Notice of NIH Participation in the National Robotics Initiative (NRI)

Notice Number: NOT-EB-11-006

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

Key Dates
Release Date: June 24, 2011

Issued by
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
     National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
     National Institute on Aging (NIA)
     Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
    National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
    National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)


The purpose of this Notice is to announce that the NIH is collaborating on a multi-agency funding opportunity, the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) (, whose goal is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively with, people (  Innovative robotics research and applications emphasizing the realization of such co-robots acting in direct support of a human are supported by multiple agencies of the federal government including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This initiative will facilitate the development of the next generation of robotics, particularly co-robotics, and encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. Collaboration between academic, industry, non-profit and other organizations is strongly encouraged to establish better linkages between fundamental science and technology development and use.  NIH areas of interest include, but are not limited to, robotics for home care; personalized care for special needs populations and robotic wellness/health promotion; robot-assisted recovery; rehabilitation and behavioral therapy; surgical and interventional robots; and high-throughput robotic technologies.

Award Information
Award sizes for NIH funded research projects are expected to range from approximately $100,000 to $250,000 per year in direct costs, with durations of one to five years.  No award will exceed $250,000 per year in direct costs. Estimated program budget, number of awards and average award size and duration are subject to the availability of funds.  Determination of awards is based on three criteria: 1) availability of funds, 2) program priorities, and 3) scientific merit. Subsequent grant administration procedures will be in accordance with the policies of the awarding Institute.

Application Preparation and Submission Instructions
Applications submitted in response to this program announcement/solicitation should be prepared and submitted in accordance with the general guidelines contained in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide (GPG).  Applications must be submitted to the NSF, not to the NIH.  The complete text of the GPG is available electronically on the NSF Web Site at:  

Applicants are reminded to identify the NSF program announcement number in the program announcement block on the NSF Cover Sheet for Proposal to the National Science Foundation.  Compliance with this announcement is critical to determining the relevant application processing guidelines.  Failure to submit this information may delay processing.

Budgetary Information
Cost sharing is not required in applications submitted to this funding opportunity. Budgets should include travel funds for the PD/PI and team members to attend an annual NRI Principal Investigators' meeting.

NIH Process
A goal for this activity is to involve multiple agencies using one application and one review. To meet NIH requirements, for those applications that are identified for potential funding by participating NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs), the applicant organization will be required to submit an R01application in an NIH-approved format directly to the Center for Scientific Review ( of the NIH.  PD/PIs invited to submit to NIH will receive further information on submission procedures from the NIH.  The NIH application will not be allowed to increase the proposed budget or change the scientific content of the application in the converted submission to the NIH. The summary statement will be presented to the involved IC's National Advisory Council for the second level of review.  Subsequent to the Council review, NIH ICs will make their funding determinations and selected awards will be made. Grant administration procedures for NIH awardees, including those related to New and Early Stage Investigators ( will be in accordance with the policies of NIH.

Please note that applications will be submitted for review to the NSF on November 3, 2011. Notification of applications selected for potential funding by the participating NIH ICs will be received by the end of March, 2012.  The converted submission to NIH will be due on April 11, 2012, which will be an extremely short conversion time.  The applicant organization will want to work closely with  their Sponsored Programs Office to assure a timely submission during this narrow submission window. The earliest project start date will be July 1, 2012.


Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged.  NIH Program contacts are listed below. Please see the NSF program announcement for names and contact information for each of the participating NSF Directorates at

John W. Haller, Ph.D.,
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
6707 Democracy Blvd.,
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: 301.451.4780; 
Fax: 301.480.4973

Lyndon Joseph, Ph.D
Health Scientist Administrator
Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology
National Institute on Aging, NIH, DHHS
7201 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 3C307
Bethesda, MD 20892-9205
Telephone: 301-496-6926
Fax: 301-402-1784

Louis Quatrano, Ph. D.
Program Director, BSRE, NCMRR
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
National Institutes of Health
6100 Executive Blvd, Rm 2A03, MSC 7510, Bethesda, MD 20892-7510
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier service)
Office:  301-402-4221
Fax:  301-402-0832

Paul A. Cotton, PhD, RD, Program Director
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
6701 Democracy Blvd, Ste. 710
One Democracy Plaza
Bethesda, MD 20892-4870 (Courier zip: 20817)
Phone: 301.402.6423
Fax:      301.451.5647

Daofen Chen,  Ph.D.
Program Director
Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS/NIH)
NIH Neuroscience Center, Room 2176
6001 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD 20892-9523 (FEDEX 20852)
Phone: (301) 496-9964, FAX: (301) 402-1501

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