Submit your questions about the 2018 Pilot Projects Program to Joseph_Rego@brown.edu. All Q&A will be posted here on a rolling basis.
Q: Is there any particular rate for indirect costs or is it specific to the applicant's institution?
A: It is specific to the applicant's home institution.
Q: We have a mentor on the project who we also view as a Multi-PI. In the instructions, it seems as though it's possible for a mentor to be both a mentor and a PI. Is this correct? Are there any budget rules/guidance regarding this?
A: A MPI can also be a mentor on the project (the individual just cannot serve as the Contact PI). Salary support is allowable for MPIs (as well as the Contact PI); however, salary requests will be reviewed carefully considering the scope of PI roles. It should make sense for the project as well as the investigators. PIs can provide effort without salary support if their department is capable of cost-sharing. If cost-shared, the PI must obtain a letter from an authorized organizational official (e.g., Director of Sponsored Projects Office) approving the cost share and include it with the application as a LOI.
Q: Would it be acceptable to include salary support for research assistants under 'personnel' in the budget?
A: Yes, it is acceptable to include salary support for Research Assistants under "Personnel" in the budget.
Q: For our letters of support, would it be appropriate to have letters from the Director of our research group and the Chair of our Department or should we aim to have just one of them?
A: Letter of Support is only required from your mentor(s) and Department Chair if you are Brown-based. If you have a MPI who is not based at Brown, a letter from the investigator's Research Administration is also required. You are welcome to include additional Letters of Support, but they are not required.
Q: Could you give me an idea about what kind of salary support requests/effort is expected for the PI?
A: Salary support is allowable for Contact PIs and Multi-PIs; however, salary requests will be reviewed carefully considering the scope of PI roles. It should make sense for the project as well as the investigators. PIs can provide effort without salary support if their department is capable of cost-sharing. If cost-shared, the PIs must obtain a letter from an authorized organizational official (e.g., Director of Sponsored Projects Office) approving the cost share and it include with the application as a LOI.
Q: Is it possible to add a mentor to my full proposal who was not included on the Preliminary Application?
A: Additional mentors can be added at the full proposal stage of the application process. Up to three mentors are allowed on a project.
Q: The RFA says "Indirect costs associated with the direct costs will be provided to the applicants’ home institutions." Does this imply that the indirect rate provided to my institution will be the same as the typical NIH rate or is the indirect rate different?
A: The home institution will be provide with its full indirect rate, which varies by institution. Your Office of Research Administration will note the rate using the PHS 398 Checklist Form that you upload to UFunds with your application.
Q: Is Co-I salary allowed to be part of the budget?
A: Co-I salary is allowed as part of the budget.
Q: Can a mentor can be external to the Rhode Island system (e.g., not affiliated)?
A: Yes, it is okay to include a mentor who is not affiliated with Rhode Island.
Q: Could I list a mentor who is currently an Assistant Professor, but will have an Associate Professor appointment by the time of award start?
A: A faculty member with an Associate Professor appointment prior to the start of the award would be eligible to serve as a mentor. Please make it clear that the rank change will occur so that the reviewers are sure to see that information.
Q: For the preliminary application, do I need a letter from my Department Chair?
A: A letter from the Department Chair is not required for the preliminary application unless the applicant is a current postdoc or resident physician, in which case a letter is required confirming that the applicant will have a faculty appointment prior to the start of the award.
Q: Are co-investigators and consultants allowed on the Pilot Project preliminary application (e.g., someone who will contribute specific knowledge, but not serve as a PI or mentor)? If so, how/where should they be inputted into UFunds and should a biosketch for them be provided with the preliminary application?
A: Co-investigators and consultants are allowed. If you would consider these individuals Key Personnel on the project, then it is recommended that you include their biosketches. In terms of listing these individuals on the application in UFunds, it is recommended that you include an added page that lists the names and roles of all Key Personnel and upload it to the "Additional Files or Other Documentation" field for added clarity.
Q: On the UFunds application form, there's a section for "References." Is this meant to be a list of works cited in the one-page application or a list of people vouching for the character and competence of the project personnel?
A: In the case of this application, “References” refers to the works cited (if any) in the one-page overview of research aims, significance, and strategy.
Q: There's a box on the UFunds form that says "On behalf of group." How should I fill out that field?
A: The “On behalf of group” question field can be left blank.
Q: Can applications be submitted by email?
