The two overlapping thematic research areas ofthe Centerfor Experimental Infectious Disease Research (CEIDR) have been vector-borne infectious diseases and immunopathogenesis of infectious diseases. We foresee that 5-7 additional faculty will be hired, including joint appointments between the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine (LSU-SVM) and the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), during the next five years. To facilitate the main goal of achieving a critical mass of NIH-funded investigators, the Phase III COBRE application includes a Research Pilot Project Program that has a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it will provide funding for junior investigators who will pursue initial research efforts under the mentorship of two senior CEIDR investigators, as with the COBRE phases I and II. These pilot projects will be monitored and evaluated by the Intemal Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC), the Extemal Advisory Committee (EAC) and the Administrative Core (AC). Secondly, the pilot project program will provide for additional collaborative research efforts between LSU and TNPRC-based scientists working in "shared" principal investigator arrangements. The main goal ofthe pilot research program is to rapidly increase the number of ROI applications and amount of NIH funding through strong mentoring of new investigators and financial support of collaborative projects that have high potential for NIH funding. All pilot projects w receive priority for core support services providing each project with strong research tools to help them succeed within the one year allotted to each pilot project. A second year of pilot funding will only be considered after review by the ISAC, EAC and AC for projects that accomplish outstanding results, as evidenced by recent publications on the subject matter of each pilot, or that have received review of a NIH-submitted application that scores within 10 percentile points of funding. We anticipate the funding of two collaborative projects at $75,000 each and two pilot projects at $50,000 annually. Core charges for each pilot project will be subsidized at 50% of cost. This strategy will sustain core equipment and services by involving new investigators who are expected to continue using these facilities as they succeed in obtaining extramural funding on a fee-for-service basis.
The Pilot Research Program aims to 1) to attract new research projects led by junior investigators who show exceptional promise for developing independent research programs at either LSU or TNPRC, 2) to promote additional collaborations between LSU and TNPRC scientists resulting in shared ROI applications and NIH program project grants utilizing resources of both institutions.