Visiting Scholars RFA

Mountain West CTR-IN VISITING SCHOLARS RFA

PURPOSE
The Mountain West CTR-IN seeks to fund Visiting Scholars to provide additional opportunities for training in clinical and translational research. Visiting Scholar awards will be targeted to New Investigators or Early-Stage Investigators, as defined by the NIH, for detail see: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators/. Support of these investigators is central to the mission of the CTR-IN, and the provision of an immersion experience with mentoring by experienced clinical and translational investigators is concordant with the goal of the CTR-IN to increase NIH-funded clinical translational research in the region. This is a competitive application to identify and select candidates.

GOALS and OBJECTIVES
The overall goal of the CTR-IN Program is to provide support to develop researchers who have a high likelihood of subsequently competing successfully for independent funding from the NIH or a comparable agency in clinical or translational research. The objective of this RFA is to support junior investigators in clinical or translational research, and to link them with mentors to assist their development in the field. Below is a short video of recent Visiting Scholar Awardee, Dr. Jennifer Kawi, describing her experience.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
The Visiting Scholar program emphasizes formal mentoring in both basic and clinical science. It will be available to New and Early-Stage Investigators as described at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/new_investigators in any discipline who can demonstrate a path towards clinical or translational research. Eligible candidates will be faculty (at least .5 FTE) at any of the 13 CTR-IN partner universities with interest in health-related research, but who lack sufficient training, experience or guidance in clinical or translational research to compete successfully for NIH funding as an independent investigator. Institutional commitment to supporting the Visiting Scholar’s time during program activities is required.

SUPPORTED ACTIVITIES
Visiting Scholars will receive mentoring and research experience coordinated by the Clinical Research Education, Mentoring, and Career Development Core Key Component Activity (CREMCaD KCA). Funds will be awarded to support reasonable travel, housing, and research supply costs. The Visiting Scholars Program does not include salary support for the CTR-IN Fellow at the host institution. A central component of the Visiting Scholar experience will be time spent in the laboratory, clinic, or other research environment with his/her mentor(s). Proposals to conduct this work with a mentor at a Mountain West CTR-IN partner institution are preferred, and plans to work with mentors in an IDeA State outside the Mountain West are also welcomed. Plans to work with mentors outside of these areas must have strong justification and the CTR-IN is unable to provide support to faculty or institutions in non-IDeA States. Time spent on “exchange” will vary, depending on the amount of release time and availability of the mentors, but a minimum of one month will be required with a maximum of 4 months. Funds should be budgeted for Awardee and Mentor travel to the CTR-IN Annual Meeting to be held in June 2016 at a location within the Mountain West.

Hosts/mentors will be encouraged to travel to the CTR-IN Visiting Scholar’s home institution to present a seminar describing their clinical or translational research in advance of the Visiting Scholar’s stay at the host location. The cost of this visit should be included in the budget. One anticipated benefit of these visits is that the mentor will have a first-hand appreciation of the research environment available to the Visiting Scholar upon her/his return. We expect this will be helpful in establishing and directing the mentoring relationship. The CTR-IN will support the mentor’s travel for these visits.

APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
The CREMCaD KCA will coordinate the application process for the Visiting Scholar program. Applications and inquiries should be sent to the CREMCaD Director john.mercer@unlv.edu. All materials submitted must follow the font and margin guidance for NIH applications available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.pdf

To apply for Visiting Scholars Program please click here …

Research Plan: The Research Plan will consist of two pages (maximum) including:
1) background and goals towards developing a clinical or translational research career,
2) activities to achieve these goals,
3) research topic that fits the overall program goals, and
4) identification of appropriate basic science and clinical mentors.

Other Application Requirements:
1) NIH Biosketches of the applicant and mentor(s) (4-page limit),
2) letters of recommendation and support from the mentor(s) (2-page limit),
3) institutional commitment (1-page), and
4) budget and budget justification.

Institutional Letter of Support: Since longitudinal support of New and Early Career Investigators is essential to their ultimate success, applications must include a letter of support from an appropriate official at the applicant’s institution. Institutional Letters of Commitment should describe:
1) faculty release time,
2) leveraging of additional resources, and
3) cost sharing.

Process: Applications will be screened by the CREMCaD KCA Director to ensure that they conform to requirements, and the Director will contact applicants whose proposals are incomplete or inappropriate. Applications will be assigned for review to one member of the External Advisory Committee and one member of the CREMCaD KCA. The reviews will be presented to the CREMCaD KCA and its recommendations will be forwarded to the CTR-IN Executive Committee which will provide a recommendation regarding funding to the CTR-IN PI. The decision and review will be returned to the applicant within approximately 6 weeks of submission.
A schematic diagram of the process is available at: http://ctrin.unlv.edu/?page_id=306

Anticipated Number of Awards: Support is available for 3 to 5 Visiting Scholars in the current project year ending June 30, 2016 with the amount of support contingent on the quality and merit of the applications we receive.

