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UMB and UMCP Continue Joint Competitive Research Seed Program to Foster Collaborations Between Investigators

Friday, November 13, 2009

The University of Maryland, College Park, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore are continuing a joint competitive NIH Seed Grant Program in 2009. The intent of this initiative is to foster teams of investigators crossing disciplinary boundaries and campuses, establish specific research foci, generate preliminary data, and submit research proposals to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, or other federal funding agencies.

The program is also intended to foster collaborations between junior and senior investigators and provide mentorship for new investigators in the art of grant writing and research. This year’s solicitation strongly encourages research proposals of a translational nature.

In order to be considered, a single-spaced proposal meeting the guidelines below must be submitted no later than January 15, 2010. The proposal should address the scientific merits of the proposed research and identify and justify specific NIH, NSF, or other federal programs that would be receptive of a full proposal that contains preliminary results obtained under the Seed Program. The number of awards will depend on the quality and quantity of proposals received, as well as the proposed budgets. The entire program is projected to award up to $500,000. The maximum grant size is $75K.

Individual investigators can be a participating PI on only one awarded proposal but can submit multiple proposals. The top-ranked proposal after peer review will be the one eligible for funding. Investigators can serve as a collaborator on an unlimited number of proposals. Past awardees remain eligible for this year’s competition.


Eligibility: All full-time tenured or tenure track faculty members having primary academic appointments within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Clark School of Engineering, College of Chemical and Life Sciences, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, College of Information Studies, School of Public Health, and the College of Arts and Humanities at UMCP; and, the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Dentistry at UMB are eligible.

This award program seeks to encourage groups of researchers (minimum of two faculty PI’s – one from each campus) to collaborate on new avenues of research that would not otherwise be explored by any one group alone. The research project must not overlap in focus with ongoing funded research in any of the participating laboratories and is expected to lead to applications for new external funding.

Expectations: Award recipients are expected to produce sufficient preliminary results so that within 12 months after expiration of the award, a proposal for external funding is submitted. Such a proposal is a desired outcome, but is not mandatory; however, expectations are that publication(s) or manuscript(s) will result from the funded work. Awardees will participate in future Progress Session(s) or other events that bridge campuses and bring researchers together. Recipients will remain faculty members of the participating school throughout the course of the grant, with any substitutions requiring approval in advance.

Review: Proposals will be evaluated by a committee of faculty from UMB and UMCP campuses and representatives from each school with wide-ranging expertise appropriate to submitted proposals. Applicants should not expect detailed written critiques of their proposals. Proposals will be reviewed for: 1) how well the project meets the goals of the Seed Program, including the composition of the team of investigators; 2) meeting NIH criteria (e.g., significance, approach, novelty, and qualification of investigators to carry out the research); and 3) likelihood of attracting outside funding. Scientific merit of the proposed studies will be the most important factor assessed in this competition, but the inclusion of junior tenure track faculty will be considered as a highly favorable component of any application.

Allowable Expenses: Research supplies; purchase or rental of equipment for new research; travel for research purposes (excluding travel to meetings or symposia); matching funds for research items; salary support for a temporary position (1 year or less) for technicians, research associates (post-docs), and/or graduate students.
Expenses Not Allowed: Salaries for PIs, secretarial support; general telephone services and postage; alterations or renovations of laboratory space; purchase of laboratory or office furniture; purchase or binding of periodicals and books; dues and memberships in scientific societies.

Conditions of the Award

1. Awards are made to principal investigators and are not transferable without prior approval by the Executive Vice Dean, UMB/SOM and Vice President for Research, UMCP.

2. Equipment purchased with these funds are property of UMB and UMCP and must remain should the PI leave his/her University.

3. A brief annual progress report and a final report (after 3 years) will be prepared.

4. Periodic surveys will require completion for interim progress or update on patent, invention,
creation of new companies, technology for commercialization, or other areas of interest to the schools

5. Three years after the project ends, the PI will be asked to file an update (part of final report) listing all presentations, published papers, and extramural funds that have resulted, in whole or in part, from the project. These should be sent to the Executive Vice Dean, UMB/SOM and Vice President for Research, UMCP upon request.

6. Funds should be budgeted for completion and exhausted at the end of one calendar year. Remaining or unspent funds are to be returned for subsequent competitions.

Other: The proposal should also identify specific research goals that will enhance the success of a full proposal, as well as, provide a specific targeted timeline by which these objectives can be reasonably achieved. Finally, the proposal should provide a budget that adequately reflects the intended use of the funds with respect to the proposed objectives for each institutional component.

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