NIH Funding Opportunity

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, launched an opportunity on, titled, “Novel, Innovative Tools to Increase Public Awareness and Knowledge of Sickle Cell Disease Undergraduate Challenge.” The Challenge seeks to raise awareness about sickle cell disease (SCD) and its associated complications and to improve the use of effective treatments in real world settings.

Complete instructions; rules, terms and conditions; registration and submission details; and how submissions will be evaluated may be found here.

Rules for Participating in the Challenge

This Challenge is open to any “Student Team”, defined as a group of at least 3 and not more than 5 individuals each of whom is at least 18 years of age and currently enrolled as a full-time student pursuing an undergraduate or associates degree. The Student Team Captain must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
The Student Team must also be trans-disciplinary, that is, composed of undergraduate students from diverse disciplines such as fine arts, performing arts, humanities, psychology, science, engineering, graphic design, IT (hardware, software), mathematics, statistics, environmental science, computational modeling, and others.

The goals of the Challenge are to: 1) generate novel, innovative tools that may be used to increase public awareness and knowledge of SCD and associated complications that could potentially improve patient care; 2) advance the field of implementation science through research training, mentoring, and highlighting the contributions of a new generation of undergraduate researchers using a systems science approach to address multi-faceted problems; and 3) encourage “team science” by providing undergraduate students valuable experiences to pursue science collectively as they engage in complex problem solving to improve health outcomes for SCD.


Challenge announced: Oct. 21, 2015

Submissions accepted: Nov. 30, 2015 to March 7, 2016 11:59 p.m. PDT

Judging: March 14, 2016 to March 25, 2016

Winners notified by email: April 5, 2016

Winners announced: April 19, 2016

Amount of the Prize

  • 1st Prize – $7,000, 2nd Prize – $5,000, 3rd Prize – $3,000
  • Up to an additional $2,000 to reimburse the Student Team for eligible expenses to register for and travel to the annual NHLBI/National Sickle Cell Disease meeting to present and demonstrate its winning entry.

Sickle cell disease [SCD] is the most common genetic disorder in the United States. There is a lack of awareness about SCD and associated complications. Where there is some awareness, there are also misunderstandings about the disease that need to be addressed such as the following: SCD is contagious; if one has the disease they will die young; if the parents are not sick from SCD, the children could never have SCD; and SCD only affects African Americans. Stigma also remains associated with SCD. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, funds both research to improve the health of people with SCD and the training and career development of scientists and physicians dedicated to advancing the care of the afflicted. Research saves lives as demonstrated by the increased life expectancy and the decreased disease burden of those suffering with SCD who receive optimal therapy. To help address this problem, the NHLBI has launched this Challenge.

Online Resources 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/National Institutes of Health: What is Sickle Cell Anemia:

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Inc.: (link is external)

National Human Genome Research Institute/National Institutes of Health:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health:

Sickle Cell Disease.  Tips for Healthy Living:



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