NIH News Release
National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Cheryl Fee
(301) 451-6772

NIH and NSF Announce Joint Awards
to Support Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Summer Institutes Program

Bethesda, Maryland — The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have collaborated on a joint program to support interdisciplinary research training and education through the Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Summer Institutes (BBSI) Program. The purpose of the BBSI is to provide undergraduate and graduate students with well-planned interdisciplinary bioengineering or bioinformatics research and education experiences that encourage the students to pursue biomedical careers. The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), a component of the NIH, and the NSF, are providing a total of $6 million over four years to fund this program.

"This program is an exciting way to link the biomedical sciences with the allied disciplines," said Dr. Richard Swaja, NIBIB Program Manager. "In addition to encouraging students to consider biomedical careers, the institutes will provide information on the most effective methods to facilitate trans-disciplinary training and will help to shape future programs."

The funded BBSIs are at the California State University, Clemson University, Iowa State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, University of Minnesota, University of Pittsburgh, and the Virginia Commonwealth University. The first institutes will be conducted during the summer of 2003, and a meeting of the grantees is planned for late 2002 or early 2003 to discuss programs and approaches.

For more than a year, the NIBIB and the NSF Engineering Directorate's Division of Engineering Education and Centers have joined forces to identify needs in multidisciplinary research training, education, and career development at all levels, and worked to develop joint actions to address these needs. The BBSI is a result of this collaboration, and is designed to meet the specialized training needs in the bioengineering and bioinformatics areas.

"We are quite excited about this partnership between NIH, NSF, and the awarded BBSI institutes," said Dr. Sohi Rastegar, NSF Program Manager. "We hope the summer institutes will encourage students majoring in biology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and other quantitative fields to consider careers in bioengineering and bioinformatics."

For more information on the NIH/NSF Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Summer Institutes Program, visit the NIBIB Web site at