TRANSLATIONAL TEAM SCIENCE AWARDS
The School of Medicine's new Strategic Plan includes a new annual award cycle administered by the Office of Research—the Translational Team Science (TTS) Award. This award is aimed at capitalizing on the "culture of collaboration" at UNC Chapel Hill to foster new synergistic interdisciplinary teams of basic science and clinical investigators. The award is not restricted to human subjects and tissues, and proposals may include research using cellular and animal model systems; however the project should translate across basic and clinical disciplines.
There are multiple stages of TTS applications and awards (see application process, below). After submission of an initial one page Concept paper, selected teams will be invited to submit a full Feasibility proposal for review. If awarded, TTS Phase I Feasibility grants will provide a 6-month period to begin to fully engage team members in the development of a competitive continuation proposal for TTS Phase II (2 years). Advancement to the next award stage is contingent on the merit of the proposed plan and progress in the prior period. The expectation is that these awards will provide the planning time and initial funds to support early stage denovo research teams that would otherwise not be possible. This would ultimately lead to submission of novel interdisciplinary program project grants and multiple PI R01s by UNC SOM investigators.
The inaugural cycle of the TTSA awards was initiated in October 2013. 15 Concept papers were selected, and 7 Phase I Feasibility grants were awarded. See the Inaugural TTSA Phase I grant recipients on Office of Research or open the downloadable pdf.
For this round, the TTSA awards will be made jointly with NC TraCS pilot funding. This means that the SOM TTSA awards will serve as a match for NC TraCS funding, which will double the funding available for teams led by SOM PIs. Review of phase I and phase II applications (defined below) will be done by the NC TraCS review panel with equal consideration for early to late stage translational studies.
- TTS awards will support the development of new research teams. Project Teams should include both basic and clinical team members. To qualify as a new team, at least two of the key members should not have previously submitted a successful grant proposal.
- Teams should consist of 2 or more faculty members, the team leaders must hold a primary appointment in the School of Medicine. Teams may include faculty from any UNC school and outside institutions.
- CONCEPT Paper Stage: If you have a novel idea that requires translational expertise you can submit a Concept Paper application. At this stage you do not need to have identified all of the team members. The Office of Research and TraCS navigator service can assist matching up basic and clinical team members prior to submission of or during review of Concept Papers.
- The proposed research should represent a new avenue of research for the investigators. This is a key criteria for review. There must be no prior funding for the project or funding overlap. This award is not intended as supplementary or bridge funding.
- Anyone may submit at the Concept Paper stage. Review of the Concept Papers will select the teams eligible to submit for a Phase I – TTS Feasibility grant. Only those teams that have completed a Phase I grant may submit for Phase II.
III. Application Process
- Submit a one-page Concept Paper description of the proposed research. The Concept paper should include:
- Hypothesis and specific aims,
- How the idea is translational and its potential impact,
- Names of the key players [if you have not identified everyone, describe the expertise needed],
- Definition of how this is a ‘new’ team, and why a new team is needed for this project,
- NIH Biosketches for the key players.
Even if you need help finding a basic science or clinical partner, you may still submit the Concept paper.
- Upon review of the Concept papers, the most competitive teams will be selected to submit a Phase I - TTS Feasibility Grant application. The Phase I - Feasibility Grant awards up to $60,000 for a six month period. These funds can be used to obtain whatever data/approvals are needed for proof of concept and can be used to support trainees and/or for reagents and other costs. Salary support for faculty is not an allowable cost.
- At the end of the award period, the team can submit a proposal for a full Phase II TTS Grant. These proposals must include a final report of the Phase I period. Phase II awards provide up to $200,000 for a two year period. A competitive review will be conducted.
- Teams that received a Feasibility Grant are not required to submit a proposal for Phase II funding, but they must submit a final report for the Feasibility Grant. Investigators who do not submit a final report will be ineligible for future funding from this award mechanism.
Phase I and Phase II Application Components
- Abstract (Paragraph)
- Translational Impact (3-4 sentences)
- Specific Aims (1 page max)
- For Phase II only—Final Report from Feasibility grant activities (2 page max)
- Research Plan (2 pages for Phase I, 4 pages for Phase II)
- Description of Research Team
- Project Design and Methods
- Timeline and goals for future funding
- Detailed Budget and Justification
- Funds may be allocated to support research staff, supplies, core facility fees, travel directly related to project goals, and small equipment. Salary support for faculty is not an allowable cost. Salary support for trainees, and technicians are permissible. Funds will support direct costs only.
- NIH Biosketches for Key Personnel
IV. Application/Grant Timeline Inaugural grant cycle
- Concept Paper and Phase I applications completed
- TTS Phase II Grant applications due August 31, 2014
- TTS Phase II grant award start date October 1, 2014
Starting Spring of 2014 the annual cycle will be:
- RFP for Concept Papers distributed early March
- Concept Papers due April 1
- Phase I Feasibility proposals due May 31
- Feasibility awards start July 1
- Phase II proposals [with Feasibility progress report] due January 31
- Phase II awards start March 1
ALL SUBMISSIONS should be EMAILED to Dede Corvinus at firstname.lastname@example.org
The OoR can assist departments and centers with startup and retention packages, but never funds the full package. Chairs and Center Directors should make requests for these funds as early in the process as possible. OoR contribution: 25% of the package, up to $100,000. The OoR's contribution will be disbursed to the department over 2 or 3 years. If you need to request startup or retention funds, contact Dede Corvinus.
Bridge funding applications are accepted 3 times during the academic year: October, January and May. A memo is sent to Chairs and Center Directors to share with their faculty giving specific due dates. Generally the memo is sent out about 3 weeks before the due date. Eligibility criteria:
- The grant has been reviewed and received a written critique
- The PI has no more than 2 active R01s or the equivalent level of funding
- The does not have additional sources of lab support, e.g. trust fund
- If the grant's NIH number identifies the grant as a 'new' grant, the PI must include a cover letter explaining how the new grant is a repackaged version of previously funded research
- The department/center agrees to match the funding from the Dean's Office.
The application for bridge funding much include:
- current 3-4 page NIH biosketch
- research section of the original grant application
- the NIH review of that application
- a draft rebuttal for the revised application
- proposed budget for the bridge funds.
Applications for or questions about bridge funding should be emailed to Dede Corvinus.
The January and May 2014 Bridge funding is complete. The next round of Bridge Funding should be announced October 2014.
The Core Facilities Advocacy Committee [CFAC] is responsible for disbursing emergency and equipment funds for Core Facilities. Emergency funds can be used for assistance with salaries and service contracts, purchase of small equipment needs [~$5-25K] and methodology development. Equipment funds can be used for the purchase of instruments ranging from $30-100K and for cost-share amounts in conjunction with instrumentation grants. The CFAC collects emergency requests in April/May for the coming fiscal year, but requests will be considered throughout the year as funds allow. Equipment requests are opened in July, due in August and reviewed in September.