The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has announced the launch of a five-year, $25 million program to identify and support some of the world's most innovative scientists in marine microbial ecology and related fields.
Administered through the foundation's Marine Microbiology Initiative, the new program, which will run through 2018, will support ten to fifteen investigators based on their potential to conduct cutting-edge research on the principles that govern microbially mediated nutrient flow and the interactions among marine microbes in ocean ecosystems. The competition is open to researchers around the world from a variety of scientific backgrounds, including microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, evolutionary biology, and bioinformatics.
The winning investigators will be announced in December, with the researchers' institutions to receive grants ranging from $200,000 to $500,000 per year. In particular, the foundation seeks to support individual researchers based on the significance of their past research, the quality of their current research, their potential to do groundbreaking science in the future, a proven track record of working collaboratively, and a demonstrated willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries.
"The initiative aims to overcome barriers that currently hinder scientists from identifying and quantifying nutrient pools in the ocean, and from deciphering the genetic and biochemical bases of microbial metabolism," said MMI program director Ajit Subramanian. "The flexibility of an investigator award allows new and unusual collaborations. For example, a microbial ecologist, statistician, and geochemist could together develop novel methods that allow the whole community to ask entirely new questions about the genetic and biochemical basis of metabolic pathways in the oceans."