UVa Silvio O. Conte Digestive Health Research Center Pilot Feasibility Award Program - Call for Proposals 2008

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UVa Silvio O. Conte Digestive Health Research Center Pilot Feasibility Award Program - Call for Proposals 2008

Intent of Pilot Feasibility Awards | Review Criteria and Procedures | Eligibility for Pilot Feasibility Awards
Award Conditions and Reporting | Application Procedure | Current Awardees | Application Format

Intent of Pilot Feasibility Awards

The NIH-funded University of Virginia Digestive Health Research Center announces a program to support new research initiatives in digestive diseases. The primary goal of the Pilot/Feasibility Award is to provide the Awardee with initial funds to develop new digestive health related research initiatives leading to submission of competitive grant applications to traditional funding agencies.

Limited awards of up to $25,000/year will be made to eligible applicants. Awards are intended to support preliminary data collection, which will be used in applications for future independent research grants in areas related to digestive diseases. A second year of funding may be requested in and requires submission of a competing renewal application to the Digestive Health Research Center with demonstration of satisfactory progress and justification for a second year of funding.

Eligibility for Pilot Feasibility Awards

Investigators who meet one of the three following criteria are eligible to apply:

  1. New investigators without current or past NIH research project support (RO1 or PO1) as a principal investigator (current or past support from other sources should be modest).*
  2. Established, funded investigators with no previous work in digestive diseases or digestive disease-related areas who wish to test the applicability of their expertise to a digestive disease-related problem.
  3. Established investigators in digestive diseases or digestive disease-related areas who wish to test the feasibility of a new or innovative idea, which constitutes a significant departure from their funded research.

*Trainees including those who are recipients of an NRSA individual award (F32) or are supported by an institutional training grant (T32) are eligible for funds, but only if they are in their last year of training, have had at least one year of clinical or laboratory research experience, and have suitable expertise and independence to design and carry out the planned experiments. Trainees should have a commitment from a senior scientist to sponsor the project. Funds may not be used to supplement NRSA stipends, but may be used for supplies, technical support, special services, etc.

Application Procedure

Interested investigators should submit a Letter of Intent by January 18th, 2008 that includes the following:

  1. 1-2 page description of project aims and method of approach
  2. NIH-format biographical sketch.

Eligible candidates will then be notified and asked to submit a full written proposal.

Guidelines for preparing a full written proposal

The full written proposal should be preparedin the general format of NIH research project applications (RO3), and including the following:

  1. Title
  2. Eligibility category of the investigator
  3. Abstract
  4. NIH-format biosketch
  5. Budget with brief budget justification (Salary support for the principal investigator and indirect costs are not allowed).
  6. Facilities and resources available for performance of the proposed research
  7. Research proposal (no more than ten pages), including the following:
    • Specific Aims
    • Relevance to digestive diseases
    • Background
    • Progress Report (if this is a proposal for 2nd year of funding)
    • Preliminary Data (if this proposal seeks to build on previous results)
    • Research Plan. Include within the research plan a discussion of any anticipated difficulties in the proposed experiments and potential alternative approaches.
    • References
  8. Detail plans for obtaining additional extramural funding arising from the proposed studies. (~1 page)
  9. If the applicant is currently a trainee, a letter from the trainee's program director confirming that he is in the last year of training and a letter of commitment from a senior scientist to sponsor the project should be provided.


The proposal must be single spaced, printed on one side only, with one-inch margins using 12-point type. The general format of an NIH research project application (RO3) should be used, including a detailed budget page (not the modular budget page in the new NIH form).

Applications must be received no later than February 29, 2008. Send the completed original application as a MS Word or PDF file and eight printed copies to:

The Digestive Health Research Center
Pilot/Feasibility Research Award
c/o Dr. Steven Cohn
UVa Health System, MSB Room 2091B
P.O. Box 800708
Charlottesville, VA 22908

Review Criteria and Procedures

The DHRC Executive Committee and an external advisory board will review each application. Preference will be given to proposals in the area of IBD/mucosal immunology, intestinal epithelial cell biology and GI infections.

The merit of each application will be judged using the following criteria:

  • Novelty of the proposed research
  • Relevance to digestive health
  • Potential of the pilot/feasibility study to lead to future independent support

Award Conditions & Reporting

The monetary award will be provided beginning June 2008 and can only be used to support laboratory personnel, supplies, and limited domestic travel as detailed in the approved budget. Indirect costs are not allowed for this award.

All presentations and/or publications arising from the research project funded through this award must acknowledge support from the University of Virginia Digestive Health Research Center. Copies of all manuscripts, accepted abstracts, or grants arising from research funded through this award should be sent to the University of Virginia Digestive Health Research Center.

At the conclusion of the award, the recipient is required to submit a written summary of the research conducted, as well as a description of all funded, pending, or planned grant submissions arising from this award.

Pilot Feasibility Awardees for 2008

Dr. Brian Behm, Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology
Pravastatin in Moderate to Severe Crohn's Disease: A Pilot Study

Dr. Janet Cross, Department of Pathology
The Role of a novel cytokine, Macrophage Migration Inhibition Factor (MIF), in H. pylori pathogenesis

Dr. Carla Green, Department of Biology
The study of circadian clock mechanisms and this has recently led us (somewhat unexpectedly!) into the field of metabolism and digestion

Dr. William McIntire, Department of Pharmacology
The Effect of G Protein a, β and γ Adenosine A2b Receptor Signaling in Intestinal Epithelial Cells