As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums are temporarily closed. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time and will provide updates on our websites and social media.
The GGI Rolling Awards Program is open year-round as funding permits and is geared towards smaller proposals. Areas of focus include but are not limited to: expeditionary field work, acquisition of new genomic collections, and sequencing of understudied or genomically “dark” taxa.
Requests for $10,000 or below are strongly preferred and will be evaluated by the GGI Director and GGI Working Group Chair. Requests for up to $30,000 will also be considered, but are subject to additional peer review and stricter scrutiny. Whenever possible, larger proposals should be submitted to the Peer-Review Awards Program.
The submission deadline for Rolling Award proposals was September 30, 2020. This was the final year of the GGI Rolling Awards Program.
The GGI Peer-Review Awards Program seeks ambitious projects that make substantial contributions to the goals of GGI. This includes but is not limited to: expeditionary field work, acquisition of significant new genomic collections, testing new genomic protocols or pipelines, and innovative genomics research in the fields of phylogeny or comparative genomics.
Requests for up to $30,000 will be considered. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee composed of Smithsonian researchers appointed by GGI.
The submission deadline for Peer-Review Award proposals was December 1, 2019. This was the final cycle of the GGI Peer-Review Awards Program.
The SIBN Awards program provides funding for DNA barcoding projects that utilize existing SI collections (specimens are already accessioned or in the pipeline for accession). The Proposal Review Committee will consider requests for up to $12,000. SIBN supports all Smithsonian units and science initiatives (e.g. ForestGEO, MarineGEO). All SI staff, affiliated agency staff, resident research associates, and fellows (fellows' advisors required as co-PI's), who are pursuing science-related scholarship or seek to build and improve the DNA barcode reference library, are eligible to apply. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee composed of Smithsonian researchers appointed by SIBN.
The submission deadline for SIBN Awards proposals is February 1, 2021. For the full SIBN Award Call, visit the GGI Resources page under "Resources for Smithsonian and Affiliated Researchers."
The GGBN-GGI Awards Program sponsored by the Global Genome Initiative provides funding in support of projects that promote the discoverability of new genetic collections through the Global Genome Biodiversity Network’s Data Portal. Any institution with non-human genetic resources, to include both current and prospective members, who are pursuing or have achieved GGBN core membership are eligible to apply. Institutions with successful proposals who have not yet joined GGBN must−as a minimum−become an associate GGBN Member by signing the GGBN MOU prior to the awarding of funds and become a core GGBN Member upon project completion. The Proposal Review Committee will consider requests for up to $30,000 with clearly articulated budget justifications. All data must be made available online on the GGBN portal before 1 September 2021. For more information about this awards program, visit the GGBN website.
The application deadline for this opportunity was April 24, 2020. Applications are no longer being accepted.
The Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) and the Global Genome Initiative for Gardens (GGI-Gardens) Awards Program provides funding to support sampling activities from living collections with unique families and genera of vascular plants not yet represented in GGBN biorepositories. Any BGCI member, to include both current and prospective members of GGI-Gardens are eligible to apply. Institutions with successful proposals who have not yet joined GGI-Gardens must − as a minimum − become a GGI-Gardens partner by signing the GGI-Gardens Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) prior to the awarding of funds. Eligible institutions will need to identify a recognized herbarium where they will deposit collected plant vouchers as well as a GGBN-partnered biorepository for the storage of preserved genomic tissues. This program is possible through funding from the Global Genome Initiative and the United States Botanic Garden. The Proposal Review Committee will consider requests for up to $4,500 USD. For more information about this awards program, visit the BGCI website.
The application deadline for this opportunity was November 15, 2020. Applications are no longer being accepted.
The Global Genome Initiative Buck Fellowships are two-year fellowships that contribute specifically to the goals of the Global Genome Initiative (GGI) at the National Museum of Natural History and include a 60% time commitment to biodiversity genomic research and 40% commitment to other GGI related activities. The fellowships are aimed at increasing the capacity for biodiversity genomics at the National Museum of Natural History.
GGI Buck Fellowships are oriented toward contributing research on a topic relating to GGI’s overarching goal, “Preserving and Understanding Earth’s Genomic Biodiversity.” The program aims to leverage question-driven, peer-reviewed research on biodiversity, evolution and ecology in order to accelerate the acquisition, genetic identification, and genomic research on strategically chosen samples of the major lineages of Life.
The application deadline for this opportunity was November 1, 2019. Applications are no longer being accepted.
Started by the Global Genome Initiative at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and now hosted by the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth, TX, the Genome Initiative for Gardens (GGI-Gardens) program was founded to collect and preserve genome-quality tissue samples from at least one species belonging to each family, 50% of the genera, and all species of plants on Earth. The GGI-Gardens program is seeking applicants to its 14-week summer internship program (May-August 2019) in Fort Worth, TX to assist in program efforts to collect plant specimens and preserve genome-quality tissues from Texas flora, with an emphasis on the living collections in botanical gardens in Texas.
The selected, qualified applicant will be trained in the collection of genome-quality tissues from plants in the field and from greenhouses at botanical gardens in Texas. Interns will receive training for fieldwork and tissue collection using field techniques as well as liquid nitrogen handling. They will also be trained in database management and will have opportunities for basic molecular laboratory research and training.
The application deadline was March 1, 2019 and is this opportunity is now closed; please check back for additional opportunities.
