Request for Applications


As part of the mission of the Children’s Research Institute (CRI) to coordinate and support pediatric research, we are thrilled to announce 2 research funding opportunities:

  • Carolina For the Kids (CFTK) Research Grant Awards
  • UNC Children’s Development Early Career Investigator Grants

The deadline for the CFTK Fellows Award has passed for 2019. The CFTK Faculty Investigator Award and the UNC Children’s Development Early Career Investigator Grant deadline has been extended to no later than midnight on December 16, 2019.

Funding Sources and Eligibility

Applicants for CRI Research Grant Initiative Awards must be a faculty member at UNC Children’s Hospital, or be a current fellow in good standing within UNC Hospitals, pursuing pediatric research. Each applicant may submit only one proposal each year.


Carolina for the Kids Research Grant Award

Carolina For The Kids (CFTK), a UNC student-led organization, raises funds through donations and events, including their annual dance marathon. In addition to their primary mission of providing emotional, medical, and financial support for the patients and families served by UNC Children’s Hospital, CFTK supports a Research Grant Program. This program prioritizes clinical/translational research projects focused on children’s health. This mechanism supports early career and established faculty investigators (CFTK Faculty Investigator Award), as well as fellows (CFTK Fellows Award). Projects primarily or wholly based at UNC are prioritized.

CFTK Faculty Investigator Award

  • Anticipated awards: Up to 2.
  • Projected Maximum Award Amount: $40,000.
  • Eligibility: There are 3 categories for the CFTK Faculty Investigator Award:
    • Early career faculty investigators who have not previously competed successfully for an NIH-supported research project, specifically Assistant Professors or Instructors who are generating preliminary data for an extramural grant application.
    • Established faculty investigators with a track record of NIH funding and scholarly productivity in need of bridge funding (investigator salary support is not covered). Investigators who have submitted an NIH grant that received positive reviews but was not funded are eligible. The application must include the review summary statement, responses to noted weaknesses, and plan for resubmission.
    • Established faculty investigators who are expanding or redirecting research activities toward a new extramural funding opportunity.
  • Requirements: Applications must present a clear research proposal and a plan for subsequent extramural funding. It is expected that an extramural grant application will be submitted within 6 months of the completion of the CFTK Research proposal.

CFTK Fellows Award

  • Anticipated awards: Up to 2.
  • Project Maximum Award Amount: $5,000.
  • Eligibility: Fellows in a pediatric training program performing research with a child health focus.
  • Requirements: Fellows must identify a mentor who is committed to project and financial oversight and will work closely with the fellow on project design, execution and presentation/publication. The application must include a mentor’s letter of support (which articulates the mentor’s engagement with the fellow and project) and biosketch. Faculty mentors partnering with fellows will assume responsibility for stewardship of funds and program compliance, including any issues following the fellow’s graduation or departure from the program. Signature documentation of this agreement is required and is part of the application.


UNC Children’s Development Grants

UNC Children’s Development Early Career Investigator Grant

This grant is funded by the UNC Children’s Medical Foundation through fundraising and philanthropic donations. Oversight comes from the Department of Pediatrics Chair, Dr. Stephanie Davis. This grant supports the development of pediatric researchers to advance child health. In alignment with this mission, this mechanism supports early career investigators who perform pediatric-related research in basic, translational, or clinical research, domestically or abroad.

  • Anticipated awards: Up to 2.
  • Project Maximum Award Amount: $10,000.
  • Eligibility: Early career faculty at the rank of Assistant Professor performing pediatric research.
  • Requirements: This award is intended to support a research project spearheaded by an early career investigator working with guidance of an identified senior faculty mentor. Proposed projects can include ancillary projects to already established or planned (funded) research protocols, stand-alone research projects, or projects with a quality improvement focus (as long as special consideration is given towards plans for publication). The application must include the mentor’s letter of support (which articulates the mentor’s engagement with the mentee and project) and biosketch. Plans and considerations for leveraging the products of the proposed work for the pursuit of future extramural funding are highly encouraged.
Proposal Review, Scoring and Feedback

The Review Process
The Review Committee will be comprised of Department of Pediatrics and North Carolina Children’s Hospital faculty members. Each proposal will be assigned to a primary and secondary reviewer, whose research aligns with the proposed study. Final funding decisions will be made in conjunction with the funders.

