The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: Single-Cell Biology Data Insights Cycle 3 RFA

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The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
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This funding opportunity is specifically intended to motivate and incentivize the development, refinement, and implementation of approaches that make it possible for greater insights to be gained from available single-cell data. With this in mind, any form of data generation is considered out of scope. Projects must propose and rely on existing data that is openly and freely available (count matrices at minimum) at the time of application via the inclusion of a link to specific datasets in the applications. Furthermore, we strongly encourage applications to use data generated outside of their labs to enable interoperability and advances that are extensible to a wider segment of interested researchers.

Projects may include: dedicated efforts to democratize access and usability of existing datasets; demonstration of utility by leveraging existing datasets to address impactful and challenging biological questions; and developing methods that enable greater biological insight and other major challenges brought forward. This request for applications is the last of three currently planned cycles, with successful projects receiving 18 months of funding support.

Applications for two types of grants are welcome and will be reviewed independently. The maximum budgets for proposed projects are $400,000 total costs for Expanded Projects and $200,000 total costs for Focused Projects. All project awards will be for an 18-month duration. The goal of this opportunity is to create a network of projects that address broad computational challenges and needs within single-cell biology at a variety of scales. Applicants may highlight existing or prospective collaboration among projects, but should note that all applications will be reviewed for their individual merit and impact.

Addressing computational challenges and bottlenecks in single-cell biology will drive the field forward and make it possible for a greater number of scientists to benefit from emerging datasets and tissue atlases. This opportunity puts forward a broad scope that fundamentally aims to enable greater insight into specific biological questions to be gleaned from single-cell data. Successful proposals are likely to incorporate some or multiple of the following attributes:

  • Meta-analysis of single-cell datasets or collections, such as available via CZ CELLxGENE Discover Census, that highlights its characteristics, usability, and utility and enables insight into more specific biological questions and unlock mysteries of the cell and how cells interact in systems.
  • Address specific challenges, such as predicting cellular responses to perturbations, modeling regulatory networks, understanding evolutionary differences at the cellular level or cellular basis of traits and diseases, system-level delineation of lineage establishment, or deciphering cell-cell interactions and spatial organization.
  • Democratize access and usability of existing datasets. For example, the development of subsampling approaches or scalable and accessible models for data representation (embeddings), querying, and downstream tasks of broad interest.
  • Applications of AI and machine learning to open problems in single-cell biology with a possible focus on infusing domain knowledge in a model and experimental design and development of novel training paradigms or model evaluation strategies.
  • Connecting data across scales and modalities.
  • Using data from underrepresented ancestries or populations.
  • 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 other 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 institutions outside the U.S. may not subcontract to U.S. institutions, so please be mindful when selecting the Coordinating PI/institution.
  • Each application must have a minimum of one PI (Coordinating PI), but may designate up to three total PIs (one Coordinating PI and up to two Co-PIs).
  • Principal Investigators may serve as Coordinating Principal Investigator on multiple applications provided that the proposed scope of work for all applications is non-overlapping.
  • PIs/Co-PIs on one application may be employed at the same or at different institutions.
  • PIs and Co-PIs must each be permitted to receive grant support by the organization they are applying with. This criteria may be defined differently in different types of organizations. Examples of eligible positions are:
    • Tenure track faculty;
    • Non-tenure track faculty or staff scientists who lead a lab or are engaged in academic activities and are permitted to apply for grants by their institution;
    • Researchers with expertise in the relevant areas that are affiliated with or supported by an institution and permitted to apply for grants; and
    • Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students who are permitted to apply for grants by their institution and apply through the institution at which they will conduct the research.
    • For graduate students or postdoctoral scholars who wish to participate in a grant but are not eligible to apply for grants through their institution, applications must be submitted through one of the eligible parties listed above.
    • Co-PIs from companies are permitted as long as no funds are requested to support them or their work.
  • Early-career investigators are strongly encouraged to apply as Coordinating PIs as well as Co-PIs.

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