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Researching Small Organisms with a Big Impact
October 26, 2016 | By Rachel Gaal
All around you, life exists in microscopic communities — carpeting the insides (and outsides) of humans and animals, oceans, atmospheres, and ecosystems in between. Researchers have learned these microbes are ubiquitous and central to the makeup of most life on earth. But what scientists are still missing is the understanding of how microbes interact with one another in their select environments as a community. That’s why the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is leading an initiative with APS and the American Chemical Society (ACS) to ask scientists from around the world how they would go about investigating microbial life on planet Earth, and offering them a fully funded 18 month grant to carry out their ideas.
The Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge hopes to attract doctoral level scientists from a variety of disciplines — including microbiology, ecology, chemistry, physics, engineering, materials science, nanoscience, computational science, and others — to come forward with their innovative and aspirational ideas for novel experimental tools and methods aimed at understanding microbial interactions and functions from new perspectives.
Funded by the Kavli Foundation, the initiative will award $1M in total to three or four recipients to launch their research. Ideally, the tools and methods that are selected will be used for studying the many environments in which microbial life is found. The goal is to help transition the field of microbiome research from specific, correlated studies to a general, causal understanding of microbial functions.
The foundation wants to seek out emerging research efforts and give them a kick start. In turn, scientists hope to better understand these tiny life forms and their interactions. The submission period for these grant proposals runs from October 24, 2016 until December 2, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
Visit Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge to learn more about the submission process and further guidelines.