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2023-2025 Pilot and Feasibility Projects – Stage 2 Request for Applications (limited competition)

The application cycle for 2023-2025 Pilot and Feasibility Projects is now closed.

Award Eligibility, Scope and Requirements

Timeline: Deadline, Thursday, August 31, 2023 at 5:00 pm ET; Notification of award, October 2023; Proposed start date, December 1, 2023.

The NIA supported Research Network on Animal Models to Understand Social Dimensions of Aging will support two 2-year “Stage 2” pilot and feasibility (P&F) projects in 2023 – 2025. The goal of the two-year award is to build on demonstrated progress from an earlier round of pilot or fellowship funding. Ultimately, this extended funding should support independent research with a clear path toward K- or R-type NIH grant applications.

Proposed projects should be focused on animal models or comparative studies relevant for understanding the social determinants of health and aging. Proposals must make the case that previous funding from the Research Network has been effectively used and has resulted in substantive progress towards understanding the social determinants of health and aging (including, but not limited to, publications, white papers, new collaborations, professional advancement, and new external funding).

Eligibility: The applicant must be a previous Animal Models Network award winner (i.e., McEwen Fellow, Pilot award recipient, or travel award recipient), affiliated with a US institution (or proposing to conduct research at a US-based institution), and at the post-doctoral or faculty career stage. The applicant should propose a forward looking and feasible project within the broad scope of the research network’s interests; this project may represent a continuation or a next step in the project that was initially awarded.

Details of the 2-year pilot project: We expect to fund 2 projects with budgets not to exceed $60k over 2 years in total costs (approximately $30k each year). The maximum administrative duration of the award will be 24 months, with a start date on or before December 1, 2023 conditional on any necessary IACUC/IRB approvals. No cost extensions will only be allowed in exceptional cases.

Application: The application consists of:

  1. Cover page: PI name and title, institutional affiliation and address, title of the proposal, start and end dates, and total budget requested (direct+indirect);
  2. An NIH-format Biosketch for the PI;
  3. Progress report of work funded by previous Animal Models Network award (2 page maximum, including figures) including a list of publications in which the Network award was acknowledged, current status of the budget if not spent in full, and a list of any additional grants that emerged in connection with the Network award;
  4. Research project description (3 page maximum, including figures). References may be included in additional page(s). Project descriptions should include the project aims; background and significance to understanding the social determinants of health and aging; proposed data collection and analysis plan; and timeline. Preliminary data are allowed, but not required. Descriptions should address standard NIH criteria regarding power, rigor, reproducibility, and consideration of sex as a biological variable;
  5. A statement of potential paths to additional funding (1 page maximum, ideally tailored to the NIA mission);
  6. Budget and budget justification (1 page, see more details below);
  7. Additional documents, where applicable:
    1. A letter of support should be included if proposed work is strongly dependent on a collaborator’s facilities, or if data belonging to other researchers are essential to the project’s success.
    2. If the applicant is not an independent investigator (typically Assistant Professor or higher), a letter of support from the mentor or supervisor confirming eligibility for the 2 years of the award is required.

The full application packet, saved in a single pdf file named “Lastname.Firstname.Pilot.2023.pdf” should be submitted electronically no later than August 31, 2023 at 5:00 pm ET.

Budget and additional requirements: Applications will be accompanied by a 1-page budget and budget justification. At the application stage, the budget does not need to be institutionally approved by your research support/grants and contracts office; this will occur if the pilot is awarded. General NIH guidelines for allowable expenses should be followed. Eligible costs include travel and accommodation, consumables, animals and per diem, other direct costs for data generation and data analysis, use of core facilities, and salary support.

The award will be issued as a subaward to the PI institution and must adhere to standard NIH guidelines. The PI will be fully responsible for the administration of the award, the execution of the project, securing IACUC/IRB approval, etc. If appropriate, the PI may budget for use of core facilities and resources at University of Minnesota, University of North Carolina, or Duke University, in which case the budget justification should also include a description of the target host institution and any core facilities/services/data access requirements that will be incorporated into the pilot project. Subawards to other institutions are not allowed.

Review of applications and funding priorities: Applications will be reviewed by the Research Network PIs, members of the Advisory Board, and ad hoc reviewers with appropriate expertise. The highest priority applications will i) describe a highly novel and impactful project that would be feasible within the proposed funding timeline and benefit from early-stage pilot funding and ii) clearly articulate the value of the proposed work for research on the social determinants of health and aging.

Report of activity and Acknowledgements: The PI must provide a final report of activities pursued under the award to the Research Network leadership, no later than one month after the award end date. Publications, presentations, or material disclosed to the public domain should be reported to the Network PIs for dissemination and reporting purposes, and should acknowledge support from NIH/NIA R24 AG065172.