Proposals will be evaluated on the following areas:

  1. Applicant eligibility for the award category
  2. Quality and merit
  3. Impact (as applicable to each funding mechanism’s specifications)
  4. Novelty
  5. Support for the underlying hypothesis
  6. Strength of the aims, including robustness and feasibility and expected timeline
  7. Investigator qualifications
  8. Potential for future funding
  9. Appropriate budget
  10. For current or prior CRI grant recipients, conforming to the requirements of past awards

Reviewers will review and score the proposals. The primary reviewer will summarize the proposal with the scores, with additional input form the secondary reviewer, at an in-person meeting with the Review Committee, where all committee members will be asked to weigh-in and discuss the proposal.

Possible scores assigned to a faculty proposal:

  1. Approved for Consideration of Funding
  2. Minor revisions (executive committee review)
  3. Major revisions (requires re-evaluation by the primary and secondary reviewers)
  4. Resubmit next deadline
  5. Triaged; No resubmission will be accepted

Possible scores assigned to a fellow proposal:

  1. Approved for Consideration of Funding
  2. Considered for Funding after Revision (requires re-evaluation by the primary and secondary reviewers)
  3. Do Not Fund

After the Review Committee meets, and upon potential further evaluation, the Review Committee will recommend each grant be either “Approved for Consideration of Funding” or “Not Approved for Consideration of Funding.” The Review Committee then presents these recommendations to the Review Executive Committee, who makes the final funding decision.

Feedback from the Review Committee

In order to provide ample feedback to PIs, applications will receive notification of the grant status following the Review Committee meeting and potential reevaluation. Along with notification that their grant was either approved or not approved for funding, applicants will receive the reviewer’s comments, the score from the Review Committee, and the priority score, approximately 6 months from submission.

Post Award Expectations and Responsibilities

Post Award Process & Financial Management

Following the notice of award, a specific start date will be established. PIs will have 18 months from date of award to complete their research, including time to receive regulatory and other approvals. Investigators will not have access to the funds until all appropriate University, IACUC, or IRB approvals have been received and the appropriate accounts are created by the UNC Department of Pediatrics financial data systems.

PIs are responsible for maintaining the necessary approvals and maintaining current certifications of training in research (IRB/OHRP, IUCUC, EHS, HIPPA, etc.). For faculty grants, extensions of up to one year may be allowed. Extensions require approval of the CRI.

Research Grant Account Reviews

Account reviews are mandatory, both after a time period of 12 months, and 3 months prior to the completion of the project. Any funds remaining in the project after the end of the 18-month period will be returned to the Grants program. If an extension was granted, additional account reviews will be required.

Grant Tracking Program

Awardees will be required to complete a brief progress reports after 1 year, as well a final progress report to track milestones and progress of the research projects. The CRI will request updates on these plans and the success of any funding applications via a brief survey. Problems severely hampering the progress of the projects should be brought to the attention of the CRI as soon as possible, who will work with the awardees to try to address these issues. Failure to complete progress reports in a timely manner may result in early termination of a project and forfeiture of remaining funds.

All Research Grant awards will be entered into a tracking program to evaluate the productivity of investigators related to extramural funding applications, awards, publications and development. Grant and manuscript tracking of award productivity begins on the date of the award (account set-up date). Future Research Grant applications will have this tracking information made available to the reviewers and the Research Grants committee for consideration in their deliberations. Investigators that have successfully fulfilled the grant submission and publication requirements within the appropriate period of time will have this accomplishment highlighted during the application process for future Research Grant funding.

Citing the Research Grants

Carolina for the Kids Research Grant-supported researchers will acknowledge support from the Carolina for the Kids Research Grants program in their publications and presentations (e.g., “This research was supported, in part, by the Carolina For The Kids Grants Program.”)

UNC Children’s Development, Early Career Researcher Grants will acknowledge support from the UNC Medical Foundation in their publications and presentations (e.g., “This research was supported, in part, by a UNC Children’s Development-Early Career Investigator grant through the generous support of donors to UNC.”)

