Intuitive Surgical Clinical Robotics Research Grants

Intuitive Surgical Inc. is pleased to announce the availability of funding to support Clinical Research Grants for Robotic-assisted Surgery 2018.

Overview: The purpose of these grants is to support clinical research in the field of robotic-assisted surgery. Successful proposals will address important clinical questions or support clinically relevant technology development. 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 will have two funding options for the upcoming grant cycles:

  1. Applicants may apply for grant funding up to $50,000 per project (US dollars, total costs).
  2. Applicants may apply for grant funding up to $20,000 (US dollars, total costs) plus a 12 month loan of a Surgeon Console and Skills Simulator.

The grant funding can be used to support salary, equipment, supplies and/or travel required to support the proposed research project for a period of up to one year.

We have identified key research areas of interest for the 2018 clinical grant programs. Principal Investigators are encouraged, although not required to submit proposals that fall into one or more of the following areas:

For applications from within the United States the following are the areas of focus:

  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Hernia Surgery
  • Ergonomics (focused on societal and cost impact)

For applications from outside of the United States the following are the areas of focus:

  • Colorectal Surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • General Surgery/Visceral surgery
  • Ergonomics (focused on societal and cost impact)
  • Urology

Please note that at this time we are currently not focused on submissions related to training curriculum development.

Selection Process: Applicants must first submit a Letter of Intent to Propose (LOI) as detailed below. Grant LOIs will be reviewed and ranked by an internal selection committee. Those LOIs meeting 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 and innovation
  • Clinical relevance and value
  • Evidence of feasibility
  • Strength of evaluation methods and measures
  • Availability of required resources

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

Letter of Intent 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. . For any letters of intent that use large databases or that focuses on comparative effectiveness research, cost effectiveness analysis, patient reported outcomes, health related quality of life, or cost outcomes, we recommend that a health economist, health services researcher or epidemiologist be part of the research team. Please identify this individual within the capabilities section of your submission.
  • Budget: Include a specific request for funds and include permanent hard equipment, statistical analyses, consumable equipment, salaries to staff and other direct expenses. Hard equipment purchases should not exceed $5,000. The budget should not include salaries for the principal investigator or other investigators, although salaries for statisticians, lab technicians, fellows and other support personnel may be included. No more than 20% of the total budget can be allocated for indirect costs.

Click here to submit a letter of intent online for the Clinical Research Grant for Robotic-assisted Surgery.

Priority weighting will be given to research projects that have multispecialty application, e.g. intraoperative imaging or lymph node identification, surgical education, and ergonomics.

Grant Cycle for Funding in January 2018: For applications from outside of the United States the following are the areas of focus: Thoracic Surgery, Hernia Surgery and Ergonomics (societal and cost impact). For applications from outside of the United States the following are the areas of focus: Colorectal Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, General Surgery/Visceral surgery, Ergonomics (societal and cost impact), Urology.

  • Interested applicants should submit a Letter of Intent by June 2, 2017. Invitations to submit full grant applications will be sent by July 21, 2017 (this invitation will include grant application guidelines and forms).
  • The deadline for submitting a full, invited grant application is September 15, 2017. Only complete application packets will be considered. Awardees will be notified by October 20, 2017. Grant monies must be used to support research expenses which occur from January 1, 2018 – December 30, 2018.

Grant Conditions:

  • Applicants may apply to fund a clinical research project or a project to support clinically-relevant technology development.
  • Intuitive Surgical strongly encourages institutions who have not previously received funding from the company to apply.
  • 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
  • Grant monies and loaned equipment must be used to support research expenses and activities which occur from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 only.
  • Loaned equipment is “Not For Human Use” and must not be placed in an operating room.
  • Awardee institution must allow Intuitive Surgical reasonable access for servicing the 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 $50,000 USD nor $20,000 USD if a console and simulator loan is requested..
  • In the case of technology development, IP terms and conditions may require negotiation.
  • Grantees will be invited to present their work at our headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA (travel costs covered by Intuitive Surgical).
  • All applicants selected to receive a grant are required to submit a one-page 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 Surgical, and any loaned equipment will be promptly returned to Intuitive Surgical. 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, 2018 will be refunded to Intuitive Surgical

To submit a letter of intent, use our on-line application process 
Click here to submit a letter of intent online for the Clinical Research Grant for Robotic-assisted Surgery.

Please email with questions regarding the grant process. If you do not have email access, please send a hardcopy of your letter of intent to:

Dale Bergman
Project Manager, Medical Research
Intuitive Surgical
1266 Kifer Road, Bldg. 102
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Intuitive Surgical will be supporting research grants through the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) Research Foundation and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) to fund robotic-assisted surgery research for general and colorectal surgery. This change will only affect surgeons within the United States. Additional information for these programs can be found on the following website.

Colorectal research grant information for the ASCRS grant program:

General surgery research grant information for the SAGES grant program: