This RFA closed on August 6, 2020

Deep Tissue Imaging

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for pilot projects focusing on deep tissue imaging. This Request for Applications (RFA) aims to advance innovative approaches to observing cells and subcellular processes at high resolution in complex tissue and through skin and bone. Awards are $1 million total costs over 2.5 years for each pilot project, and successful pilots will be eligible to apply for additional four-year follow up grants.

Opportunity

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) seeks to support 2.5-year pilot projects in the field of deep tissue imaging. To gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of biological systems, the goal of CZI’s Imaging program is to visualize and measure them across biological scales and in their biological context. This RFA aims to drive development of imaging technology focused on obtaining cellular resolution readouts anywhere in complex living organisms. Visible light does not penetrate through most tissues. To overcome this barrier, this grant program will advance the field of deep tissue imaging, which aims to obtain cellular resolution in complex tissue and through skin and bone.

Overview of the Two-Phase RFA 

To meet the goals of catalyzing new ideas and inspiring innovative science, the Deep Tissue Imaging RFA is structured as a two-phased funding opportunity.

  • Phase 1:
    • In the first phase, we invite letters of intent (LOI) where applicants will provide a short proposal detailing the current state-of-the-art technology they are working on and how their project advances this technology.
    • A subset of the LOI applicants will be invited to submit a full application for 2.5-year (30-month) pilot awards ($1 million total costs/award).
  • Phase 2:
    • At the conclusion on the 2.5-year pilot period, successful pilot projects in Phase 1 will be eligible for application and evaluation for an extended 48-month grant award ($10 million total costs/award, or $2.5 million total costs/award/year), for a total of up to $11 million over six-and-a-half years for the entirety of the project (Phase 1 and Phase 2).
  • We anticipate awarding Phase 2 four-year grants to a subset of the eligible Phase 1 pilot projects. 


Scientific Scope

The long-term goal of this initiative is to drive technology development aimed at visualizing cellular structure and function throughout the body. During this pilot phase, we especially seek proposals that support the development of tools for visualizing cellular level processes in deep tissue. This funding opportunity is explicitly aimed at technology development. It is not intended to support question-driven basic or translational research, clinical trials, or drug development. 

Examples of research themes: 

  • Bioacoustic probe, hardware, and/or method development
  • Biomagnetic probe, hardware, and/or method development
  • Biochemical probe or method development 
  • Multi-photon hardware or method development
  • Deep imaging tissue techniques with potential human applicability

We particularly encourage applications from:

  • Researchers in disciplines outside of biomedicine who bring new technology, resources, or frameworks to studying cellular processes;
  • Women, underrepresented minorities, and members of underserved populations; and
  • Early career investigators, defined as principal investigators who have been in an independent faculty role for less than six years at the time of application, i.e. starting after August 2014. 

Desired Outcomes 

Successful outcomes for this RFA could include:

  • Development of biological probes to label cells and subcellular processes throughout the body;
  • Development of technologies that enable imaging at cellular resolution imaging deep in the body of complex organisms; or
  • Development of new computational techniques and algorithms for relevant signal extraction and analysis. 

Collaboration and Open Science

CZI seeks investigators who will contribute to a collaborative interdisciplinary network and the advancement of the field.

  • Investigators and members of their labs will participate in annual meetings of all funded groups, smaller meetings focused on specific biological or technical issues, and monthly webinars.
  • Investigators and CZI staff will work together to identify resources and technology that can drive the imaging field forward.
  • Investigators will commit to rapid dissemination of all resulting data, protocols, code, reagents, and results prior to publication through resources such as the protocols.io, GitHub, Addgene, and preprints. Please see the Policies section for additional details.
Eligibility
  • Applications may be submitted by nonprofit and for-profit organizations, public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local government, companies, and eligible agencies of the federal government. As part of the application process, for-profit organizations may need to provide additional information on the charitable purposes of the proposal. Grants are not permitted to individuals; only to organizations.
  • Each application should designate one principal investigator (PI) as the Coordinating Principal Investigator (Coordinating PI). The Coordinating PI will act as the administrative contact between CZI and all PIs on the grant (Co-PIs). The Coordinating PI must submit the application on behalf of all PIs. The Coordinating PI must be affiliated with the institution submitting the application, and grant funds will be awarded to that institution, which will take responsibility for distributing funds to any other institutions. Note that foreign institutions may not subcontract to U.S. institutions, so please be mindful when selecting the Coordinating PI/institution.
  • Each application should have a minimum of one PI but may designate up to three total PIs (one Coordinating PI and up to two Co-PIs).
  • PIs may only serve as the Coordinating PI on one application, but may serve as a Co-PI on applications different from the one they submitted.
  • Co-PIs may serve as a Co-PI on multiple applications.
  • PIs/Co-PIs on one application may be employed at the same or at different institutions.
  • PIs and Co-PIs must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree.
  • PIs and Co-PIs must have an academic appointment or equivalent and be in an independent faculty position or equivalent at an accredited college, university, medical school or other research facility. Independence in an academic setting is typically demonstrated by a full-time faculty appointment, a tenure-track position, allocated space, a start-up package, and institutional commitment as defined or verified in a letter from a department chair or equivalent, but may be defined differently in other organizations. Note: an upload of the letter or proof of independence is not required in the LOI stage.
  • CZI encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, women, and early career scientists.
  • All grants will be made in compliance with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) program. For additional information regarding OFAC sanctions, please refer to the U.S. Treasury Department’s resources.
  • Facebook employees, including employees of any subsidiary Facebook entities, are not permitted to apply.
  • CZI reserves the sole right to decide if an applicant and applicant organization meet the eligibility requirements.

