The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the United States Department of Energy (DOE) are accepting applications to establish or continue the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) program. The program would address the “interdependence of biodiversity exploration for potential applications in health and energy, with investments in research capacity that support sustainable use of these resources, the knowledge to conserve them and equitable partnership frameworks among research and development organizations in the U.S. and low and middle income countries.”
The ICBG program began in 1992 as a collaborative effort of NIH, NSF, and the U.S. Agency for International Development and was re-competed in 1998, 2003, and 2005. The 2008 competition of the program will continue priorities set forth in the 2003 Request for Application (TW-08-003) including an emphasis on microbial and marine organisms. Plant biodiversity-focused research and training continues to be of interest, particularly in regard to safety and effectiveness of botanicals in dietary supplements and medicines.
There have been seven awards of around $600,000 per year and interagency funding for fiscal year 2005 was $6 million. According to the Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences (NIH), “To date, more than 5,000 species of plants, animals, and fungi have been collected to examine biological activity in 19 different therapeutic areas. Numerous publications in chemistry, biodiversity policy, conservation and ethnobiology have emerged from the funded investigators.”
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