We propose to continue the pilot project program that was initially established in phase 11 of our COBRE grant.
The aims ofthe pilot project program in Phase III are to initiate new projects and new collaborations in the area of biomaterials (Aim 1), to establish a mentoring program to train our junior faculty and expand the cadre of COBRE investigators (Aim 2), and to serve as a framework for planning and preparation of program project grants (Aim 3).
In Aim 1, the pilot project applications will be solicited from the broader University scientific community, including COBRE investigators. The research covered may include any topic consistent with the overall focus of Biomaterials COBRE, including design and synthesis, development of novel characterization methods, and translational research in biomaterials. Pilot projects are generally awarded for 1-2 years ($40,000-$50,000 direct costs per year). A typical pilot project grant will support stipends for research assistants, supplies and expenses. A two-stage review process will be implemented for project selection. External mail reviewers are selected by the Internal Steering Committee. The funding decisions are made by the External Advisory Committee, on the basis of the priority scores given by the external mail reviewers.
In Aim. 2, the pilot project program will remain a mechanism for mentoring, development, and support of our junior faculty. All pilot project junior faculty Pis are required to have one scientific mentor and to participate in the career development and grant writing workshops that will be hosted under the COBRE auspices.
In Aim 3, we will establish a framework for multi-investigator grants. Ideas for interdisciplinary large-scale applications will be developed at our annual research retreats and at joint workshops and symposia with other NIH-funded centers in Delaware (INBRE, other COBRE, and CTR).
Significant scientific opportunities lie in the development of biomaterials that address contemporary societal needs, such as those for organ replacement and tissue regeneration, drug and gene delivery, and biocompatible and environmentally friendly technologies. To realize such matenals, novel approaches need to be constantly explored. The proposed pilot research program will provide support to initiate new research directions, establish new interdisciplinary collaborations, and expand the cadre of junior and established faculty to pursue promising new ideas and turn these into full-scale research projects.
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