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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:American Society For Cell Biology
  • Ronald D Vale
  • (415) 545-8852
Award Date:08/29/2011
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 1,581,783
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 2,583,122
  • FY 2014=$248,743
  • FY 2013=$195,144
  • FY 2011=$1,265,395
  • FY 2015=$262,810
  • FY 2012=$611,030
Start Date:09/01/2011
End Date:12/31/2016
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.074
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:iBioSeminars: A Web-Based Educational Resource for Biologists
Federal Award ID Number:1052331
DUNS ID:193986023
Program:Cellular Dynamics and Function

Awardee Location

Street:6120 Executive Blvd STE 750
Awardee Cong. District:08

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:American Society For Cell Biology
Street:6120 Executive Blvd STE 750
Cong. District:08

Abstract at Time of Award

Intellectual merit. The goal of this grant is to film lectures from leading biologists and make them available to students and researchers free-of-charge though a web site called "" Lectures provide a critical supplement to research papers and textbooks, since they better convey how scientists approach problems and illustrate the scientific method for making discoveries. Listening to a famous scientist talk in person is a great learning opportunity, but such opportunities are often restricted to the elite US universities and institutes. Many universities and small colleges have limited access to top scientists, either due to lack of travel funds for inviting speakers or the limited time of "high profile" speakers. The goal of this endeavor is to make the research, opinions, and teachings of great biologists more widely accessible to any student or researcher who has access to the web. Through NSF support, the project will produce >20 iBioSeminars (each ~90 min) per year and >40 shorter iBioMagazine videos (<15 min) that reach out to students and young scientists (college to postdoc level), providing them with insight into how important scientific discoveries are made, career advice, and discussions of science policy. The project also will provide additional teaching materials that allow educators to incorporate the video seminars into the classroom. Broader impacts. The project has been piloted with great success, posting approximately 85 taped talks to date and having 1.8 million downloads in 148 countries or territories in the last two years. With NSF support, the impact of the series will be broadened by recruitment of speakers who represent the full breadth of biology (e.g. ecology, evolution, plant sciences, computational biology), more international scientists, as well as underrepresented minorities. Efforts will be increased to disseminate this resource to more educators in small US colleges, community colleges, high schools, and foreign universities. At the same time, the series will be made more accessible to the international scientific community by providing subtitles for the talks in English, as well as other languages. Working with educators will improve "teaching tools" content and will help to inform how iBioSeminars can be used most effectively in the classroom, and to stimulate the interest of students in science. The iBioSeminars project enables students to "meet" and be taught by some of the major life science researchers in the world, which allows them to feel the excitement of scientific research in a way that cannot be captured in a textbook. In addition, more senior scientists can learn about research from scientists who may not visit their universities and thus gain ideas that might stimulate new thinking and discoveries.

Project Outcomes Report


This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

iBiology’s mission is to film scientific talks by the world’s leading biologists and make them available, on-demand and free-of-charge, around the world. Scientific talks represent an extremely important means of conveying knowledge, ideas, and research findings. Hearing a scientist describe their work provides a window into how a scientist thinks about a problem, what motivated him/her to tackle a particular question, the story of how the research proceeded - chronicling failures as well as successes, how a new hypothesis developed, and what questions might be important to answer in the future. Through these talks, iBiology reveals the process of scientific discovery and captures the stories and personalities of science, conveying the humanity and excitement of science and allowing viewers to “meet and hear from” the scientists themselves.

During this grant period, we produced over 340 videos, including 87 multi-part research seminars (iBioSeminars), 125 short talks about scientific discovery, careers, education, biomedical workforce, etc. (iBioMagazine talks), 130 talks that were a part of education-focused series, including microscopy, scientific teaching, bench to bedside, and synthetic biology courses (iBioEducation talks), and 9 talks by graduate students and postdocs (Young Scientist Seminars). Forty-five talks were given by Nobel Laureates, 188 by National Academy of Sciences members, and 46 by Royal Society members. We also produced 2 flipped course curricula as well as numerous educational assessments to accompany the talks. Over the course of this grant, these talks were viewed and downloaded over 7.5 million times from over 180 countries and territories. We have over 70,500 subscribers (subscription is not required for viewing) through our newsletter, YouTube and iTunesU channels, all of whom get notified when new content is posted. There are 1800 registered educators on our website to access educator materials. We also have over 28,600 followers on social media. Our audience is primarily advanced undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs but extends from high school students to senior professors. Thus, iBiology has become an important and essential resource for conveying scientific knowledge to a wide audience.

iBiology serves an important need in the scientific community. Elite universities have the funds and reputation to host excellent seminar series, but such institutions represent a very small percentage of educational and research institutions around the world. Interested individuals or students who want to learn about a research area also have limited or no options to hear leading scientists describe their work. Our scientific community has a moral obligation to make talks from leading biologists accessible to anyone for free, and iBiology has become one of the most widely and broadly used resource for the life sciences community, filling an important need for high quality and reputable videos featuring a diverse group of leading biologists.

Last Modified: 03/09/2017
Modified by: Ronald D Vale

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