Research Pilot Project Program Abstract: The overall goal of the Research Pilot Project Program in the Phase 111 funding cycle is to promote interdisciplinary research in the broad area of cellular signaling, encompassing projects in cell-cell communication, endocytosis and trafficking, biology and therapy of oral cancer, and cancer biology and immunology. Our ongoing research pilot project program, for both individual and collaborative projects, has been extremely successful. Having awarded $827,400 during the first nine years of funding, our program has led to development of multiple external awards totaling over $9.88 million received from NIH and the American Cancer Society. Thus, pilot project funding through the NCCS provides a clear return of over $11 for every dollar invested, without even taking into consideration additional grants arising from the first external funding that benefitted from the pilot funding. Past NCCS pilot projects have either been awarded to single investigators or to collaborating co-investigators. We propose to make a total of $2 million available by awarding four, one-year collaborative pilot grants ($100K) and 16, two-year pilot project grants ($50K per year) during Phase III. The Dean of the UNMC College of Dentistry (COD), the Director of the Eppley Institute (El), and the UNMC Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) have committed a combined total of $150K per year to supplement NIH funds for NCCS pilot grants during Phase 111. Thus, over the five-year span of Phase III, $1,250K in NIH funds provided by the NCCS will be partnered with $250K each from the COD, Eppley, and the VCR ($750K of combined institutional support, or a 60% match) for this crucial component of the NCCS. Moreover, the Director of the Eppley Institute has pledged a further $50,000 per year for the five years beyond Phase 111, bringing the UNMC commitment to $1 million overall. A rigorous review process for such applications involving review and prioritization of proposals by the NCCS Executive Committee and then critique by the External Advisory Council is already in place to ensure that the projects funded through this mechanism are the most meritorious and have the highest probability of generating the key data needed to compete successfully for external funding. The mechanisms for issuing requests for applications, the proposal review process, notification of awards, evaluation and monitoring of progress on the pilot projects, and follow-up on applications to external funding agencies are described herein.
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