Solicitations - ACME-POCT

2019 Award Competition: Microsystems-based Point-of-Care Testing for Acute, Emergency, and Critical Care Medicine

ATLANTA, GA – The Atlanta Center for Microsystems-Engineered Point-of-Care Technologies (ACME POCT), based at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology at Georgia Tech, announces an award competition for collaborative research projects to accelerate development of microsystems-based POC technologies that can provide rapid and clinically actionable results enabling physicians to make prompt diagnosis, define risk stratification, establish early therapy or make changes to therapy for acutely or critically ill patients.


In acute, emergency, and critical care settings – ranging from urgent care clinics to emergency rooms to intensive care units of various types – rapid access to diagnostic testing can significantly improve outcomes for patients with potentially life-threatening illnesses. To that end, point-of-care (POC) patient testing has the potential to provide clinically actionable results enabling physicians to make prompt diagnosis, define risk stratification, and establish early therapy or make changes to therapy for these acutely or critically ill patients. The recent advent of microsystems and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), with microsensors, microfluidic devices, and even smartphone-enabled diagnostics entering the medical arena now provides new opportunities for POC testing in the acute care and critical care settings. 

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Design requirements for POCTs

The proposed projects must focus on microsystems-based POC tests, which we define as a POC technologies that are enabled by microscale devices with characteristic feature sizes of <1 mm, may be comprised of microelectromechanical systems (MEMs)-based sensors, microfluidic components, or even smartphone-based systems, and the data analysis thereof. Characteristic for many of these microsystems are that they are batch-fabricated similar to the circuit chips in modern electronic devices.

Clinically, these microsystems should obtain quantitative information that enable rapid diagnose of disease or complication of disease, assess function of a vital organ system(s) such as the cardiac, pulmonary, endocrine, hepatic, renal/electrolytes, hematologic/hemostatic, and neurologic systems, or measure drug or toxicology screens.

While the proposed microsystem must address a clinical need in the urgent, emergency, and critical care medicine setting, this can also be accomplished in the context of existing life-threatening diseases, including but not limited to, heart disease, cancer, pulmonary diseases, asthma, infections, and genetic disorders.

The proposed microsystems-based POC test must also be accurate, cost-effective, and user-friendly, provide easily accessible results with a robust yet simple data management system, have a clear regulatory pathway, and show promise to significantly improve clinical outcomes.

The applicant team must have at least a working prototype with strong preliminary data that clearly demonstrates that they have surpassed the proof-of-concept stage regarding the technological, regulatory, marketing/business, and clinical aspects of their microsystems-based POC test.

Applicants will be asked to illustrate and describe the different components of their microsystems and how the overall system “works,” for example, by including a schematic diagram(s), such that the reviewers will have a clear sense of the proposed POC technology.

Application Instructions

Point-of-Care Technology award applications are solicited and evaluated in two stages. Applicants must submit pre-proposals, which will undergo review by ACME and NIH scientific staff.  A subset of the applicants who submitted pre-proposals will be invited to submit full proposals.  Further details are provided below.

  • Applications from anywhere in the US will be considered whether the applicants are from academic or non-academic, public or private, or non-profit or for-profit institutions.
  • Awards under this solicitation may be made only to NIH-eligible applicants. Details regarding specific requirements can be found in the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards.       
  • Pre-proposals must be submitted through the POCTRN on-line system and are due no later than 11:59pm CST on Friday, March 1, 2019. 
  • Awards will be $50,000-$150,000 for 6 to 18 monthsThe funding and length of award will be determined based upon the statement of work and the time and money required to accomplish the milestones.
  • Awards include combined direct and indirect costs. Indirect costs will be provided at your institution’s Federally-negotiated rate. We expect to make 3-5 awards.
  • Applicants will be notified by Friday, March 15, 2019 as to whether they are invited to submit a full proposal.
  • Invitations will be sent by email both to the PI and to the administrative contact listed in the pre-proposal. Invited full proposals must be received by 11:59pm CST Wednesday, May 15th, 2019. Proposals must be submitted through the web-based proposal submission system.
  • Instructions for navigating and completing the full-proposal submission system will be sent with the notification to individuals from whom full-proposals are requested. 
  • Each full proposal will be peer-reviewed on a confidential basis. All applicants will be informed of review decisions by July 15, 2019.

ACME POCT was funded in 2018 for a five-year period by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Point-of-Care Technologies Research Network (POCTRN).  ACME’s mission is to assist and enable inventors and clinicians at a national level who have developed or are developing microsystems-based POC technologies to define their clinical needs, conduct clinical validation, and refine their technology with the objective of accelerating the path to translation and clinical adoption.

Date: 1/15/2019
ACME POCT Contact: Erika Tyburski 

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