A major purpose of a Phase III COBRE Center is to provide a program for identifying and supporting scientifically worthy pilot projects that will utilize existing COBRE Core Labs and generate preliminary results in support of new research grant proposals and applications. The COBRE-PSF Pilot Project Program will continue a successful program of supporting Pilot Projects by advertising competitions for pilot project awards broadly across the four participating institutions, obtaining external reviews of all applications, and consulting with our EAC to identify new projects to support. The Pilot Project Program will interact with other components of the Administrative Core to provide, overall, 1) mentoring and career-development support for COBRE junior faculty by experienced senior faculty researchers, 2) a program for the overall enhancement of writing skills and especially for the writing of high-quality research publications and strongly competitive grant applications based on the results of pilot projects supported by COBRE, and 3) monitoring of scientific progress and career development of mentored COBRE researchers. Individual COBRE Pilot Projects will, by definition, interact strongly with one or more of our three COBRE Core Labs.
This component of our application provides a program for recruiting and evaluating small pilot project grants in the area of protein structure and function. In some cases the results will support enlarging the study through regular NIH grant mechanisms.