NCSRR awards seed grants for innovative, well-designed pilot projects to accelerate the development of advanced simulation techniques and the use of simulations in rehabilitation research.
NCSRR’s pilot projects program is designed to encourage new collaborations and innovative ideas for utilizing simulations within medical rehabilitation. Projects should have a strong scientific component and demonstrate a clear alignment with the NCSRR’s mission.
Pilot project awardees may receive funding up to $40,000 for their research. In addition, the program launches awardees into leadership roles within the NCSRR network.
We got an outstanding response to our call for proposals this year, which made our decision difficult. Given the high-caliber of the applicant pool, we carefully reviewed the applications among our internal team and with the NSCRR Scientific Advisory Board, following the NIH guidelines regarding conflicts of interest.
Based on this review, we identified the following proposals for awards. We selected four applicants for NCSRR Outstanding Research Grants ($30,000 each) and five applicants for Outstanding Researcher Awards ($4000 each), and seven applicants for Travel Awards ($1000 each).
2016 NCSRR OUTSTANDING RESEARCH GRANT Winners
Peter Adamczyk, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Evaluating robotic controllers for targeted cycling therapy
B.J. Fregly, University of Florida
Computational design of fastFES rehabilitation to improve post-stroke gait
Zachary Lerner, Northern Arizona University
Predictive simulations for robotic-aided rehabilitation of crouch gait
Katherine Saul and Matthew Fisher, North Carolina State University
Integrated iterative musculoskeletal modeling to study growth and function
2016 Outstanding Researcher Award Winners
Aaron Fox and Glen Lichtwark, The University of Queensland
Assessing the accuracy of simulated hamstring muscle strain during walking and running
Gerald Harris, Marquette University
Development of an OpenSim segmental foot model
Ross Miller, University of Maryland
Muscular properties and gait mechanics in older adults
Massimo Sartori, University Medical Center Goettingen
An OpenSim modeling framework for myoelectric control of artificial limbs
David Saxby, Griffith University
Using real-time simulation and biofeedback to restore knee biomechanics and contact load symmetry following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
2016 Travel Award Winners
Ashish Deshpande, The University Texas at Austin
A synergistic approach to development of musculoskeletal models and rehabilitation exoskeletons using experimental data
Monica Reggiani, University of Padua
IMU-based real-time monitoring of joint kinematics during VR training in post-stroke rehabilitation
Wasim Malik, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
A composite neuromusculoskeletal modeling platform: Driving OpenSim with a deep neural network for bio-inspired neuromotor control
Sandra Shefelbine, Northeastern University
Modeling FES-rowing in spinal cord injury patients using OpenSim
James Sulzer, University of Texas at Austin
Simulation of post-stroke gait with robotic perturbation to characterize abnormal reflex coordination
Mariska Wesseling, KU Leuven
Analysis of cartilage pressure during gait in hip dysplasia patients: development, tuning and validation of an elastic foundation contact model
Sebastian Wolf, Heidelberg University Hospital
Optimizing indication of femoral derotation surgery in CP (MUSMOD-FDO)
Past winners include:
2014 Full Pilot Award Winners
Frank Sup, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
An improved musculoskeletal model of below-knee amputees to aid in prosthetic design
Katherine Steele, University of Washington
Evaluating the theoretical and functional impacts of a synergy-based control strategy using OpenSim
2014 Outstanding Researcher Award Winners
Dennis Anderson, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Development of a detailed musculoskeletal model of the thoracic spine and rib cage in OpenSim
Ray Browning, Colorado State University
Effect of childhood obesity and lower extremity alignment on joint loading during locomotion
Dominic Farris, University of Queensland
Comparing measured & simulated lower limb muscle fiber lengths in human locomotion
Bradley Davidson, University of Denver
Probabilistic musculoskeletal simulation to support evidence-based practice in post-TKA rehabilitation
Jill Higginson, University of Delaware
Preliminary assessment of an upper extremity musculoskeletal model for future application in patients with cerebral palsy and brachial plexus birth palsy
2014 Travel Award Winners
Ajit Chaudhari, Ohio State University
Establishing relationships between elements of core stability and lower extremity loading while running: a simulation study
Carrie Peterson, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Does restored elbow extension decrease shoulder muscle forces in C5 and C6 quadriplegia during weight-relief lift?
