1. Translational neuroscience awards – these must address disease mechanisms, focusing on diagnosis, tools or treatments. These can be studies that involve animal models, clinical studies, or basic neuroscience that is relevant to a future clinical application. The clinical relevance must be clearly described in a separate section in the Research Plan. These pilots require 2 faculty Co-PIs from any different entities across Rutgers (i.e., RUN+RBHS, RUNB+RUN, or RUNB +RBHS). Formation of teams that integrate basic and clinical themes with a vision of a future translational impact will have preference. There are 4 translational pilots available; these are funded by the BHI.
2. Basic neuroscience awards – These can include a focus on more basic neural mechanisms, or focus on translational neuroscience experiments involving an animal model or clinical studies. These Basic awards must include 2 Co-PIs, at least one of which must be a faculty member at RUN (Four awards available all funded by the RUN Strategic plan fund), or at NJIT (One award available funded by NJIT).
All applications have the same application format, essentially an R21 NIH style application (1 page Specific Aims, 6 page limit for the Research Plan, plus Literature Cited, Budget, Budget Justification, NIH Biosketches for all Key Personnel/Co-PIs, and Resources and Environment). The pilot award funds cannot be used for PI or co-PI salaries. Pilot funds can be budgeted for post-doc, student and research technician stipends and salaries, or equipment, animals or supplies. Purchase of equipment costing more than $5000 needs to be well-justified in the budget. The Rutgers Endorsement form, Conflict of Interest form, IRB and IACUC approvals will need to be submitted using the Just-In-Time (JIT) approach. Thus, these forms and approvals are not required at the time of initial grant application submission on August 31st; however, awardees will need to submit these items before the funds from the grant award are disbursed. We anticipate that award announcements will be made in October/November. It is recommended that the applicants prepare and submit the IACUC/IRB applications associated with the pilot grant project well in advance, to the appropriate institutional committees, in order to get these approvals in a timely-fashion. This will prevent any delay in grant funds disbursement.
All types of grants will undergo a dual stage review process, organized by the Brain Health Institute in collaboration with RUN and NJIT. They will have an initial external review to judge scientific quality and assign a priority score by external reviewers (similar to NIH study section review). They then will be reviewed by an internal Rutgers committee to allocate funds consistent with the long-term strategies of developing neuroscience research at Rutgers (similar to an NIH Council Review). One main factor in determining funding will be perceived likelihood that the pilot data generated will lead to external funding.
All pilot awardees will be required to submit a final progress report within 2 months of the end of the award, or with an application for a 2nd year of funding. This report will include publications and grant applications submitted, as well as results obtained and significance of those results. One PI also will be required to orally present results of the studies to a meeting of Rutgers neuroscientists to disseminate the results and produce discussion and interaction.
Awards will be announced by November 2015. We anticipate that additional pilot funding may be available next year; successful applicants from this round can apply for a second year of funding at that point but will compete with new applications as well.
Please contact Gary Aston-Jones or Eldo Kuzhikandathil (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nabil Adam (email@example.com) or Atam P Dhawan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.