LINK offers small starter grants to support LINK team activities beyond initial contacts and discussions at ABRCMS and ASMCUE or through the webinars and online community.


The purposes of these awards are to:

  • Formalize and/or institutionalize brainstorming discussions
  • Support activities to develop knowledge and skills
  • Develop a joint proposal to NSF for a concrete project


For example, the awards support educators or trainees to visit a LINK mentor’s laboratory to:

  • Increase understanding about new areas of discovery and application of molecular, cellular and microbial sciences
  • Develop new skills to conduct research or understand and communicate about science
  • Explore opportunities to collaborate further


Awards support mentors to visit mentees’ institution and:

  • Present seminars and workshops to students, fellows and colleagues
  • Advise mentees, faculty and colleagues about new research areas, new laboratory or classroom modules or new courses
  • Explore opportunities to collaborate further


Other supported activities for LINK teams include:

  • Reading and discussing relevant literature
  • Meeting one another at a scientific meeting for further networking and brainstorming
  • Team-teaching a new seminar series or course
  • Co-developing and co-writing a proposal to NSF and other agencies and foundations


The awards are up to $5,000 for an 18- to 24-month period and require (i) a joint application from the LINK team and (ii) an 18- to 24-month plan to engage in three to five activities designed to produce a tangible outcome for the mentorship period. Efforts should be made to leverage the award with other NSF-sponsored research or institutional activities.


Acceptance is based upon:

  • Significance and feasibility of proposed activities towards becoming grants supported and independent
  • Institutional support of such activities
  • Commitment to advise program leaders and more junior LINK teams about past experiences
  • Willingness to engage in activities that highlight LINK and encourage prospective LINK teams, e.g., being highlighted on the program website and in other communications, reporting about their experience, and providing mentoring advice in peer-reviewed publications.


For more information, contact