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Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering




June 18, 2023







Award Floor:


Match Required?





Entity Types:

For profit organizations other than small businesses, Small businesses, Nonprofits (with 501(c)(3) status), Public & State controlled institutions of higher education, Native American tribal organizations, State governments, County governments, City or township governments




Source Type:


The Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering 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 Engineering of Biomedical Systems program. The Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering program supports fundamental engineering research that will improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities through the development of new theories, methodologies, technologies, or devices. Disabilities could be developmental, cognitive, hearing, mobility, visual, selfcare, independent living, or other. Proposed projects must advance knowledge regarding a specific human disability or pathological motion or understanding of injury mechanisms. Research may be supported that is directed toward the characterization, restoration, rehabilitation, and/or substitution of human functional ability or cognition, or to the interaction between persons with disabilities and their environment. Areas of particular interest are neuroengineering, rehabilitation robotics, brain-inspired assistive or rehabilitative systems, theoretical or computational methods, and novel models of functional recovery including the development and application of artificial physiological systems. Emphasis is placed on significant advancement of fundamental engineering knowledge that facilitates transformative outcomes. The DARE Program encourages high-risk/high-reward proposals that surpass incremental technological improvements. The DARE Program also encourages participatory design and the inclusion of trainees with disabilities as part of the proposed research or broader impacts. Innovative proposals outside of the above specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the PI contact the Program Director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review. NSF does not support clinical trials; however, feasibility studies involving human volunteers may be supported if appropriate to the project objectives. The development and application of artificial physiological systems that do not model functional recovery and instead improve fundamental understanding of physiological and pathophysiological processes would be appropriate for EBMS. Furthermore, the DARE program does not support proposals having as their central theme commercialization of a product. Small businesses seeking early stage R funding for product development are encouraged to contact the NSF SBIR/STTR program in the America's Seed Fund within the Directorate for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships (TIP). INFORMATION COMMON TO MOST CBET PROGRAMS 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. The duration of unsolicited proposal awards in CBET is generally up to three years. Single-investigator award budgets typically include support for one graduate student (or equivalent) and up to one month of principal investigator time per year (awards for multiple investigator projects are typically larger). Proposal budgets that are much larger than typical should be discussed with the Program Director prior to submission. Proposers can view budget amounts and other information from recent awards made by this program via the "What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)" link towards the bottom of this page. 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. Learn more in the CAREER program description. 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 Facilitation Awards For Scientists And Engineers With Disabilities (FASED), EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), and Rapid Response Research (RAPID) are also considered when appropriate. Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission. 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 FASED, EAGER, RAPID, and GOALI proposals can be submitted anytime during the year. Details about FASED, EAGER, RAPID, and GOALI are available in the Proposal Award Policies Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Part 1, Chapter II, Section E: Types of Proposals. Compliance: Proposals that are not compliant with the Proposal Award Policies Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

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