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National Science Foundation

Program Description and FAQ's


This program primarily supports fundamental, transformative, and discovery research applied to biological systems. The research projects should:

  • Develop novel ideas integrating engineering and life science principles in solving biomedical problems that serve humanity;
  • Focus on high impact transforming methods and technologies and include models and tools for understanding and control of biological 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; new methods of understanding and controlling living systems, and new novel methods of reducing health care costs through new technologies;
  • Emphasize the advancement of fundamental engineering knowledge, possibly leading to the development of new methods and technologies;
  • Emphasize novel application of existing technologies to advance fundamental knowledge of both engineering and life sciences;
  • Encourage initial evaluation of discovery-level  research in a clinical setting but not supporting clinical trials;
  • Highlight multi-disciplinary nature, integrating engineering and the life sciences; and
  • Balance theory, mathematical modeling, and experiment.

The long-term impact of the projects can be related to disease diagnosis and/or treatment, improved health care delivery, or product development.


  • The duration of the unsolicited Biomedical Engineering (BME) awards is three years. The awards are $80,000-$100,000 per year including indirect costs. Please check the NSF Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems Division (CBET) web pages for the proposal submission window for the unsolicited BME program.
  • The duration of BME CAREER awards is five years. The awards are $80,000 per year including indirect costs. The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year.
  • The projects submitted to BME Program should advance both engineering and biomedical sciences.
  • The funding requests for conference and workshop support can be submitted anytime after talking with the Program Director.
  • The supplement requests for active awards can be submitted anytime after talking with the Program Director.
  • After you submit the proposal, it takes us about 180 days to process your proposal (i.e. proposal reviews, panels, releasing reviews, funding decisions).


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