CZI suggests that you consult your home institution to determine eligibility to apply for this grant and your institutional policy on indirect costs. For questions about eligibility for this award or the application process, please contact us in advance of the proposal deadline at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. Deadline extensions will not be granted.

Application Requirements

Application process: The Phase 1 pilot application process is a two-step process: Letter of Intent (LOI) and Full Application (if invited). 

Award period and start date: Awards will be 2.5 years (30 months) in duration with a start date of no earlier than January 1, 2021. Actual start date may vary.

Budget for Pilot Phase: $1 million USD total costs for 2.5 years (30 months), including no more than 15% of direct costs for indirect costs. A detailed budget is not required at the LOI stage. 

Application Specifics: All applications must be completed and submitted through CZI’s online grants management portal at https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com. It is recommended that applicants familiarize themselves with this portal well in advance of the application deadline. Detailed application instructions are available below in the Detailed Application Instructions section, as well as in the grants management portal.

 

Key Dates
July 9, 2020
Application portal opens to receive Letters of Intent
August 6, 2020
Letters of Intent due by 5 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)
Late August 2020
Earliest notification for invitation to submit Full Applications
September 22, 2020
Full Applications due by 5 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)
November 2020
Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
January 1, 2021
Earliest start date (subject to change)
Detailed Application Instructions

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative uses SurveyMonkey Apply (SMApply) as its grants management portal. All applications — both the Letter of Intent and Full Application — must be submitted through this portal (https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com). SMApply is configured to work best using the Google Chrome browser. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with this portal well in advance of any deadlines. Deadline extensions will not be granted.

Application Specifics:

  • The Phase 1 pilot application process is a two-stage process: Letter of Intent and Full Application (if invited).
    • A budget is not required at the Letter of Intent stage, but is required for Full Applications (if invited).
    • Institutional sign-off is not required at the Letter of Intent stage, but is required for Full Applications (if invited).
  • Eligibility: Please refer to the above Eligibility section of the RFA announcement.
  • Award Period: Proposals should be 2.5 years (30 months) in duration with a project start date of no earlier than January 1, 2021. Actual start date may vary.
  • Award amount: Those Letters of Intent that are invited to do a Full Application will be asked for budget specifics (more information to follow). Award amounts will be no more than $1,000,000 total costs for a 2.5-year pilot project, inclusive of 15% indirect costs. Indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of direct costs. Budgets for Full Applications will be evaluated for appropriateness relative to the scope of work proposed.
  • Number of Principal Investigators (PI and co-PIs): Each application should have a minimum of one PI but may designate up to three total PIs (one Coordinating Principal Investigator and up to two co-Principal Investigators
    (Co-PIs)).

The Letter of Intent (LOI) consists of the following sections (called tasks in the grants portal): Applicant Details, Equal Opportunity & Diversity, Organization Details for Coordinating PI, Project Details, Project Proposal, and Biosketches for Coordinating PI and Co-PIs.

  • Applicant Details: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. The information entered should be for the Coordinating Principal Investigator (Coordinating PI), who will be the person submitting the application on behalf of the team. The Coordinating PI will take responsibility for managing the group collaboration and be the administrative point of contact for CZI and any partners. Information about the co-Principal Investigator(s) on the proposal should be entered where requested in the Project Details part of the application.
    • Name and email (auto-filled): To edit your name or email, please do so in your account information by clicking your name in the upper right corner and clicking My Account in the dropdown menu.
    • Degrees
    • Organization, Title/Position, Department or equivalent.
    • Career status: Select early-career (faculty 0 to 6 years), mid-career (faculty 6+ to 10 years), or neither. Note: Early- or mid- career status is not required to be eligible for this RFA.
      • Early Career Definition: In the context of this RFA, an early career investigator is someone who has been in an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2014 and August 6, 2020.
      • Mid-Career Definition: In the context of this RFA, a mid-career investigator is someone who has been in an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for more than six to 10 years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2010 and August 5, 2014.
    • Short narrative biography of the Applicant (maximum of 100 words).
    • ORCID iD: Enter in format XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. ORCID iDs are unique, digital identifiers that distinguish individual scientists and unambiguously connect their contributions to science over time and across changes of name, location, and institutional affiliation. ORCID iDs will be used to streamline reporting in our applications and grant reports to reduce the burden on grantees. For more information, please visit https://orcid.org/register. (Please contact us at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com if you wish to opt out).
  • Equal Opportunity & Diversity: CZI Science supports the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century. Everyone is affected by disease, yet different communities are affected by or experience disease in different ways. Moreover, due to systemic barriers, the scientific enterprise itself is not a place where all voices and talents thrive. We believe the strongest scientific teams — encompassing ourselves, our grantees, and our partners — incorporate a wide range of lived experiences and perspectives that guide them to the most important unsolved problems. To enable our work, we incorporate diverse perspectives into our strategy and processes, and we also seek to empower community partners to engage in science.
    We track demographic information associated with applications submitted to CZI in response to our open calls. Based on our learnings, we take steps to broaden or adjust our strategies to improve our reach and to help ensure members of underrepresented or marginalized groups in science are aware of CZI opportunities and able to apply. Please note that answering all questions below is voluntary, and demographic information will not be used in grant funding decisions. All responses will be shared only with limited personnel, who will use that information only for the purposes described in this paragraph.If you have any additional questions about why we ask this, what we do with the data, or to share suggestions for improvement, feel free to reach out to sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com.

    The information below may be entered for the Coordinating PI, who will be submitting the application on behalf of the team.

