The goal of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) program is to provide opportunities to develop novel ideas into discovery-level and transformative projects that integrate engineering and life sciences in solving biomedical problems that serve humanity in the long-term. BME projects must be at the interface of engineering and life sciences, and advance both engineering and life sciences. The projects should focus on high impact transformative methods and technologies. Projects should include methods, models and enabling tools of understanding and controlling living systems; fundamental improvements in deriving information from cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems; new approaches to the design of structures and materials for eventual medical use in the long-term; and novel methods for reducing health care costs through new technologies.
The projects should emphasize the advancement of fundamental engineering knowledge, possibly leading to the development of new methods and technologies in the long-term; and highlight the multi-disciplinary nature of the research, integrating engineering and life sciences. The long-term impact of the projects can be related to fundamental understanding of cell and tissue function, disease diagnosis and/or treatment, improved health care delivery, or product development. The BME program does not support clinical studies, or proposals having as their central theme drug design and delivery or the development of biomedical devices that do not include a living biological component. Furthermore, although research on biomaterials or on cellular biomechanics may constitute a part of the proposed studies, such research cannot be the central theme or key focus area of the proposed work.
The BME program supports fundamental and transformative research in the following BME themes:
- Molecular, cellular and tissue approaches for advanced biomanufacturing: Three-dimensional structures of biomolecules, cells, scaffolds/matrices by bioprinting or other technologies for fundamental studies on cells, disease modeling and drug testing, and for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications; fundamental studies of cell-cell, cell-matrix interactions, self-assembly, stereochemistry/chirality; systems integration between biological components and electromechanical assemblies; stem cell engineering and biomanufacturing, cell reprogramming technologies.
- Neural engineering and human brain mapping: Technologies and tools to interrogate and monitor neuron activity at high spatiotemporal resolution; new theories and computational models to integrate neuroscience data across different scales and levels; new experimental methodologies and computational approaches to investigate human brain structure and function, especially at the sub-cellular, cellular, and tissue levels, and to repair and renew deteriorated, damaged, or diseased neurons and neural circuits.
Special BME Requirement: On the last line of the project summary page for unsolicited and CAREER proposals, the PI should write the BME theme(s) that he/she is submitting the proposal for (check the two themes stated above to determine the BME theme(s) for your proposal). Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas can be considered. However, prior to submission, it is strongly recommended that the PI contacts the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.
The duration of unsolicited awards is generally one to three years. The typical award size for the program is around $100,000 per year for individual investigators or $200,000 per year for collaborative proposals with inter-institutional multiple investigators; these amounts include indirect costs. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review. Small equipment proposals of less than $100,000 may also be considered and may be submitted during the annual submission window.
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