the mathematical and biological sciences through synthesis, model development and analysis, and collaboration directed toward addressing important integrative scientific questions. NIMBioS seeks projects that require an interdisciplinary perspective, create new mathematics or involve novel applications of existing mathematics, address particular national needs and foster the development of a cadre of researchers capable of conceiving and engaging in creative and collaborative connections across disciplines.

NIMBioS provides comprehensive in-house computing capabilities, including support and training for resident and visiting researchers. Through collaborations with the National Institute for Computational Science (NICS), NIMBioS provides access to the most powerful open-access computational facilities in the world. The NIMBioS IT staff have extensive experience in high performance computing as applied to biology, and NICS staff are available to assist researchers in utilizing the extensive computational facilities available through NICS and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A variety of Tutorial programs are offered to expand the mathematical and computational capabilities of biological science researchers as well as enhance the biological intuition of those with primarily mathematical or computational backgrounds.

Unique resources are available at NIMBioS, including:

  • an environment that encourages interdisciplinary interactions,
  • access to the large pool of expertise across the mathematical and biological sciences at UTK and ORNL,
  • exceptional scientific support and access to the best high performance computing facilities in the world,
  • excellent linkages to the world's leading programs in mathematical biology,
  • outstanding cultural activities within easy walking distance from NIMBioS in downtown Knoxville,
  • the natural beauty of East Tennessee with Great Smoky Mountains National Park a short distance away, and
  • a very affordable region.

Data and Model Expectations — Because NIMBioS emphasizes using existing information, we have a strong commitment to making the results of analyses and the models and software developed through NIMBioS activities broadly available and to encourage researchers with a sense of sharing information. To this end we require that resident researchers and Working Groups agree, prior to initiating their activities at NIMBioS, to making derived data (data resulting from analyses from which the original data cannot be reconstituted), models and software publicly available. We also encourage researchers to adequately document their research products so that they may be readily applied and extended by others.

Categories of Requests for Support

NIMBioS supports a range of scientific activities across the spectrum of synthetic research in mathematics and biology. NIMBioS invites applications from the following categories:

  • Working Groups are chosen to focus on major well-defined scientific questions at the interface between biology and mathematics that require insights from diverse researchers, typically meeting 2-4 times over a 2-year period. Participation is by invitation only.
  • Investigative Workshops focus on a broader topic or a set of related topics, summarizing/synthesizing the state of the art and identifying future directions. Organizers and key invited researchers make up half the 30-40 participants in a workshop, and the remaining 15-20 participants are filled through open application from the scientific community. Open applicants selected to attend are notified by NIMBioS within two weeks of the application deadline. Investigative Workshops have the potential for leading to one or more future Working Groups. Individuals with a strong interest in the topic, including post-docs and graduate students, are encouraged to apply. If needed, NIMBioS can provide support (travel, meals, lodging) for Workshop attendees.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows propose synthetic projects that require an amalgam of mathematical and biological approaches.
  • Sabbatical Fellows will come to NIMBioS for a few months to a year and may propose to include a mixture of Working Group, Investigative Workshop and outreach activities as part of their effort while in residence.
  • Short-term Visitors. Short-term visitors are supported to work on-site at NIMBioS for periods of one week to one month to foster synthetic research at the interface between mathematics and biology.

Application Deadlines

Requests for NIMBioS support for working groups, investigative workshops, and sabbatical fellows are considered twice per year, with deadlines on March 1 and September 1 for activities beginning 6 months later. Applications may be submitted at other times under unusual circumstances, after consultation with the Director. Decisions about applications will generally be made within two months of the submission deadline. Applications for NIMBioS postdoctoral fellowships are considered two times per year, with deadlines on September 1 and December 11. Requests for short-term visits are considered at any time, but applications should be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the proposed visit date.

Who should apply?

