Notice of NIH Participation in the Cyber-Physical Systems Initiative (CPS)

Notice Number: NOT-EB-16-005

Key Dates
Release Date: May 11, 2016  

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)


The purpose of this Notice is to announce that the NIH is collaborating on a multi-agency funding opportunity, the Cyber-Physical Systems initiative (CPS) (

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components. Advances in CPS will enable capability, adaptability, scalability, resiliency, safety, security, and usability that will far exceed the simple embedded systems of today. CPS technology will transform the way people interact with engineered systems -- just as the Internet has transformed the way people interact with information.

The goal of the CPS program is to develop the core system science needed to engineer complex cyber-physical systems upon which people can depend with high confidence. Some of these may require high-confidence or provable behaviors. The program aims to foster a research community committed to advancing research and education in CPS and to transitioning CPS science and technology into engineering practice. By abstracting from the particulars of specific systems and application domains, the CPS program seeks to reveal cross-cutting fundamental scientific and engineering principles that underpin the integration of cyber and physical elements across all application sectors. To expedite and accelerate the realization of cyber-physical systems in a wide range of applications, the CPS program also supports the development of methods, tools, and hardware and software components based upon these cross-cutting principles, along with validation of the principles via prototypes and testbeds. We have also seen a convergence of CPS technologies and research thrusts that underpin Smart and Connected Communities (S&CC) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These domains offer new and exciting challenges for foundational research and provide opportunities for maturation at multiple time horizons.

In 2016, NSF is working closely with multiple agencies of the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), and several National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes and centers [including the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)], and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to identify basic research needs in CPS common across multiple application domains, along with opportunities for accelerated transition to practice.

Applications being proposed should be relevant to the missions of the participating NIH institutes:

NIBIB: The mission of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. NIBIB is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care.

NCI: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) mission is to conduct and support research that will lead to a future in which we can prevent cancer before it starts, identify cancers that do develop at the earliest stage, eliminate cancers through innovative treatment interventions, and biologically control those cancers that we cannot eliminate so they become manageable, chronic diseases.
NCATS: The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) strives to develop innovations to reduce, remove or bypass costly and time-consuming bottlenecks in the translational research pipeline in an effort to speed the delivery of new drugs, diagnostics and medical devices to patients. NCATS is particularly interested in a comprehensive matrix of human diseases and conditions with known targets and pathways, and all available drugs tested in humans that can used for discovery and development of targeted therapeutics, for facilitating the research and development of systems pharmacology aimed at the discovery of multi-target drugs and drug combinations

The NIH encourages CPS research and technology development to enhance health, lengthen life and reduce illness and disability. Specifically, the participating NIH institutes on this solicitation are interested in targeting this solicitation to support the development of CPS research and technology to achieve functional independence in humans, improve quality of life, assist with behavioral therapy and personalized care, monitor or generate efficacious readouts of therapeutic effects of therapies, and promote wellness/health.

Advances in sensors, wearable devices, and patient-facing technologies hold great promise in improving healthcare across the continuum from prevention to survivorship. Little is known, however, about how advances in CPS can integrate these technologies and interfaces to increase patient engagement and activation. In the healthcare setting, CPS systems such as wireless body area networks (WBANs), assistive healthcare systems, and wearable sensors and implantable devices are actively being developed to improve outcomes and quality of life, provide cost-effective healthcare, and potentially speed-up disease diagnosis and prevention. In nonclinical settings, consumer-oriented CPS research can create supportive home environments to accommodate residents’ functional deficits while offering insights to patients and caregivers on how best to manage their own care outside of the healthcare setting.

One vision of medical CPS could be the development of personalized patient-care systems which are tightly knit with other non-medical CPS systems. Such a closed-loop environment could enable optimal and timely delivery of healthcare improvements at a significant cost reduction. It is envisioned that such systems will also generate a significant amount of data, and technologies for analyzing these data on-the-fly will need to be developed.