    Please note that completing the below is voluntary, and demographic information will not be used in grant fundingdecisions.

    • What is your race/ethnicity? (optional)
    • What is the year of your last academic degree? (optional)
    • What is your gender? (optional)
    • Are you transgender? (optional)
    • Are you a member of the LGBTQ community? (optional)
  • The information below may be entered for the co-Principal Investigators listed in the Project Details section. Please note that completing the below is voluntary, and demographic information will not be used in grant funding decisions.
    • Do any of the co-Principal Investigators self-identify as one of the following? Woman, Man, Non-binary/Third gender, Prefer not to say, Prefer to describe (optional)
      • If yes, how many of the listed co-Principal Investigators self-identify as one of the above gender identities? Please do not include requested information on a per person basis; we are looking for aggregated information (optional)
  • Organization Details for Coordinating PI: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. The information entered should be for the organization of the Coordinating PI who will be the person submitting the application on behalf of the team. The Coordinating PI must be affiliated with the organization listed, and grant funds will be awarded to this organization, which will take responsibility for distributing funds to the institutions of the other members of the collaboration:
    • Organization name/Street address/City/State or Province/Country/Website
    • Type of organization (drop down menu: academic/non-profit, industry/company, government, other).
    • Tax ID: Enter your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service in the 9-digit format (XX-XXXXXXX; 10 characters total). Foreign organizations or others who do not have an EIN should enter 44-4444444.
  • Project Details: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required.
    • Project Title (auto-filled): Project title is limited to 75 characters, including spaces. If you need to edit your proposal title, navigate to your application summary page, click on the three dots to the right of the application title (next to the Preview link) and select Rename from the dropdown menu.
    • Project Purpose: Summarize your research project; limited to one sentence (maximum of 255 characters including spaces).
    • Abstract/Project Summary: Describe your project in brief (maximum of 250 words).
    • Co-Principal Investigators: Complete the table with the following information for each co-PI (maximum of two). Do not include the Coordinating PI (applicant) in this section. You may
      need to use the scroll bar at the bottom of the table to scroll right to view and to complete all fields. Alternatively, you can tab to move through and complete the fields. If there are no co-PIs, please leave this section
      blank.
      For each co-PI, please provide:

      • Co-PI name, Title/Position, Degrees, ORCiD ID (format: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX), Email, Career status
        • In the context of this RFA, an early career investigator is someone who has been in an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2014 and August 6, 2020, and mid-career as someone who has been in an independent faculty role (or equivalent) for more than six to ten years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2010 and August 5, 2014.
      • Organization Name, Country, Website
      • Type of organization (drop down menu: academic/non-profit, industry/company, government, other).
      • Tax ID: Enter your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service in the 9-digit format (XX-XXXXXXX; total of 10 characters). Foreign organizations or others who do not have an EIN should enter 44-4444444.
    • Significant Contributions: List any of the following sources for up to five of the most significant contributions made by members of the project team that are relevant to the proposal: publications/preprints (with PubMed or bioRxiv links), GitHub repository links, protocols.io submissions, data repositories, and/or similar documentation.
  • Project Proposal: Upload your project proposal as a single PDF; font must be 11 points or larger and margins must be at least one-half inch (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. Include the following sections:
    • Proposal Body: (maximum of 1250 words, which includes 250 words for the Abstract)
      • Abstract: Copy your Abstract/Project Summary entered in the Project Details section here.
      • Background: Describe the current state- of- the- art technology you are working on.
      • Project Goals: Detail the technology goals of the project.
      • Significance: Describe the scientific significance if the technology goals are met.
      • Project Plan: Describe clearly the research and development strategy to be employed and main milestones.
    • Figures (optional): Limited to one page, inclusive of legends. Figure legends do not count towards the word count.
    • References Cited in your proposal: No word/page limit; include complete source references.
  • Biosketches for Coordinating PI and Co-PIs: Upload the biosketches in PDF format for the Coordinating PI and for each of the co-PIs. Biosketches can be uploaded in a combined single PDF or one PDF for each co-PI; maximum of five pages per biosketch; NIH format or similar.

The formatting and component requirements, including word and page limits indicated above, will be enforced by the review team. Any submitted materials that exceed the word and page limits or do not follow the requirements will not be considered during the application review process.

FULL APPLICATION

Applicants will be notified by email by late August 2020 if they have been invited to submit a Full Application for the Phase 1 pilot project. Detailed application instructions will be provided at that time. The Full Application will require additional materials such as a budget description, biosketches, letters of support, and a detailed project proposal. Full Applications will require institutional sign-off (see Institutional Approval Form for details), so please be sure that your institution is able to comply with all
requirements before submitting a Letter of Intent. Please also review the Full Application submission timeline before submitting a Letter of Intent; deadline extensions will not be granted. Full Applications (if invited) must be submitted by 5 p.m.
Pacific Time on September 22, 2020.

QUESTIONS?

For administrative and programmatic inquiries pertaining to this RFA, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. For technical assistance with SMApply, please contact support@smapply.io or while logged into SMApply, click on the information ”i” link in the upper right corner and submit a help request ticket.

Selection Process

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s core values center around people, technology, collaboration, and open science. We adhere to those values in both proposal selection and evaluation of progress.

CZI will evaluate all applications for scientific merit and will seek independent expert review. The initial application is a Letter of Intent (LOI) that describes the participants and the technological goals. Selected individuals and groups will be invited to submit a Full Application. Final decisions will be made by CZI staff in consultation with our scientific advisors. There is no expectation of any specific number of awards, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative reserves the sole right to not recommend the funding of any applications. CZI does not provide feedback on decisions for unfunded proposals.

