Announcement of Requirements and Registration for BEAMS 2023



Announcement of Requirements and Registration for the

Biomedical Engineering Adapted for Middle Schoolers (BEAMS) Challenge




Authority: 15 U.S.C. 3719

Date of Announcement: June 20, 2023


Subject of the Challenge: The Biomedical Engineering Adapted for Middle Schoolers (BEAMS) Challenge, sponsored by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) which is a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is seeking to spur and reward the development of lesson plans that introduce the concept of biomedical engineering to students in grades 6-8. Many real-world health problems have biomedical engineering solutions, but many students do not encounter biomedical engineering in the classroom until they reach college. The lesson plans submitted to the BEAMS Challenge should introduce biomedical engineering in a way that sparks excitement and interest in middle schoolers and focus on how a biomedical engineering approach can be used to address health care problems. At the conclusion of this Challenge, NIBIB will make the winning biomedical engineering-specific lesson plans freely and publicly available so that middle school teachers around the country can implement them in their classrooms.

Challenge Structure: Participants in this Challenge will be required to create and submit a lesson plan for at least two 90-minute classes. The lesson plan should be able to be adapted into four 45-minute classes and be customizable to different learning levels. Activities should require easy to obtain resources/materials. Lesson plans must meet at least one of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and at least one other NGSS for Physical Science that are listed in the How to Enter section of this challenge announcement.

Areas of biomedical engineering that the lesson plans could cover include, but are not limited to:

  • Technologies to see inside the human body
    • X-ray
    • Computed tomography (CT)
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Ultrasound
    • Endoscopy
  • Biomedical engineering and the human body
    • Breaking/repairing bones
    • Artificial muscles
    • Prosthetics
    • Surgical robots
  • In vitro diagnostics
    • Nucleic Acid tests
    • Rapid Antigen tests
  • Delivering medicine
    • Pill coatings
    • Robotic pills
    • Nanoparticles
  • Sensors/wearables
    • Smartwatches
    • Pulse oximeters
    • Glucose monitors
  • Synthetic Biology/Engineered Biology
    • Biomaterials
    • Genetic engineering
    • Tissue chips/organoids


  • Challenge Launch: June 20, 2023
  • Submission Start/End: June 20, 2023, to September 30, 2023, 11:59 PM EDT
  • Judging Start/End: October 9, 2023, to December 1, 2023
  • Winner Announced: December 11, 2023

Statutory Authority to Conduct the Challenge:

NIBIB is conducting this Challenge under the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010, as amended [15 U.S.C. § 3719].

NIBIB is authorized by Section 301 and Title IV of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. The general purpose of NIBIB is the conduct and support of research, training, the dissemination of health information, and other programs with respect to biomedical imaging, biomedical engineering, and associated technologies and modalities with biomedical applications. In line with these authorities, by creating biomedical engineering materials for middle school students, NIBIB is working to train and educate the next generation of students and prepare them to contribute to the future of biomedical engineering. Providing students with hands-on biomedical engineering experience before entering high school gives them the opportunity to plan their educational future with biomedical engineering as a possible focus.



Amount of the Prize:

NIBIB will award up to five prizes at up to $5,000 each to the Challenge winner(s) with a total cash prize purse of $25,000.

For each winner/winning team, contributions of all team members will be recognized in announcements and/or with certificates. Monetary prizes will be paid to the winning individual or to the appointed “Team Leader.”

Award Approving Official:

The Award Approving Official will be Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., Director, NIBIB.

Payment of the Prize:

Prizes awarded under this Challenge will be paid by electronic funds transfer and may be subject to federal income taxes. In the event that a Team entry is selected to win a prize, the Team Leader will be paid the cash prize in full. HHS/NIH will comply with the Internal Revenue Service withholding and reporting requirements, where applicable.

NIH reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to (a) cancel, suspend, or modify the Challenge, or any part of it, for any reason, and/or (b) not award any prizes if no submissions are deemed worthy.



