The overall mission of the National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation (NC NM4R) will be ?fostering the success of the NM4R researcher?. The principal objective of the NC NM4R Pilot Studies Program is to prioritize, provide and manage short-term funding for scientifically meritorious, new and innovative projects through a competitive program with open solicitation and peer review. The goal is to provide adequate resources, support and training for pilot investigators to develop sufficient preliminary data to prepare a competitive extramural grant application as Principal Investigator that will directly utilize one or more of the NC NM4R resources. The program will focus on enabling NC NM4R affiliates (e.g., investigators who have participated in NC NM4R workshops and/or collaborative opportunities) to conduct proof-of-principle or feasibility studies and/or explore an area that is distinct from their currently funded research using neuromodulatory methodologies supported by the NC NM4R. Not only will this component provide a pilot studies program for qualified researchers (Aim 1), we will also have extensive interactions with these investigators before submission and after they receive their award (Aim 2). This program will solicit pilot study applicatons annually by broadly advertising a request for applications (RFA) five months in advance of the anticipated award date. Methods of distributing the RFA will include announcements on the NC NM4R web site, e-newsletter, listserv announcements to Center affiliates and other targeted avenues with national reach. Submission will be web-based with a two-phase application process including a Letter of Intent (LOI) followed by a full application after interactions with the NC NM4R. Applications will be peer-reviewed and scored using the NIH scale, then prioritized according to four criteria: 1) quality of the research (scientific merit, innovation and impact); 2) relevance to the mission of the Center and direct involvement of one or more of the NC NM4R resources in the research plan; 3) qualifications of the research team to lead the research effort toward securing extramural funding, and 4) stimulation of collaborative efforts with NC NM4R investigators. We plan to fund an average of four new or competitive continuation pilot studies per year with 12-month project periods. Applicants must be eligible Principal Investigators as defined by their home organization and have the skills, knowledge and resources necessary to carry out the proposed work plan; they also must be eligible to submit an NIH R01 or equivalent as PI from their institution. Investigators will receive one year of research support along with access to NC NM4R cores, equipment and other resources as needed to perform an investigator-initiated project related to the mission of the NC NM4R. We envision that the Pilot Studies Program will enable investigators to form interdisciplinary, interactive, sustainable research projects that will impact NM4R research.

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