Project Leaders

Project Leader Award Program

Program Description (Download Instructions)

The COBRE Center for Addiction and Disease Risk Exacerbation (CADRE) investigates biopsychosocial mechanisms by which substance use disorders (SUDs) increase the risk for or exacerbate chronic disease in vulnerable populations, especially underrepresented ethnic or racial minorities. CADRE’s long-term goals are to provide scientific, administrative, and financial support needed to conduct the best and highest-impact science on SUDs and their chronic disease manifestations to launch the careers of early career faculty by helping them to attain independent funding.

The CADRE Project Leader (PL) program will support projects of 2-3 year duration, led by Project Leaders (PLs), who are early career faculty investigators. PLs will receive COBRE funding to conduct multi-disciplinary research on mechanisms linking SUDs with chronic disease conditions.

Additionally, PLs will receive individualized mentorship and support from the CADRE to ensure career enrichment and their successful transition to an RO1 level-funded investigator at the end of their project. Awardees will gain access to:

  • Individualized mentorship from leaders in interdisciplinary areas of SUDs. Mentorship will include 1:1 guided support, Mentor-Mentee Contracts, and Individualized Development Plans.
  • Professional Development Workshops, an Annual CADRE Symposium, and Professional Conferences
  • Access to CADRE core resources, including:
    • State-of-the-art clinical labs and Clinical Laboratory Core faculty and staff with laboratory, medical, data management, and data analysis expertise.
    • Project management support and guidance from CADRE’s Administrative Core.
    • Funds to attend scientific conferences and present findings.

Program Requirement & Eligibility

  • Projects must undergo IRB review and approval.
  • Research must be related to SUDs and chronic disease in vulnerable populations, especially in underrepresented ethnic/racial minorities.
  • Projects will be at least 2 and up to 3 years.
    • Awardee must hold the title of Assistant Professor at Brown University at the time the award is submitted for NIH approval. Postdocs without a faculty appointment are eligible to apply under the condition that a faculty appointment must be initiated prior to NIGMS approval.
    • PL must be an early career investigator as defined by an individual who does not have, and has not previously had, an external peer reviewed research project grant (R01) or Program Project Grant (PPG) from either a Federal or non-Federal source that names investigator as PD/PI.
    • Early-career investigators who are also K awardees can serve as COBRE PLs only during the last two years of their K award.
    • Interested post-doctoral applicants must contact the COBRE team (information below) to learn more about their potential eligibility.
    • Under special circumstances an established investigator can apply, if they intend to make a significant change to their career.

Special Considerations

Investigators who comply with program and eligibility requirements will be reviewed. Special considerations will be given to investigators who:

  1. Take a multi-disciplinary approach to SUD research
  2. Are from underrepresented minority or racial backgrounds
  3. Conduct their work with participants from underrepresented minority groups

Award Budget

Annual support of approximately $150,000 in direct costs per year may be requested.

Use of Funds

The Budget Request should include:

  • Salary & fringe benefits for the PL (minimum of 6-person months annually for early-career investigators and minimum of 3-person months annually for established investigators) and a research assistant or postdoctoral fellow.
  • Research expenses and related supplies as dictated by federal policy. Many research costs can be covered by the laboratory core. Applicants are encouraged to contact the COBRE team (information below) to learn which research costs are covered by the laboratory core.
  • No equipment greater than $2,000.

Award Project Period

The project period is up to 36 months with annual review for renewal.

Application Content & Process

All application materials will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants must contact the CADRE team ([email protected]) ) to discuss their project before submitting a proposal. All materials should be uploaded into a PDF file for consideration and review. Application will be comprised of 4 components.

