NWO Life2022 hosts 5 tracks. The tracks address the theme ‘Resilience’ at different scale levels. The tracks are similarly structured and therefore named after the 5 research communities that have been set up since NWO Life2019.

Track 1: Biology of molecules, cells and tissues

Knowledge on the basic units of life is fundamental. Cells and viruses use RNA, proteins, metabolites and ions to exert their vital functions. These molecules provide structure and regulate storage and use of energy and information. Chemical and mechanical cues regulate these functions to control cell survival, fate and behaviour. In this way they also regulate to what extent the virus, cell or tissue is resilient to environmental changes such as toxicant exposure, heat stress or dehydration. Breakthroughs in technology (‐omics, gene editing, biophysics and [super‐resolution] imaging) and informatics are revolutionizing the field of the molecular life sciences.
As the molecular biology is of increasing importance for a wide variety of (sub-)disciplines within the life sciences, this track welcomes scientists from different backgrounds all addressing the theme of resilience in molecules, cells and tissues to stressors.


Track 2: From genes to organisms

How does an organism’s genotype determine and affect its phenotype? Understanding the phenotypic variation and physiological/ecological functioning of organisms requires understanding of the interactions between genetic diversity, epigenetic regulation and evolution. This track focuses on the mechanisms directing development and functioning of tissues, organs and organisms, through interaction of genetic and environmental factors in individuals and populations in single and multiple generations. And especially on the level of flexibility in these mechanisms and interactions, which is important for the resilience of the organism to stressors.
This track welcomes all scientists with genetic, physiological and ecological backgrounds that share the interest in the origin of life and aim to unravel the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying the gene-environment interactions that shape the structure and functioning of biological organisms, including research on model organisms. This includes the different fields of genome biology, such as genome architecture and stability, (epi)genetics, transcription regulation, as well as genetic disorders and their physiological impact, but also covers the fields of evolutionary genetics, and genetic responses to the environment.


Track 3: Organisms in their environment

Life is dynamic and demanding: any organism continuously reacts to and interacts with the environment on a scale from seconds to seasons, and from early development to old age. Over longer time scales, organisms and their environmental responses also evolve and adapt. Organisms are nodes in multi‐dimensional networks of conspecifics, predators and prey, microbes and hosts, males and females, parents and offspring. Organisms can therefore only be understood in the context of their (changing) environment. There is a great variation in the ways in which individual organisms respond and react to environmental stresses. This track studies the interplay between biological entities and environmental factors, from the physiological to the behavioural level, with the aim to understand causes and consequences of individual differences in resilience to these stressors. This track welcomes researchers from all the biological sub disciplines that address questions regarding whole organisms across their whole lifespan.


Track 4: Life and planet

Living systems play a key role in the sustainable use, resilience and management of natural resources and our planet. This track aims to understand the resilience – in terms of performance, distribution, diversity and abundance – of organisms and especially populations, species and ecosystems, as well as their interactions with their (a)biotic environment from a functional and evolutionary perspective. It also aims to apply this knowledge to unravel drivers of the resilience of ecosystem/landscape functioning and services and explores the interface between biological systems and all aspects of environmental global change.
This track welcomes ecologists, conservation biologists, agronomists (food security) and environmentalists, and all who share an interest in the current challenges concerning climate change and biodiversity loss and invite them to join efforts towards a sustainable planet.


Track 5: Advanced methods, data and analyses to understand living systems

This overarching track focuses on the tools and innovations for investigating the resilience of living systems in the broadest sense. Modern life sciences need to expand and innovate state‐of‐the‐art methods that allow researchers to investigate life at all of its different scales of temporal and spatial organization. Data reduction, artificial intelligence and data integration are key elements in understanding the complexity of life and how living systems adapt and survive in demanding circumstances. What determines the resilience of such systems and how can this be measured, modelled and calculated?

This track welcomes researchers at the forefront of the methods and technologies (e.g. machine learning and AI, imaging, -omics, engineering, nanotechnology, bioinformatics and systems biology) that transform generated data into biological knowledge. We invite contributions on biological systems of all scales and all levels of organisation: from the molecular to the ecosystem level. We expect contributions to go beyond pure technical details and provide insights in the trends in the particular domain of research.