The Engineering of Biomedical Systems program is part of the Engineering Biology and Health cluster, which also includes: 1) the Biophotonics program; 2) the Biosensing program; 3) the Cellular and Biochemical Engineering program; and 4) the Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering program.
The goal of the Engineering of Biomedical Systems (EBMS) program is to provide opportunities for creating fundamental and transformative research projects that integrate engineering and life sciences to solve biomedical problems and serve humanity in the long term. Projects are expected to use an engineering framework (for example, design or modeling) that supports increased understanding of physiological or pathophysiological processes. Projects must include objectives that advance both engineering and biomedical sciences.
Projects may include: methods, models, and enabling tools applied to understand or control living systems; fundamental improvements in deriving information from cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems; or new approaches to the design of systems that include both living and non-living components for eventual medical use in the long term.
The EBMS program supports fundamental and transformative research in the following areas of biomedical engineering:
- Development of validated models (living or computational) of healthy and pathological tissues and organ systems that can support improved fundamental understanding of these systems or development and testing of medical interventions,
- Design and validation of systems that integrate living and non-living components for improved understanding, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of disease or injury,
- Advanced biomanufacturing of three-dimensional tissues and organs, and
- Design and subsequent application of technologies and tools, including those that leverage an organism’s microbiome, to investigate fundamental physiological and pathophysiological processes.
Innovative proposals outside of these specific areas of biomedical engineering may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is strongly recommended that the Principal Investigator contacts the program director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review. Related programs also fund biomedical engineering research, and PIs are encouraged to examine these to find the appropriate program for submission.
The long-term impact of the projects can be related to fundamental understanding of cell and tissue function in normal and pathological conditions, effective disease diagnosis and/or treatment, or improved health care delivery.
The EBMS program does not support proposals having as their central theme drug design and delivery, the development of biomedical devices that do not include a living biological component, or the development of animal models of disease. For consideration by the EBMS program, proposals that advance the design of tools or technologies should also apply those technologies to advance knowledge in biomedical science. NSF does not support clinical trials; however, feasibility studies involving human volunteers may be supported if appropriate to the project objectives.
Furthermore, although research on biomaterials, cellular biomechanics, or manufacturing systems may constitute a part of the proposed studies, such research cannot be the central theme or key focus area of the proposed work. Biomaterials-focused projects should consider the Biomaterials (BMAT) program in the Division of Materials Research (DMR), while cellular biomechanics projects should consider the Biomechanics and Mechanobiology (BMMB) program and manufacturing systems proposals should consider the Manufacturing Machines and Equipment (MME) program, both in the Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI).
- Established Investigator