Eligibility Rules:

To be eligible to win a prize under this Challenge, a Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) —

  1. Shall have registered to participate in the Challenge under the rules promulgated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as published in this announcement;
  2. Shall have complied with all the requirements set forth in this announcement;
  3. Shall be an individual or team of individuals acting in their personal capacity;
  4. In the case of an individual, the individual shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. In the case of a Team, the Team Leader shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. However, non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents can participate as a member of a team that otherwise satisfies the eligibility criteria. Non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents are not eligible to win a monetary prize (in whole or in part). Their participation as part of a winning team, if applicable, may be recognized when the results are announced.
  5. Shall not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of their employment;
  6. Shall not be an employee of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS, or any other component of HHS) acting in their personal capacity;
  7. Who is employed by a federal agency or entity other than HHS (or any component of HHS), should consult with an agency ethics official to determine whether the federal ethics rules will limit or prohibit the acceptance of a prize under this Challenge;
  8. Shall not be a judge of the Challenge, or any other party involved with the design, production, execution, or distribution of the Challenge or the immediate family of such a party (i.e., spouse, parent, step-parent, child, or step-child).
  9. Shall be 18 years of age or older at the time of submission.


Participation Rules:

  1. If a group of individuals are submitting an entry together, the team must appoint a Team Leader to carry out all correspondence regarding the team’s entry. The Team Leader must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  2. Each entry into this Challenge must have been conceived, designed, and implemented by the individual or team members without any significant contribution from other individuals.
  3. Each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) may only submit one entry to this Challenge.
  4. Participants (whether individuals or groups of individuals) may not use federal funds from a grant award or cooperative agreement to develop their Challenge submissions or to fund efforts in support of their Challenge submissions.
  5. Federal contractors may not use federal funds from a contract to develop their Challenge submissions or to fund efforts in support of their Challenge submissions.
  6. By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) agrees to assume any and all risks and waives claims against the federal government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from participation in this Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise.
  7. Based on the subject matter of the Challenge, the type of work that it will possibly require, as well as an analysis of the likelihood of any claims for death, bodily injury, property damage, or loss potentially resulting from Challenge participation, no Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) participating in the Challenge is required to obtain liability insurance, or demonstrate financial responsibility, or agree to indemnify the federal government against third party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities in order to participate in this Challenge.
  8. A Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) shall not be deemed ineligible because the Participant used federal facilities or consulted with federal employees during the Challenge if the facilities and employees are made available to all Participants participating in the Challenge on an equitable basis.
  9. By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) warrants that they are sole author or owner of, or has the right to use by reference, any copyrightable (with proper citation) works that the submission comprises; that the works are wholly original and created by the Participant (or is an improved version of an existing work that the Participant has sufficient rights to use and improve); and that the submission does not infringe any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which the Participant is aware.
  10. By participating in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) that is selected to win a cash prize grants to the NIH an irrevocable, paid-up, royalty-free nonexclusive worldwide license to reproduce, publish, post, link to, share, and display publicly the submission on the web or elsewhere, and a nonexclusive, nontransferable, irrevocable, paid-up license to practice, or have practiced for or on its behalf, the solution throughout the world. Each Participant will retain all other intellectual property rights in their submissions, as applicable. To participate in the Challenge, each Participant must warrant that there are no legal obstacles to providing the above-referenced nonexclusive licenses of the Participant’s rights to the federal government. To receive an award, Participants will not be required to transfer their intellectual property rights to NIH, but Participants must grant to the federal government the nonexclusive licenses recited herein.
  11. Each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) agrees to follow all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies. Each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) participating in this Challenge must comply with all terms and conditions of these rules, and participation in this Challenge constitutes each such Participant’s full and unconditional agreement to abide by these rules. Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements herein.
  12. As a condition for winning a cash prize in this Challenge, each Participant (whether an individual or group of individuals) that has been selected as a winner must complete and submit all requested winner verification and payment documents to NIH within 15 business days of formal notification. Failure to return all required verification documents by the date specified in the notification may be a basis for disqualification of a cash prize-winning submission.



