Cool NSF Solicitation … even if it is “transformative”

I don’t recall prior NSF solicitations with a subtitle or tag line …

Innovations in Biological Imaging and Visualization (IBIV)
An Ideas Lab activity to stimulate transformative approaches to biological image analysis and data visualization

Preliminary proposals due April 12, 2010 … invited full proposals due July 15, 2010 … 2-10 awards will be made ($5M set aside)

What’s so interesting?

The goal of this activity is to identify opportunities for investment to advance the state-of-the-art in biological image analysis, data visualization, archiving, and dissemination. Participants selected through an open application process will engage in an intensive five-day residential workshop (May 24-28, 2010) to generate project ideas through an innovative, real-time review process. Members of the biological research community, computational theorists and engineers, mathematicians, imaging specialists from other fields, educators involved in training the next generation of researchers, and a range of other specialists (artists, illustrators, etc.) are all strongly encouraged to participate.

[Program Description section rewrites the last sentence above to read:] Participation from molecular and cell biologists, biophysicists, ecologists, evolutionary and population biologists, computational theorists and engineers, mathematicians, imaging specialists from other fields, educators involved in training the next generation of researchers, and a range of other specialists (artists, illustrators, etc.) is strongly encouraged.

The Program Description also lays out some of the potential challenges to be addressed at the Ideas Lab workshop:

Potential applications of biological image capture and analysis are diverse, but offer many scientific and educational benefits:

  • Automated feature recognition in complex biological images
  • Enhanced algorithms for filtering data from images with low signal-to-noise profiles
  • High throughput image or video capture and analysis for quantification or classification of subject matter
  • Improved multidimensional spatial registration and object tracking in sequential series or overlapping images
  • Validated analysis of heterogeneous data submitted by “citizen scientists”
  • Enhanced representation and visualization of multi-dimensional datasets for dissemination of scientific findings

A myriad of challenges and barriers must be overcome for biological image analysis to reach its full potential. Advances in the applications listed above, or in one of many other areas, could have profound impacts on the biological research community, and other scientific disciplines.

The narrative for the preliminary proposal due in April is exactly 2 pages in length. The first half of page one is should describe your professional background, with the other half of the page covering the special expertise you bring to biological image analysis & visualization … plus 50 words or less describing “an imaging challenge you think should be addressed at the Ideas Lab.”

Page two includes responses of no more than 100 words to the following questions:

  • What is your personal experience with working in teams?
  • How would you describe your ability to explain your research to non-experts?
  • The Ideas Lab environment is especially suited to individuals who are willing to step outside their particular area of interest or expertise, who are positively driven, who enjoy creative activity, who can think innovatively and who can settle in easily in the company of strangers. Please describe an experience you have had in a comparable environment.
  • What would you personally and professionally gain from participating in this Ideas Lab event?

No appendices or supplementary material … no project summary … no references or budget etc.

Have fun. Have transformative ideas.

1 Comment »

  1. whimple said

    Cool idea.

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