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Essential Open Source Software for Science (EOSS)

Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies,
and IHEs for Software Projects that Promote Scientific Research

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)

Deadline Date:

02/04/20 5:00 PM Pacific Time


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Grants starting at $50,000 to USA, Canada, and International nonprofit and for-profit organizations, government agencies, colleges and universities, laboratories, and hospitals for activities that advance computer technology. Funding is intended to support projects that further biomedical research through community engagement, development, growth, and maintenance of open source software.

In a new effort to support open source software for science, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) seeks applications for software projects that are essential to biomedical research, have already demonstrated impact, and can show potential for continued improvement.

The aim of the program is to provide projects with resources to support their tools and the communities behind them. Whether it’s hiring an additional developer, improving documentation, addressing usability, improving compatibility, onboarding contributors, or convening a community, CZI hopes to make the computational foundations of biological research more usable and robust.

Applications for two broad categories of open source projects will be considered in scope:

  • Domain-specific software for analyzing, visualizing, and otherwise working with the specific data types that arise in biomedical science (e.g., genomic sequences, microscopy images, molecular structures). Software will be considered out of scope if it primarily serves domains outside biomedical science (e.g., physics, astronomy, earth sciences). 
  • Foundational tools and infrastructure that enable a wide variety of downstream software across several domains of science and computational research (e.g., numerical computation, data structures, workflows, reproducibility). While foundational tools will be considered in scope for this program, they must have demonstrated impact on some area(s) of biomedical research.

Acceptable use of funds includes, but is not limited to:

  • Salary support for staff (full-time, part-time, or contract): developers, contributors, technical writers, community managers, product managers, project managers, user experience researchers, community educators, or other roles that directly support the project;
  • Hackathons, sprints, outreach, or other forms of community engagement and support for community participation;
  • Operational needs such as cloud computing, storage, networking, or continuous integration services; and
  • Support for work that bridges projects or ecosystems, including better coordination across projects that are similar, dependent on one another, or frequently used together.

CZI staff will further support awarded proposals by convening grantee meetings and helping connect open source software developers to scientists, including other CZI-funded grantees and members of the broader scientific community.

CZI believes that the strongest teams incorporate a wide range of voices. Those underrepresented in science and technology are strongly encouraged to apply.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186430

Estimated Size of Grant:

Applications can request funding between $50k and $250k total costs (inclusive of up to 15% for indirect/overhead costs).

Term of Contract:

Award period and start date: Proposed projects should be 12 months in duration with a projected start date no earlier than June 1, 2020. Actual start date may vary.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may be submitted by non-profit and for-profit organizations, public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local government, companies, and eligible agencies of the federal government. As part of the application process, for-profit organizations may need to provide additional information on the charitable purposes of the proposal. Grants are not permitted to individuals; only to organizations. Open source projects operating independently must be affiliated with an organization, as described below.

Applications are welcome from any country, provided the proposed work is compliant with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) program. For additional information regarding OFAC sanctions, please refer to the US Treasury Department’s resources:

International grantees must use all grant funds exclusively for activities conducted outside the United States of America. Travel expenses to the United States (including round-trip tickets) should not be covered from the requested grant funds.

Additional eligibility requirements:
- If an application does not come from an organization eligible to receive and distribute funds (e.g., an academic institution), it may designate a fiscal sponsor (e.g., NumFOCUS, Code for Science & Society, or others). Projects that require fiscal sponsorship are encouraged to contact the appropriate organizations early in the application process.

While CZI appreciates that other communities may want to explore new extensions of their software to the life sciences, such applications are unlikely to be selected.

Facebook employees, including employees of any subsidiary Facebook entities, are not permitted to apply for this grant.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
Portal opening date: December 16, 2019
Application due date: February 4, 2020
Notification of decisions: Late April 2020
Earliest start date of grant: June 1, 2020

This RFA is the second of a series. The third distinct cycle will open mid-June 2020.

All applications must be completed and submitted through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s online grants management portal. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with this portal well in advance of the submission deadlines. Detailed application instructions, including required elements of the application, are available on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative website, as well as in the grants management portal.

If your application requires a fiscal sponsor and you are unable to secure one by the application deadline, you may still apply, but your application should explain the financial situation of the project and how you are planning to receive and use the funds if successfully awarded. The Foundation will prioritize applications already able to receive and use funds at the time of application.

CZI will consider and potentially fund multiple applications from the same organization, multiple applications related to the same open source project(s), and multiple applications that include the same staff and/or project contributors. However, the proposed work in such applications must be distinct.

CZI encourages proposals supporting multiple open source projects. In the case of applications for work spanning multiple projects, one individual must complete the application and a single organization or fiscal sponsor must coordinate the dispersal of funds to the members of the collaboration. Note that foreign institutions may not subcontract to US institutions, so please be mindful when selecting the applicant organization.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

For administrative and programmatic inquiries, or other questions pertaining to this Request for Applications, please contact

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon


International country outside of the USA, Israel and Canada.

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