Selection of awardees will be based on:

  • The quality of the proposal, expertise, and capacity of the group for addressing the proposed project.
  • Significance and potential impact of the project. 
  • Degree to which the proposal drives the development of innovative solutions for observing biological processes at high resolution in deep tissue.
  • Potential of the awardee to contribute to and benefit from a collaborative interdisciplinary network.
Policies
  • Funds from this award are intended to support research activities. Grants are made to institutions on behalf of the named award recipients and reasonable flexibility on how these funds are utilized is allowed, provided that funds are used to support research activities related to the project. A detailed budget is not required at the time of submission of the LOI, but will be required for Full Applications, if invited.
  • For awarded projects, financial statements and progress reports will be due at the conclusion of each grant year. Specific deliverable requirements will be outlined in the award notification. Grantees of funded projects will be required to participate in regular meetings, including annual scientist meetings. Travel support for these meetings will be provided by CZI separately from the requested grant funds. 
  • Grantees may obtain funds for their research from other funding sources, provided that there is no conflict with meeting the terms of the CZI award.
  • Unused research funds may be carried over to the following year, and requests for no-cost extensions will be considered.
  • Indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of direct costs and must be included within the annual budget total. Indirect costs may not be assessed on capital equipment or subcontracts, but subcontractors may include up to 15% indirect costs of their direct costs.
  • International grantees must use all grant funds exclusively for activities conducted outside the United States of America. 
  • Ethical conduct: CZI advocates the highest standards for the ethical conduct of research. In addition to requirements of their own countries, grantees should adopt procedures for the use of animals in research and for the ethical treatment of human subjects and tissue donors, including obtaining their written informed consent. CZI regards the policies of the National Institutes of Health as a strong model for such procedures.
  • Data, publication, and dissemination policies:​ To accelerate scientific discovery and collaboration, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of proposal results, including methods, data and reagents, and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. Under rare circumstances, exceptions to the above may be considered where there are specific situations that make meeting these goals impossible or counterproductive to the project. 
    • Software code: CZI requires sharing of software code developed by its grantees generally to be made publicly available on GitHub (or a similar public service). All new code must be released under a permissive open source license (MIT, BSD 2-Clause, BSD 3-Clause, or Apache v2.0). All pre-existing and derivative code should be licensed under the most permissive license possible, given the licensing terms of the pre-existing code. All analysis packages must be released through the appropriate language-specific package manager (e.g., PyPi for Python, Bioconductor and CRAN for R) with documentation, example data, and interactive demos (e.g., Jupyter notebooks), and the use of Docker or similar container technologies to ensure portability and reproducibility. Software code supported by CZI should be archived for long-term digital preservation and citability, when applicable.
    • Content and data sharing: ​CZI is committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. Any datasets either curated or generated through the proposal should be made publicly available and easily accessible through an appropriate data repository, when applicable, under an Open Definition conformant license. Ideally data sets would not include personally identifiable information, but if they do, consent to sharing the data should be obtained. Metadata, documentation, and intended use cases, as appropriate should be made available under an Open Definition conformant license, preferably CC0 or CC BY/CC BY SA for content that requires explicit attribution. 
    • Publications:​ To encourage rapid dissemination of results, any publications related to this funded work must be submitted to a preprint server (such as bioRxiv, medRxiv, arXiv, or any appropriate preprint repository), at or before the first submission to a journal. Experimental protocols should be made publicly available through a protocol sharing service, such as protocols.io. CZI requests that scientific publications, preprints, and presentations that result from this award acknowledge support from this funding.
    • Reagent sharing: Resources and reagents developed with this funding support should be available for rapid dissemination to the community, where possible in an accessible community repository, such as Addgene (for plasmids/DNA reagents/viruses) and Jackson Labs (for model systems lines), etc. This requirement applies to cell lines, transgenic organisms, plasmids/clones, antibodies, and other reagents. 
    • Consent: All human tissues should be adequately and fully consented to permit full sharing of the resulting data and any resulting tools, in accordance with laws and regulatory requirements. Any desired exceptions to this policy must be identified at the time of application, and such requests may affect the application’s chance of success. We are aware that there may be circumstances where broad consent may be challenging, and in some cases consent may be subject to revocation; we encourage investigators to discuss these cases with CZI scientific staff.
    • Intellectual property rights: CZI does not require assignment of ownership to any data, published results, or any other intellectual property that results from the work funded by these grants, but will have the same rights generally granted to others in the permissive licenses described above. CZI supports and promotes policies that enable results and technologies to have the broadest reach and impact. To this end, all newly developed software should be made available through permissive open source licenses as described more fully above. Other technology and intellectual property rights (such as patents) should be made freely available for all academic and non-commercial use, and where intellectual property rights are commercialized, they should generally be subject to non-exclusive commercial licenses that enable broad availability and dissemination. 
  • Applications selected through this process will either be funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Foundation (CZIF) or recommended for funding through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF).
Confidentiality

All submitted applications will be kept confidential, except (1) as necessary for our evaluation or to comply with any applicable laws; and (2) to the extent that the application is made public or available to others without a duty of confidentiality through no fault of CZI. Notwithstanding, successfully funded proposals may be made publicly available and/or shared with other grantees or collaborators. Unfunded proposals will remain confidential as provided herein; however, information, including brief summaries of the proposed projects, project metrics, and the types of organizations that have applied for funding, may be made publicly available in aggregate form. Application materials will not be returned to applicants.

RFA Contact

For administrative and programmatic inquiries, technical assistance, or other questions pertaining to this RFA, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com.

