[robotics-worldwide] [news] Call for proposals for Intuitive Surgical 2018 surgical robotics research grants.

Simon DiMaio Simon.DiMaio at intusurg.com
Wed May 17 13:46:08 PDT 2017

Dear Science & Engineering Researchers:

Intuitive Surgical is pleased to announce its 2018 grant programs for clinical and technology research. Additional information about these grants on our company website:

In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the technology research grants. The purpose of these grants is to support technology research in the area of surgical robotics, or related fields. The program is open to researchers at non-profit academic institutions worldwide and successful proposals will ideally address clinically-relevant technology development.

We are hosting an open call for letters of intent for our grant programs.  We have identified several key research areas of interest for the 2018 technology grant program. Principal Investigators are encouraged, although not required to submit proposals that fall into one or more of the following grant categories (further details and project examples provided at the link above):

*         Instruments and Accessories: Research focused on instruments and accessories that, together with a robotic surgical system, enable surgeons to deliver improved therapy for better treatment of patients.

*         Intelligent Systems: Research focused on new technologies or algorithms that improve the capabilities of robotic systems based on data-driven models of the surgeon, the system, and/or the environment.

*         Navigation and Guidance: Research focused on developing technology to improve surgical outcomes by navigation and guidance solutions.

*         Novel System Architecture: Exploration of novel system-level concepts for robot-assisted intervention.

*         Training Technologies: Research focused on developing and testing computerized hardware and software to train or evaluate the technical skills required by members of a da Vinci surgical team.

*         User Interface / Controls: Research on methods that augment human-in-the-loop perception, decision-making and control when performing minimally invasive surgical tasks.

*         Vision: Research focused on developing and testing imaging hardware and software to augment surgeon knowledge about anatomy, tissue or disease state.
Interested applicants should submit their completed online application by June 2, 2017.  Invitations to submit full grant proposals will be sent on July 21, 2017, with a submission deadline of September 15th, 2017. Details of the selection criteria, grant conditions, and other guidelines, are available on our website.  We use an online submission portal for our grant programs, following is the link to the technology grant portal: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__app.wizehive.com_apps_intuitivetechnologyLOI&d=DwIFAg&c=clK7kQUTWtAVEOVIgvi0NU5BOUHhpN0H8p7CSfnc_gI&r=0w3solp5fswiyWF2RL6rSs8MCeFamFEPafDTOhgTfYI&m=rfzUr_bHy5MhpjIoHkh4mrQJsJV4Ruof9Gp0vJE8Pms&s=dT9UV7iaJ9bTytZz0QFLhl4ltuzySir_NxwrJLonGio&e= 

A brief FAQ is included below based on some of the common questions that we have been asked in previous years.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) What kinds of research projects has Intuitive funded in the past?
Prior projects have included the following topics:

*         Fluorescence and other novel imaging methods for guiding surgery.

*         Tissue characterization using electrical impedance measurements.

*         Tissue bonding without sutures.

*         High force micro-manipulation mechanisms.

*         Compact, yet dexterous mechanisms for minimally-invasive surgery.

*         Robotic mechanisms for intravenous injection.

*         Skills assessment and training technologies.

*         Ergonomics and human factors research.

*         Image-guided robotics.

*         Novel tissue cutting and manipulation methods.

*         Use of intra-operative ultrasound for surgical navigation and monitoring.

*         Methods for fabricating micromanipulation mechanisms.

*         Novel actuation and sensing methods for medical robots.

2) Does the project have to involve the da Vinci?
Not at all - in fact this grant program is intended to support the exploration of novel future ideas for addressing compelling clinical problems. These need not be relevant to today's da Vinci Surgical System. Note that the review committee tends to weight clinical motivation and relevance highly, in addition to technical objectives.

3) Can I use the grant funds to pay a student stipend or postdoc salary?
Yes, the funds can be used to pay salaries for students, postdocs, research engineers, faculty, or other staff that are directly involved in performing the research work. Funds may also be used for purchasing materials, supplies, and equipment, as well as for any prototyping costs associated with the project.

3) Does Intuitive pay overhead costs?
Yes, we will pay overhead; however, due to the limited size of these grants, we require that you limit indirect costs to no more than 20% overall. The total costs, including both direct and indirect costs, as well as any applicable taxes, should not exceed $50,000 USD.

4) The guidelines indicate that grantees will be invited to present their project work and results in California. When will this happen and will Intuitive cover the cost of travel and accommodations?
For the past several years, we have invited all of our clinical and technology grant awardees to Sunnyvale for a Research Grant Symposium day in January. This was a great event for interacting with other grant recipients, as well as with researchers and engineers at Intuitive. We are planning to repeat this symposium event annually and will cover travel costs for the principal investigator and one student/postdoc/associate to attend the symposium.

5) The guidelines say that IP terms and conditions may apply. What does this mean?
Most university sponsored research departments will require that a Sponsored Research Agreement be put in place prior to any sponsored project work. Intuitive uses a fairly standard sponsored research agreement for this purpose and we try to use this consistently for all grant projects. The agreement includes confidentiality and liability terms to protect both the research institution, as well as Intuitive. In most cases, all intellectual property generated by the investigators during the course of the sponsored research work belongs to the institution. Intuitive does not typically request or claim ownership to this IP; however, in cases where projects require closer collaboration and joint research work with Intuitive, IP-sharing terms may need to be negotiated prior to the grant award.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or queries regarding the program. Otherwise, we look forward to receiving your pre-proposals (letters of intent).


Dale Bergman

Dale Bergman
Manager, Research Programs | Intuitive Surgical, Inc. |
tel 408.523.2234 | cell 408-431-7290

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