This COBRE has a neariy decade history of successfully idenfifying and supporting Pilot Projects which have lead to additional funding and scienfific success for our recipients. In many ways of all the positives that have fiowed from our COBRE, the success of our pilot programs is probably one of the best examples. We have used our Pilot Projects during Phase II to in many cases introduce young senior post docs or young faculty to genefics. Often their focus was in other arenas but they were chosen as they needed access to the resources our COBRE can provide. These attempts at attracfing new invesfigators to our Center have paid off as many are now fully integrated into genefic projects as their main focus. Oklahoma confinues to have many outstanding junior investigators with novel project ideas, which are ripe for minimal investments with large potenfial returns. Two years ago, with just one e-mail announcement in the middle of summer, we had responses within two weeks for 14 potenfial pilot projects, 12 from junior COBRE-eligible investigators with 10 of these never having previously received COBRE funds. Most of these projects proposed to use the Genomics or the Quanfitative Analysis Core in this applicafion. To build on the prior success of our COBRE Pilot Projects Core has the following specific aims: 1) identify and fund highly innovative, COBRE Pilot Projects from junior COBRE invesfigators or established invesfigators with novel ideas in a new field of invesfigafion and 2) evaluate progress of projects and effectiveness of mentors and ensure that this Pilot Project program confinues to provide key resources for outstanding scientific opportunifies. We anficipate that the mechanism we have laid out in the Pilot Project Core for identifying tialent, evaluafing progress and cultivating indepence will result in continued successful faculty independence and Nafional funding success.
The current funding environment makes it difficult for new scienfists to fully develop their ideas to the point where they can compete for coveted nafional funding. The COBRE Pilot Project Core will assist up and coming new invesfigators with funding support to allow them to more fully develop their best scientific ideas and compete for nafional funding streams.