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NIMBioS Investigative Workshops

Investigative Workshops focus on broad topics or a set of related topics, summarizing/synthesizing the state of the art and identifying future directions. Requests for NIMBioS support for investigative workshops are considered twice per year, with deadlines on March 1 and September 1, for activities to be scheduled through summer 2019. All areas of research at the interface of biology and mathematics will be considered, but we are especially interested in activities expanding beyond the areas of research supported to date. Potential organizers of activities in areas of molecular biology, cell biology, network biology, immunology and systems biology are particularly encouraged to submit requests for support of Working Groups or Investigative Workshops.

Investigative Workshops have up to 35 participants. Organizers and key invited researchers make up half the participants; the remaining participants (up to 17) 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, whether from a non-profit or for-profit organization.

Listing of NIMBioS Investigative Workshops with links to web pages for each workshop
Instructions for organizers of NIMBioS Investigative Workshops
Reporting requirements for NIMBioS Investigative Workshops

Call for Investigative Workshop Applications

NIMBioS Investigative Workshops differ from Working Groups in that they focus on a broader topic or set of related topics at the interface of biology and mathematics and have relatively large size (up to 35 participants). Workshops attempt to summarize/synthesize the state of the art and identify future directions, and they have potential for leading to one or more future Working Groups. Organizers invite the key participants, and the remaining participants (up to 17) are filled through open application from the scientific community. Those selected to attend are notified by NIMBioS within two weeks of the application deadline. Participants can include post-docs and graduate students with less experience in the particular topic than those participating in Working Groups. Workshops meet at NIMBioS just once for up to 2.5 days.

Click here for instructions for organizers and a description of best practices for conducting a successful NIMBioS Investigative Workshop.

NIMBioS support includes travel, accommodation, and per diem for meals. No salary support is provided, and no overhead is allowed.

Development of new experimental or observational data is outside the scope of NIMBioS Workshops, though Workshop results may provide justification for new empirical research and suggest priorities for such research.

A goal of NIMBioS is to enhance the cadre of researchers capable of interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to promoting diversity in all its activities. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Requests for support are required to provide an explicit diversity statement describing how the proposed list of participants achieves a broad level of diversity. Questions regarding diversity issues should be directed to Dr. Ernest Brothers, the NIMBioS Associate Director for Diversity Enhancement ( You can read more about our Diversity Plan on our NIMBioS Policies web page. The NIMBioS building is fully handicapped accessible.

Applications for Investigative Workshop support will be evaluated based upon the:

  1. expected level of contribution to science;
  2. feasibility to produce meaningful synthesis given the constraints of the Workshop process;
  3. qualifications, appropriate diversity of scientific backgrounds, and experience of the invited participants;
  4. inclusion of diversity to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups with respect to gender, ethnicity, disability and geographic location;
  5. response to a clear national need;
  6. balance of topics across biology and mathematics; and
  7. clarity of explication as to why NIMBioS rather than some other venue is the most appropriate one to host this Workshop.

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 "Investigative 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 (3 pages total)
    1. Central Theme - Justify the importance of the Central Theme, and why it 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.
    2. Rationale for NIMBioS support - Why can this activity be most effectively conducted through NIMBioS? Demonstrate that this group of researchers has not met previously.
    3. Discuss kinds of networks and grand-scale collaborations you hope to inspire, including primary research collaborations and future Working Groups.
  3. References
  4. Participants (1-2 pages)
    1. Include a table with 3 columns, as follows: first column: names; second column: affiliations (including departments); third column: areas of PhD and the areas of expertise most relevant for the Workshop. Workshops are expected to have a balance of participants across areas of biology and mathematics/computation, including individuals with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences.
    2. Named individuals should be committed to participating in the project if funded.
    3. NIMBioS encourages groups that go beyond existing collaborations.
    4. Up to 17 individuals (including the organizers) should be named in the request for support, allowing our Advisory Board to suggest additional appropriate participants and inclusion of applicants from the general community.
    5. If non-US participants are proposed, briefly describe why their participation is essential.
    6. Diversity Portrait – Include a paragraph describing the various aspects of diversity in your participant list. Diversity is considered in all its aspects, social and scientific, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography and type of home institution. Be specific, e.g. state explicitly "there are X females, Y African-Americans, Z Hispanics," etc.
  5. Budget (This is not in dollars, but do provide numbers of trips to NIMBioS broken down by number of US domestic and international participants and total days of local support. NIMBioS does not provide honoraria or stipends for Investigative Workshop participants.)
  6. 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 1-6). 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.

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.