Originally conceptualized by the NIH Bioengineering Consortium in 2003, NHLBI Exploratory Bioengineering Research Grants (EBRGs) were submitted under PA-12-284 (reissued as PA-16-040, which is administered by NIBIB). NHLBI examined its EBRG R21 portfolio and found this funding mechanism as a useful and cost-effective way for established investigators to open new areas of research. Our data suggests that low-cost, short term projects may incentivize research teams, especially those not captured by the traditional R01 mechanism.
Why Bioengineering? The NHLBI bioengineering community has transformed medicine by creating the artificial heart, pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators, Ventricular Assist Devices, stents, human tissue chip devices and cell/gene/combination product therapies. These examples demonstrate that bioengineering is a synergistic approach that crosses not only all technology-related areas of NHLBI, but also all of our Disease-specific domains. Further, bioengineering is unique because unlike most scientific focuses, such as heart disease, it demands collaboration across disciplines, which looks to be necessary for advancement of needed technologies. Our ability to achieve alternative and more effective therapies is an urgent need for NHLBI. It is envisioned that this targeted RFA will serve as an opportunity to address scientific gaps and to programmatically balance bioengineering projects across the NHLBI. We are seeking only the most unique, highly innovative and groundbreaking approaches with potential for significant impact on reducing the burden of disease. Applicants are advised to query NIH RePORTER to make sure their approach or idea has not been funded before.
The use of the R21 mechanism is intended to support short-term exploratory research projects. Long-term projects, or projects designed to increase knowledge in a well-established area, will not be considered for R21 awards. Additionally, R21 applications may involve considerable risk, so they should clearly explain the significance of the proposed work and why the potential impact outweighs these risks.
This program is meant to foster discovery- and design-driven bioengineering research ideas that are important across the Institute and that are critical for future hypothesis-generating projects. It is noteworthy that this program emphasizes development, not so much efficacy, of first-generation prototypes. The NHLBI is interested in the development of new ideas for diagnostics, therapeutics, surgical technologies, computational modeling tools, smart biomaterials for self-adjusting implants, and nanotechnologies, as applied to the cardiovascular, pulmonary, non-malignant hematologic, and sleep health mission areas of the Institute.
Topic areas include, but are not limited to:
- Development of: noninvasive and nondestructive 3D imaging methods, including new molecular probes, for in vivo real-time monitoring, and techniques for metabolic imaging of disease progression
- Image processing tools and methodology for big data, precision medicine, systems biology and –omics, especially for guiding interventions and patient screening
- Approaches to improve cardiovascular, lung and blood repair and regeneration
- Artificial lungs as a bridge to transplant or for treatment of lung failure
- New platforms for clinical decision support, electronic health records, and mobile health monitoring devices
- New additive solutions and cell/tissue/organ processing and preservation technologies
- New storage bags and/or new processes to enhance blood cell function and survival after storage and transfusion
- New design principles that affect organ-specific transplantation biology and regenerative medicine
- Development of tools/algorithms for objective evaluation of sleep health and disorders
- New tools, methods and technologies that facilitate therapeutic advances and behavioral changes to address problems in energy balance, weight control and obesity
- Tools to better understand biological host sex differences
- Development of artificial oxygen (O2) carrier to substitute for banked blood in settings where stored blood is unavailable or undesirable
- Mathematical modeling, and computational simulation techniques to understand mechanisms of HLBS systems, including gene, protein, and metabolic regulatory networks
- Innovative ways to measure tissue microoxygenation
- Nanotechnologies that significantly improve diagnostic and medical devices
Deadline: Letters of intent are due 30 days before the deadline. Full proposal deadlines are October 13, 2016; January 10, 2017; May 10, 2017; October 13, 2017; January 10, 2018; May 10, 2018; October 10, 2018; January 10, 2019; May 10, 2019
Filed Under: Funding Opportunities