News Release

Evolutionary Synthesis Center wins 5-year, $25M, renewal from NSF

Grant and Award Announcement

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)

Allen Rodrigo, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

image: Best known for his work on fast-evolving viruses, Dr. Allen Rodrigo will oversee the Center through 2014. view more 

Credit: Photo contributed by Allen Rodrigo

DURHAM, NC — The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) has been awarded a 5-year, $25 million grant renewal from the National Science Foundation.

This is the second major NSF grant that NESCent has received, which brings the total funding for the Center to $40 million. The grant will enable the Center to continue its core programs in evolution research, informatics and education through 2014.

NESCent is a scientific research center that supports cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary research in evolutionary biology. The Center offers a range of fellowships for visiting scientists and educators and sponsors numerous scientific meetings each year. Since its beginnings in 2004, NESCent hosted more than 3,000 visitors from nearly 35 countries.

In the next five years, the Center plans to expand its most successful programs and add a number of new initiatives, including graduate fellowships, international research partnerships, and targeted calls for proposals on specific themes.

The Center has new leadership as well. Allen Rodrigo, former director of the Bioinformatics Institute at Auckland University in New Zealand, has been named the new Director of NESCent. He succeeds Kathleen Smith, who is continuing on as professor of biology at Duke University, a position she has held concurrently with the NESCent directorship since 2005. Rodrigo will also have a joint appointment in the Duke Biology Department.


To learn more about research and training opportunities at NESCent, visit

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) is an NSF-funded collaborative research center operated by Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.

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