2015 Pilot Projects Request For Applications

Request for applications- deadline Friday, February 6, 2015

This RFA is now CLOSED

The URI/RIH COBRE announces the availability of funds to support 1-year innovative pilot studies related to infectious disease immunology.

The objective of this Pilot Projects program is to provide support for research efforts of new investigators to facilitate the development of sufficient preliminary data to permit successful application for independent research support through conventional grant mechanisms.

Eligibility, requirements, and availability of funds

Faculty members at any of the Rhode Island institutions are eligible to apply. To be eligible for funding, the PI should not have received external funding as PI of an R01 grant or equivalent. Applications may be considered from post-doctoral fellows who are at or near the point of transitioning to faculty position; such individuals should contact the COBRE Program Director (see below) to discuss their eligibility.

Projects must be relevant to the COBRE theme of research in infectious diseases immunology, as broadly defined. Utilization of COBRE Scientific Cores (see above) is encouraged but not required. Applicants must document the institutional commitment to protected time to develop a research career and to mentoring of the investigator.

The COBRE has up to $150,000 in funds available to support this Pilot Projects program for the period June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016. Applicants may request up to $50,000 in direct costs for a period of up to 1 year along with F&A costs at the NIH-approved rate for their institution. The COBRE aims to fund three projects in the current application cycle.

Funded investigators will be required to submit a progress report near the end of the 1-year funding period and present at the annual meeting with our External Advisory Committee. Investigators will be contacted thereafter for brief annual updates on grants and publications resulting from funding under this program.

Application instructions

Applications should follow an abbreviated PHS 398 format with minor modifications:

  • Face Page- Include the investigator’s name, academic title, department, institution, and a descriptive title for the project.
  • Abstract- Using PHS form 398 page 2, provide a one-paragraph summary of the proposal.
  • Budget/budget justification- Provide a budget request for one year of support with brief explanation using the NIH standard (not modular) format. Costs for equipment or renovation are not permitted. A maximum of $50,000 may be requested (direct costs).
  • Biographical sketch- Provide a biographical sketch for the P.I. only (NIH format).
  • Research plan- Proposals are limited to 4 pages of single-spaced text (excluding references), and should follow the NIH PHS form 398 outline:
    1. Specific Aims- Project goals should reflect the 1-year pilot period; no more than ½ page is recommended.
    2. Significance- In addition to the scientific significance of the research, note i) the relevance of the project to the COBRE scientific theme, and ii) the expected impact of the pilot studies on the likelihood of success in obtaining independent funding.
    3. Innovation
    4. Approach- Preliminary data, if any, should be included within this section.
    5. References (not included in the 4-page limit)
  • Research subjects- Provide information on Protection of Human Subjects and/or Vertebrate Animals as required for PHS form 398. Indicate whether the protocol has been submitted to or approved by the relevant IRB and/or IACUC.
  • Biohazards- Provide information on any biohazards (and Select Agents, where relevant). Indicate whether the protocol has been submitted to or approved by the relevant Institutional Biosafety Committee.
  • Letter of support- A letter of support from the Department Chair should address a) commitment of protected time for research, and b) plans for mentoring the investigator.

Review process and selection criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a review committee based on the following criteria:

  • Scientific merit (significance, investigators, innovation, approach)
  • Relevance to the COBRE scientific theme (translational infectious diseases immunology)
  • Impact of the proposed pilot studies on the potential for future independent funding
  • Institutional support for the investigator

Review Committee recommendations must be approved by the COBRE External Advisory Committee and NIH before commitment of funds.

Inquiries and submissions

Preliminary scientific and/or programmatic inquiries are highly encouraged and should be directed to Alan Rothman, M.D. (telephone 401-277-5419, e-mail: alan_rothman@mail.uri.edu). Submit all parts of the application electronically as a single PDF file to Ms. Heather Johnson (e‑mail: hjohnson.uri@gmail.com).

Applications must be received by 5:00 P.M. on Friday, February 6, 2015