Stacie Ringleb, Old Dominion University
Understanding the effects of fatigue on ACL loading after ACL reconstruction
Ricardo Matias, Technical University of Lisbon
Reliable classification of shoulder dysfunction based on an accurate model of shoulder kinematics combined with standard motion-capture data
Gina Bertocci, University of Louisville
Development of a canine pelvic limb gait model as a translational tool to investigate spinal cord injury recovery and interventions
Nils Hakansson, Wichita State University
How We Roll: Uncovering the biomechanics of human rolling
Thomas Sugar, Arizona State University
Modeling of human assist revices that pump energy into the gait cycle
Past winners include:
2013 Full Pilot Award Winners
Marjolein van der Krogt, VU University
A model for spasticity and contracture in OpenSim: refinement, validation, and dissemination
Ian Stavness, University of Saskatchewan
Sensory Components for Simulating Postural Feedback Control in OpenSim
2013 Outstanding Researcher Award Winners
Ravi Balasubramanian, Oregon State University
Quantifying Hand Function Following a New Tendon-Transfer Surgical Procedure Using Adaptive Coupling Mechanisms
Bradley Davidson, University of Denver
Development of a Probabilistic Toolbox for OpenSim – Considering Intersubject Variability and Uncertainty in Musculoskeletal Modeling
Ilse Jonkers, KU Lueven
Effect of botulinum toxin treatment on musculoskeletal loading during gait in CP-children: a simulation study
Ray Browning, Colorado State University
Quantifying joint loads during level and uphill walking in obese adults via OpenSim
Ashish Deshpande, University of Texas
Virtual Design, Control, and Testing of Hand Exoskeleton using Simulation
Alena Grabowski, University of Colorado
What is the optimal control strategy for a powered ankle-foot prosthesis?
Craig McGowan, University of Idaho
Trip recovery in the elderly population: can they do it?
Anita Vasavada, Washington State University
Determining Optimal Methods for Estimating Moment arms of Curved Muscle paths and Multi-joint Systems: Computational and Physical Models
Ricardo Matias, Technical University of Lisbon
Improving shoulder dysfunction classification with an upper extremity musculoskeletal model
Cyril Donnelly, University of Western Australia
Development of an anterior cruciate ligament model
Christopher Carty, Griffith University
Translation of OpenSim into a hospital-based paediatrics clinical gait analysis service
Ed Chadwick, Keele University
Software for visualization and control of interactive real-time forward dynamic simulations
2012 Full Pilot Award Winners
The first pilot awardee is the team of James Wakeling and Allison Arnold from Simon Fraser University and Harvard University, for their project, "Multi-Element Muscle Model for Improving Predictions of Muscle Force in Simulations".
The second pilot project awardee is Thor Besier from the University of Auckland for his project, "Software for multi-modal image segmentation, meshing, and OpenSim model generation."
The third pilot project awardee in Jeff Reinbolt from the University of Tennesse for his project, "Software for Functional Inverse Kinematics and Scaling."
2012 Travel Award Winners
We offered travel awards to attend our Advanced OpenSim Workshop in March to several promising applicants:
Greg Sawicki, North Carolina State University, "An OpenSim Modeling Framework to Assess Individual Muscle Dynamics during Walking with Powered Ankle Exoskeletons Post‐Stroke"
Rob Siston, Ohio State University, "Subject-Specific Simulations of Knee Osteoarthritis"
Anne Silverman, Colorado School of Mines, "Does use of a Powered Prosthesis Improve Gait in Persons with a Transtibial Amputation?"
Kotaro Sasaki, Boise State University, "Efficient handcycling for improved spinal cord injury rehabilitation results"
Justin Seipel, Purdue University, "Robust Stability Analysis Tools and Robustly Stable Above-Knee Amputee Locomotion in OpenSim"
Kevin Deluzio, Queen's University, "Neuromuscular Contribution to Contact Forces in Knee Osteoarthritis Subjects"
Rod Barrett, Griffith University, "Neuro-mechanics of recovery from forward loss of balance investigated using a hybrid EMG-CMC approach"
Research proposals should provide a scientific description of the project to be performed and convey the impact on rehabilitation and the biomechanical simulation community. Applications must also include a description of funding and other support requested.
