Intuitive's Technology Research Grant

Intuitive Surgical is pleased to announce its 2016 grant programs for both clinical and technology research. You can find more information about these grants on our company website:
In particular, I'd 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.
To start the grant proposal process, we are inviting letters of intent. If you would like to apply, please send these to us by June 5th, 2015. Invitations to submit full grant proposals will be sent on July 2nd, with a submission deadline of September 11th, 2015. Details of the selection criteria, grant conditions, and other guidelines, are available on our website. We have recently switched to an online submission portal for our grant programs to help streamline the grant process. The link to the technology grant portal is:
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.
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?
This year, we 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.
6) Why did Intuitive switch to an online grant submission program?
The online process helps to standardize the submissions and has a feature which allows for the submission of supporting videos. We look forward to your feedback on the Technology Grant Portal.


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