MEDx Pilot Project RFP Instructions - 2020

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I. Purpose

Duke MEDx pilot project grants will facilitate the formation of new collaborations or expand existing collaborations between regular rank faculty in Medicine and Engineering. Projects responsive to this call for proposals will benefit human health by providing important disease insights or developing technologies to aid in disease prevention, diagnosis or treatment. The desired outcomes of the projects are eventual development of a commercial product and/or translation of the research into clinical practice.

These grants should also catalyze research that will be competitive for follow-on support and further development through grants (e.g. Duke CTSI, Coulter Foundation, SBIT/STTR), not-for-profit or industry partnering, sponsored research, licensing, or new company formation. Applicants are encouraged to describe the opportunities for follow-on support and to outline the potential pathway for eventual clinical translation or commercialization.

Projects may be a new collaboration between regular rank faculty in Medicine and Engineering or a new project for existing collaborators. These awards are not meant to provide bridge funding for existing projects.

The awards are up to $50,000 (direct costs only, and no faculty effort may be included). Multiple proposals will be funded.

II. Key Dates

  • Application Submission Deadline: June 15, 2020, 11:59 P.M.
  • Selection of Awardees: Target date is no later than mid July 2020
  • Funding Period: The budget period is for up to 12 months beginning on the date of award

III. Eligibility

A regular rank faculty member from the School of Medicine and a regular rank faculty member in the Pratt School of Engineering must submit an application as co-PIs. A Medicine or Engineering faculty member acting as PI may submit more than one proposal, but a faculty member may receive only one grant. Team members from other schools at Duke (e.g. Arts & Sciences, School of the Environment) are welcome.

If investigators need assistance finding collaborators, MEDx will attempt to help.

IV. Funding

Each award will consist of up to $50,000 (direct costs only) with an expected start date no later than mid July 1, 2020, or at a time that the PI's are able to re-initiate their research activities. Successful applicants will be expected to provide a mid-term progress update and a final report indicating progress towards the stated objectives and achieving follow-up funding, any publications that are in progress and other achievements.

V. Proposal Preparation

Consultation is optional; notification of intent to apply is requested. If you wish to consult with a member of the MEDx team, please see the MEDx website for office hours (aka MEDx Café). You can also email Donna Crenshaw directly. 

VI. Review Process and Criteria

Three experts, biomedical, clinical or engineering researchers, will review each application and the MEDx selection committee will make final decisions about funding. The reviewers will consider the following criteria

  • Significance - Does the proposal address a significant unmet clinical need or significant gap in disease understanding?
  • Novelty - Is the need/gap that the collaborators identified particularly insightful or is the proposed solution particularly novel?
  • Approach - Will the specific aims serve as the foundation for a meaningful investigation or technology development plan? Are the methods and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to the specific aims? Have the applicants identified potential problems and strategies to manage these?
  • Feasibility - Is the project scope of work appropriate for the timeframe, level of funding and available resources? Examples of resources include personnel, samples and patients.
  • Collaboration - The proposal should present a meaningful collaboration between a clinical or biomedical researcher and an engineer. The collaboration should provide complementary laboratory and/or clinical and engineering skills and expertise needed to complete the proposed research. 
  • Overall Impact - Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to benefit human health by providing important disease insights or develop technologies that will aid in disease prevention, diagnosis or treatment. A key aspect of impact is whether the successful completion of this project is likely to enable the PIs to secure follow-on support.

VII. Application Preparation & Submission

Submit your proposal  

Use at least 0.5-inch margins, single line spacing and font no smaller than Arial 10 pt. Citations do not count towards the 5-page limit.

Upload your application as two PDF files, a one-page abstract and a 5-page research proposal with accompanying documentation.

  1. Abstract. File name: PI lastname_PI lastname_Abstract (1 page limit)

    The abstract is a summary of the proposal for use by the review committee and Duke MEDx. Please include the project title, names of the PIs and collaborators. Include a brief description of the problem, the aims, state whether this is a new collaboration or an extension of an existing collaboration, and state the amount of funding requested. 
  2. Application. Include items A-E, below, assembled into one PDF. File name: PI lastname_PI lastname_Application

A. Research Proposal (5-page limit, including tables and figures). The research proposal should address the following

i. Concise explanation of unmet need and/or scientific significance

ii. Research plan and approach to achieving the Aims. Preliminary data is helpful but not required.

iii. Specific Aims

iv. Proposed research timeline/project plan

v. A description of the plan for follow-on support, clinical translation or product development. Indicate whether this research is currently funded and how. 

The following items (B-E) are not included in the 5-page limit

B. Citations: Citations should be included at the end of the research proposal.

C. Budget with Budget Justification: Use PHS 398 Form Pages 4 and 5 (Page 5 is for the Budget Justification section only and you may use more pages as needed).

D. Human and/or Animal Subjects: Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval is not required prior to submission but will be required prior to release of funds. Briefly describe any human and/or animal subject issues (For example, if human subjects are involved, provide a brief description of their involvement and characteristics. Describe the sources of materials that will be obtained from human subjects as part of their study participation. Provide assurance that the project will be reviewed and approved by the Duke IRB and comply with HIPAA. If vertebrate animals will be used, provide a brief overview of the proposed use. Projects involving animal subjects must be reviewed and approved by the Duke IACUC. There is no page limit to this section, but it should be as concise as possible).

E. Biographic sketches for all key personnel, including current and pending sources of support. Please use the new (2018) NIH Biosketch Form or an accepted NSF Biosketch.

VIII. Budget Guidelines

The budget period is for 12 months. Up to $50,000 in direct costs may be requested. If Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) review or approval is required, funding will not be released until such approval is obtained.

1. Grant funds may be budgeted for

      • Research support personnel or students/trainees
      • Small equipment, research supplies and core lab costs, or
      • Other purposes deemed necessary for the successful execution of the proposed project

2. Grant funds may not be budgeted for

      • Salary support for the faculty collaborators
      • Effort for students, post-doctoral trainees or fellows on training grant equivalents
      • Capital equipment
      • Office supplies or communication costs, including printing
      • Meals or travel, including to conferences, except as required to collect data
      • Professional education or training
      • Computers or audiovisual equipment
      • Manuscript preparation and submission
      • Indirect costs
      • Subcontracts to other institutions
      • Foreign components, as defined in the NIGH Grants Policy Statement

Awarded funds must be used to conduct the work described in the application. MEDx reserves the right to revoke funding in the event it is determined that funds are not being spent in accordance with the approved proposal or if progress reports are not submitted upon request.