Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 3/15/2023

Dear Colleague Letter: DMR-NIBIB Collaboration: Exploring Fundamental Drivers of Next Generation Biomaterials for Biomedical Research

March 14, 2023

Dear Colleagues:

The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS) wishes to announce to the community a new collaboration with the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). This collaboration is based on a recent Memorandum of Understanding between the Directorate of Engineering (ENG), MPS, and NIBIB to encourage and foster scientific exchanges in areas of mutual interest. Specifically, this Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) invites requests to fund workshops addressing the science drivers of active matter biomaterials with the potential to advance our understanding of abiotic-biotic interfaces and be developed into next generation biomedical technologies. As described below, the Division of Materials research (DMR) within MPS and NIBIB collaboration is specifically interested in laying the scientific groundwork necessary for competitive proposals for the exploration of new biomedically-relevant active materials and the drivers needed to be medically applicable as these new materials transition from discovery to development.

The field of biomaterials has grown from a niche within materials science to a robust discipline that has enabled significant biomedical advances. However, a major gap still exists between exciting advances in materials science and tailoring these advances towards biomedical problems. As an example, an exciting and emerging area within materials science where this is the case is in the field of active materials (also known as active matter), where responsive and dynamic materials or materials composites may play a highly impactful role in biomedical research. Here, responsive, and dynamic materials or materials composites may play a highly impactful role in biomedical research. These out-of-equilibrium material systems blend the space between chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, and device engineering to sense their environments and respond appropriately with independent control over temporal and spatial factors. An early stage of Square-Table workshops between NSF and NIBIB generated a review article1 and influenced the Engineering Biology Research Consortium 2021 Engineering Biology & Materials Science Roadmap2 that can be reviewed for guidance, highlighting the potential for active materials to have a major impact in biomedical engineering and future clinical practice.

With this DCL, DMR and NIBIB invite the submission of topic ideas for a workshop that will discuss the above areas of research. Such workshops are typically identified as conferences in the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) and will hereafter be referred to as conferences.

  • The anticipated budget of a conference proposal is generally limited to $50,000, but under exceptional circumstances may be supported up to $100,000, subject to availability of funds.
  • Prior to submitting a proposal in response to this DCL, the PI must submit a Concept Outline by email to ensure that the proposal fits the goals of this DCL. The deadline for the Concept Outline is May 5, 2023, 5 pm local submitter's time.