The Pilot Project Program (PPP) for the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI) was established in Phase II of CETI's existence. This program, which has proven to be popular in these difficult funding times, is designed to enable investigators to collect data needed to increase the competitiveness of their grants for funding. In so doing, it helps CETI to achieve one of the major goals of the IDeA program, namely to increase our critical mass of funded investigators. The PPP we propose for Phase III has three major goals. The first is to facilitate maintenance of the PPP into Phase III and beyond. We intend to award each successful applicant an amount of $25-50K per annum with the possibility of continued funding into a second year. Because of the need to purchase equipment for our scientific cores, our PPP will be relatively small in years one and two but will be expanded to the full allowable amount in years three through five. Additionally, support received from the UNM administration will provide another $200K to continue our PPP in the five years following Phase III. The second goal of the PPP is to assist our three scientific cores in transitioning to independence from COBRE funding. Beginning in year three, we will begin a phased reduction of COBRE support for each of our three cores. By year five, the cores will be cost neutral. However, funds coming into each core from PPP recipients will help each core achieve cost neutrality. In addition, both our PPP and our waiver program will have the benefit of increasing the user base for each of our scientific cores. A third goal of our PPP is to provide both training for all equipment items used by recipients in our cores, and the mentoring services provided by our Administrative Core. Training will allow recipients to take full advantage of the instrumentation and services in our Cores. Mentoring will emphasize production of more competitive research proposals and favor the long-term academic success of our recipients. Additionally and importantly, PPP recipients will be offered the benefit of using CETI's wellestablished grant preparation and submission portal, thereby greatly facilitating what can be a difficult and demanding process. Finally, all PP recipients will be encouraged to participate in all CETI's programmatic activities, including lunches, seminars, and meetings. The PPP is a vital part of CETI as it increases our core user base and the competitiveness of our investigators, and helps us realize the long-term goals of both CETI and the IDeA program.
In these difficult funding times, the Pilot Project Program overseen by the Administrative Core of the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI) provides much needed funds for investigators, especially beginning investigators, to collect preliminary data needed to support successful full-scale extramural research proposals. By favoring the long-term success of New Mexico scientists, CETI helps improve the economic outlook and scientific competitiveness of our state, in line with the goals of the IDeA program.