Biomedical Engineering (BME)

ISSUED BY: National Science Foundation


The goal of theBiomedical Engineering(BME)program is to provide research 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 long-term impact of the projects can be related to fundamental understanding of cell and tissue function, effective 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 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. Of particular interest to theBME programis fundamental and transformative research in the following 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; systems integration between biological components and electromechanical assemblies; cellular biomanufacturing, including stem cell engineering and reprogramming technologies, and cellular immunotherapies.
  • Neural engineering and brain mapping:technologies and tools to interrogate and monitor neuron activity at the molecular, cellular and neural network levels; new experimental methodologies and computational approaches to investigate brain structure and function, especially at the sub-cellular, cellular, and tissue levels, and to understand the interactions of the neural component of the brain with proximal and distant tissues; and to repair and renew deteriorated, damaged, or diseased neurons and neural circuits, especially of the central nervous system.

Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may 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 with allowance for up to $200,000 per year for collaborative projects or those involving multiple investigators. Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review. INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS Proposals should address the novelty and/orpotentially transformative natureof 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. 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 URLherefor more information. Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal. Grants forRapid Response Research(RAPID)andEArly-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 theProposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide(PAPPG)download foundhere.Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI)proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged. Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be foundhere. COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with theProposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG)will be returned without review. Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.


  • Early Career
  • Established Investigator
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General Information:






August 10, 2016


August 10, 2016


October 20, 2016