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India to collaborate with US on developing low-cost blood pressure measurement

Proposals being accepted for initiative through April 21.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: India and the US are set to begin collaborating on an initiative to develop low-cost blood pressure measurement technologies, for distribution and usage in low-income and under-developed parts of both nations.

According to a press release put out by the Government of India, the blood pressure project is meant to “encourage collaborative research within and between both the countries to propose new approaches to the measurement of Blood Pressure that are unobtrusive or passive, low cost and which can automatically provide frequent data recording and reporting to healthcare workers as well as feed back to the patients.”

The partnership is part of the Indo-US Grand Challenge Initiative, undertaken between the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of the Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), a subsidiary of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Proposals are being accepted from Indian researchers in academic and research institutions throughout the country, and all proposed technologies must be “simple at the front user end, low cost, reliable, robust and do not need any clinical expertise at the user end.” They should all provide accurate blood pressure measurements, and should be simple enough for anyone to use – the idea being that if someone has never seen a blood pressure measuring device in their lives, or doesn’t even know what blood pressure is, they should still be able to use the device.

The proposals must be “science driven,” and cover all aspects of Research and Development (R&D). They must also include an idea for implementation, as well as outlines for how much construction and distribution could feasibly cost if and when the proposal is actually selected to be put into use.

For eligibility, in addition to being from an academic or research institute, the guidelines state that grantees will have to attend networking meetings to share the work and collaborate with other innovators, as everyone works together towards a common goal. Partnerships with US institutions at this stage are also encouraged, but not necessary.

“SERB and NIBIB have launched two separate and parallel, funding opportunity announcements in India and USA respectively to promote research in this area and generate alternate scientific approaches and technological options,” said the press release.

The Indian Government also added that it hopes the blood pressure technology initiative will “leverage knowledge and material resources to develop new technologies which are relevant for low resource settings not only in their respective political domain but other similar settings all over the world.”

An “expression of interest” regarding this project is due to the necessary parties by this Monday, April 21. A schedule detailing when the selection process and subsequent stages of the initiative are set to occur has not been revealed.