Key Dates
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Earliest Application Receipt Date: August 3, 2015 at 5:00 PM PT
Application Due Date: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis starting August 3rd, 2015, and the opportunity will remain open until March 1st, 2016, or until all funds have been awarded. Decisions will be provided within 6 weeks of application submission.
Notification Date: Not later than 6 weeks after submission
Earliest Anticipated Start Date: One month following notification date
Latest Project End Date: June 30, 2016

NOTE: ALL PROJECT ACTIVITIES UNDER THIS RFA MUST BE COMPLETED BY 06/30/15

Overview
To develop health-related clinical and translational research
• Total anticipated amount to be awarded: $40,000
• Facilities and Administration rates (i.e., indirect costs) will be held to 10% per agreements with CTR-IN partner institutions.
• No carryover beyond the project period will be allowed.
• Anticipated number of awards: 3 to 5
• Eligible organizations: the 13 CTR-IN partner institutions
• Eligible applicants include Early-Stage and New Investigators at these institutions

Application Review Information
Criteria
The following will be considered in making funding decisions:
• Scientific merit of the proposed program,
• Commitment of mentor(s),
• Institutional commitment, and
• Availability of funds.

Review and Selection Process
Applications that are complete and responsive to the RFA will be evaluated for scientific merit. All applications will:
• Undergo a standardized review process including consideration of scientific merit and responsiveness to this RFA,
• Be assigned a priority score and be discussed by the CREMCaD KCA and CTR-IN Executive Committee, and
• Receive a written review (applicants will have the opportunity to discuss the review with the Director of the CREMCaD KCA).

The criteria below will be addressed and considered in the review. Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to developing the Visiting Scholar’s career in clinical and translational research.

Significance: Does the proposal address an important gap in the applicant’s progression towards developing a clinical and translational research career that would be filled by visiting the mentor’s institution? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will the applicant’s career be advanced? What will be the potential effect and impact of the proposed activities on the clinical and translational career of the applicant? What are the unique technologies, services, or resources provided by the mentor(s) that will significantly impact the career development of the applicant?

Approach: Is the conceptual framework for the time that the applicant will spend at the mentor’s institution adequately developed, well integrated, well-reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the proposed program? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics? Is the likelihood of successful completion high given the described environment at the mentor’s institution and the applicant’s abilities? Are the proposed timeline and interim milestones appropriate, feasible, and technically sound?

Investigators: Are the proposed Visiting Scholar and mentor(s) appropriately trained and matched to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the Visiting Scholar and other researchers? Does the mentee-mentor relationship bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Milestones and Product Development Plan: Are the defined objectives/milestones and future career development plans appropriate and feasible? Feasibility should address the requirement that work be completed before 6/30/16.

Additional Review Criteria:
In addition to the above criteria, the following items will be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Institutional Commitment: Evidence of longitudinal institutional commitment will be evaluated, as this will be central to the Visiting Scholar’s ultimate success in competing for independent funding in clinical or translational research.

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: If applicable, are the involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research assessed? IRB approval is required if so.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, reviewers will determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

Budget: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research. The priority score will not be affected by the evaluation of the budget but the programmatic objectives of the CTR-IN to support a variety of investigators across the region will be considered in the Executive Committee’s recommendations for funding.

Award Administration Information

Award Notices
The applicant will be notified of the decision within 6 weeks of submission. Awards will be made by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, under the parent grant: #5U54GM104944 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Reporting
Awardees will be required to submit a Progress Report using a format provided by the CTR-IN program not later than 30 days after the end of the Visiting Scholar activity. Standard financial reports will be required per NIH guidelines.

Presentation
Awardees will be required to present their accomplishments at the CTR-IN Annual Meeting that will be held in June 2015 at a site to be announced.

Acknowledgment of Support: Awardees are required to acknowledge the support of the NIGMS and the CTR-IN using the parent award number in all publications and presentations stemming from this support.

Human Subjects Protection
If the research involves in human subjects, the application must:

Describe training or experiences involving human subjects as well as inclusion of appropriate IRB approval with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained. See the following site for further information click here …

If applicable, IRB approval must be obtained at both the applicant and host institutions before an award can be issued.

To download the Word document version of this FOA, click here…