Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering (DARE)

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

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&D 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).  

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

Proposals submitted to other program announcements and solicitations, including the Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER), must meet their respective deadlines; please refer to the deadline dates specified in the appropriate announcement or solicitation. Proposals for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) or Rapid Response Research (RAPID) can be submitted at any time but Principal Investigators (PIs) must contact the cognizant program director prior to submission. Proposals for supplements or workshops can be submitted at any time, and PIs are encouraged to contact the cognizant program director prior to submission.

Agency Website

Amount Description

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.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty


Curriculum Development
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences
Medical - Clinical Science