Examples of medical CPS research and technology development include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementing CPS technology to reduce medical errors in intensive care units (ICUs);
  • Developing prototypical closed-loop CPS for medical systems such as artificial organs or continuous monitoring systems;
  • Implementing CPS technology for real-time monitoring and analysis of complex biomedical research systems such as microphysiological systems or cancer research models for understanding cancer biology;
  • Pursuing approaches to enhance interoperability between various medical devices and/or systems;
  • Developing human-system integration (HSI) applications designed to optimize the role of human cognition in relation to CPS support within the context of either clinical or consumer health environments;
  • Developing applications to monitor physiologic, motor, and cognitive functioning across environments to inform treatment and facilitate research;
  • Developing approaches to understand the behavioral and social aspects of medical CPS implementations;
  • Developing real-time patient-specific clinical decision-making approaches;
  • Developing real-time data analytic techniques for medical CPS systems, such as machine learning approaches to develop on-the-fly analyses and prediction models;
  • Developing CPS applications to improve access, utility, and management of biomedical big data for basic research; and
  • Developing hospital-wide applications to decrease fragmentation, improve quality of care, and conserve costs by tracking medical assets and conjoining informatics data flows to enable a "learning healthcare system."

Applicants should describe how the ideas being proposed will address the healthcare needs of the end user (healthy individuals, patient populations with specific targeted diseases, persons with disability, and or health disparity populations).

Award Information

The NIH expects to fund two general types of research projects:

a. Breakthrough projects must offer a significant advance in fundamental CPS science, engineering and/or technology that has the potential to change the field. This category focuses on new approaches to bridge computing, communication, and control. Funding for Breakthrough projects may be requested of approximately $100,000 per year in direct costs for a period of up to three years.

b. Synergy projects must demonstrate innovation at the intersection of multiple disciplines, to accomplish a clear goal that requires an integrated perspective spanning the disciplines. Funding for Synergy projects may be requested of between approximately $100,001 and $250,000 per year in direct costs for a period of three to four years.

All awards made under this solicitation by NIH will be as grants or cooperative agreements, as determined by the supporting agency. Note that NCATS will only make cooperative agreements.

Application Preparation and Submission Instructions

Applications submitted in response to this 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 website 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

Inclusion of voluntary committed cost sharing is prohibited. For NIH, indirect costs on foreign subawards / subcontracts will be limited to 8 percent.

NIH Process

For those proposals that are selected for potential funding by participating NIH Institutes, the PD/PI will be required to submit the proposal in an NIH-­approved format directly to the Center for Scientific Review ( of the NIH. PD/PIs invited to resubmit to NIH will receive further information on submission procedures from NIH. An applicant will not be allowed to increase the proposed budget or change the scientific content of the proposal in the resubmission to the NIH as an NIH application. Indirect costs on any foreign subawards/subcontracts will be limited to 8 percent. These NIH applications will be entered into the NIH IMPAC II system. The results of the review will be presented to the involved Institutes' National Advisory Councils for the second level of review. Subsequent to the Council reviews, NIH Institutes will make their funding determinations and selected awards will be made.

Subsequent grant administration procedures for NIH awardees, including those related to New and Early Stage Investigators (, will be in accordance with the policies of NIH. Applications selected for NIH funding will use the NIH funding mechanisms.

PD/PIs should contact their NIH Program Officer for additional information. For information purposes, NIH PD/PIs may wish to consult the NIAID web site, "All about Grants," which provides excellent generic information about all aspects of NIH grantsmanship (


Written and telephone inquiries are encouraged. NIH Program contacts are listed below. Please see the NSF CPS website for names and contact information for each of the participating NSF Directorates, DHS, DOT, and NASA, at

Vinay M. Pai
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Telephone: 301-451-4781

Danilo Tagle
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Telephone: 301-594-8064

Bradford Hesse
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 301-594-9904