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and Global Genome Initiative are committed to increasing opportunities in biodiversity research for interested students in under-represented communities. The Youth Engagement through Science (YES!) program is a multi-year trajectory designed to help participants build their science and communication skills, explore careers in science by working side by side with scientists, and prepare for the next step in their education through a college preparation course. The YES! 2.0- Global Genome Initiative experience builds on the knowledge and skills acquired through the first year of the YES! 1.0 Program by adding hands-on experiences working with DNA in the Museum’s genomics laboratory and doing independent research projects using the technology of genomic science.
Summer Session: 7 weeks, June – August
During the first two weeks, interns participate in a Genomics Boot Camp learning skills such as pipetting, running gels, DNA extraction, amplification, DNA sequencing reactions, library preparation for genomic analyses, and other lab protocols to pursue a team-based research project with Smithsonian Global Genome Initiative scientists and collaborators. They participate in multi-institutional, collaborative research projects, and receive in-depth lectures and live chat discussions from local, remote, and even international scholars. The students also participate in discussions about the methods they are using and other genomic applications in evolutionary biology. Following Boot Camp, interns transition to independent, mentored research projects in biodiversity genetics and genomics. Throughout the summer interns also visit other local research institutions such as the National Zoo's Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to research experience, the interns receive training and mentoring in scientific writing and presentations skills and in communicating their research to public audiences. The summer culminates in a Community Day experience in which interns share their research from Boot Camp and their mentored research experiences to their families, friends, and museum visitors.
Fall Session: 6 weeks, September - October (Saturdays only)
Interns will engage in college preparation activities (optional) and will work on developing a TED-like presentation about their science experience in the YES! 2.0 program. Between October – December interns will give their presentations to their school community and peers.
Research Boot Camp - Sequencing the Marsh Elder Plant Genome
For the past two years, the interns’ Boot Camp experience has allowed them to work with an international team of scientists studying genomic changes during the process of plant domestication. Funded through a National Science Foundation research grant to decode ancient DNA of the Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), our students are working in parallel to sequence the first genome of a related plant, the Marsh Elder (Iva annua). The students receive special guest lectures and interactive discussions (some via video conferencing) on the project from anthropologists at the NMNH and Ohio State University, from plant domestication researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and they learn about ancient DNA from the famous Gilbert Lab at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2014 the students ran genomic DNA of the Marsh Elder on an Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine (PGM) to recover nearly 3 million reads (or fragments) of DNA sequences ranging from 200–300 base-pairs (bp) in length. Last year’s students ran genomic DNA of the same Marsh Elder plant on the Illumina MiSeq to recover nearly 20 million paired-end reads—sequenced in both directions—to re-assemble into ~600 bp in length fragments. With these data, the scientists hope to reconstruct as much of the Marsh Elder genome as possible, to compare with the ancient DNA during domestication, and with the Sunflower genomes (both ancient and contemporary domesticated plants).
The following YES! GGI student projects are a sample from 2013 – 2015:
Testing Field Preservation Methods for Plant DNA
Three methods of preservation are commonly used to collect plants for research, 1) drying plants in a plant press for classic museum specimens, 2) freezing tissues in liquid nitrogen, and 3) desiccating tissues with silica gel. The latter two methods are used to capture and preserve plant DNA. Using the same specimens to compare preservation methods, this project preserved plant tissue with liquid nitrogen and silica gel and then examined the quality of the DNA that was recovered. The research will continue over time to see whether DNA decomposes more rapidly with silica gel preservation versus being immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen. Silica gel is less expensive and somewhat easier to take into the field than liquid nitrogen.
Arthropod Diversity in Myanmar (Burma)
Arthropods are so diverse, it is estimated they account for 80% of the diversity of life on Earth, so it takes many experts to identify most arthropods to the genus or species and often the family level. A recent collecting expedition to Myanmar collected arthropods from two forest preserves. The specimens were brought back to the National Museum of Natural History and sampled for DNA Barcoding. The barcodes were used to find matches in GenBank, the genome sequence repository at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. When matches were found, the specimens could be more easily identified without requiring arthropod specialists for each taxonomic group.
Using DNA Barcoding for Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles in Myanmar (Burma)
Frogs, lizards and snakes were collected in remote protected areas of Myanmar, shipped to the National Museum of Natural History and tissues were processed for DNA Barcoding. DNA analysis through barcoding, or sequencing areas of mitochondrial DNA, revealed cryptic species that look alike physically, but are genetically distinct, and helped researchers understand the geographic distribution of species. The amphibian and reptile biodiversity is rich in this poorly known area of southeast Asia; several new species were discovered during this expedition.
Genomic Era: Systematics of Demosponges
Sponges are important organisms in reef systems and on the ocean floor. The goal of this project was to add to our knowledge of the evolutionary history of sponges by adding genomic support to the sponge phylogenetic tree and to place new species onto the tree. Next Generation Sequencing was used to sequence complete mitochondrial genes to identify genes that, in combination, can discriminate closely related species and reveal evolutionary relationships among sponges.
Contracts and Employment
The Ocean DNA Program of the Smithsonian NMNH is seeking a consultant to create a COI amplicon sequence variant (ASV) registry that will scale with projected growth of environmentally derived samples in the Ocean DNA Program. The Consultant will scope material sample metadata, mapping to existing standards where available and determine augmentation sets where applicable. The Consultant shall also build a taxonomic classification engine that can create versioned classification sets of the ASV registry based on a curated voucher-based reference library. The Consultant will work with the Ocean DNA team to create visualization toolkits to present biodiversity data occurrence data across taxa, time and space.
Deadline for this opportunity was midnight November 15, 2020. Applications are no longer being accepted.