Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health


Exploratory/Developmental Grant Program


The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) invites investigator-initiated Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) applications relevant to its research mission. NIBIB seeks to improve health by promoting fundamental discoveries, design and development, and translation and assessment of technological capabilities in biomedical imaging and bioengineering, enabled by relevant areas of information science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, materials science, and computer sciences.

The guidelines provided herein are only for investigators planning to submit R21 applications to the NIBIB that are in response to PA-11-261 - NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (Parent R21).

NIBIB supports hypothesis-, design-, technology-, or problem-driven research relating to its mission. Program areas of interest to the NIBIB include all aspects of biomedical imaging and bioengineering relevant to improving health. For a detailed description of the NIBIB scientific program areas, please visit:

The NIBIB Exploratory/Development (R21) Grant is intended to support innovative, high impact research projects that would 1) generate pilot data to assess the feasibility of a novel avenue of investigation; 2) involve high risk experiments that could lead to a breakthrough in the field of biomedical imaging and/or bioengineering; or 3) demonstrate the feasibility of new technologies that could have a major impact in a specific area. To be eligible for consideration, proposals must be distinct from those traditionally submitted through the R01 mechanism. For example, projects designed to produce incremental advances in knowledge in a well-established area will not be considered appropriate for the R21 mechanism. Proposals submitted under the R21 mechanism should be limited to those with the potential for truly groundbreaking impact.

Since the R21 mechanism is intended to encourage exploratory research, no preliminary data are required to be included in the application. However, the application should make clear that the proposed research is scientifically sound, the qualifications of the investigators are appropriate, and the resources available to the investigators are adequate.

Bioengineering research may also be supported under the Exploratory/Developmental (R21) Bioengineering Research Grants (EBRG) program announcement. Bioengineering integrates physical, chemical, or mathematical science and engineering principles for the study of biology, medicine, behavior or health.

Mechanism of Support

NIBIB R21 grants are for a maximum of two years. Applicants for the R21 grant may request total direct costs for the two-year period not to exceed $275,000. Responsibility for planning, direction, and execution of the proposed project will be solely that of the applicant. Competitive renewals of grants awarded under this program will not be accepted.

NIBIB Contacts

We encourage your inquiries concerning NIBIB R21 grants and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Or, direct your questions about scientific/research issues to:

Dr. Christine A. Kelley, Director, Division of Discovery Science & Technology

6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814 or 20817 (for courier delivery)
Tel. 301-451-4778
Fax 301-480-4973

Dr. Antonio Sastre, Program Director, Division of Applied Science & Technology

6707 Democracy Blvd., Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814 or 20817 (for courier delivery)
Tel. 301-402-1373
Fax 301-480-1614