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Engineering of Biomedical Systems (EBMS)

Status: Archived

Archived funding opportunity

This document has been archived. See PD 23-5345 for the latest version.

Important information for proposers

All proposals must be submitted in accordance with the requirements specified in this funding opportunity and in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that is in effect for the relevant due date to which the proposal is being submitted. It is the responsibility of the proposer to ensure that the proposal meets these requirements. Submitting a proposal prior to a specified deadline does not negate this requirement.


The Engineering of Biomedical Systems program is part of the Engineering Biology and Health cluster, which includes also 1) Cellular and Biochemical Engineering; 2) Biophotonics; 3) Nano-Biosensing; and 4) Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering.

The goal of the Engineering of Biomedical Systems (EBMS) 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.  EBMS projects must be at the interface of engineering and biomedical sciences and include objectives that advance both engineering and biomedical sciences.  The projects should focus on high impact transformative methods and technologies. Projects should include: methods, models and enabling tools for understanding and controlling 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 normal and pathological tissues and organ systems that can support development and testing of medical interventions
  • Design of systems that integrate living and non-living components for improved diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of disease or injury
  • Advanced biomanufacturing of three-dimensional tissues and organs
  • Design and subsequent application of technologies and tools 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 PI contacts the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.  Related programs also fund biomedical engineering research, and PI’s are encouraged to investigate 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 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.  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. 

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 & Equipment (MME) program, both in the Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation Division (CMMI). 

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 investigators from multiple institutions.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of 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 of success in the research on society and/or industry.  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 URL here for 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 for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-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 the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here.  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 found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal 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.

Related Programs


Biomechanics & Mechanobiology


Cellular and Biochemical Engineering

Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience

Communications, Circuits, & Sensing Systems

Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering

Dynamics, Control & System Diagnostics

Electronics, Photonics, and Magnetic Devices

Fluid Dynamics

Integrative Strategies for Understanding Neural and Cognitive Systems

Manufacturing Machines & Equipment


Smart and Connected Health

Program contacts

Michele Grimm
mgrimm@nsf.gov (703) 292-4641

Awards made through this program

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Map of recent awards made through this program