NSF Biology Sciences has a directorate for instrument development. The deadline is October 2005.
NSF Synopsis: "The Instrument Development for Biological Research (IDBR) Program supports the development of novel or of substantially improved instrumentation likely to have a significant impact on the study of biological systems at any level. The development of new, or substantial improvement of existing, software for the operation of instruments, analysis of data, or the analysis of images is also supported where these have the effect of improving instrument performance. Proposals aimed at concept or proof-of-concept development for entirely novel instrumentation are encouraged. Support for the conduct of eligible activities in academic environments is emphasized."
The link to the announcement: