The mission of the Pilot and Feasibility Program at the UCSD/UCLA DRC is to foster the development of new investigators and provide seed support for high-risk diabetes-related research projects with an emphasis on translational science. The core is directed by Dr. Pinchas Cohen, who is also DRC Associate Director, and a member of the National Diabetes Centers Directors Executive Committee. Over the last decade, the program funded 41 scientists (28 over the last 5 years, facilitated by an ARRA supplement to the DRC for the support of P&F projects), over 90% of which have been young investigators and more that 95% of them are still active in diabetes research. These investigators garnered an impressive post-funding record of additional NIH support and published a large amount of papers in high impact journals. These achievements underscore the exceptional pipeline of young investigators that exists in our institutions. Specific Objectives for the P&F Program in this competitive renewal application are to continue to: ?promote emerging diabetes projects and future scientific leaders;advertise, inform and engage the diabetes research communities regarding the DRC P&F and its opportunities;facilitate and speed transition to external funding;leverage institutional matching support, infrastructure, and technologies towards the success of P&F projects;synergize with other institutional training and research programs;create access for emerging diabetes researchers to the latest research technologies and state-of-the-art facilities and services;foster collaborative research among junior and senior scientists;promote leadership skills;and implement oversight and programmatic review of the P&F program and its awardees. We propose to fund five $50,000 grants each year to provide support for collecting preliminary data sufficient to support ROI grant applications with a focus on newer investigators and translational research. We have established a process of advertising, soliciting, reviewing, awarding, and (if necessary) terminating P&F projects. This program is assisted by multiple experienced external reviewers. We leveraged substantial institutional matching support from all of the institutions that comprise the DRC, to support promising proposals. Using this institutional matching support, each year, we will fund a sixth, $50,000 P&F award;and one grant per year will be identified as a "junior faculty developmental award" and will receive an additional $25,000 in year one and will also receive institutional support of $50,000 for a second year. Finally, we will support P&F awards with $10,000 of credit towards use in DRC cores. .
Given the Strong leadership ofthe UCSD/UCLA P&F Program;the innovative ancillary programs available to the awardees, and the emphasis on supporting young investigators that have a remarkable record of success, we expect this program to enable us to substantially advance our goal of continuing our strong track record of producing independent investigators performing cutting-edge translational diabetes research. This will promote the continued advancement of diabetes care and research regionally and nationally.
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