Pilot Project Program Description

Comprehensive Alcohol Research Center/Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Request for Applications for Pilot Project Funding

The Comprehensive Alcohol Research Center is an NIAAA-sponsored P60 grant that has a Pilot Project Program. Awards are typically less than $50,000 per project for a 12-month period. One award of $30,000 to $35,000 per project for a 12-month period is anticipated. A second year of funding will be considered if money is available, and strongly justified by progress in the first year. A second year of funding will be competitive with new applications.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: August 15th, 2017

The purpose of the CARC Pilot Project Program is to expand interest in the alcohol research field and explore new alcohol research directions that are thematically consistent with the focus of the CARC. The goal of the program is that the pilot studies will evolve into independently funded research projects. The CARC conducts research to understand the impact of alcohol abuse on HIV disease progression and its complications using our chronic alcohol/SIV infection model in rhesus macaques with and without anti-retroviral therapy. other models of infection, inflammation and trauma and human studies that will translate findings into health care practices. Applications should address the impact of alcohol on HIV transmission or the disease by using the rhesus macaque model or performing translational studies in humans.A major goal of this call for abstracts is to help investigators generate preliminary data that will support a research component in a program project proposal that will be competitive for external funding (focus on NIAAA).  Pilot projects that establish new collaborations are strongly encouraged.
The Pilot Project program is open to faculty at LSUHSC and affiliated institutions, and entertains applications from scientists at other institutions with research interests aligned with CARC objectives. The CARC Intramural Center Committee (ICC) will monitor the performance and productivity of the Pilot Project Core. Application Instructions:

Research Plan:Not to exceed 5 pages excluding references. This section must clearly identify how data generated will be used to apply for extramural funding in an area directly related to the scientific focus of the LSUHSC CARC, or develop a project that could be integrated as a research component in the renewal of the CARC (2019).
NIH style Biosketch that includes Other Support for all key personnel. Other Support should indicate percent effort and total direct costs for duration on the grant or contract.

Budget Instructions: Detailed budget including justification should be submitted. Funds are not to exceed $30,000-$35,000. Allowable costs include: Supplies, and salary support for research personnel (i.e., student worker, research associate). Costs not allowed include travel and salary support for the PI. Sub-contracts outside LSUHSC SoM are not allowed.
Instructions for Submitting Proposals:  Proposals should be submitted electronically as a single PDF file including the three items above to Betsy Giaimo at mgiaim@lsuhsc.edu no later than Friday August 15, 2017 Please note: This funding mechanism does not need to be routed through the LSUHSC Office of Research Services for signatures. However, proof of IBC, IRB, and/or IACUC approval will be requested prior to approval.
Review/Evaluation Process: Peer review will be conducted by members of the External Advisory Committee (EAC), which will make recommendations to the ICC. Either the EAC or the ICC may choose to solicit additional expert peer review if necessary. EAC members will be assigned as primary and secondary reviewers of each application with the primary reviewer being responsible for preparing a written critique to be submitted for consideration by the ICC. A presentation to CARC ICC members may be requested prior to approval of funding.
Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications: The review committee will prioritize applications using the following criteria:

  • Fundability: Are the results obtained from this pilot study likely to lead to competitive federal grant applications? Does the study address an important problem to the alcohol research field related to the focus of the CARC and/or use novel approaches, and/or challenge existing ideas, and/or develop new methodologies?
  • Fit: Will the proposed work enhance alcohol and HIV research at LSUHSC, either by enhancing current areas of strength, creating new collaborations, and/or creating synergy between ongoing strengths in multiple research groups?
  • Approach: Are the overall approach, design, methods and analysis adequately developed and appropriate to address the aims of the study? Will the data generated by the proposed project produce a dataset that is likely to support a competitive federal grant application? Is this plan explicitly described in the proposal?
  • Investigator(s): Is he/she appropriately trained and experienced in the research area to carry out the proposed work? Does he/she have the track record that would warrant extramural funding based on the data obtained?

Funding decision: Awards will be announced by October 15th, 2017. Funding is anticipated to start January 1st, 2018 and is contingent on approval by appropriate institutional committees (IRB for human subject research, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Institutional Biosafety Committee.)

Monitoring, Oversight and Continuation Decisions: Members of the ICC will be identified to serve as mentors for the PIs of each pilot project. The assigned ICC mentors will meet with the PIs at least monthly to discuss their progress, data interpretation, and limitations. The Project PI will be expected to give a short oral presentation on the results of this work during a CARC-ICC meeting at least twice a year. Initial funding will be for one year with the potential for a second year extension, based on progress, the potential for extramural funding, and the quality of the new applicant pool. Certain projects will likely require a second year of funding based upon a realistic timeframe required to complete the project.