Focus on Bioengineering Research

Bioengineering applications may be funded by NINDS if they focus on technology development relevant to normal or disordered neural function and to the prevention, repair or replacement of compromised neural function. Funded applications include partnerships that span academic entities (biological, bioengineering, biomedical groups), device industries, commercial distribution companies, medical instrument companies, small business concerns, etc. Final stages of translation for FDA investigational device exemption (IDE) and early-stage clinical trials might be a candidate for one of the NINDS cooperative agreement programs. To search the bioengineering projects funded at NIH please go to NIH RePORTER, or select bioengineering research in the categorical spending. Many of the NINDS funded bioengineering research focuses on neural interfaces, including neuroprostheses, neuromodulation, brain-computer interface (BCI) devices, prosthetic control, and neural interface technology development.

Funding Opportunities

NINDS participates in many trans-NIH bioengineering programs including those listed below. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their research and application plans with an appropriate Program Director prior to submission. A complete, searchable list of funding opportunities is available under funding.

Applications with budgets exceeding $500,000 in any fiscal year must be pre-approved for acceptance by NINDS.  Inquiries should be made at least six (6) weeks prior to application deadlines. For more information please contact Dr. Nick Langhals.


BRAIN Initiative

The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative is aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain. By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space. For more information and a list of funding opportunities visit the NIH BRAIN Initiative website or the BRAIN Initiative Alliance website.


Translational Neural Devices

The Translational Neural Devices program provides support for translational activities and small clinical studies to advance the development of therapeutic or diagnostic devices that affect the nervous or neuromuscular systems. The pre-clinical/translational device activities, including translational bench and animal studies, are expected to lead to an Investigation Device Exemption (IDE) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to support a small clinical trial, or a Non-Significant Risk (NSR) designation from an Institutional Review Board (IRB) indicating that the study does not require an IDE. This cooperative agreement program will also support the subsequent small clinical trial to collect safety and effectiveness data required to support a marketing application, or to inform final device design. For more information visit the Translational Neural Devices website.



All organs in the body are stimulated by nerves, which send signals that affect the organ’s function. Methods and medical devices that modulate these nerve signals are a potentially powerful way to treat many diseases and conditions, such as hypertension, heart failure, gastrointestinal disorders, type II diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and more. The Common Fund’s Stimulating Peripheral Activity to Relieve Conditions (SPARC) aims to transform our understanding of these nerve-organ interactions and ultimately advance the neuromodulation field toward precise treatment of diseases and conditions for which conventional therapies fall short. For more information and a list of funding opportunities visit the SPARC website.


Neural Interfaces Program

Neural interfaces are systems operating at the intersection of the nervous system and an internal or external device. Neural interfaces include neural prosthetics, which are artificial extensions to the body that restore or supplement function of the nervous system lost during disease or injury, and implantable neural stimulators that provide therapy. Neural interfaces are used to allow disabled individuals the ability to control their own bodies and lead fuller and more productive lives. For more information visit the Neural Interfaces website.


Bioengineering Research Grants/Partnerships

NINDS accepts applications for Bioengineering Research Grants (BRG), and Bioengineering Research Partnerships (BRP) that address technology development specific to the NINDS mission of basic and translational research to reduce the burden of neurological diseases.


Tools and Resources

FDA resources and guidance on Neurological Devices

BRAIN Initiative Webinar Series – The BRAIN Initiative webinar series consists of 30 minute presentations from BRAIN-funded investigators developing recording and modulation technologies.

Webinar: Best Practices for Navigating the Pre-submission process with FDA

Paper: FDA Regulation of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices: Access to Safe and Effective Neurotechnologies for All Americans (pdf, 930 kb)

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Previous Workshops and Conference Proceedings