Department of Energy announces $5 million for new computational approaches to biology

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $5 million to develop new computational tools and software for analyzing the masses of genomics and other data generated by today’s systems biology research.

“The rapid development of technologies for high-throughput screening of genomes, proteins, metabolites, and other biological features has generated and continues to generate mountains of data,” said Sharlene Weatherwax, DOE Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research. “New computational tools are clearly needed to harness this resource and transform this wealth of information into knowledge and insight.”

The research will focus on data from plants and microbes relevant to DOE missions in energy and environment, including laying the scientific groundwork for cost-effective production of biofuels and bioproducts as well as enhancing understanding of the biological dimensions of environmental cleanup, among other topics.

It is expected that many of the new software tools and approaches will ultimately be integrated into the DOE Systems Biology Knowledgebase (http://www.kbase.us), an open-source software platform that serves the systems biology research community.

Applications will be open to universities and nonprofit research institutions as the lead institution, with possible collaborators at the DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies. Funding is to be awarded competitively, based on peer review, and is expected to be in the form of two-year grants ranging from $200,000 to $350,000 per year, beginning in the current fiscal year.

Total planned funding is $5 million in Fiscal Year 2020 funds for projects of two years in duration, with funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

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A DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, issued by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research within DOE’s Office of Science, is to be found ” target=”_blank”>here.

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