BioXFEL Collaboration Grants

UB is helping revolutionize structural biology as the lead institution in an 8-member NSF Science and Technology Center known as BioXFEL. The center's researchers are developing X-ray lasers that capture biological molecules in atomic detail, view their functional motions by making molecular movies and observe interactions in their native environments.

X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFEL) produce a stream of unimaginably intense X-ray and in unimaginably short pulses, so intense and so rapid that they can capture the fastest biological processes. X-ray Free Electron Lasers offer a unique and exciting opportunity to explore biological mechanisms in areas that were previously thought impossible. Multiple disciplines are needed to make full use of this process. We need technology to prepare and deliver samples as well as algorithms that deal efficiently with massive quantities of data and can extract structural information.

To get more UB faculty participating in the BioXFEL center, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development has established a seed fund for new projects that would complement existing projects. Project participants will have access to methods, techniques and algorithms developed by BioXFEL and will be expected to work collaboratively with the BioXFEL team to bring their research to fruition.

Suitable research projects might include:

  • enabling novel methods to use XFELs for biological research;
  • making use of existing XFEL capabilities to probe new biology; or
  • developing techniques that can be applied with XFEL sources to image biological action.

Request for Proposals

Due date is September 28, 2015

Award Amount

Awards will not exceed $35,000 for projects of one year or less.

Scope of the Awards

Funding can support a variety of expenses, including but not limited to salaries to support graduate students, prototype development costs, materials and supplies, and equipment usage. Faculty salaries are not allowed.

Eligibility Information

All faculty whose appointments allow them to submit external proposals through the UB Sponsored Projects Services Office are eligible to apply. Proposals must include an unfunded collaboration with a BioXFEL Investigator.

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by Ad hoc panel of BioXFEL research investigators who will make recommendation to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, which will make the final selection. The proposals will be reviewed according to these general selection criteria (100 point scale): 

  • Scientific merit (25 points)
  • Innovation and potential impact (25 points)
  • Qualifications of project investigative team (25 points)
  • Potential for generating external funding (25 points)

In addition to these general criteria, proposals will be evaluated based on potential synergy with and/or extension of current BioXFEL research thrusts.

Award Terms

Applicants can request funding up to $35,000 for projects of no more than a 1-year duration. A progress report must be submitted midway through the project and a final report is due within 30 days after the conclusion of the funding period summarizing the results in relation to the stated goals of the application.

Application Format

  1. 250-word abstract using lay terms accessible to a broad audience. In addition, include the names, departmental affiliation and contact information for each investigator.
  2. 3-page proposal (maximum) plus 1-page of references. The proposal must include sufficient detail to convince reviewers of the project's scientific and relevance to BioXFEL’s mission. Please include the following elements:
    • Introduction
      • State a clear research question that defines the purpose of the project
      • Describe how the project is innovative and complementary to other BioXFEL Research Thrusts
      • Provide background/rationale that addresses the significance and impact of the project to the field
      • Describe the project's short-term objectives and how meeting these objectives will lead to a larger externally-funded project either as part of BioXFEL or as an independent project utilizing the unique capabilities of X-ray lasers.
    • Proposed Plan
      • Describe the research methods that will be used to conduct the project
      • Describe the expected results or outcomes
      • Describe what the award will accomplish that cannot be achieved through other means
  3. Key Personnel: Attach a NSF-style biographical sketch/vitae summary for each investigator participating in the project including current and pending funding.
  4. Project Budget: Attach a 1-page line item budget and a 1-page detailed justification including a description of other resources or cost-sharing that will be applied to the project. The budget justification is important since budget reasonableness will be considered.

Please send the application as a single PDF to Kenneth Tramposch at by September 28, 2015.