Key Dates
July 9, 2020
Application portal opens to receive Letters of Intent
August 6, 2020
Letters of Intent due by 5 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)
Late August 2020
Earliest notification for invitation to submit Full Applications
September 22, 2020
Full Applications due by 5 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)
November 2020
Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
January 1, 2021
Earliest start date (subject to change)

Award period and start date: Awards will be 2.5 years (30 months) in duration with a start date of no earlier than January 1, 2021. Actual start date may vary.  

Important Documents:

Application Instructions

Opportunity

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) seeks to support 2.5-year pilot projects in the field of deep tissue imaging. To gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of biological systems, the goal of CZI’s Imaging program is to visualize and measure them across biological scales and in their biological context. This RFA aims to drive development of imaging technology focused on obtaining cellular resolution readouts anywhere in complex living organisms. Visible light does not penetrate through most tissues. To overcome this barrier, this grant program will advance the field of deep tissue imaging, which aims to obtain cellular resolution in complex tissue and through skin and bone.

Overview of the Two-Phase RFA 

To meet the goals of catalyzing new ideas and inspiring innovative science, the Deep Tissue Imaging RFA is structured as a two-phased funding opportunity.

  • Phase 1:
    • In the first phase, we invite letters of intent (LOI) where applicants will provide a short proposal detailing the current state-of-the-art technology they are working on and how their project advances this technology.
    • A subset of the LOI applicants will be invited to submit a full application for 2.5-year (30-month) pilot awards ($1 million total costs/award).
  • Phase 2:
    • At the conclusion on the 2.5-year pilot period, successful pilot projects in Phase 1 will be eligible for application and evaluation for an extended 48-month grant award ($10 million total costs/award, or $2.5 million total costs/award/year), for a total of up to $11 million over six-and-a-half years for the entirety of the project (Phase 1 and Phase 2).
  • We anticipate awarding Phase 2 four-year grants to a subset of the eligible Phase 1 pilot projects. 


Scientific Scope

The long-term goal of this initiative is to drive technology development aimed at visualizing cellular structure and function throughout the body. During this pilot phase, we especially seek proposals that support the development of tools for visualizing cellular level processes in deep tissue. This funding opportunity is explicitly aimed at technology development. It is not intended to support question-driven basic or translational research, clinical trials, or drug development. 

Examples of research themes: 

  • Bioacoustic probe, hardware, and/or method development
  • Biomagnetic probe, hardware, and/or method development
  • Biochemical probe or method development 
  • Multi-photon hardware or method development
  • Deep imaging tissue techniques with potential human applicability

We particularly encourage applications from:

  • Researchers in disciplines outside of biomedicine who bring new technology, resources, or frameworks to studying cellular processes;
  • Women, underrepresented minorities, and members of underserved populations; and
  • Early career investigators, defined as principal investigators who have been in an independent faculty role for less than six years at the time of application, i.e. starting after August 2014. 

Desired Outcomes 

Successful outcomes for this RFA could include:

  • Development of biological probes to label cells and subcellular processes throughout the body;
  • Development of technologies that enable imaging at cellular resolution imaging deep in the body of complex organisms; or
  • Development of new computational techniques and algorithms for relevant signal extraction and analysis. 

Collaboration and Open Science

CZI seeks investigators who will contribute to a collaborative interdisciplinary network and the advancement of the field.

  • Investigators and members of their labs will participate in annual meetings of all funded groups, smaller meetings focused on specific biological or technical issues, and monthly webinars.
  • Investigators and CZI staff will work together to identify resources and technology that can drive the imaging field forward.
  • Investigators will commit to rapid dissemination of all resulting data, protocols, code, reagents, and results prior to publication through resources such as the protocols.io, GitHub, Addgene, and preprints. Please see the Policies section for additional details.
Eligibility
  • Applications may be submitted by nonprofit and for-profit organizations, public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local government, companies, and eligible agencies of the federal government. As part of the application process, for-profit organizations may need to provide additional information on the charitable purposes of the proposal. Grants are not permitted to individuals; only to organizations.
  • Each application should designate one principal investigator (PI) as the Coordinating Principal Investigator (Coordinating PI). The Coordinating PI will act as the administrative contact between CZI and all PIs on the grant (Co-PIs). The Coordinating PI must submit the application on behalf of all PIs. The Coordinating PI must be affiliated with the institution submitting the application, and grant funds will be awarded to that institution, which will take responsibility for distributing funds to any other institutions. Note that foreign institutions may not subcontract to U.S. institutions, so please be mindful when selecting the Coordinating PI/institution.
  • Each application should have a minimum of one PI but may designate up to three total PIs (one Coordinating PI and up to two Co-PIs).
  • PIs may only serve as the Coordinating PI on one application, but may serve as a Co-PI on applications different from the one they submitted.
  • Co-PIs may serve as a Co-PI on multiple applications.
  • PIs/Co-PIs on one application may be employed at the same or at different institutions.
  • PIs and Co-PIs must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree.
  • PIs and Co-PIs must have an academic appointment or equivalent and be in an independent faculty position or equivalent at an accredited college, university, medical school or other research facility. Independence in an academic setting is typically demonstrated by a full-time faculty appointment, a tenure-track position, allocated space, a start-up package, and institutional commitment as defined or verified in a letter from a department chair or equivalent, but may be defined differently in other organizations. Note: an upload of the letter or proof of independence is not required in the LOI stage.
  • CZI encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, women, and early career scientists.
  • All grants will be made in compliance with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) program. For additional information regarding OFAC sanctions, please refer to the U.S. Treasury Department’s resources.
  • Facebook employees, including employees of any subsidiary Facebook entities, are not permitted to apply.
  • CZI reserves the sole right to decide if an applicant and applicant organization meet the eligibility requirements.