Online Application Components and Requirements

Submitted online applications are due no later than midnight on October 30, 2019. The online application can be found here. You will need to create an account with Foundant.

You will be asked to complete information to identify you, your research, and department. You will also be asked if your application underwent a design and statistical review prior to the submission deadline date, or an explanation why this was not performed. This may be performed by a fellow investigator, mentor, collaborator or biostatistician. Please be sure the study’s stated aims and the statistical analysis plans are consistent.

You will also be asked to upload:

Proposal Documents

Please upload in pdf format, using 0.5’’ margins, Arial font-11 point or larger. No character kerning is allowed. There are no restrictions on font color, although black/high-contrast colors are recommended. Font size for legends/figures should be no smaller than 9 point. Letters of Support do not need to conform to these formatting restrictions.

  • Cover letter (optional)
  • Abstract (1/2 page)
  • Specific Aims (1 page)
  • Project description (Limited to 2 pages)
  • Impact on career (faculty) or training (fellow) (1 page limit)
  • Timetable (1 page-describe the time from award to completion of milestones such as IRB approval, first patient enrolled, rate of anticipated patient enrollment, completion of specimen analysis or data acquisition, start and end of interim/final analyses)
  • Applicant Biosketch in NIH format
  • Faculty mentor Biosketch in NIH format (Fellows and Early Career Investigators)
  • Faculty Mentor Letter of Support (Fellows and Early Career Investigators only, see Additional Instructions below)
  • Division Chief acknowledgement of approval of the application (Faculty only)
  • Additional Letters of Support as needed from potential collaborators
  • Plans for submission/resubmission of proposal(s) for extramural funding resultant from the proposed work (1/2 page)
  • Budget (please download and use this budget template for your proposal)
  • Budget Justification
  • For Proposals that will support a resubmission of a favorably reviewed, but unfunded NIH application, applicants should provide the NIH review summary statement and submitted responses to noted weaknesses returned to the reviewers
Additional Instructions
Budget and Budget Justification

Many expenses may not be covered. Note: These lists are not necessarily all-inclusive. Please contact Pediatrics Accounting Administration with any questions about whether or not the Research funds cover any possible expense.

Approved Research Expenses:

  • Biostatistical support
  • Computer/software (with clear justification of why they are needed). Any information technology-related purchases deemed essential to the project by the awards committee must be approved by Department of Pediatrics IT. All hardware and software will be considered property of the Department. The Department will determine appropriate disposition of such items at the end of the project.
  • Equipment and supplies
  • Office supplies
  • Postage (for research-related mailings)
  • Publication costs of publishers (submit info from publisher)
  • Salary and fringe benefit (UNC faculty not allowed; other research positions may be allowed, but must be approved by PI’s department via the routing/signature process.)
  • Travel (not exceeding $1,000 for presentation of research at national meeting for PIs without other funds)

Not Approved Expenses:

  • Any expense not directly related to research activity
  • Any personal professional expense
  • Board exam fees
  • Board review courses
  • DEA#
  • Grant writing/editing for submissions, articles, etc.
  • Lab coats
  • Medical licenses
  • Membership dues to societies and professional organizations
  • Periodicals
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Subscriptions
  • Telephone and pager
  • Travel (unless PI has no funds)
Faculty Mentor Letter of Support (for mentored awards)

Assistant Professors and Fellows must apply with a faculty mentor. Faculty mentors partnering with fellows or early career investigators will assume responsibility for stewardship of funds and program compliance, including any issues remaining following the applicant’s graduation and departure from the University. Include in the Faculty Mentor Letter of Support:

  1. Mentor’s support and approval of the proposed research plan and commitment toward actively mentoring the applicant.
  2. Mentor’s agreement to fund stewardship and program compliance as described above.
  3. Mentor’s prior experience in mentoring trainees.
  4. Assurance of adequate time available from the mentor needed to oversee the project.
  5. Assurance that the applicant has access to adequate resources and/or equipment required to carry out the proposed work (for items not requested in the budget)
  6. A commitment by the mentor to help the fellow present or publish the research.
  7. An agreement by the mentor to ensure compliance with the reporting requirements described in Post Award Expectations and Responsibilities

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