Interested in Frugal Innovation and Global Health? The NIH May Have a Grant For You

Posted in Research and Development by Arundhati Parmar on December 13, 2013

The National Institutes of Health will soon be accepting applications for joint research proposals by Indian and U.S. scientists to develop effective, low-cost medical devices for parts of the world with low healthcare resources.

The program allows applications to request funding up to $75,000 per year for projects lasting up to two years. The NIH announcement didn’t specify how many awards it will make.

The program called “Indo-US Collaborative Program on Affordable Medical Devices” aims to develop diagnostic and therapeutic technologies and the projects need to be based either in the U.S. or in India. The program has its roots in a 2008 workshop in Hyderabad, India, where the following diagnostic areas were identified for research:

  • Glucose monitoring for diabetics;
  • Low-cost platform technologies for multiple (multivalent) diagnostic tests;
  • A multiplex, lab-on-a-chip technology for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and other infections;
  • Point-of-care diagnostics for screening infant diseases;
  • A pre-screening test for blood bank safety;
  • Diagnostic test for the early detection of cardiovascular disease;
  • Point-of-care tests and reagents for cancer screening;
  • Networked and mobile technologies for diagnostic devices;
  • Diagnostic screening devices simple enough to be operated by people with minimal education (10th grade);
  • Non-invasive or minimally-invasive screening technologies (e.g. low-cost imaging, microfluidics, microchip technologies);
  • Diagnostic assay development for low-cost screening kits;
  • Technology and assay development related specifically to screening newborns for heritable disorders; and
  • Appropriate, low-cost diagnostic imaging devices for low-resource settings.

However, the NIH announcement stressed that while the above technologies need to be developed, applications need not be limited to them.

“Applicants are encouraged to submit applications for any collaborative technology development or device that would be appropriate in a lower-resource setting. Furthermore, applicants are expected to describe the impact of their technology on low-resource settings.

Other areas that fall within the scope of the program include cardiovascular disease, cancer screening, endocrine disorders, maternal/neonatal/infant health, trauma, translational research and TB diagnostics.

The announcement underscores that grant reviewers will place emphasis on projects and technologies that increase healthcare access, reduce global health inequities and/or address the diagnostic needs of the poor.

To help facilitate online networking between U.S. and Indian collaborators, a LinkedIn group has been established.
For application criteria and deadlines, click here.

 [Photo Credit: user mkurtbas]

-- By Arundhati Parmar, Senior Editor, MD+DI


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