Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering

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: development of new technologies, devices, or software; advancement of knowledge regarding healthy or pathological human 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 and rehabilitation robotics. The program will also consider research in the areas of: new engineering approaches to understand healthy or pathological motion, both as a target for rehabilitation and as a means to characterize motion related to disability or injury; understanding injury at the tissue- or system-level such that interventions may be developed to reduce the impact of trauma and subsequent disability; or understanding the role of gut microbiota in modulating disability in the context of rehabilitation.

Emphasis is placed on significant advancement of fundamental engineering knowledge that facilitates transformative outcomes. We discourage applications that propose incremental improvements.

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. 

Date Posted: 
Friday, October 18, 2019
Date Closing: 
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Sponsor/Funding Agency: 
National Science Foundation
Award Amount: 
Contact Email or Phone: 
Aleksandr L. Simonian asimonia@nsf.gov (703) 292-2191 Steven M. Zehnder szehnder@nsf.gov (703) 292-7014