Origin of the Eukaryotic Cell Solicitation
Moore–Simons Project on the Origin of the Eukaryotic Cell: A joint call for proposals
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Simons Foundation are partnering to support novel research on the origin of the eukaryotic cell. This major transition in the history of life, estimated to have occurred almost two billion years ago, remains an important yet unsolved puzzle in the biological sciences. We seek to support the international scientific community to explore why and how this symbiotic event occurred by conducting experiments that illuminate or eliminate possibilities regarding the events that led to the emergence of eukaryotes.
Our goal is to support creative individuals and collaborative teams to take risks in developing novel theoretical, informatic and experimental approaches that deepen understanding of the creation of the eukaryotic domain of life. We strongly encourage scientists and engineers from a wide range of disciplines to submit a proposal, including those who have not previously worked on this topic. Those new to exploring questions about eukaryogenesis may wish to consider collaborating with those who have previously done research in this area. Numerous disciplines and approaches have important contributions to make, including but not limited to cell biology, evolution, ecology, earth and aquatic sciences, paleontology, genomics, bioinformatics, synthetic biology, biophysics and chemistry.
The Moore Foundation and Simons Foundation seek to support novel research on the origin of the eukaryotic cell, including understanding the processes that may have led to the emergence of the first eukaryotic common ancestor (FECA) and how FECA evolved into the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA). These grants will advance understanding of the evolutionary, ecological and biological mechanisms that may have allowed emergence of the first eukaryotic cells almost two billion years ago and should aim to demonstrate progress towards clarifying or eliminating eukaryogenesis hypotheses. We also seek to support development of new hypotheses with potential to reveal novel but potentially unexpected insights into eukaryogenesis.
Researchers and collaborative teams will be selected based on their ability to clearly articulate which eukaryogenesis hypotheses frame the proposed research and how the work will inform understanding of different steps in eukaryotic cell evolution.
We will support individuals and/or teams for two- to three-year research efforts. We aim to have scientists who represent both early and established career stages and include both current and emerging leaders in their fields. Researchers will convene at an annual symposium to share research findings and build connections across disciplinary and methodological perspectives.
We recognize the value of diversity and encourage individuals from all identities and backgrounds to apply. Applications are welcome from scientists based in the United States and internationally. The foundations expect successful candidates will represent a variety of scientific backgrounds, perspectives and disciplines to enhance the diversity of tools, ideas and approaches used to address outstanding questions in eukaryogenesis.
Prospective applicants should read the FAQs [updated August 12] for additional information about this call. We strongly encourage project leads to open an application as early as possible so as to familiarize themselves with the proposal steps and requirements. Please monitor your spam folder for verification emails from the smapply.io website and add “email@example.com” and “firstname.lastname@example.org” to your address book.
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For questions about this opportunity or technical support, please contact email@example.com.
For individual submitters, please complete the forms, uploads and surveys listed as “tasks” in the application. For team efforts (i.e. a proposal lead with one or more co-submitters), the proposal lead must complete the tasks on behalf of the team. This includes compiling biosketches and current & pending documents from all team members. However, for surveys, the responses should be entered only for the proposal lead.
Proposals are due Monday, September 30, 2019 by 23:59 PDT.
Anticipated Notification Date
Applicants will be notified of a decision whether their proposal will be developed into a potential grant in early 2020.
Monday, September 30, 2019 – proposals due
Early 2020 – notification
Early 2020 – prospective grant development
For efficiency in the grantmaking and grants management process (e.g. reporting), the Moore Foundation and Simons Foundation will determine, in their sole discretion, which organization will fund each of the selected projects. While the foundations will separately fund the projects, we consider the portfolio of awardees as a coherent unit because the funding decisions will be made in a coordinated manner. We will thus ask that funding acknowledgments indicate the “Moore–Simons Project on the Origin of the Eukaryotic Cell.”
Please note that the eligibility criteria for competitions vary. The criteria described here apply specifically to this call for proposals.
To be eligible for this competition, the proposal lead must hold a tenured or tenure-track position (or equivalent independent position).
Current and previous Moore Foundation and Simons Foundation awardees are eligible to apply, although previous funding neither confers an advantage nor disadvantage during the selection process. You may also apply if you have applied to previous competitions for the Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative.
Successful applicants will be among the most outstanding in the research community, regardless of career stage. Researchers will be evaluated on the significance of their past research, the quality of their current research, and the probability that their future work will contribute to understanding eukaryogenesis. Foundation staff and external reviewers will read the proposals.
Please refer to the competition FAQs [updated August 12] for specific questions regarding the application process. If you have a question not answered in the FAQ document, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This competition is open to all qualified applicants, regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national origin, religion or disability. If you have any questions or need assistance or accommodation in completing this application, please contact Alexandra González by emailing email@example.com or calling 650-213-3121.