The University of Pennsylvania (UPENN) TCORS Developmental/Pilot Project will stimulate and promote high- priority innovative projects responding to emerging scientific questions from the Penn TCORS and enable a rapid response to new developments in the scientific and regulatory communities at large. This program follows the successful operating model of the pilot research programs in the NCI Penn Center of Excellence in Communication Research (CECCR) and Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Nicotine Addiction (CIRNA). This established infrastructure includes mechanisms to: solicit pilot projects;review and support pilot projects; evaluate the success of funded projects and the program overall;and foster the development of new grant applications for the most promising pilot projects. The developmental projects also provide opportunities to involve researchers with varied disciplinary backgrounds, apply new research technologies, and foster new collaborations in the area of tobacco research of relevance to the FDA. Although we anticipate that most within-Center pilot projects would relate to the Center's theme of "tobacco product messaging in a complex communication environment", these mechanisms are well suited to solicit projects in other areas of relevance to the FDA's regulatory authority;this may be particulariy important for cross-TCORS pilot projects and responses to opportunities for time-sensitive ad hoc projects.
The Specific Aims of the Developmental/Pilot Project Program are: 1. To implement a program that solicits, reviews, and promotes innovative, interdisciplinary developmental pilot projects that target emerging scientific questions of importance to the Penn TCORS and to the FDA. 2. To provide ongoing support for pilot projects funded through the TCORS initiative, including interdisciplinary collaboration, mentorship, and technical assistance in the development of manuscripts, presentations, and subsequent "spin-off'research proposals. 3. To coordinate a rapid response to ad hoc time-sensitive opportunities, including project conception, vetting, implementation, and evaluation. 4. To evaluate the success of these efforts in addressing the goals of the TCORS initiative.
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