The long-term goal of the Pilot Grant Program is to provide resources to COBRE investigators so that they can generate new, preliminary data for extramural grant applications and thus expand their research programs. The Pilot Grant Program was begun in Phase I, continued in Phase II and its success will be built upon in Phase III. During Phase I and II the Program was extremely successful. Awardees produced -200 publications and the success rate for gaining independent extramural funding was -80%. Many of the initial awardees have now been granted tenure. This successful program will continue in Phase III. The Pilot Grant Program will feature three grant categories, all designed to further the goals of the COBRE Center for Molecular Medicine and to promote innovation by allowing meritorious investigators to explore novel ideas and develop new technologies. Category 1 grants are for newly-independent, non-tenured, tenure-track research faculty with no prior NIH ROI or equivalent external grant support as a principal investigator. A strong mentoring component is associated with this class of grant. Category 2 grants are for more established faculty who wish to pursue a new research area for which they do not currently have an NiH R01 or equivalent. These grants are meant to promote innovation and allow investigators to expand their research programs into new areas. Category 3 grants are available to groups of investigators planning to submit a multi-PI or Program Project grant application working collaboratively on a specific research problem, and can be comprised of both junior and more established investigators. These grants are meant to promote synergistic collaborations. The grants are designed for 2 years of funding ($50,000 per year) with the second year contingent on demonstrated progress. Evaluation of the grant applications and funding decisions will be made by the External Advisory Board in consultation with the Program Coordinator. All applicants, regardless of funding decisions, will receive a review of their proposals with a full evaluation of NIH's five criteria so that their future proposals can be improved. This Pilot Grant program has had a highly successful past and its philosophy of operation will be carried into Phase III.
The Pilot Grant Program promotes innovation by supporting COBRE investigators in the exploration of novel ideas and in the development of new technologies. This new knowledge will be the foundation for developing the future diagnostics tools and clinical therapeutics needed in the treatment of human disease.
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