University of Southern California


PAR-13-111 – NIBIB Team-Based Design in Biomedical Engineering Education (R25)

Slots:                                                     One                       
LOI:                                                        30 days before the application due date
Internal Deadline:                           January 12, 2015; 5pm
External Deadline:                          May 13, 2015
Award Information:                        Type: New, Renewal, Resubmission

Estimated Number of Awards: The number of awards is contingent upon NIH appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

Anticipated Amount: Direct costs of up to $20,000 per year may be requested.  Programs that include a clinical immersion program outside the academic year may request an additional $20,000 to cover participant stipends (see Participant Costs section below), yielding a total of $40,000 in direct costs. Project durations of up to five years may be requested.

Submission Process:                    Please note the change in application submission process:
PIs must submit their application utilizing the Office of Research’s new Application Portal:   

Link to Award:

Purpose: The mission of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies.  The accomplishment of this mission requires biomedical engineers who have not only the theoretical knowledge to address health problems but also the ability to translate new devices and technologies from the laboratory bench to the bedside.  Training of such a workforce is also relevant to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), specifically in the context of advanced rehabilitation technologies to enhance the well-being of persons with disabilities, and non-invasive sensor technologies and telecommunication devices for the care and monitoring of infants and children.

The NIBIB and NICHD recognize that Biomedical Engineering (BME) students should experience open-ended challenges to develop their problem-solving skills and participate in team-based projects that prepare them for today’s multidisciplinary work environment. These institutes also recognize that future generations of biomedical engineers need to be able to successfully translate and commercialize their design ideas so that these innovations can reach the intended end-users in the clinic, patient homes and the community at large, and improve public health. While BME faculties are motivated to include students in ongoing grant-supported research projects, there are fewer resources available to support the costs associated with design projects.  Without adequate resources, the complexity of projects undertaken, the sophistication of the design solutions advanced, and in turn, the learning opportunities afforded are necessarily limited.

In this FOA, the NIBIB and NICHD intend to provide support for new or existing design courses that require students to work in teams on open-ended biomedical design projects. In addition to the engineering aspects of design, the courses should include, where appropriate, discussion of the clinical environment, user needs, design planning with clinical mentors, device specification and development, patent searches, regulatory requirements, business planning and ethical considerations relevant to taking design ideas from the bench to bedside. This can include a clinical immersion period during or outside the academic year to introduce students to the clinical environment and clinical needs (for more details about allowable costs, see “Other Program-Related Expenses”).

For the purposes of this program, clinical immersion is defined as a 6- to 10-week program, where students engage full-time in the hospital or other clinical environment becoming familiar with the language, issues, and problems that can benefit from an engineering approach. The clinical immersion period, which is expected to be carried out under the supervision of (a) clinical mentor(s), will typically involve rotations in various departments of the hospital. Although students may be involved in solving some clinical problems during this time, the main purpose of the clinical immersion period is to observe the clinical activities, acquire communication skills necessary to interact with clinicians, and identify unmet needs that can subsequently be addressed in biomedical design projects.

Applications to this FOA may address specific target areas such as neural engineering, tissue engineering, sensors, information technologies, or involve a wider umbrella of projects within BME. This FOA targets undergraduate students at the senior level but may also include junior undergraduates and first-year graduate students. While the design courses supported by this FOA are expected to be offered by biomedical engineering departments or programs, participation of students from other appropriate disciplines is welcome and encouraged.

Although research education grants are not typical research instruments, they do involve experiments in education and/or dissemination of research knowledge that require an evaluation plan in order to determine their effectiveness. As such, each application must include a plan to evaluate the activities proposed (see Section IV. Evaluation Plan).  For some types of projects, a plan for disseminating results may also be appropriate and may be required as well (see Section IV. Dissemination Plan).

The proposed research education program may complement ongoing research training and education occurring at the applicant institution, but the proposed educational experiences must be distinct from those research training and research education programs currently receiving federal support. The R25 is not a substitute for an institutional research training program (T32) and can not be used to circumvent or supplement Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) mechanisms.