1) One-page Project Summary that includes:

  1. Contact & academic information
  2. Project Aims, Significance, & Approach

2) Applicant CV

      a. Applicant NIH Biosketch

3) Application Content (Click here for PHS 398 forms and instructions):

  1. NIH Face Page (PHS 398 Face Page)
  2. NIH Project Summary Page (PHS 398 Form Page 2)
  3. Specific Aims (1-page limit)
  4. Research Strategy (6-page limit, no form). For more guidance on writing a strong Research Strategy click here. Strategy includes:
    1. Background and Significance: Rationale and significance of the project, including relevance to the goals of the CADRE and plans for use of the Cores in the CADRE project and subsequent independently funded projects.
    2. Innovation: Include both conceptual and technical innovations
    3. Approach: Preliminary data (if applicable) and research plan including expected results.
  5. Mentoring Plan: Briefly describe the mentoring plan for the applicant.
  6. Project Timeline: Includes milestones and plans for submitting 1 manuscript in Year 1 and 2 manuscripts and an R01 or equivalent grant application in Year 2.
  7. References: Not included in the page limit.
  8. PHS Human Subjects and Clinical Trials information (Click here for form and here for instructions). Note: All NIH funded studies that meet the NIH definition for clinical research must address plans for the inclusion of women and minorities within the application or proposal.
  9. Vertebrate Animals per PHS 398 Instructions (if applicable)
  10. Other Support Documentation following NIH guidelines (Click here for format and instructions)
  11. Detailed budget and budget justification using PHS 398 forms for 3 years.
  12. Checklist Format Page with F&A cost break down
  13. Support letters from your mentors
  14. The support for up to 2 mentors will come from the Administrative Core budget. Support for additional mentors, if required, may be included in the project budget. Mentor support is restricted to a total of 0.5 calendar month effort per mentor. Policies vary for mentors from non-IDeA states. Please see federal guidelines.
  15. Mentor Biosketch(es)

*If applicant is approved, Just-in-Time (JIT) Documentation will be needed & developed with the CADRE Administrative Core

  • IRB approval or IACUC approval
  • Human subjects training certificates for all personnel involved in the work with human participants.
  • Updated inclusion enrollment report for this study in HSS
  • Updated Other Support which includes CADRE award
  • Face Page signed by Institute representative
  • Revised 36-month project budget
  • Project Summary and Specific Aims in Microsoft Word format

Review Process and Selection Criteria

Funding is dependent upon the positive review of the CADRE External Advisory Committee, the CADRE Executive Committee, and final approval of the National Institute of Health.

The final selection will be made based on the following criteria:

  • Significance and impact of work in the areas of SUDs and chronic disease
  • Scientific Merit of Work
  • Feasibility of proposed project:
    • Available Funding
    • Timeline for PL
  • Project’s potential for further research support from external sponsors
  • Investigator’s ability to become an independent researcher after Project is completed
  • Use of a multidisciplinary approach and a focus on underrepresented minority populations, as noted under “Special Considerations”, above.


Upon acceptance into the program, Awardees will be expected to:

  • Attend monthly All-CADRE meetings and the annual COBRE retreat.
  • Meet with mentors on a weekly basis and develop a mentor-mentee compact.
  • Develop progress reports using Federal policies for annual review.
  • Attend scientific conferences and organizations to present data and work.
  • Attend CADRE weekly seminars, a monthly journal club, and CADRE workshops.
  • At the end of year 1, PLs are expected to have submitted at least one first authored and one co- authored manuscript for publication. In years 2 and 3, PLs are expected to submit at least one first authored publication and at least two co-authored publications each year.
  • NIH R01 level funding should be submitted by the middle of year 2.

Mentors are expected to:

  • Develop an IDP with their PL mentee upon acceptance into the program
  • Meet with their PL mentee on a weekly basis
  • Ensure the PL mentee is meeting their project milestones and assist with professional development
  • Review and comment on their PL mentee in quarterly reports, updated IDPs and their annual progress reports.
  • Attend the COBRE annual retreat

Questions and concerns regarding the Center for Addiction and Disease Exacerbation COBRE application may be directed to: [email protected]