CZI suggests that you consult your home institution to determine eligibility to apply for this grant and your institutional policy on indirect costs. For questions about eligibility for this award or the application process, please contact us in advance of the proposal deadline at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. Deadline extensions will not be granted.

Application Requirements

Application process: The Phase 1 pilot application process is a two-step process: Letter of Intent (LOI) and Full Application (if invited). 

Award period and start date: Awards will be 2.5 years (30 months) in duration with a start date of no earlier than January 1, 2021. Actual start date may vary.

Budget for Pilot Phase: $1 million USD total costs for 2.5 years (30 months), including no more than 15% of direct costs for indirect costs. A detailed budget is not required at the LOI stage. 

Application Specifics: All applications must be completed and submitted through CZI’s online grants management portal at https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com. It is recommended that applicants familiarize themselves with this portal well in advance of the application deadline. Detailed application instructions are available below in the Detailed Application Instructions section, as well as in the grants management portal.

 

Key Dates
July 9, 2020
Application portal opens to receive Letters of Intent
August 6, 2020
Letters of Intent due by 5 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)
Late August 2020
Earliest notification for invitation to submit Full Applications
September 22, 2020
Full Applications due by 5 p.m. Pacific Time (PT)
November 2020
Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
January 1, 2021
Earliest start date (subject to change)
Detailed Application Instructions

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative uses SurveyMonkey Apply (SMApply) as its grants management portal. All applications — both the Letter of Intent and Full Application — must be submitted through this portal (https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com). SMApply is configured to work best using the Google Chrome browser. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with this portal well in advance of any deadlines. Deadline extensions will not be granted.

Application Specifics:

  • The Phase 1 pilot application process is a two-stage process: Letter of Intent and Full Application (if invited).
    • A budget is not required at the Letter of Intent stage, but is required for Full Applications (if invited).
    • Institutional sign-off is not required at the Letter of Intent stage, but is required for Full Applications (if invited).
  • Eligibility: Please refer to the above Eligibility section of the RFA announcement.
  • Award Period: Proposals should be 2.5 years (30 months) in duration with a project start date of no earlier than January 1, 2021. Actual start date may vary.
  • Award amount: Those Letters of Intent that are invited to do a Full Application will be asked for budget specifics (more information to follow). Award amounts will be no more than $1,000,000 total costs for a 2.5-year pilot project, inclusive of 15% indirect costs. Indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of direct costs. Budgets for Full Applications will be evaluated for appropriateness relative to the scope of work proposed.
  • Number of Principal Investigators (PI and co-PIs): Each application should have a minimum of one PI but may designate up to three total PIs (one Coordinating Principal Investigator and up to two co-Principal Investigators
    (Co-PIs)).

The Letter of Intent (LOI) consists of the following sections (called tasks in the grants portal): Applicant Details, Equal Opportunity & Diversity, Organization Details for Coordinating PI, Project Details, Project Proposal, and Biosketches for Coordinating PI and Co-PIs.

  • Applicant Details: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. The information entered should be for the Coordinating Principal Investigator (Coordinating PI), who will be the person submitting the application on behalf of the team. The Coordinating PI will take responsibility for managing the group collaboration and be the administrative point of contact for CZI and any partners. Information about the co-Principal Investigator(s) on the proposal should be entered where requested in the Project Details part of the application.
    • Name and email (auto-filled): To edit your name or email, please do so in your account information by clicking your name in the upper right corner and clicking My Account in the dropdown menu.
    • Degrees
    • Organization, Title/Position, Department or equivalent.
    • Career status: Select early-career (faculty 0 to 6 years), mid-career (faculty 6+ to 10 years), or neither. Note: Early- or mid- career status is not required to be eligible for this RFA.
      • Early Career Definition: In the context of this RFA, an early career investigator is someone who has been in an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2014 and August 6, 2020.
      • Mid-Career Definition: In the context of this RFA, a mid-career investigator is someone who has been in an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for more than six to 10 years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2010 and August 5, 2014.
    • Short narrative biography of the Applicant (maximum of 100 words).
    • ORCID iD: Enter in format XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. ORCID iDs are unique, digital identifiers that distinguish individual scientists and unambiguously connect their contributions to science over time and across changes of name, location, and institutional affiliation. ORCID iDs will be used to streamline reporting in our applications and grant reports to reduce the burden on grantees. For more information, please visit https://orcid.org/register. (Please contact us at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com if you wish to opt out).
  • Equal Opportunity & Diversity: CZI Science supports the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century. Everyone is affected by disease, yet different communities are affected by or experience disease in different ways. Moreover, due to systemic barriers, the scientific enterprise itself is not a place where all voices and talents thrive. We believe the strongest scientific teams — encompassing ourselves, our grantees, and our partners — incorporate a wide range of lived experiences and perspectives that guide them to the most important unsolved problems. To enable our work, we incorporate diverse perspectives into our strategy and processes, and we also seek to empower community partners to engage in science.
    We track demographic information associated with applications submitted to CZI in response to our open calls. Based on our learnings, we take steps to broaden or adjust our strategies to improve our reach and to help ensure members of underrepresented or marginalized groups in science are aware of CZI opportunities and able to apply. Please note that answering all questions below is voluntary, and demographic information will not be used in grant funding decisions. All responses will be shared only with limited personnel, who will use that information only for the purposes described in this paragraph.If you have any additional questions about why we ask this, what we do with the data, or to share suggestions for improvement, feel free to reach out to sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com.

