NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections (ADBC) Solicitation

Program Summary

This program seeks to enhance and expand the national resource of digital data documenting existing vouchered biological and paleontological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States. This program will create an organizational structure and processes inclusive of the broad biological and paleontological collections community, provide open data access, and empower biological and paleobiological researchers. Proposals that address the goals of specimen digitization through innovative plans, strong collaborations among large and small institutions, and mechanisms to build upon existing digitization projects are strongly encouraged. Proposals that increase efficiency and numbers of specimens digitized will have a stronger priority for funding (e.g. by reducing the time and cost per specimen, or by developing new workflows).

This solicitation focuses on proposals for Thematic Collections Networks (TCN) and proposals for Partners to Existing Networks (PEN) to link with existing TCNs. Thematic Collections Network (TCN) proposals will be submissions for two-to-four year awards to digitize existing specimens based on a particular research theme. Priority is given to proposals that approach the digitization problem in innovative ways, through integration of collections, application of techniques that are innovative, cost effective, and drive down the financial and personnel costs of digitization of specimens and/or speed up the process of digitization. Proposals for Partners to Existing Networks (PENs) to partner with and further the efforts of ongoing NSF-funded TCNs are encouraged. The new partners must increase the number of specimens digitized in the ongoing project and fill gaps not addressed by the specimens in the existing TCN.


CU Internal Deadline: 11:59pm MST August 8, 2018

Sponsor Application Deadline: 5:00pm MST October 12, 2018

Internal Application Requirements (all in PDF format)

  • Project Description (2-3 pages): Please provide a description of the project. Make sure to describe both the intellectual merit and the broader impacts of the proposed activity.
  • Project Participants (Up to 1 page): Please list each participating institution and participant (faculty level or equivalent) by full name and institutional and departmental affiliation.
  • Budget Overview (Up to 1 page): A basic budget outlining project costs is sufficient; detailed OCG budgets are not required. For PEN proposals, make sure to include the costs of travel to PI meetings of the existing network and travel to iDigBio once during the first year of the project.

To access the online application, visit: https://colorado.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/5226


An individual may appear as PI or co-PI on no more than one ADBC proposal submitted to any annual ADBC competition.

It is expected that TCN projects will be collaborative efforts among several institutions. 

Federally-owned collections are excluded from this solicitation. Partnerships with federal agencies are encouraged.

Limited Submission Guidelines

Only one TCN proposal may be submitted by any one organization as the lead organization. Organizations may be involved in more than one collaborative effort as a non-lead proposal.

Award Information and Duration

Anticipated Funding Amount: Approximately $10,000,000 total amount available across all awards in this program.

  • TCN Proposals: Budget should reflect the scope of work proposed
  • PEN Proposals: Up to $175,000

Award Duration:

  • TCN Proposals: 2 - 4 years
  • PEN Proposals: Up to 3 years

Number of Awards: 4 to 12