Request for Applications

Imaging Scientists

This RFA is Now Closed


Opportunity | Eligibility | Application Process | Selection Process | Policies | Confidentiality | RFA Contact | Application Instructions | Frequently Asked Questions

Download:  The RFA | The Application Instructions

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for five-year grants to support Imaging Scientists employed in imaging centers at non-profit universities or university-affiliated research institutes within the United States. Please read our Medium blog to learn how this RFA aims to improve imaging technology.



The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) seeks to support up to 10 Imaging Scientists who will work at the interface of biology, microscopy hardware, and imaging software at imaging centers across the United States. “Imaging Scientists” might be engineers, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, or biologists who have focused on technology development in either microscopy or data analysis fields. The primary goal of the program is to increase interactions between biologists and technology experts. The Imaging Scientists will have expertise in microscopy hardware and/or imaging software. A successful “Imaging Program” will employ an Imaging Scientist who: a) works collaboratively with experimental biologists on projects at the imaging center; b) participates in courses that disseminate advanced microscopy methods and analysis; c) trains students and postdocs in imaging technology; d) participates in a network of CZI Imaging Scientists to identify needs and drive advances in the imaging field; e) attends twice-yearly CZI scientific workshops and meetings in imaging and adjacent biomedical areas. Each grant will fund salary and fringe benefits for an Imaging Scientist at the center, a modest travel and teaching budget, plus 15% indirect costs. The award period is three years plus an additional two years if the Imaging Program passes a review at year three.

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  • Applications must be submitted by an imaging center at a non-profit university in the United States or a university-affiliated research institute.
  • Foreign institutions are not eligible to apply.
  • An imaging center may submit only one application, but different imaging centers from a single institution may submit separate applications.
  • The Imaging Program’s scientist might currently be employed at the center or might be recruited as a new hire upon approval of the grant, with expected hiring within 3 months of funding of the grant. In either case, the proposed Imaging Scientist’s Biosketch and Personal Statement must be provided in the application.
  • Competitive imaging centers will: a) serve a broad community of scientists at their institutions, not just a small number of labs; b) recommend Imaging Scientists who have expertise at either microscopy hardware or imaging software and who have a strong interest in working with biologists and teaching non-experts. We welcome applications from image analysis experts at medical imaging centers as well as microscopy core facilities.
  • CZI encourages applications from underrepresented minorities, women, and early career scientists, and intends to fund Imaging Programs at centers spread widely across the United States.
  • Facebook employees, including employees of any subsidiary Facebook entities, are not permitted to apply.
  • CZI reserves the sole right to decide if an applicant and applicant organization meet the eligibility requirements.

Please note that this application is considered a pre-proposal. For applications chosen for a final proposal, CZI may request additional materials, and grant payments may be conditional on the successful recruitment of an Imaging Scientist who will fulfill proposal milestones. CZI does not require institutional sign-off at this pre-proposal stage of the application process, but we suggest that you consult your home institution to determine eligibility to apply for this grant and your institutional policy on indirect costs.

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Key Dates

Application portal opens

Applications due by 5:00 pm PT

Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)

Earliest start date (subject to change)

Award period and start date: The award period is expected to be five years, but the final two years will be conditional based on review of the first three years. The start date is no earlier than February 1, 2019. Actual start date may vary.

Application Requirements

All applications must be completed and submitted through CZI’s online grants management portal at, which will open on September 5th, 2018. It is recommended that applicants familiarize themselves with this portal well in advance of the application deadline (October 3rd, 2018). The application should provide sufficient information to evaluate the Imaging Program, the Imaging Scientist, the imaging center, and how each will contribute to the goals outlined in the “Opportunity” above. Instructions are available on the CZI website, as well as in the grants management portal (after launch).

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Applications will be reviewed by independent experts, and CZI will use these data to select the grantee institutions. CZI will not provide feedback to unfunded proposals. CZI reserves the right to not recommend the funding of any application.

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  • Funds from this award are solely intended to pay salary costs of an Imaging Scientist and a modest travel and teaching budget at the grantee institution. Imaging centers will be asked to provide summary budgets at the time of award and during annual reporting.
  • Grantees may obtain funds for their research from other funding sources, provided that there is no conflict with meeting the terms of the CZI award.
  • Ethical Conduct of Research: CZI advocates the highest ethical standards for conduct of research and for the professional and personal conduct of investigators and grantees. Grantee organizations must adopt appropriate procedures for examination of cases of scientific and personal misconduct, including harassment. In addition, grantees must have in place appropriate procedures for the ethical use of animals in research and for the ethical treatment of human subjects and tissue donors, including obtaining the appropriate written informed consent from human subjects. CZI regards the policies of the National Institute of Health as a strong model for such procedures.
  • Data, publication and dissemination policies: To accelerate scientific discovery and collaboration, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of research results, including methods, data and reagents, and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. Exceptions will be considered where there are situations that make this impossible or counterproductive.
    • Data Sharing: CZI is committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. That said, CZI understands the need for subsets of data to be protected or provided with controlled access. When feasible, datasets should be made publicly available and easily accessible online. This includes metadata, documentation, and intended computational use cases, as appropriate
    • Publications: To encourage rapid dissemination of results, CZI recommends submission of publications of the Imaging Scientist to a preprint server, such as bioRxiv, before or at the time of the first submission to a journal. Experimental protocols should be made publicly available through a protocol sharing service, such as CZI requires that scientific publications, preprints, and presentations that result from this award be acknowledged as being supported by this funding.
    • Software Code: CZI requires sharing of software code developed by its grantees, generally to be made publicly available on GitHub. All code must be released under a permissive open-source license (MIT, Simplified BSD, ISC, or Apache v2.0). All analysis packages must be released through the appropriate language-specific package manager (e.g. PyPi for Python, CRAN for R) with documentation, example data, and interactive demos (e.g. Jupyter notebooks), and the use of Docker or similar container technologies to ensure portability and reproducibility.
    • Reagent Sharing : Resources and reagents developed with this funding support should be available for rapid dissemination to the community, where possible in an accessible community repository, such as Addgene (for plasmids/DNA reagents/viruses), Jackson Labs (for model systems lines), etc. This requirement applies to cell lines, transgenic organisms, plasmids/clones, antibodies, and other reagents.
    • Consent: All human tissues should be fully consented to permit full sharing of the resulting data, and any resulting tools, in accordance with laws and regulatory requirements. We are aware that there may be circumstances where broad consent may be challenging and in these cases, encourage Scientists to discuss with CZI scientific staff.
  • CZI does not retain any rights, other than a use right, to data, published results, and intellectual property that result from the research of the Scientist. CZI supports and promotes policies that enable research results and technologies to have the broadest reach and impact. To this end, all software should be made available through maximally permissive open source licenses. In some cases, commercialization of intellectual property rights in the form of patents provides for the best route for broadest availability and dissemination. In these cases, this intellectual property should be made freely available for all academic and non-commercial use and should generally be subject to non-exclusive commercial licensing.
  • Indirect costs are limited to up to 15% of direct costs.
  • Applications selected through this process will either be funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation or recommended for funding through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF).

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Applications will be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible, except as necessary for evaluation. Application material will not be returned to applicants.

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For administrative and programmatic inquiries, technical assistance, or other questions pertaining to this RFA, please contact

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