    The information below may be entered for the Coordinating PI, who will be submitting the application on behalf of the team.

    Please note that completing the below is voluntary, and demographic information will not be used in grant fundingdecisions.

    • What is your race/ethnicity? (optional)
    • What is the year of your last academic degree? (optional)
    • What is your gender? (optional)
    • Are you transgender? (optional)
    • Are you a member of the LGBTQ community? (optional)
  • The information below may be entered for the co-Principal Investigators listed in the Project Details section. Please note that completing the below is voluntary, and demographic information will not be used in grant funding decisions.
    • Do any of the co-Principal Investigators self-identify as one of the following? Woman, Man, Non-binary/Third gender, Prefer not to say, Prefer to describe (optional)
      • If yes, how many of the listed co-Principal Investigators self-identify as one of the above gender identities? Please do not include requested information on a per person basis; we are looking for aggregated information (optional)
  • Organization Details for Coordinating PI: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. The information entered should be for the organization of the Coordinating PI who will be the person submitting the application on behalf of the team. The Coordinating PI must be affiliated with the organization listed, and grant funds will be awarded to this organization, which will take responsibility for distributing funds to the institutions of the other members of the collaboration:
    • Organization name/Street address/City/State or Province/Country/Website
    • Type of organization (drop down menu: academic/non-profit, industry/company, government, other).
    • Tax ID: Enter your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service in the 9-digit format (XX-XXXXXXX; 10 characters total). Foreign organizations or others who do not have an EIN should enter 44-4444444.
  • Project Details: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required.
    • Project Title (auto-filled): Project title is limited to 75 characters, including spaces. If you need to edit your proposal title, navigate to your application summary page, click on the three dots to the right of the application title (next to the Preview link) and select Rename from the dropdown menu.
    • Project Purpose: Summarize your research project; limited to one sentence (maximum of 255 characters including spaces).
    • Abstract/Project Summary: Describe your project in brief (maximum of 250 words).
    • Co-Principal Investigators: Complete the table with the following information for each co-PI (maximum of two). Do not include the Coordinating PI (applicant) in this section. You may
      need to use the scroll bar at the bottom of the table to scroll right to view and to complete all fields. Alternatively, you can tab to move through and complete the fields. If there are no co-PIs, please leave this section
      blank.
      For each co-PI, please provide:

      • Co-PI name, Title/Position, Degrees, ORCiD ID (format: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX), Email, Career status
        • In the context of this RFA, an early career investigator is someone who has been in an independent faculty position (or equivalent) for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2014 and August 6, 2020, and mid-career as someone who has been in an independent faculty role (or equivalent) for more than six to ten years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between August 6, 2010 and August 5, 2014.
      • Organization Name, Country, Website
      • Type of organization (drop down menu: academic/non-profit, industry/company, government, other).
      • Tax ID: Enter your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service in the 9-digit format (XX-XXXXXXX; total of 10 characters). Foreign organizations or others who do not have an EIN should enter 44-4444444.
    • Significant Contributions: List any of the following sources for up to five of the most significant contributions made by members of the project team that are relevant to the proposal: publications/preprints (with PubMed or bioRxiv links), GitHub repository links, protocols.io submissions, data repositories, and/or similar documentation.
  • Project Proposal: Upload your project proposal as a single PDF; font must be 11 points or larger and margins must be at least one-half inch (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. Include the following sections:
    • Proposal Body: (maximum of 1250 words, which includes 250 words for the Abstract)
      • Abstract: Copy your Abstract/Project Summary entered in the Project Details section here.
      • Background: Describe the current state- of- the- art technology you are working on.
      • Project Goals: Detail the technology goals of the project.
      • Significance: Describe the scientific significance if the technology goals are met.
      • Project Plan: Describe clearly the research and development strategy to be employed and main milestones.
    • Figures (optional): Limited to one page, inclusive of legends. Figure legends do not count towards the word count.
    • References Cited in your proposal: No word/page limit; include complete source references.
  • Biosketches for Coordinating PI and Co-PIs: Upload the biosketches in PDF format for the Coordinating PI and for each of the co-PIs. Biosketches can be uploaded in a combined single PDF or one PDF for each co-PI; maximum of five pages per biosketch; NIH format or similar.

The formatting and component requirements, including word and page limits indicated above, will be enforced by the review team. Any submitted materials that exceed the word and page limits or do not follow the requirements will not be considered during the application review process.

FULL APPLICATION

Applicants will be notified by email by late August 2020 if they have been invited to submit a Full Application for the Phase 1 pilot project. Detailed application instructions will be provided at that time. The Full Application will require additional materials such as a budget description, biosketches, letters of support, and a detailed project proposal. Full Applications will require institutional sign-off (see Institutional Approval Form for details), so please be sure that your institution is able to comply with all
requirements before submitting a Letter of Intent. Please also review the Full Application submission timeline before submitting a Letter of Intent; deadline extensions will not be granted. Full Applications (if invited) must be submitted by 5 p.m.
Pacific Time on September 22, 2020.

QUESTIONS?

For administrative and programmatic inquiries pertaining to this RFA, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. For technical assistance with SMApply, please contact support@smapply.io or while logged into SMApply, click on the information ”i” link in the upper right corner and submit a help request ticket.

Selection Process

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s core values center around people, technology, collaboration, and open science. We adhere to those values in both proposal selection and evaluation of progress.

CZI will evaluate all applications for scientific merit and will seek independent expert review. The initial application is a Letter of Intent (LOI) that describes the participants and the technological goals. Selected individuals and groups will be invited to submit a Full Application. Final decisions will be made by CZI staff in consultation with our scientific advisors. There is no expectation of any specific number of awards, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative reserves the sole right to not recommend the funding of any applications. CZI does not provide feedback on decisions for unfunded proposals.

