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Grant Funding

How to apply for grants funded by NIAAA and manage existing grants.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)


Biosensor Challenge two men with icons

A Wearable Alcohol Biosensor - A Second Challenge

We would be remiss if we didn’t recognize that this Challenge is just that, a challenge. We are aware that the criteria may be difficult to meet on all accounts. However, that is why we have posted the challenge. All submissions will be judged based upon how much the solution meets all the criteria.
Q. What is the deadline to submit entries?
A. The submission period has ended; the deadline was May 15, 2017
Q. Is the Alcohol Biosensor Challenge open to nonprofit organizations?
A. Yes, the challenge is open to all organizations and individuals, including students, inventors, and small and large businesses.
Q. Am I responsible for Intellectual Property Rights?
A. Yes: By submitting the Submission, each Solver warrants that he or she is the sole author and owner of any patentable works that the Submission comprises, that the works are wholly original with the Solver (or is an improved version of an existing work that the Solver has sufficient rights to use and improve), and that the Submission does not infringe any copyright, patent or any other rights of any third party of which Solver is aware.
  • NOTE: “To receive an award, Solvers will not be required to transfer their exclusive intellectual property rights to the NIH. Instead, Solvers will grant to the federal government a nonexclusive license to practice their solutions and use the materials that describe them.”
Q: Submissions
Submit your entry following the instructions. Once you have submitted you will then receive an email from NIAAA on how and where to send your prototype, which must be post marked no later than 48 hours after email notification.
When it comes time to submit the entries on the site, if you have more than one, give the entries different names.  If you decide to submit more than one, and if you run into trouble at that stage, let us know by email, and we’ll work it out.
Q: Prototypes

Prototypes must be mailed within 48 hours of receiving the emailed instructions following submission of the entry.
Q: Funding alternatives: Are there other means for funding this search for a Blood Alcohol Biosensor?
A. Yes, but it should be noted you may not enter the competition if already receiving governmental funding for your project. However, if you were to win the prize you could still apply for an SBIR/STTR award afterward.
Information about the SBIR/STTR (Small business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer) program can be found at
The Omnibus Solicitations can be found at and  A link within both of those takes you to the list of all topics of interest to various divisions within NIH.  Alcohol biosensors is one of the topics under NIAAA.
In addition, there is a focused Notice of Funding Opportunity at
The prize competition, the one that brought your attention to NIAAA’s interest in the development of a wearable alcohol biosensor, is listed on the site. The difference between this, and a grant or a contract is that in this case, the preliminary work precedes the money; and award money is a prize.


Q: Form Factor: Is it possible for us to propose more than one form factor? Or can each team propose only one form factor?
A: Each team can certainly submit more than one form factor, as long as the entries are clearly distinct. 
Q: Manufacturing plan: What would be an ideal/expected deliverable(s) in a manufacturing plan? Could you be more specific on what should be included in our manufacturing plan? 
A: While there are no strict guidelines for the manufacturing plan, the information you submit might include anything from whether your business already has manufacturing facilities, how/where you will try to obtain venture capital, or perhaps  a shortlist of potential manufacturers you  might work/partner with.  The main point is that NIAAA’s goal is to encourage the development and marketing of a workable device.  Your plan should work to assure us that if awarded a prize, your invention will not then stay on the shelf.
Q: Currently there are devices such as an ankle monitor that are used mostly by law enforcement. While these meet the requirements needed by law enforcement to monitor alcohol consumption they cannot be considered to be real-time monitoring tools as they measure TAC (transdermal alcohol concentration) rather than BAC. Generally, TAC levels will peak up to 2 hours after BAC levels.

There seem to be other options that would be non-invasive and real time, however don’t meet your criteria for passive monitoring, such as breath. What factor (s) is/are most important? Real-time, non-invasive, or passive data collection? 
A: These questions represent the conundrum and disadvantages of current methods of detection of alcohol consumption very well.  The detection in the sweat vapor has the disadvantage of the great delay between BAC and TAC.  Similarly, while breath alcohol is better time-wise, it reflects blood alcohol, but does not precisely measure blood alcohol.  There are publications in the literature demonstrating the correlation.
The ideal device for NIAAA would be something that measures actual blood alcohol levels in a non-invasive manner.  That is neither TAC nor breath alcohol.  At the moment, however, such a device does not exist; such a device would be the ideal.  
We cannot predict what sort of inventions will be submitted to the competition; therefore, we encourage all to submit your best prototype(s).  NIAAA’s request for a passive device also has the component of being discreet, so if your prototype is discreet, all the better.






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