Basis Upon Which a Winner Will be Selected:

Prior to judging, NIH/NIBIB staff will evaluate submissions to ensure the stated minimum requirements of eligibility, completeness, format, and required content (listed below) are met. Only eligible and complete submissions will be considered for this Challenge. Eligible and complete submissions will be judged and scored by a panel of NIH and/or other federal government staff with appropriate expertise. Prizes will be selected based on judging scores. The final winner selections will be approved by the Award Approving Official.

Submissions will be judged and scored on:

  • Clarity: Are the topics clearly explained and organized in the lesson plan? Are the learning objectives well-defined and understandable?
  • Interactivity: To what extent does the lesson plan incorporate opportunities for active student engagement? Are there interactive activities, discussions, or hands-on exercises?
  • Engagement: How likely is the lesson plan to capture and hold the attention of middle school students? Does it include elements that make the content interesting, relatable, or relevant to their lives?
  • Adaptability: How easily can the lesson plans be adapted to accommodate different student learning levels, varying class period lengths, and educational environments? Does it provide flexibility for modifications and adjustments?
  • Accuracy: How accurate are the biomedical engineering concepts presented in the lesson plan? Are they based on reliable and up-to-date information?
  • Relevancy: To what extent do the lesson plans align with the topics of biomedical engineering and the Middle School Engineering Design NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)? Do they incorporate key concepts and skills specified in the standards?


Prior to submitting an entry, participants are encouraged to carefully review any rules, requirements, and/or policies established by their employer or affiliated organization, as applicable, regarding a participant's ability to compete in this challenge and receive a cash prize directly.

Registration and Submission Process:

  1. Only the first 200 fully complete entries will be considered for this Challenge.
  2. Each participant may submit a maximum of one entry into this Challenge, whether they submit individually or as a part of a group of individuals (i.e., a team). If a team is submitting, a designated Team Leader must submit the entry. Each individual or Team Leader must register at and follow the instructions to certify that the entry meets all the Challenge rules.
  3. Entries must include a completed registration form (provided here)
  4. Each entry must be submitted at as a single .pdf file. Submissions can optionally include up to three supplementary .pdf files containing presentation materials or resources.
  5. Each entry must have the following components:
    1. Grade level (or grade range that the lesson plan can be adapted)
    2. Description of biomedical engineering topic(s)
    3. Must meet at least one of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and at least one other NGSS for Physical Science according to the list provided below
      1. Engineering Design
        1. MS-ETS1-1
        2. MS-ETS1-2
        3. MS-ETS1-3
        4. MS-ETS1-4
      2. Structures and Properties of Matter
        1. MS-PS1-3
        2. MS-PS1-4
      3. Chemical Reactions
        1. MS-PS1-6
      4. Energy
        1. MS-PS3-3
      5. Waves and Electromagnetic Radiation
        1. MS-PS4-1
        2. MS-PS4-2

    4. Free/accessible background resources to introduce the topic for teachers
    5. Free/accessible background resources to introduce the topic for students
    6. Brief lesson summary and procedure
    7. Summary of key concepts/learning objectives (e.g., be able to describe what biomedical engineering is, how to apply problem-solving approach to health care problems, etc.)
    8. List and definitions of new vocabulary
    9. Materials/equipment list
    10. Description of set-up requirements (if needed)
    11. Real-world applications of the topic to address a health care problem
    12. At least one visual (PowerPoint presentation, handout), multimedia (video, simulation), or hands-on demonstration
    13. Procedure and description for at least one hands-on activity for the students that can be conducted with relatively low-cost and easily accessible supplies
    14. Practice assignment(s) for students to do at home
    15. Evaluation/assessment with rubric – this could be a Q&A/discussion-based activity, a quiz/test assessment, or a project/report
    16. Worksheets, activity sheets, or other handouts (if needed)



Supplementary Information:


For Further Information Contact:

Award Approving Official:

Bruce Tromberg, Ph.D., Director, NIBIB

Date June 14, 2023