The NSF has issued a program solicitation for Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections. Total amount available across all awards: $10,000,000. Full proposal deadline: December 10, 2010.
Here's an excerpt:
This program seeks to create a national resource of digital data documenting existing biological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States. The information associated with various collections of organisms, such as geographic distribution, environmental habitat data, phenology, information about associated organisms, collector field notes, tissues and molecular data extracted from the specimens, etc. is a rich resource for providing the baseline from which to further biodiversity research and provide critical information about existing gaps in our knowledge of life on earth. The national resource will be structured at three levels: a national hub, thematic networks based on collaborative groups of collections, and the physical collections. This resource will build upon a sizable existing national investment in curation of the physical objects in scientific collections and contribute vitally to scientific research and technology interests in the United States. It will be an invaluable tool in understanding the biodiversity and societal consequences of climate change, species invasions, natural disasters, the spread of disease vectors and agricultural pests, and other biological issues.