Pilot Study Funding
The goals of the SNPRC Pilot Studies Program are to foster research that will yield preliminary data important for applications to the NIH in support of new biomedical research projects using nonhuman primates, or the development of new models and technologies that can be used to enhance the value of nonhuman primates as a biomedical research resource that can be used by many investigators.
Investigators at the Staff Scientist (Research Assistant Professor) through full Scientist (full Professor) or equivalent positions at institutions meeting the requirements to receive research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are eligible to apply.
Note: Any applicant who is not an SNPRC Core Scientist must be sponsored by a Core Scientist who will ensure that the research can be done at the SNPRC, assist the investigator with the IACUC application, and other administrative and logistical details.
Format of proposals
Applications must adhere to the PHS 398 format, with the following exceptions:
- The Other Support sub-section of the Biographical Sketch must also include a list of all previous pilot study awards received by the applicant from any source.
- A copy of the budget developed by SNPRC Research Resources staff must be attached to (immediately after) the PHS 398 Budget for the Entire Proposed Period.
- The text of the Research Plan is limited to a maximum of eight (8) pages.
- At the end of the Research Plan (and within the 8-page limit) the applicant must include at least one (1) paragraph detailing a) the applicant’s plan for using the results of the proposed pilot study in a future application for funding (NIH preferred) in support of research using nonhuman primates, or b) how the results of the pilot study (data, models, technologies, etc.) will enhance the value of nonhuman primates for future research by others.
This information is factored into the assessment of the likelihood that the present application, if funded, will lead to successful leveraging.
Submission of the Pilot Study Grant Application
Several forms must be submitted prior to submitting the pilot study grant application.
- Letter of Intent.A letter of intent with the tentative title and an abstract must be received one month prior to the announced deadline for the review cycle. This allows the Program Leader to estimate the number and research specializations that will be required for an effective, efficient, rigorous, and fair review of all proposals.
- Research Resource Request Form. This form informs the SNPRC Research Resources staff of the investigator’s plans and needs so that they can develop work with the investigator to develop the budget for the pilot study.
- The applicant is reminded that the forms with the budget prepared by the SNPRC staff must be submitted with the application.
- To ensure that this estimate can be made in time for it to be included in the application, the applicant must submit the Research Resources Request Form at the same time as the Letter of Intent.
- The form can be found at http://www.txbiomed.org/primate-research-center/contact/snprc-resources-request.
Letters of Intent and completed applications should be sent as PDF files to Dr. Michael C. Mahaney, the current Leader of the SNRPC Pilot Study Funding Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Investigators are requested to please cc these documents and all other correspondence related to the Pilot Study Funding Program to Ms. Lorraine Dunn at email@example.com.
Review of Proposals
Reviewers. Each proposal is critiqued and scored by at least three (3) reviewers. Two (2) of the three are members of the SNPRC Research Advisory Committee (RAC), selected by the Program Leader based on correspondence between their research expertise, experience, and/or interests and aims and/or research design components of the proposal. Additional reviewers are external to and not affiliated with the SNPRC. They are subject matter experts with a record of successful research, including NIH funding and publications, directly relevant to (but not in competition with) the proposed study.
Evaluation. Pilot study proposals are evaluated according to guidelines and nine-point scoring rubric used in reviews of research proposals submitted to the NIH (where 1 is the “best” score and 9 is the “worst”). Each reviewer’s critique includes evaluations of a proposal’s 1) Significance, 2) Innovation, 3) Approach, 4) Investigator(s), and 5) Environment. An added, 6th component of the critique is the reviewer’s opinion of the proposal’s potential for facilitating future research.
Based on her/his assessments of these six (6) factors, the reviewer provides an assessment of the proposed study’s Overall Impact, also assigning it a score between 1 and 9. Each reviewer completes written critiques of the assigned proposals and presents these critiques during a meeting attended by all the RAC reviewers where all proposals are discussed. Following the discussion of a proposal, each committee member assigns an Overall Impact score proposal is scored (secretly) assigned by each committee member.
After the meeting, the Program Leader ranks the proposals based on their mean Overall Impact scores and submits the results of the process to the SNPRC Director.
Funding Decision. The review committee is advisory to the SNPRC Director, who makes the final determination for funding.
The funding level is capped at $100,000 for two years. All funds must be expended for Primate Research Center goods and services. Funds provided and budgeted by the Pilot Study Program will not support lab personnel, supplies, or any work carried out at off-site locations. Funds awarded to a pilot study can be used to cover only costs associated with animals (including per diems), procedures, and lab services provided by core SNPRC personnel.
Duration of funding
NIH does not allow Primate Research Center base grant funds to be carried forward to the subsequent year for the base grant (unlike with other NIH awards, e.g., R01s). One-year pilot studies must be completed within the year of funding, and 2-year pilot studies must be completed within 2 years of funding. Please plan your protocol accordingly. We suggest that you plan to initiate animal work on the date that funding will be made available and to complete all work with animals at least 3 months before the end of the grant to allow for unanticipated interruptions or delays.
Pilot studies with 2-year durations are informally assessed at the end of the first year to ensure that adequate progress is being made. Following a discussion with the award recipient, the assessment will be made by the Pilot Study Program Leader. The Program Leader will communicate this assessment to the SNPRC Director with a recommendation regarding the continuation of the study into the second year. The SNPRC Director makes the final decision regarding continuation or discontinuation of funding.Within 1 year after the completion of a pilot study, the investigator is required to provide the following information to the Program Leader:
- A brief abstract of accomplishments
- Copies of any publications that arose from the pilot research
- Details of any grant applications that arose from the pilot research
- Details of any ongoing research projects that were enhanced by the pilot research
The Program Leader will request updated information from each investigator annually, until such time as the investigator reports that no additional publications or grant applications are expected as a consequence of the pilot study.
Deadlines and funding dates
Depending on available funding, the SNPRC calls for pilot study proposals one (1) or two (2) times per year. When there are 2 funding cycles, the submission deadlines typically are in late June and/or late December. Reviews are usually conducted within 6-8 weeks after a cycle’s submission deadline. This timing allows the SNPRC to notify a successful applicant in time to begin the pilot study on or before May 1 or November 1 for funding cycles 1 and 2, respectively.
The last submission date was December 21, 2012. Reviews were completed in February 2013 and funding was made available to investigators for a May 1, 2013, start date.
Calls for applications
Announcements regarding the dates for the next competition will be published at this web site and in the SNPRC’s newsletter, The Roundup. Additionally, calls for applications will be sent by e-mail to the other NIH-funded Primate Research Centers and institutions belonging to the Association of Independent Research Institutes. If you would like to be placed on an e-mail list to receive future Pilot Study announcements from the SNPRC, please contact Ms. Lorraine Dunn.
At this time, no calls for applications to the SNPRC Pilot Study Funding Program have been made for the remainder of 2013.