COBRE Center for Nervous System Function - Pilot Project Applications

Applications closed

The Carney Institute for Brain Science COBRE Center for Nervous System Function (CNSF) aims to increase the quantity and quality of research on the nervous system in Rhode Island. One means of attaining this goal concerns identifying and nurturing talented young investigators and enabling established investigators to create a new research line.

We announce the availability of two 12-month grants of up to $40,000 for research related to nervous system function, pending funding of our Phase II COBRE. We particularly welcome projects that explore the neural basis of attention, decision-making, learning, memory, or other cognitive functions. We aim to enable an investigator to collect preliminary data in support of grant applications for independent external research funding, especially from the NIH. Pilot project investigators can take advantage of the CNSF community to help guide their science and career development. Pilot project investigators will have access to the CNSF’s Design and Analysis Core and Behavior and Neuroimaging Core to provide expertise for study design and data analysis.

Our Phase II COBRE has its focus on brain mechanisms of attention, perception, learning, and decision making in healthy adults and statistical and computational modeling. We welcome project proposals within this focus but will also consider proposals under the broader area of central nervous system function.

To facilitate recruitment of appropriate reviewers please send, as soon as possible, the title of the proposal to

The pilot project will be funded for 12 months, with an earliest possible start date of 1 October 2018, pending funding of our Phase II COBRE grant, which is undergoing final administrative review.

Eligibility: Faculty or senior post-doctoral fellows who will have a faculty appointment (tenure or research track) by October 1, 2018 at a Rhode Island academic institution have eligibility to apply. Junior investigators (defined as not previously been awarded a K99/R00, R01 or equivalent grant) must identify a mentor with expertise related to the proposed research. Established investigator must propose a new area of research. Since the pilot project funds derive, in part, from our NIGMS-funded COBRE , awarding of a COBRE-funded Pilot Project will require one to relinquish any other NIGMS sponsored NIGMS IDeA programmatic funding.

Application process: Applications will follow a shortened version of the NIH grant proposal format with minor modifications. Use PHS Form 398 for all sections of application, including facilities, human subjects, vertebrate animals, etc., as applicable. The Face Page should include investigator name, academic title, institution, address and the project title; there’s no need to fill in other information on the Face Page.

Abstract: One-half page summary of the proposal.

Budget: Itemize and include brief budget justifications. Costs for equipment (>$5,000) or renovations are not permitted. Only direct costs will be funded, even from non-Brown institutions. Carry forward of funds unexpended 12 months after project initiation will not likely occur.

Facilities: Use the NIH PHS Form 398 to describe available infrastructure.

Bio-sketch: A bio-sketch for the PI, key personnel, and mentor should be provided. The bio sketch for the applicant should include both current and pending grants.

Research Plan: Limited to four single-spaced pages, excluding references, but including the Specific Aims. Follow NIH PHS Form 398 outline and guidelines. The Research Plan should include the following sections:

  • Specific Aims: Describe the project goals for a 12 month pilot project period. No more than one-half page recommended.
  • Significance: Include overall significance of the project, including relevance to goals of the CNSF, and plans for use of data from pilot project for subsequent independent funding.
  • Innovation: Include both conceptual and any technical innovation.
  • Approach: Preliminary data, as applicable, and research plan, including expected results and alternative approaches.
  • Literature Cited: Not included in the four page limit.

Protection of Human Subjects/Vertebrate Animals: Per PHS Form 398. Indicate IRB and IACUC approvals. Funding will not commence until IRB and/or IACUC approvals are in place.

Biosafety/Select Agents: Per PHS Form 398. Indicate Institutional Safety Committee approvals.

Additional Documentation:

  • Letter(s) from the Department Chair and/or supervisor documenting availability of protected time for research and plans for mentoring of the junior pilot project investigator. Not required for more established investigators.
  • For junior investigators only, a letter from the mentor agreeing to advise on the conduct of the proposed research and describing a plan for career development should be included with the application. The mentor should be a senior faculty member typically having an appointment at the Pilot Project Leader's institution. In special circumstances, we may permit mentors from other institutions, but this situation would typically require a local co-mentor. No support can be requested for the mentor.

Review Process and Selection Criteria: Applications will be reviewed for scientific merit including significance, investigators, innovation, and approach. In addition, proposals will be evaluated for relevance to the COBRE goals of enhancing research in nervous system function, potential for future independent funding, and institutional support. Funding is dependent upon review and approval by the CNSF External Advisory Committee and the NIGMS Division of Capacity Building.

To facilitate recruitment of appropriate reviewers please send, as soon as possible, the title of the proposal to

Contact: Address inquiries regarding COBRE CNSF Pilot Projects to the Deputy Principal Investigator: David Sheinberg at