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Biomedical Science and Engineering Funding Opportunities at NSF. Semahat Demir Program Director Biomedical Engineering Program National Science Foundation March 19, 2009 Biomedical Science and Engineering Conference Oak Ridge National Labs, TN. Outline. Vision

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Biomedical Science and Engineering Funding Opportunities at NSF

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Biomedical Science and Engineering Funding Opportunities at NSF

Semahat Demir

Program Director

Biomedical Engineering Program

National Science Foundation

March 19, 2009

Biomedical Science and Engineering Conference

Oak Ridge National Labs, TN


  • Vision

  • NSF-Wide Investment Areas (Priority Areas)

  • Funding mechanisms

  • NSF Merit Review Criteria

NSF Vision

NSF: Where Discovery Begins

Enabling the Nation’s future through discovery, learning and innovation.


  • Founded in 1950

  • An independent federal agency

  • Responsible for advancing science and engineering

  • Makes merit-based grants and cooperative agreements

    • Individual researchers and groups

    • Colleges, universities,

    • Other institutions: public, private, state, local and federal

  • Does not operate laboratories

  • Peer-review and evaluation of proposals submitted by science and engineering research and education communities

NSF Support as a Percent of Total US Federal Support forAcademic Basic Research in Selected Fields

  • Physical Sciences: 40%

  • Engineering: 46%

  • Social Sciences: 52%

  • Environmental Sciences: 54%

  • Biology (excluding NIH): 66%

  • Mathematical Sciences: 77%

  • Computer Science: 86%

People Involved in NSF Activities (FY05)

  • 32,000 Senior Researchers

  • 12,000 Other Professional

  • 6,000 Postdoctoral Associates

  • 27,000 Graduate Students

  • 33,000 Undergraduate Students

  • 11,000 K-12 Students

  • 74,000 K-12 Teachers

NSF Disciplines & Structure

Biological Sciences (BIO)

Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE)

Education and Human Resources (EHR)

Engineering (ENG)

Geosciences (GEO)

Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)

Social, Behavioral And Economic Sciences (SBE)

Polar Programs

Office of Cyberinfrastructure

Office of International Science and Engineering

Office of Integrative Affairs

NSF-Wide Investment Areas (FY 09)

  • NSF Centers Programs and Funding

  • Climate Change Science Program

  • Cyber-enabled Discovery & Innovation

  • Cyberinfrastructure

  • National Nanotechnology Initiative

  • Networking Information Technology R&D

  • Selected Crosscutting Programs

Award (Grant) Types

Individual Investigator Initiated Awards




Workshops, conferences

Center Awards (e.g. ERCs, STCs)

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) awards

Cross-disciplinary or cross-directorate

GOALI (Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry)

IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship)



Specific Solicitation Awards

NSF solicitations, Interagency solicitations

NSF Merit Review Criteria

  • Criteria include:

    • What is the intellectual merit and quality of the proposed activity?

    • What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

What is the intellectual merit of the proposed activity?

Potential Considerations:

How important is the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding within its own field or across different fields?

How well qualified is the proposer (individual or team) to conduct the project? (If appropriate, the reviewer will comment on the quality of prior work.)

To what extent does the proposed activity suggest and explore creative and original or potentially transformative concepts?

How well conceived and organized is the proposed activity?

Is there sufficient access to resources?

What are the broader impacts of the proposed activity?

Potential Considerations:

How well does the activity advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training and learning?

How well does the activity broaden the participation of underrepresented groups (e.g., gender, ethnicity, disability, geographic, etc.)?

To what extent will it enhance the infrastructure for research and education, such as facilities, instrumentation, networks and partnerships?

Will the results be disseminated broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding?

What may be the benefits of the proposed activity to society?

Thanks for the invitation!

Determine if your project is relevant to the program

Get in touch with the Program Director

Program Director:

Review Panels

Award/decline recommendation

Post management of the awards (progress report)

Follow the instructions posted by the agency

Format, sections, project plan

Agency’s Review Criteria (NSF Merit Review Criteria)

Priority Areas for the agency

Respond to a solicitation

Deadlines (preproposal, letter of intent, full proposal)

Additional review criteria and requirements

Read “successful” proposals of your colleagues

Have your proposal reviewed by collaborators or colleagues before submitting

Do not submit on the day of the deadline

Volunteer to serve on a review panel

Tips for Successful Proposal Writing

ENG and Cross-Directorate Activities at NSF

Program Director, Biomedical Engineering (BME)

  • Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities (RAPD)

  • Multi-Scale Modeling  in Biomedical, Biological, and Behavioral Systems (MSM)

  • Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS)

  • Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT)

  • Nanoscale Science and Engineering for Nanoscale Exploratory Research (NER) Theme: "Multi-scale, Multi-phenomena Theory, Modeling and Simulation at the Nanoscale“

  • Dynamic Data Driven Applications Systems (DDDAS)

  • Active Nanostructures and Nanosystems (ANN), Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Teams (NIRT) Theme: Nanoscale Devices and System Architecture

  • NIH/NSF for Bioengineering Approaches to Energy Balance and Obesity (2005-)

  • Engineering Research Centers (ERC) Partnerships in Transforming Research, Education and Technology, Program Solicitation NSF 07-521 (2007- )

  • Emerging Frontiers Research and Innovation (EFRI (2007-) Cognitive Optimization and Prediction: From Neural Systems to Neurotechnology (COPN)

  • Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) (2009-

    Representative of Engineering Directorate

  • NSF Learning and Workforce Development (LWD) Cyber Infrastructure (CI) SWOT

  • NSF initiative in Neuroscience and Cognition

    Chair, ENG Neurotech Working Group

    NSF Representative, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on

    Biometrics and Identity Management, (2006-)

    Co-Chair, NIH BECON Bridges Team

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