The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation - Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative


The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation 


Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative

For More Information

For more information including Pre-application requirements regarding this solicitation, please consult the following links:

Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Solicitation



The Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is soliciting pre-applications for awards to develop freshwater and marine model systems where at least one symbiotic partner in the model system is a microbe (bacteria, archaea, and/or single-celled eukaryotes, including single-celled fungi).  A constricted bottleneck in aquatic symbiosis is the paucity of tractable model systems – well-studied associations of two or more organisms that can be manipulated to reveal underlying controls of gene expression and function, determine how the organisms interact, better understand how the organisms contribute to ecosystem processes, and study their evolution.

These awards will fund scientists (individuals or teams) to generate new tools, protocols, and resources to significantly improve the ability to observe and manipulate aquatic symbioses of interest. An essential component of this opportunity is a willingness of all grantees to form a collaborative community where methods and ideas are openly and actively shared to accelerate the pace of methods and technology development and avoid unnecessary redundancy in these pursuits.


The Foundation is interested in symbioses where at least one partner is a microbe and where the symbiosis takes place in a marine or freshwater environment. Studies centered on agriculture, aquaculture, aquaponics, the human microbiome, applied sciences, symbiosis in terrestrial systems, symbioses without a microbe, predator-prey relationships, and pathogen research are outside the scope of this funding opportunity.

To be eligible for this competition, applicants must be able to receive research grants. Both tenure-track and non-tenure track researchers at academic institutions are eligible to apply, as are scientists at non-profit or for-profit companies, provided all data, protocols, and methods generated from model systems projects are openly shared with the scientific community. This solicitation is open to researchers applying individually as well as teams. Teams can be assembled across labs at the same institution or multiple institutions.

Grantees will be selected based on the skill sets and model systems expertise represented in their individual labs or across their teams, their potential to conduct research that illuminates how aquatic symbioses involving microbes function, and clear articulation of how their proposed project will make measurable progress in a grant period (1.5-3 years)

Maximum Project Value

The amounts of the awards will be determined later in 2019.

Indirect Costs

The Moore Foundation provides limited overhead costs, not to exceed 12.5% of allowable expenses.

Project Duration

The project duration is estimated to be between 1.5 to 3 years (project duration will be determined in coordination with foundation staff later in the application process).


If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

External Deadline

Applicants should upload their Pre-Application directly to the portal by August 8, 2019 by 23:59 PDT.  

Internal Deadline

Applicants invited to prepare full applications should submit their signed OR-5 form and full application package to

External Deadline

Full applications due for invited applicants.

How to Apply

This program has a two stage application process

  1. August 8, 2019 – pre-applications due
  2. November 15, 2019 – full applications due

Decision on pre-applications and invitations to submit a full application are anticipated mid-October, 2019. Finalists will be notified January 2020.


For Questions, please contact

If you have any questions or need assistance or accommodation in completing this application, please contact Alexandra González by emailing or calling 650-213-3121.

Office of Research

Carolyn Dowling-Osborn, Senior Manager, Grants & Contracts
Research Services Office
519-824-4120 x52935

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