The principal objective of the COHR Pilot and Feasibility Project Program is to provide and prioritize short term funding for scientifically meritorious, new and innovative projects through a competitive program with open solicitation, peer review, and funding in three categories: Early Career, New Direction, and Novel Methods &Technology. The ultimate goal of the program is to provide adequate resources and training for pilot investigators to develop sufficient preliminary data to prepare a competitive extramural grant application that will directly utilize one or more of the COHR cores. The program will have a three part focus with a mission to: 1) attract junior faculty without prior extramural funding to oral health-related research;2) enable established COHR investigators to explore an area that represents a significant departure from their currently funded work, and 3) entice established investigators in other areas of biomedical research to apply their expertise to an oral health-related problem. Request for applications (RFA) will be solicited annually four months in advance of the anticipated award date. Funds will be awarded through a two-phase application process which will include a pre-proposal for all applications, and a full application for competitively selected pre-proposal applicants. Applications will be scored using the NIH scale and prioritized according to four criteria: 1) quality of the research (scientific merit, innovation, and impact);2) relevance to the mission of the Center and direct involvement of one or more COHR Cores in the research plan;3) qualifications of the research team to lead the research effort toward securing extramural funding, and 4) stimulation of collaborative efforts with COHR members. We plan to fund four new and/or continuation projects per year on average. Eligible investigators will receive one to two years of support along with the resources necessary to explore investigator-inititated projects related to the mission of the COHR. Thus, it is envisioned that the Pilot and Feasibility Project Program will enable investigators to form interdisciplinary, interactive and sustainable research studies that will impact oral health.

Public Health Relevance

The national health expenditures for dental services exceeded $102 billion in 2009. Oral diseases and craniofacial disorders are linked to total health and wellbeing throughout life. Virtually everyone has had at least one oral disease, e.g., dental caries, periodontal disease, cold sores or cancer. Many suffer from oral and facial pain. General risk factors, such as tobacco use and poor dietary practices, affect oral/craniofacial health. Data show a connection between oral health and chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRR1-RI-B)
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Medical University of South Carolina
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