QUANTUM PROJECTS: TECHNOLOGY-BASED ADVANCES IN HEALTHCARE

RELEASE DATE:  November 7, 2003

NOTICE:  NOT-EB-03-011

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
 (http://www.nibib.nih.gov)

RESPONSE DUE DATE:  January 9, 2004

PURPOSE

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) 
solicits suggestions from academia, industry, and the broad healthcare 
community for major problems that need to be solved or research 
advances that represent high-impact, large-scale, technology-based 
projects and will result in significant (quantum) improvements in 
disease treatment or quality of life.  The purpose of this request is 
to collect ideas from the scientific and healthcare communities about 
biomedical research topics that may be ready for major advances if 
supported in a sustained and focused manner over a five-to-ten year 
period.

BACKGROUND

The mission of the NIBIB, the newest of the NIH research institutes, is 
to develop and translate novel technologies and methods that enable 
understanding of basic biological processes and facilitate diagnosis, 
treatment, management, and prevention of disease.  Activities conducted 
in support of this mission are also aimed at supporting the broad 
mission of the NIH which is to improve human health and quality of 
life.

To demonstrate the NIBIB’s commitment to improving human health, the 
Institute is considering supporting one or more “quantum projects”.  
These projects will require large-scale, focused, and sustained efforts 
and will produce quantifiable results with concrete benefits that 
address national healthcare needs.

The title “quantum project” is based on the objective of providing a 
significant (quantum) improvement in healthcare or quality of life.  
Consistent with the technology-oriented mission of the NIBIB and the 
objective of realizing benefits in a reasonable time period, a quantum 
project should have the following characteristics:

1. A major problem that needs to be solved or a research advance that 
requires a collaborative, multi-disciplinary research and development 
effort and will provide a product or benefit that results in a 
significant healthcare improvement;
2. Research based on technological approaches and applications; and
3. Can be accomplished (i.e., solve the problem or provide the research 
advance – not necessarily make available for patient use) by a focused 
and sustained effort in a five-to-ten year time period.

Considering the anticipated magnitude and scope of the effort and the 
goal-oriented objective, a phased program is being considered that will 
initially support several approaches to the project, evaluate the 
results of the initial research to determine the most promising courses 
of action for continued support, and establish a project consortium to 
focus and coordinate efforts to reach the goal.   In view of the 
healthcare focus of these projects, it is anticipated that the NIBIB 
will partner with one or more NIH institutes with missions appropriate 
for the intended application to manage and coordinate the effort.  

Technological areas appropriate as bases for these projects include but 
are not limited to:

o Biomedical imaging (diagnostic level, cellular/molecular level, 
multi-modality)            
o Nanotechnology and microtechnology (NEMS and MEMS, targeted drug 
delivery and agents)
o Biomaterials  (micro materials for regenerative medicine and tissue 
engineering; macro materials for devices, implants, and prosthetics) 
o Computer applications (modeling and simulation, computer-assisted 
surgery, robotics)
o Sensors (chemical, biological, and physical detectors) and therapy 
actuators

Combinations of these and other technological areas are also 
appropriate.  Clinical or biomedical focus areas include the broad 
range of applications and missions encompassed by the NIH institutes 
and centers which are available on the NIH Web site at 
http://www.nih.gov. 

The first step in this initiative is to identify candidate quantum 
projects based on input from the scientific community including 
academia, industry, hospitals and clinics, federal laboratories, other 
federal agencies, and other NIH research institutes and centers.  This 
notice solicits the input in the form of ideas for quantum projects 
that meet the criteria given above.  Depending on the quality of 
suggestions and the availability of funds, one or more of these ideas 
will be selected as the goal(s) of the quantum project(s) to be 
announced by the NIBIB and one or more NIH institutes or centers.

INFORMATION REQUESTED

The NIBIB seeks your help in identifying major problems or research 
advances that require collaborative, multi-disciplinary efforts; will 
result in a product or benefit that provides a significant improvement 
in healthcare; are based on technological approaches and applications; 
and can be accomplished in a five-to-ten year time period.  Respondents 
are asked to submit a one-page (maximum) summary with the following 
information for each suggested project:

1. A descriptive title;
2. A one or two paragraph description of the major problem or research 
focus, the anticipated product or advance, and the anticipated 
improvement in healthcare; and
3. The respondent’s contact information (name, address, telephone, fax, 
and e-mail address)

RESPONSE AND PROCESS

Respondents are requested to transmit the information described above 
no later than January 9, 2004.  To respond, please send an e-mail, 
letter, or fax to the following address:

Dr. Richard E. Swaja
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
6707 Democracy Boulevard – Suite 200
Bethesda, MD  20892-5477
TEL:  301-451-4779
FAX:  301-480-1614
EMAIL:  swajar@nibib.nih.gov

Questions concerning this notice can also be transmitted to the above 
address.

Responses will be collected and shared with our advisory committees.  
We look forward to receiving your ideas and suggestions, and we hope 
that you will share this document with your colleagues.


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