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Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) 


Apply for the GEM Program

GEM Challenge 2023 RFA is now available.

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) in the Jacobs School of Engineering are pleased to announce the eighth round of the Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) competition to identify clinical challenges for which engineering solutions can be developed and implemented. GEM has the overarching goal of building a collaborative ecosystem that leverages UCSD's outstanding strengths in clinical care and engineering to solve important healthcare problems. Awards in the range of $30,000 for one year will be given.

This year, the GEM competition will have only one submission. We invite teams that include at least one Clinically Active UCSD Faculty Member and one Engineering Faculty Member as PIs to submit a proposal. Postdoctoral Fellows and Project Scientists are not eligible to be PIs but may be members of the team.

Application Deadlines, Notices of Awards, and Funding Cycle

  • Application Deadline: Monday, June 26, 2023, 5:00 p.m. PT
  • Notice of Awards: September 1st, 2023
  • Funding Cycle: September 1, 2023–August 31, 2024

Read the application guidelines here.

[Applications for 2023 are closed]

About GEM

GEM is an initiative headed by the UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute (ACTRI) and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego (IEM). Leading this initiative are Andrew McCulloch, PhD. , Deborah Spector, PhD. , and Gary Firestein, MD. The GEM initiative promotes collaboration between engineers and physicians to develop innovative technologies that can be applied to solving challenging problems in medical care.

GEM Awards  

The GEM Initiative funds projects that aim to develop engineering solutions to clinical challenges. Teams that include at least one Clinically Active UCSD Faculty Member and one Engineering Faculty Member as PIs are invited to submit a proposal for the annual GEM competition. GEM awards are up to $60,000 for 18 months. 

GEM COVID-19 Rapid Response Awards 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GEM provided COVID-19 Rapid Response Awards to projects addressing the novel coronavirus. GEM COVID-19 Rapid Response Awards funded projects such as: 

  • Vacuum-Exhausted Isolation Locker (VEIL) to Facilitate Treatment of Respiratory Compromise from COVID-19 Infection
  • Disposable Wearable for Tracking Vitals of COVID-19 ICU Patients
  • Customized Wearable Wireless Multimodal Sensor for Continuous and Remote Monitoring of COVID-19 Patients
  • Biomaterials for treating COVID-19 lung and systemic inflammation
  • Tele-Health Robots to Improve Healthcare Safety and Patient Well-being
  • Ventricular Arrhythmia Risk Assessment following COVID-19
  • MedECC: Medical Electronic Command Center for COVID-19 Crisis
  • Personalized Mental Wellness Platform for Clinicians

GEM Projects

From 2014-2020, this initiative has funded 27 GEM Phase I Projects, and 4 GEM Continuation Projects. The GEM initiative has resulted in 243 publications and poster presentations, 32 patents, 7 startup companies, and numerous new collaborations between engineers, clinical faculty, and industry. 

GEM Awardees Comment on the Program:

The GEM program provides an opportunity for us to get out of our silos and make clinically relevant advancements through cross-disciplinary collaboration.”

“The GEM award provided critical seed funding for us that has been extremely valuable in allowing us to develop our technology, obtain pilot data, advance our research, obtain further funding, and will likely lead to commercialization of this technology.”

“We are really grateful that this GEM program catalyzed major progress in our labs."

“The GEM program provides the stimulus for bringing together engineers and medical clinicians to discover new ways to help patients. Another important aspect of GEM is training the next generation of engineering students and young physicians to collaborate together.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that the GEM program has succeeded in achieving Chancellor Khosla's vision of different parts of the University collaborating to discover novel solutions to complicated problems.”