Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering (348795)

National Science Foundation (NSF)

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Up to US $5,000,000

Fields of work: Disability Care & Services Biomechanics Medical Technology & Devices Bioengineering Medical Rehabilitation Neuroscience Robotics Show all

Applicant type: Organizations, Individuals

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States


NOTE: Proposals for this program will be accepted throughout the year.

The Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering program is part of the Engineering Biology and Health cluster, which also includes:

  • the Biophotonics program;
  • the Biosensing program;
  • the Cellular and Biochemical Engineering program; and
  • 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, self care, 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.

More information can be found here.

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This page was last reviewed February 26, 2024 and last updated June 22, 2023