Selection of awardees will be based on:

  • The quality of the proposal, expertise, and capacity of the group for addressing the proposed project.
  • Significance and potential impact of the project. 
  • Degree to which the proposal drives the development of innovative solutions for observing biological processes at high resolution in deep tissue.
  • Potential of the awardee to contribute to and benefit from a collaborative interdisciplinary network.
Policies
  • Funds from this award are intended to support research activities. Grants are made to institutions on behalf of the named award recipients and reasonable flexibility on how these funds are utilized is allowed, provided that funds are used to support research activities related to the project. A detailed budget is not required at the time of submission of the LOI, but will be required for Full Applications, if invited.
  • For awarded projects, financial statements and progress reports will be due at the conclusion of each grant year. Specific deliverable requirements will be outlined in the award notification. Grantees of funded projects will be required to participate in regular meetings, including annual scientist meetings. Travel support for these meetings will be provided by CZI separately from the requested grant funds. 
  • Grantees may obtain funds for their research from other funding sources, provided that there is no conflict with meeting the terms of the CZI award.
  • Unused research funds may be carried over to the following year, and requests for no-cost extensions will be considered.
  • Indirect costs cannot exceed 15% of direct costs and must be included within the annual budget total. Indirect costs may not be assessed on capital equipment or subcontracts, but subcontractors may include up to 15% indirect costs of their direct costs.
  • International grantees must use all grant funds exclusively for activities conducted outside the United States of America. 
  • Ethical conduct: CZI advocates the highest standards for the ethical conduct of research. In addition to requirements of their own countries, grantees should adopt procedures for the use of animals in research and for the ethical treatment of human subjects and tissue donors, including obtaining their written informed consent. CZI regards the policies of the National Institutes of Health as a strong model for such procedures.
  • Data, publication, and dissemination policies:​ To accelerate scientific discovery and collaboration, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of proposal results, including methods, data and reagents, and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. Under rare circumstances, exceptions to the above may be considered where there are specific situations that make meeting these goals impossible or counterproductive to the project. 
    • Software code: CZI requires sharing of software code developed by its grantees generally to be made publicly available on GitHub (or a similar public service). All new code must be released under a permissive open source license (MIT, BSD 2-Clause, BSD 3-Clause, or Apache v2.0). All pre-existing and derivative code should be licensed under the most permissive license possible, given the licensing terms of the pre-existing code. All analysis packages must be released through the appropriate language-specific package manager (e.g., PyPi for Python, Bioconductor and CRAN for R) with documentation, example data, and interactive demos (e.g., Jupyter notebooks), and the use of Docker or similar container technologies to ensure portability and reproducibility. Software code supported by CZI should be archived for long-term digital preservation and citability, when applicable.
    • Content and data sharing: ​CZI is committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. Any datasets either curated or generated through the proposal should be made publicly available and easily accessible through an appropriate data repository, when applicable, under an Open Definition conformant license. Ideally data sets would not include personally identifiable information, but if they do, consent to sharing the data should be obtained. Metadata, documentation, and intended use cases, as appropriate should be made available under an Open Definition conformant license, preferably CC0 or CC BY/CC BY SA for content that requires explicit attribution. 
    • Publications:​ To encourage rapid dissemination of results, any publications related to this funded work must be submitted to a preprint server (such as bioRxiv, medRxiv, arXiv, or any appropriate preprint repository), at or before the first submission to a journal. Experimental protocols should be made publicly available through a protocol sharing service, such as protocols.io. CZI requests that scientific publications, preprints, and presentations that result from this award acknowledge support from this funding.
    • Reagent sharing: Resources and reagents developed with this funding support should be available for rapid dissemination to the community, where possible in an accessible community repository, such as Addgene (for plasmids/DNA reagents/viruses) and Jackson Labs (for model systems lines), etc. This requirement applies to cell lines, transgenic organisms, plasmids/clones, antibodies, and other reagents. 
    • Consent: All human tissues should be adequately and fully consented to permit full sharing of the resulting data and any resulting tools, in accordance with laws and regulatory requirements. Any desired exceptions to this policy must be identified at the time of application, and such requests may affect the application’s chance of success. We are aware that there may be circumstances where broad consent may be challenging, and in some cases consent may be subject to revocation; we encourage investigators to discuss these cases with CZI scientific staff.
    • Intellectual property rights: CZI does not require assignment of ownership to any data, published results, or any other intellectual property that results from the work funded by these grants, but will have the same rights generally granted to others in the permissive licenses described above. CZI supports and promotes policies that enable results and technologies to have the broadest reach and impact. To this end, all newly developed software should be made available through permissive open source licenses as described more fully above. Other technology and intellectual property rights (such as patents) should be made freely available for all academic and non-commercial use, and where intellectual property rights are commercialized, they should generally be subject to non-exclusive commercial licenses that enable broad availability and dissemination. 
  • Applications selected through this process will either be funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Foundation (CZIF) or recommended for funding through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF).
Confidentiality

All submitted applications will be kept confidential, except (1) as necessary for our evaluation or to comply with any applicable laws; and (2) to the extent that the application is made public or available to others without a duty of confidentiality through no fault of CZI. Notwithstanding, successfully funded proposals may be made publicly available and/or shared with other grantees or collaborators. Unfunded proposals will remain confidential as provided herein; however, information, including brief summaries of the proposed projects, project metrics, and the types of organizations that have applied for funding, may be made publicly available in aggregate form. Application materials will not be returned to applicants.