Requests for support may be submitted by individuals of any nationality who hold a position in an academic or non-academic institution, free-standing research institution, scientific society, governmental or policy agency, non-governmental organization, private industry, or a consortium of such institutions. Non-academic settings include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Applications are welcome from first-time applicants, from researchers across the mathematical and biological sciences, as well as those in fields outside of mathematics and biology, including social scientists, as long as the request for support involves interdisciplinary efforts involving a biological and mathematical component. Applications may involve activities with partial support from matching funds from one or more other institutions or agencies.

What We Do Not Fund

  • NIMBioS does not fund projects if the activity should be funded by another entity or can just as easily take place elsewhere.
  • NIMBioS does not fund collection of new empirical data or field research but does fund the development of models which produce new data.
  • NIMBioS does not fund projects requesting overhead or funds to be spent by the investigator at the investigator's home institution.
  • NIMBioS does not typically fund activities that involve medical and human health projects unless these projects involve new mathematical approaches to general problems.

Expectations

  • Residency at NIMBioS in Knoxville, Tennessee. Except in unusual circumstances, research will be conducted at the Institute.
  • Active Participation in the Interdisciplinary Intellectual Community. There are few formal expectations for researchers at NIMBioS beyond those associated with conducting scholarly research. However, we do expect resident researchers – Postdoctoral Fellows and Sabbatical Fellows – to spend the vast majority of their time in residence at NIMBioS and to interact with the other researchers while here. A primary goal of NIMBioS is fostering interdisciplinary connections through interaction and collaboration. In return for NIMBioS support, we expect that resident researchers will contribute their knowledge, interests and enthusiasm to the intellectual atmosphere.
  • Local Participation. We ask that UT and ORNL researchers be allowed to participate in activities at NIMBioS, where appropriate. Local researchers interested in a particular activity are asked to contact the leader to confirm that participation is welcome. We also ask that visiting researchers participating in Working Groups, Investigative Workshops and other activities interact with NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellows and NIMBioS graduate students when interests and expertise converge.
  • Agreement to NIMBioS Intellectual Property Policy.
  • Data Accessibility. NIMBioS is committed to making the data, models and software derived from NIMBioS activities available to the broader scientific community. All visiting researchers will be asked to follow the NIMBioS Data and Information Policy except when this is in conflict with the policies of their employer. Applications should include an estimate of the derived data products (data resulting from analyses from which the original data cannot be reconstituted), models and software expected to be developed and a timetable for making these publicly available. Resident researchers and Working Groups must agree, before initiating NIMBioS research activities, to make these products publicly available. Four months after resident researchers arrive at NIMBioS, or after the first meeting of a Working Group, these research products must be identified and the timetable for their release refined. The results will be tracked to ensure that research products are made openly available. The NIMBioS scientific computing staff will contact Working Group leaders prior to the start of their first meeting and assist with the development of a realistic plan and timeline for the archiving of data and software products. NIMBioS can provide some staff assistance with model coding, analysis, and archiving.
  • Acknowledgment of Funding Source. All research products derived in whole or in part through activities funded by NIMBioS are expected to formally acknowledge the role that NIMBioS funding played in the product development. Click here for suggested acknowlegment formats and information about press releases. Click here for NIMBioS logo image files for inclusion in presentations about NIMBioS-related work.
  • Reporting. The primary responsibility of NIMBioS researchers – visitors and residents – is to fulfill their goals regarding the scholarly activities undertaken at the Institute. Results produced from NIMBioS research activities are important in measuring the success of NIMBioS. Working Group and Workshop organizers are asked to provide a report summarizing the group's activities within two weeks of departure (many researchers find it expedient to complete this before they leave). All participants (including organizers and short-term visitors) are expected to report to NIMBioS any publications and/or other products (e.g., data sets, software, presentations, etc.) that have resulted from activities at NIMBioS. In addition, electronic copies of articles published should be sent to the Institute. Click here for more information and an online form for reporting publications and products to NIMBioS.