The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently updated the SBIR and STTR programs for the upcoming December 2nd and 4th deadlines, respectively. Areas of interest cover Biological and Biomedical Technologies and are a fantastic source of funding for early-stage projects. Some $42,000,000 will be awarded through these mechanisms to roughly 250 awards.
ABOUT THE NSF
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” With an annual budget of about $7.0 billion (FY 2012), The NSF is a funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.
– TOPICS OF INTEREST –
BIOLOGICAL TECHNOLOGIES (BT)
BT1. Agricultural and Food Security Biotechnology. New approaches for meeting the world’s future nutritional needs. Target areas for improvement may include (but are not limited to) drought tolerance, improved nutritional value, enhanced disease resistance, and higher yield. Proposers should give consideration to technologies that enhance biodiversity, produce less carbon dioxide, and use less water and fertilizer.
BT2. Biosensors. Biosensors are sensorsthat contain a biologically-based sensing element. Proposed projects might include (but are not limited to) real-time sensors, microbial component-based sensors, sensors for monitoring fluxes of metabolites, nanobiotechnology-based sensors, biomedical sensors, and micro- or nanofluidic-based sensors. Application areas of interest may include (but are not limited to) toxicity testing, food safety, drug evaluation, environmental monitoring, and bio-prospecting. Other types of sensors should refer to the EI topic.
BT3. Life Sciences Research Tools. Developing novel technologies that will advance scientific research across the biological spectrum. This may include enabling technologies for drug discovery (high-throughput screening assays and platforms, and high-content screening assays and platforms; novel high-content screening technologies based on characterization of physical properties of cells are of high interest). Proposals should focus primarily on the development of innovative consumables, processes, and services where there is significant market opportunity.
BT4. Bioinstrumentation. The development of technology for novel or improved instrumentation primarily for biological research applications.
BT5. Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering. Using synthetic biology to engineer novel biologically-based (or inspired) functions that do not exist in nature. Proposed projects may include creating new manufacturing capability by designing microorganisms, plants, and cell-free systems for the production of novel chemicals and biomolecules. Applications may include (but are not limited to) health-care products, food ingredients, chemicals, and other biomaterials such as enzymes and bio-based polymers.
BIOMEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES (BM)
BM1. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. Proposed projects must include new processing or manufacturing devices, components, and systems that will improve the efficiency, competitiveness, and output of the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector; that will reduce the cost, risk, and time-to-market of new pre-clinical and clinical-stage drugs and biological products; or that address major market opportunities in the developing world. Proposed projects may include transformative approaches and methods in manufacturing operations, project management, process development, process engineering, analytical development, or quality control and assurance. Proposals are strongly encouraged to address the net preservation and extension of natural resources, a reduction in the use or release of toxic or harmful constituents, the use of less extreme temperatures or conditions, or a reduction in the production of waste.
BM2. Materials for Biomedical Applications. Proposed projects may include biological materials, biomimetic, bioinspired, bioenabled materials and synthetic materials, all intended for biological, medical, veterinary, or healthcare applications. Examples of proposals may include (but are not limited to) the synthesis, purification, functionalization, characterization, development, validation, processing, scale up, and manufacturing of biomaterials. Novel polymeric materials, polymers, plastics, additives, sealants, elastomers, textiles, alloys, ceramic and composite biomaterials, improved implants; coatings for therapeutic applications; or nanomaterials.
BM3. Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. Proposed projects may include enabling engineering and manufacturing approaches, technologies and systems that will advance the research, development, quality control, and production of artificial tissues and their derivatives in scientific, therapeutic, or commercial applications. Proposed projects may also include novel methods or technologies to replace or regenerate damaged or diseased animal or human cells, tissues, or organs to restore or establish their normal function.
M4. Biomedical Engineering. Proposed project should focus on using engineering approaches to develop transformative methods and technologies that will solve problems in medicine. Proposed projects may include devices and systems that provide new strategies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of health conditions; advance end of life or palliative care; reduce drug counterfeiting; and enable new and more efficient risk-management methods to better address safety issues of drugs and medical devices; motion or structural biomechanic technologies for the improvement of human motion, and sensors, actuators, and intelligent systems for surgical robotics. Proposers are encouraged to form an interdisciplinary team that includes relevant engineering as well as biology/health-related expertise.
BM5. Medical Imaging Technologies. Proposed projects may include (but are not limited to) novel or improved imaging technologies and/or imaging agents to advance the diagnosis and treatment of disease , and improve prognosis.
BM6. Diagnostic Assays and Platforms. Proposed projects should focus on transformational diagnostic technologies. Proposed projects may include (but are not limited to) non- or minimally-invasive disease diagnosis, detection and monitoring, software-based diagnostic methods, biomarker development, disease-specific assays, personalized medicine, flexible implantable devices, lab-on-a-chip technologies, and low-cost point-of-care testing for diseases.
BM7. Drug Delivery. Proposed projects may include novel and transformative platforms, chemical formulations, excipients, devices, or methodology for the delivery of drugs or biological products.
BT6. Fermentation and Cell Culture Technologies. Proposed projects might include (but are not limited to) novel or improved microbial fermentation or mammalian and plant cell culture technologies, bioreactors, processes, scale-up, development of expression platforms, and purification.
BT7. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. Developing and applying computationally intensive techniques (e.g., pattern recognition data mining, machine learning algorithms, and visualization) and may include (but are not limited to) sequence alignment, gene finding, genome assembly, drug design, drug discovery, protein structure alignment, protein structure prediction, prediction of gene expression and protein-protein interactions, genome-wide association studies, and the modeling of evolution. Proposed projects might include the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms, computational and statistical techniques, and theory to solve problems arising from the management and analysis of biological data.