A: All applications must be submitted through the UFunds portal to be considered.
Q: Can non-US citizens and non-permanent residents of the US apply for this grant?
A: Yes, non-US citizens and non-permanent residents can apply to the Pilot Projects Program.
Q: I have RI-INBRE funding for one of my projects which ends in April 2018, so there will be no overlap with the proposed funding period. Am I eligible to apply for this grant?
A: As long as there is no temporal overlap with another IDeA mechanism of funding, then you are eligible to apply.
Q: Does the preliminary application require budget information?
A: The preliminary application asks whether you are applying for Category 1 ($37.5K) or Category 2 ($75K), but no other budget information is requested until the full proposal.
Q: Are inter-institutional collaborations required?
A: We encourage inter-institutional collaborations, but they are not required. You can review our prior award recipients and notice a number were made to collaborators from the same institution. As long as the investigator team is interdisciplinary (for Category 2 applicants), they are eligible to apply for the award.
Q: Is it considered inter-institutional if Lifespan investigators collaborate with a Brown investigator since Lifespan investigators are technically part of the Brown system?
A: For the purposes of the award, we would consider a collaboration between Lifespan hospital and Brown investigators as inter-institutional. Inter-institutional applicants are not required.
Q: Is it okay for investigators to apply to Category 2 if they work in the same department/center?
A: Yes, it is okay for investigators from the same center to apply together as long as the collaboration is between investigators from different disciplines. It is recommended that you emphasize in the application that the disciplines are different so it is clear to the reviewers.
Q: Should investigators applying to Category 2 all be listed as PIs or should one be included as a Co-Investigator?
A: One investigator must be listed as the Contact PI. At least one must be listed as a Multi-PI (MPI), but it is certainly okay to have more than one MPI. Based on the scope of work, the role of co-Investigator may be appropriate.
Q: Can an investigator with an R01 serve as the Contact PI for Category 2 pilot project applications?
A: An investigator with an R01 (or a prior R01) cannot serve as the Contact PI for either category of the 2018 Pilot Projects Program. The investigator could serve as a multi-PI on an application, but cannot be the designated Contact PI.
Q: Can an investigator be a multi-PI on a Pilot Project application if he/she has funding on another Advance-CTR award that overlaps?
A: An investigator could receive multiple awards with the CTR mechanism, as it is not in conflict with IDeA regulations. However, it would be taken into consideration that the investigator already received funding from Advance-CTR when decisions are made regarding which applications to invite for full proposals and, ultimately, which to fund.
Q: If an investigator has CTR funding and is proposed as a mentor or collaborator on a Pilot Project application, would that be taken into consideration during the decision to invite an application for full proposal?
A: If the investigator is not the Contact PI or Multi-PI, then his/her existing CTR funding would not be a consideration factor in the decision-making process.
Q: I am currently funded by a R00. Am I eligible to apply for Pilot Project funding?
A: For the Pilot Projects Program, an R00 is considered to be an R01 equivalent. Please note that while you would not be eligible to serve as the Contact PI on a Pilot Project, you could serve as a Multi-PI.
Q: Can awarded Pilot Project applicants submit a renewal application through this award mechanism?
A: Yes, prior awardees can submit a competitive renewal. These applicants must abide by the RFA and will be reviewed against all received applications.
Q: I have funding from a COBRE award that overlaps minimally with the anticipated performance period for the Pilot Project Program award. Am I eligible to apply?
A: There can be no temporal overlap between different IDeA mechanisms of funding (e.g., CTR, COBRE, INBRE). Investigators with potential overlap could choose to relinquish other IDeA funding to accept the CTR award.
Q: I had a COBRE pilot project that ended in June. Am I eligible to apply?
A: Yes. As long as there is no temporal overlap with another IDeA mechanism of funding, then you are eligible to apply.
Q: What format should be used for the Preliminary Application?
A: The Preliminary Application should follow the same formatting as the full application, specified on page 10 of the RFA:
Applications should follow an abbreviated NIH format with minor modifications. This application requires the use of the most recent version of the PHS 398 Forms.
Font: Arial, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype or Georgia typeface and a font size of 11 points or larger must be used. A Symbol font may be used to insert Greek letters or special characters; the font size requirement still applies. A smaller font size may be used for figures, graphs, diagrams, charts, tables, figure legends, and footnotes, but this type must follow the font typeface requirement and be readily legible.
Margins: Margins should be 0.5 inch.