The Columbia DRC Pilot &Feasibility (PF) program provides support for research projects related to diabetes. Since its inception, it has successfully attracted young investigators who wish to undertake a career in diabetes, as well as established investigators proposing work related to diabetes, outside of their usual area of research. The program has funded at least two new grants every year. During the past cycle, we have awarded 20 PF grants, at an average annual cost of $ 50,000. The 19 PF Awardees (one was a repeat awardee) were selected from 74 Letters of Inquiry (52 complete applications were solicited). Each project is provisionally funded for two years, contingent upon submission by the PI of a one-year interim report indicating suitable progress. We have also funded six awards under a special ARRA supplement: four awards went to supplement existing grants, and two were new awards. 10 Pis met the criteria for new investigators, and seven are established investigators who undertook projects in the diabetes field not directly related to their primary research interests. We report outcome data on 11 projects (three projects are in their second year of funding and three are presented with this application for initial funding). The 14 recipients of completed PF awards have obtained 13 new grants, 7 of which are funded by NIH, 1 by JDRF, 1 by ADA, 1 by the Ellison Foundation, and 3 by industry. The total amount of direct costs derived from PF grant-catalyzed awards is near $ 8.5M. All funded investigators remain active in diabetes research. The PF program continues a successful match program through the Berrie Foundation program "Frontiers in Diabetes Research". This program has enabled us to fund an additional grant each year. We have also integrated the DRC PF activities with those of the NYORC, so that applicants are routinely encouraged, where appropriate, to apply to both programs for funding. Three types of applications are considered: /, Proposals from young investigators who have not held any prior funding, to carry out preliminary studies leading to an NIH, ADA or JDFR grant application;//, Proposals for innovative/high risk projects in the field of diabetes;///, Proposals from established investigators, without prior funding in diabetes, who wish to undertake a diabetes-related project. Under the leadership of Dr. Leibel, Associate Director for PF programs, the program administration solicits applications from the academic community, ensures prompt peer-review, oversees grant administration, monitors funded investigators'records of productivity, and integrates PF-sponsored research with other program enrichment activities. Going forward, we plan to continue to fund three new applications every year.
The PF program provides key resources to attract new talent to diabetes research, to foster interactions in critical areas of investigations, and to support high risk/high benefit research. Program quality is maintained through extensive outreach, rigorous peer-review, and strict criteria for renewal. Post-award assessment indicates that funds have been deployed judiciously.
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