• Clinical Research Grants

Intuitive Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of funding to support Clinical Research Grants for Robotic-assisted Surgery 2020.

Overview: The purpose of these grants is to support clinical research in the field of robotic-assisted surgery. Successful proposals will address important questions, related to surgical care and patient outcomes.  Grants will be awarded to researchers at non-profit institutions worldwide.

Awards are conferred on a competitive basis by submission of a grant application.

Available Grants:

Applicants may apply for grant funding up to $60,000 per project (US dollars, total costs).

The grant funding can be used to support salaries for statisticians, lab technicians, fellows, research coordinators and other support personnel, equipment, supplies and/or travel required to support the proposed research project for a period of up to one year. The grant funding may not be used to support physician salaries.

Research areas of interest

We have identified key research areas of interest for the 2020 clinical grant programs. Principal Investigators are encouraged, although not required to submit proposals that fall into one or more of the following areas:

Clinical Outcomes Based Research (applications from the United States)
Research related to clinical outcomes for robotic-assisted surgical procedures with a particular focus on comparative studies. Examples may include:

  • Assessment of clinical outcome differences (including variation in outcomes) comparing robotic-assisted vs. other minimally invasive and/or open surgical techniques.
    • For applications from the United States, we are most interested in clinical outcomes related to Thoracic Surgery and General Surgery.
  • Comparison of opioid use and/or pain between robotic-assisted vs. other minimally invasive and/or open surgical techniques.
  • Assessment of clinical outcome differences comparing robotic-assisted instruments to traditional hand-held instruments (e.g., stapler).

Clinical Outcomes Based Research (applications from outside the United States)
Research related to clinical outcomes for robotic-assisted surgical procedures with a particular focus on comparative studies. Examples may include:

  • Assessment of clinical outcome differences (including variation in outcomes) comparing robotic-assisted vs. other minimally invasive and/or open surgical techniques.
    • For applications outside the United States, we are most interested in clinical outcomes related to Colorectal Surgery, General/Visceral Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Gynecology and Urology.
  • Comparison of opioid use and/or pain between robotic-assisted vs. other minimally invasive and/or open surgical techniques.
  • Assessment of clinical outcome differences comparing robotic-assisted instruments to traditional hand-held instruments (e.g., stapler).

Imaging, Vision or Navigational Research
Research focused on enhanced visualization during surgical procedures. Examples may include:

  • The application of preoperative imaging modalities during surgical interventions.
  • The use of intraoperative imaging modalities during surgical interventions.
  • Novel use of fluorescence imaging technology (Research that has been published or presented by other groups will not be considered).
  • The use of novel imaging modalities during interventions.

Health Economic and Outcomes Research including Cost-effectiveness and Cost-utility Studies related to Robotic-assisted Surgery:
Research related to local services utilization, clinical and economic burden of the disease, cost of care, and research focused on quality of life or utilities related to surgical care. Examples may include:

  • Patient care pathway or epidemiological studies on clinical and economic burden of illness.
  • Patient/clinician reported outcomes, quality of life, health utilities.
  • Cost effectiveness modeling incorporated local services utilization and costs from local data sources (not from the literature).

We strongly recommend that research within this category include a health economist as a part of the research team. Please identify this individual within the capabilities section of your submission. New Procedure Exploration and Development Research:
Research focused on emerging robotic-assisted surgical procedures using existing technologies.

  • Please note that research conducted on human subjects may require applicable authorizations or favorable opinions from any relevant authorities, such as governmental and medical institution authorities, prior to funding.

Application Guidelines

Selection Process: Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to Propose as detailed below. Grant LOIs will be reviewed and ranked by an internal selection committee. LOIs reaching a predetermined scoring threshold will be invited to submit a full grant. All Letters of Intent as well as invited full grant applications will be reviewed and scored on the following criteria:

  • Clarity of research goals and objectives
  • Novelty (building on existing literature)
  • Clinical relevance and value
  • Evidence of feasibility
  • Strength of evaluation methods and measures including statistical power analysis as appropriate
  • Availability of required resources
  • Appropriately defined research scope, timeline and budget

LOIs and full grant proposals will be handled in a confidential manner and will not be distributed beyond the grant selection committee at the foundation. Due to the expected volume of proposals, we regret that the committee will not be able to provide detailed individualized feedback for unsuccessful proposals.

LOI Guidelines: A letter of intent to propose should be submitted by all grant applicants. Submissions should consist of 5 parts:

  • Summary: one or two sentence proposal overview.
  • Description of Problem/Background
  • Purpose, Hypothesis and Methods of Research
  • Capabilities: Indicate the identities, capabilities and credentials of investigators as well as any participating institution. Include contact information for principal investigator.
  • Budget: Include a specific request for funds that includes permanent hard equipment, statistical analyses, consumable equipment, salaries to staff and other direct expenses. No more than 20% of the total budget can be allocated for indirect costs.
    • Hard equipment purchases should not exceed $5,000.
    • The budget should not include salaries for physicians, although salaries for statisticians, lab technicians, fellows and other support personnel may be included.

Deadlines for All Clinical Research Grants:

Grant Cycle for Funding in January 2020:

  • Interested applicants should submit a Letter of Intent by June 10, 2019. Invitations to submit full grant applications will be sent by July 29, 2019 (this invitation will include grant application guidelines and forms).
  • The deadline for submitting a full, invited grant application is September 16, 2019. Only complete application packets will be considered. Awardees will be notified by November 22, 2019. Grant monies must be used to support research expenses during the 2020 calendar year.

Grant Cycle for Funding in July 2020 – June 2021:

  • Interested applicants should submit a Letter of Intent by January 6, 2020. Invitations to submit full grant applications will be sent by February 28, 2020 (this invitation will include grant application guidelines and forms).
  • The deadline for submitting a full, invited grant application is April 13, 2020. Only complete application packets will be considered. Awardees will be notified by June 8, 2020. Grant monies must be used to support research expenses during the 2020 -2021 calendar year.

Eligibility and Grant Conditions

  • Multiple grants will not be funded simultaneously to any principal investigator.
  • Multiple grants to the same institution for different principal investigators will be considered.
  • Awards must be used to fund research at not-for-profit institutions. Grants are not to be used to fund for-profit activities.
  • Grants are awarded to principal investigators at their institution. If there are any changes in the principal investigator or group’s ability to conduct the proposed research, the Foundation reserves the right to reconsider the award.
  • Grant funding must be used to support research expenses and activities, which occur from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 only.
  • Awardee institution must allow Intuitive Surgical reasonable access for servicing any Intuitive Surgical loaned equipment, including network connectivity for remote support.
  • Total costs may include no more than 20% indirect costs and the total budget, including both direct costs, indirect costs and any applicable taxes, should not exceed $60,000 USD.
  • Grantees will be invited to present their work at our headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA (travel costs covered by Intuitive Foundation).
  • All applicants selected to receive a grant are required to submit a mid-year progress report, as well as a final status report that details study results and conclusions.
  • If the funded project does not take place, all monies awarded will be refunded to Intuitive Foundation, and any loaned equipment will be promptly returned to the lender of the equipment. If the project is terminated early, then a partial refund, with an accounting of the funds expended up to the termination date, will be provided by the Principal Investigator. Any unused funds as of December 31, 2020 will be refunded to Intuitive Foundation.

Please email grants@intuitive-foundation.org with questions regarding the grant process.