• Proposal: 08/08/2019


  • Duration: up to 3 years


Prospective applicants should read the FAQs for additional information about this call and the initiative.

The Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is soliciting pre-applications for awards to develop freshwater and marine model systems where at least one symbiotic partner in the model system is a microbe (bacteria, archaea, and/or single-celled eukaryotes, including single-celled fungi). A constricted bottleneck in aquatic symbiosis is the paucity of tractable model systems – well-studied associations of two or more organisms that can be manipulated to reveal underlying controls of gene expression and function, determine how the organisms interact, better understand how the organisms contribute to ecosystem processes, and study their evolution.

These awards will fund scientists (individuals or teams) to generate new tools, protocols, and resources to significantly improve the ability to observe and manipulate aquatic symbioses of interest. An essential component of this opportunity is a willingness of all grantees to form a collaborative community where methods and ideas are openly and actively shared to accelerate the pace of methods and technology development and avoid unnecessary redundancy in these pursuits. Grantees will convene periodically virtually and in person to build connections between teams and should expect to interface with other groups in the scientific community working on model systems.

Grantees will be selected based on the skill sets and model systems expertise represented in their individual labs or across their teams, their potential to conduct research that illuminates how aquatic symbioses involving microbes function, and clear articulation of how their proposed project will make measurable progress in a grant period ranging from an estimated 1.5 to 3 years (project duration will be determined in coordination with foundation staff later in the application process).

As noted above, the foundation is interested in symbioses where at least one partner is a microbe and where the symbiosis takes place in a marine or freshwater environment. Studies centered on agriculture, aquaculture, aquaponics, the human microbiome, applied sciences, symbiosis in terrestrial systems, symbioses without a microbe, predator-prey relationships, and pathogen research are outside the scope of this funding opportunity. The initiative expects 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 needs and questions in aquatic symbiosis.

Eligibility & Submission Requirements

The foundation encourages pre-applications from multidisciplinary teams of researchers (either within individual labs or represented in team submissions) – i.e., including members who have experience in a model system separate from this opportunity (such as E. coli, yeast, Drosophila, mouse, or another advanced system) or who could bring a tool, technique, or new perspective to the project – whose collaborative effort will bring innovative approaches to this portfolio of grants.

Both tenure-track and non-tenure track researchers at academic institutions are eligible to apply.


Contact Information

If you have a question not answered in the FAQ document, please reach out to