Preference will be given to projects that limit indirect costs to 8%. Funding may be up to $40,000 in total costs, including any indirect costs assessed by awardees' institutions. The preferred 8% limit on indirect costs is intended to maximize the amount of funds that investigators receive to complete their pilot work. It is an amount that has been agreed upon by the PIs of the MR3 network of research centers. Note that for foreign institutions, an 8% limit is required, per NIH policy.
Download the application materials here: Pilot Project Application 2016.
1) Written proposals and supporting materials should be sent electronically, preferably as a single PDF, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2) You must also complete the online application/registration form.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Midnight, July 20, 2016
WINNERS ANNOUNCED: October 2016
FUNDING BEGINS: Late 2016
If you have additional questions about the program or the application process, contact us at email@example.com.
Who is eligible to apply?
We welcome applicants from biomechanics, computer science, robotics, neuroscience, physical therapy, and other fields. We seek proposals from investigators with experience in physics-based modeling and simulation who are conducting rehabilitation research in areas including but not limited to stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, prosthetics, orthotics, robotics-assisted therapy, and osteoarthritis.
The Principal Investigator must have a faculty or research scientist appointment with a minimum of 50% time devoted to research. The PI must have a research doctorate or relevant clinical degree (MD, DPT) with some evidence of research training and experience. There are no other restrictions related to prior or current funding or experience level.
Postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and other staff can be included as personnel.
Investigators from international and domestic institutions are welcome to apply.
What CVs are needed in the application?
Please include current CVs for the principal investigator (applicant) and any other personnel who will be paid by the project. Please include other current funding sources in the CVs.
What types of project topics are we looking for?
We are seeking projects that will further the NCSRR’s mission to equip the rehabilitation research community with state-of-the-art simulation tools, enabling investigators to complement experimental studies of human performance with advanced simulation software and biomechanical models.
In particular, we welcome proposals that are using modeling and simulation to address research questions in areas including, but not limited to, stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, prosthetics, orthotics, and osteoarthritis. We also welcome proposals that will enhance the capabilities of the OpenSim software package.
How will my proposal be evaluated?
Applications are reviewed by the NCSRR Staff and our Scientific Advisory Board. Pilot project grants will be awarded based on several factors, chief among them:
1) The potential impact of the proposed work on biomechanical simulation and/or rehabilitation research
2) The likelihood of success in achieving the proposed research goals and follow-on funding.
3) Strength of the research record of the applicant(s)
What can the funding be spent on?
The funding can be spent on supplies, equipment, personnel (faculty, post-doc, or student), or other expenses needed to achieve the aims of the proposal. The period of funding is up to one-year.
The funding can also be used for travel expenses, for example to visit the Stanford campus for access to software engineering support. Alternately, the seed grant could be used to fund contract support from NCSRR staff.
What should be included in the detailed budget and justification?
Provide a detailed budget (up to $40,000 over a one-year period) using the table example below. Include a brief narrative justification describing the responsibilities of personnel and any supplies and/or other expenses requested.
Name & Role
Jane Doe, Principal Investigator
John Doe, Research Assistant
What is expected at the conclusion of project funding?
All funded projects will be required to submit a progress report at the end of the funding period, describing their accomplishments. Awardees will also be expected to share the knowledge they have gained by establishing a Simtk.org project describing the pilot project—the goals of the project and what was achieved. Furthermore, we will strongly encourage awardees to share any research results (software, models, simulations) with the larger community through their Simtk.org project.
Proposals will also be judged on the likelihood that the project will result in future extramural funding. A study will be prioritized if there is a high likelihood that the results, data, models, or software tools generated will lead to a larger, more definitive project that will be competitive for extramural funding.
How many pilot project awards will be given?
We anticipate awarding up to 3 pilot grants, depending on the quality of applications received. If there are more high-quality applications than we are able to fund, we plan to offer travel awards to an OpenSim workshop.