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Administrative Policies and Procedures


The Center for Musculoskeletal Research is initiating a program to fund Pilot and Feasibility Studies regarding basic and translational research related to muscle and bone research. A major goal of the Center’s P&F Program is to provide support for promising investigations with innovative and creative ideas that will allow them to develop preliminary data for subsequent funding through traditional mechanisms.



P&F awards are available to faculty members who fall into one of two categories:

  1. Established investigators who want to explore a novel idea or concept related to musculoskeletal disease or repair that represents a clear departure or new approach from the investigator’s ongoing research efforts.
  2. New independent investigators without current or past independent NIH research support (R01 or similar funding) who have an interest in establishing a career in musculoskeletal disease related research.

Terms of Support

$30,000 per year in direct costs can be requested for the Pilot and Feasibility Study, including non-PI salary support and appropriate supplies. Equipment should only be requested under unusual circumstances.

Procedures for Application

  1. Applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent stating their intent to apply for a P&F grant. The guidelines for the content to be included in these letters can be found by clicking here. The deadline for the submission of the letter of intent is January 4, 2012.
  2. Selected proposals will be invited to submit a complete research application. The due date for the invited research applications is April 15, 2012. The application forms are available. The following outlines the guidelines for submission of the full application.

Application Procedure

1. Cover Letter - Please include your title/faculty status, department, and title of project in the cover letter. Please include 1-2 paragraphs on what your timeline for submission to NIH will be and how this P&F grant will support your proposal.

2. Application forms must accompany the proposal. The total written proposal including the required forms MUST NOT EXCEED 20 pages. In order to provide the applicant with an experience simulating that for an NIH R01 grant application, the format of the application follows the NIH format. A pdf of the proposal should be sent to

3. Items Required - PHS 398, NIH Format (Arial, 11 point type only)

  • NIH Face Page
  • Project Summary/Relevance/Project-Performance Site
  • Scientific Key Personnel
  • Table of Contents
  • Detailed Budget (no equipment) $30,000 for one year (not the module format)
  • Four-page Biographical Sketch (NIH format)
  • Brief (limit 5 pages) proposal with Introduction, Specific Aim(s), Research Strategy
  • Bibliography (not included in 5 page limit)
  • Resources
  • Checklist
  • Letter of support from the applicant’s department.

4. Submission

  • Submit the original application with department head signature as a single PDF file to no later than April 12, 2012.

5. Notification of Award

Each applicant will be notified by letter by June 1, 2012.
The start date for the grants will be July 1st, 2012.

6. Application Information

  • Applications should use the current NIH PHS 398 forms for R01 applications. Forms may be obtained.
  • Please note that the Research Plan (Sections A-D) is limited to 5 pages.
  • Applications should include all NIH front pages including a detailed first-year) budget and budget justification.
  • The 4 page modular biosketch should be submitted for all key personnel. Sections e. through l. must be included in the research plan as in the standard NIH application.
  • Proposals must be typed in the Arial or Calibri font at 11 point type only, no less. Margins should be no less than ½ inch on all sides. Total submission including all required forms and written proposal must not exceed 20 pages.
  • On the front page of the application (NIH PHS 398 face page), the department chair’s signature must be included on line 13. The signature of the department chair substitutes for the “official signing for the applicant institution” for applicants. Applications being submitted by multiple investigators should designate only one investigator as the principal investigator and obtain the signature of that investigator’s chair.
  • Conflict of interest forms must be submitted.
  • IACUC and IRB approvals need not be obtained prior to submission. However, IRB approval for studies involving human subjects and Animal Use Approval from the local IACUC or the appropriate agency at the applicant’s institution must be obtained prior to the activation of awards.

7. Letter of Support

A letter of support is required from the applicant’s department chair or their appointee that includes the following:

  • Their support of the grant application
  • Their support of the applicant
  • That the applicant fulfills the eligibility requirements:
    • Independent researcher
    • Junior faculty that is eligible for NIH R01 support
  • That there is an appropriate environment (faculty career support; facilities including equipment) to conduct the research.
  • If the P.I. is a research associate, it must state that the P.I. is independent with a commitment of resources from the department to do the work is required.

8. Funding

  • Awards are limited to a maximum of $30,000 per proposal for a 12 month. This award will cover only direct costs.
  • The award will fund research supplies, special services and core fees, animal costs and maintenance, salaries of technical personnel, graduate student and post-doctoral stipends of personnel directly involved in the funded project, and publication costs. Salaries for principal investigators and co-principal investigators are not allowed.

9. Eligibility

  • Applicants must hold a faculty appointment at the level of Instructor or higher. While preference will be given to faculty below the level of Associate Professor, faculty at all ranks are eligible. However, faculty at the Associate or full Professor level must provide evidence that this application represents a new area of research that is not currently funded or has been funded in the past by an NIH R21/R01 grant or equivalent.
  • Although applications from a single investigator will be considered, applications involving collaborative efforts between multiple investigators are strongly encouraged.

10. Competitive Renewals

  • If the current application is a competitive renewal of a current Center Pilot and feasibility grant, the PI must document progress during the preceding grant period.

11. Post-Award Requirements

  • Investigators funded by through this mechanism will be expected to submit a final report within 30 days of the completion of the project period.
  • Investigators must also present the results of their research at the annual Center symposium.

Review Process

1. Applications will be reviewed and ranked on the basis of scientific merit and relevance to the goals of the program. The potential impact of this Pilot and Feasibility grant on the award of future extramural funding is a major consideration.

  • Applicants will be notified by June 1, 2012 of the status of their grant application.

2. Evaluation Criteria

  • Relevance to musculoskeletal research
  • Stated hypotheses, specific aims, and methodology
  • Clinical significance of the problem
  • Level of innovation
  • Qualifications of applicant
  • Resources & environment
  • Collaborations
  • Likelihood of NIH funding

3. Reasons for non-review

  • Qualifications of PI
  • Postdoc
  • Not authorized to conduct independent research
  • Candidate has had previous independent NIH funding relating to the focus of the research proposal.
  • Overlap with existing funding.
  • The proposal lacks innovation.
  • The proposal does not have a strong human health research component.
  • The proposal is developmental rather than a research project.
  • Not hypothesis-driven.
  • The application is incomplete.
  • The application was not submitted by the deadline.
  • The scope of the project is inappropriate. This may be too small to provide the proper preliminary foundation for an N IH proposal or too large to be complete within the time frame and with the provided resources.

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