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Applications Due March 31, 2019

Round 2: Pilot Project Funding

The NSF-Simons Center for Quantitative Biology at Northwestern University is a place where mathematical scientists and developmental biologists intensely work together on a broad range of questions arising from investigations into the biology of animal development. The Center is also a place that stimulates new collaborative research directions, and as such, supports exploratory pilot projects by investigators outside of the Center. The Center has the capacity to support up to two pilot projects each year.

Description of Program

Pilot projects should be high-risk high-reward research, interdisciplinary in nature, and be working at the interface of developmental biology and mathematics. Each project is funded for 12 months with up to $40,000 direct cost support. Funds can be spent on supplies, services, and salary/stipend support. However, funds cannot be used to support student tuition, faculty salary support, or capital equipment. As this award is funded through the Simons Foundation, indirects are capped at 20%.


Applicants must be an independent investigator(s) who is tenure track faculty at an academic institution located within a 160-mile radius* of Northwestern University. Although all such academic researchers are eligible, priority is given to applicants who are from minority serving institutions. Ongoing research activity in either developmental biology or applied mathematics/physics is a criterion.

*The 160-mile radius does include many colleges and universities located within Michigan. We are not including Lake Michigan with the radius.  Please contact Tiffany Leighton Ozmina to confirm that your college or university is included with the radius.

Preference is given to projects that include new collaborations between biological and mathematical sciences. Each application must include two or more applicants composed of an experimentalist and a theorist or mathematical scientist. At least one applicant must be from outside of the Center.


Awardees are expected to submit a progress report two times during the funding period: six months and twelve months after funding has begun. Awardees are expected to attend the Annual Center Symposium held in October and give a talk on their project. All papers and conference presentations resulting from the funded work are expected to acknowledge the Center award. Finally, all publications and new external funding that result from this award should be communicated to the Center administration for tracking purposes.


Submission Deadline: March 31, 2019 (Second Funding Period)

Funding Period: July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020*

(*Originally advertised as September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2020)

To submit your application, send it as an email attachment to the Center Administrator, Tiffany Leighton Ozmina at . Please write in the Subject line: Pilot Project Application

Materials required for submission:

  • Project Description. No longer than 2 pages (11 Arial, 0.5” margins), an additional page maybe used for references, and includes:
    • Background/ Significance
    • Objectives
    • Approach
    • Timeline
  • Detailed Budget using NIH PHS398 form
  • Budget Justification
  • NIH or NSF Biosketches for Key Personnel

All materials must be submitted as one file in PDF format with your last_first name as the filename. Formatting of documents should be in 11-point font, single spaced, with 0.5-inch margins. Embedded figures are acceptable.

For further questions about the Pilot Projects Program, please contact Tiffany Leighton Ozmina at .

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