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Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems

General & Age-Related Disabilities Engineering


Name Email Phone Room
Alexander  Leonessa aleoness@nsf.gov (703) 292-2678   


Apply to PD 15-5342 as follows:

For full proposals submitted via FastLane: standard Grant Proposal Guide proposal preparation guidelines apply.
For full proposals submitted via Grants.gov: the NSF Grants.gov Application Guide; A Guide for the Preparation and Submission of NSF Applications via Grants.gov Guidelines applies. (Note: The NSF Grants.gov Application Guide is available on the Grants.gov website and on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=grantsgovguide)

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Window:  October 1, 2016 - October 20, 2016

October 1 - October 20, Annually Thereafter

These submission windows do not apply to workshop or supplement proposals, proposals for EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), or Rapid Response Grants (RAPID).  As noted below, PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of proposals of this nature.


The General & Age Related Disabilities Engineering (GARDE) program supports fundamental engineering research that will lead to the development of new technologies, devices, or software that improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities. Research may be supported that is directed toward the characterization, restoration, and/or substitution of human functional ability or cognition, or to the interaction of persons with disabilities and their environment. Areas of particular interest are disability-related research in neuroengineering and rehabilitation robotics. Emphasis is placed on significant advancement of fundamental engineering knowledge that facilitates transformative outcomes. We discourage applications that propose incremental improvements. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Director prior to submitting a proposal. 

GARDE no longer directly supports Undergraduate Engineering Design projects targeting the needs of people with disabilities (PwD), but will rather shift interest to supporting Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) activities focused on improving the quality of life for PwD. These REUs can be funded as supplements to existing GARDE awards or by submitting proposals for REU Sites through NSF 13-542, which will be reviewed in collaboration with the Program Director for the GARDE program.  We encourage those interested in supporting undergraduate student participation in active research focused on improving the quality of life of PwD to apply to the REU program following the respective solicitation guidelines. 

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.

The duration of unsolicited awards generally is one to three years. The typical award size is approximately $100,000 per year.  Proposals requesting a substantially higher amount than this, without prior consultation with the Program Director, may be returned without review.


Proposals should address the novelty and/or potentially transformative nature of the proposed work compared to previous work in the field.  Also, it is important to address why the proposed work is important in terms of engineering science, as well as to also project the potential impact on society and/or industry of success in the research.  The novelty or potentially transformative nature of the research should be included, as a minimum, in the Project Summary of each proposal.

Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program proposals are strongly encouraged.  Award duration is five years.  The submission deadline for Engineering CAREER proposals is in July every year. Please see the CAREER URL here for more information. 

Proposals for Conferences, Workshops, and Supplements: PIs are strongly encouraged to discuss their requests with the Program Director before submission of the proposal.

Grants for Rapid Response Research (RAPID) and EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) are also considered when appropriate.  Please note that proposals of these types must be discussed with the program director before submission.  Further details are available in the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) download found here.  Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) proposals that integrate fundamental research with translational results and are consistent with the application areas of interest to each program are also encouraged.  Please note that GOALI proposals must be submitted during the annual unsolicited proposal window for each program. More information on GOALI can be found here.

COMPLIANCE: Proposals which are not compliant with the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) will be returned without review.

Unsolicited proposals received outside of the Announced Proposal Window dates will be returned without review.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program



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