Skip to Content

FUNDING > Biomedical Engineering

Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems

Athanassios Sambanis, (703) 292-2161
Room 565.51

Apply to PD 14-5345 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard Grant Proposal Guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via NSF Application Guide; A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Guidelines apply (Note: The NSF Application Guide is available on the website and on the NSF website at:

Important Notice to Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), NSF 13-1, was issued on October 4, 2012 and is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 14, 2013. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 13-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.

Please be aware that significant changes have been made to the PAPPG to implement revised merit review criteria based on the National Science Board (NSB) report, National Science Foundation's Merit Review Criteria: Review and Revisions. While the two merit review criteria remain unchanged (Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts), guidance has been provided to clarify and improve the function of the criteria. Changes will affect the project summary and project description sections of proposals. Annual and final reports also will be affected.

A by-chapter summary of this and other significant changes is provided at the beginning of both the Grant Proposal Guide and the Award & Administration Guide.

Full Proposal Window:  August 15, 2014 - September 17, 2014

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 Biomedical Engineering (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 Program 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 $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.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and /or industry of success in the research.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Proposals submitted to this program are subject to the scope of the program's description and the availability of funds.  Decisions about particular proposals are often very difficult to make and factors other than reviewer comments and ratings enter into the decision.  Maintaining appropriate balance among subfields, the availability of other funding, the total amount of funds available to the program, and general Foundation policies and priorities are also important decision factors. 

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information.

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements:  Proposals involving these activities should ideally be submitted during the regular annual proposal window.  PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download here.

Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.

Biomedical Engineering and Engineering Healthcare

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)



Funding Home