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Clinical Science Faculty Development Grant

Now accepting applications! Click here to start your application.

Applications must be submitted by Monday, September 15, 2014. The funding of any grant and total number of grants awarded by the AST is dependent on budgetary constraints in a given year. 

2015 Clinical Science Research Priorities

The AST has identified the following research priorities for 2015, and encourages investigators working within these areas to apply for funding by the AST:

  1. Reducing post-transplant complications
  2. Optimizing organ utilization (appropriate allocation and improving organ viability by interventions in the pre-transplant period including ex vivo conditioning)
  3. Preventing late graft failure – cellular and humoral chronic rejection, recurrent and de novo
  4. Improving the patient experience and addressing the challenges of therapy adherence

 

A. General Information

This is a one- or two-year $50,000/year grant for Junior Faculty. The goal of the AST Clinical Science Faculty Development Grant is to promote the careers of young independent investigators within the first five years of their first faculty appointment (see eligibility criteria), by providing funds allowing them to expand on preliminary research findings that will become the basis for individual research or career development awards from the NIH, VA, or equivalent agencies. Clinical Science Grants cover two main categories: Clinical Trials and Clinical Outcomes.

Clinical Trials: should be designed to answer specific question(s) about new therapies or new ways of using known treatments. Preference will be given to prospective studies.
Clinical Outcomes or Observational Studies: should be designed to better define the causes and/or consequences of pathological or biological processes in transplantation. Retrospective studies may be appropriate. However, proposals that analyze registry data (e.g. data collected by the United Network for Organ Sharing) are expected to test unique hypotheses or employ new data or methodologies. The analysis, including the statistics, should be performed by the applicant and not by the providing data registry group.

B. Research Focus

The AST supports a wide range of basic and clinical research topics. Research topics that involve under-represented areas including minorities, women, and pediatrics are strongly encouraged. The AST also encourages applications from women and minority researchers. Under-represented minority investigators are defined as individuals belonging to a particular ethnic or racial group as determined by the NIH. Established AST members are encouraged to bring this funding opportunity to the attention of new faculty members performing transplantation research at their institutions and to support their applications.

C. Eligibility Criteria for the AST Clinical Science Faculty Development Grant

Please pay particular attention to the eligibility requirements, as requirements vary for different AST Grants.

Academic Appointment and Institutional Resources: The applicant must have an academic appointment at an accredited institution of higher learning and be within five years of his/her initial academic faculty appointment at the time of the grant application. Regardless of academic title (including instructor, research associate, or equivalent), the AST defines initiation of faculty appointment as the date that the applicant obtained an institutional commitment towards an independent career which includes: a) an office distinct from lab space and/or independent lab space; and b) a start-up package or grant funds controlled by the applicant to work on projects that are independent from his/her mentor. For all applicants, a letter from the Department Chair is required that explicitly addresses: a) the date (month/year) of the first faculty appointment; b) that institutional commitment to the faculty member is sufficient to conduct independent research; c) the amount of protected research time (at least 75%) should this grant be awarded; and d) independence.

Failure to adequately document that the applicant is an independent faculty member with less than five years’ experience will disqualify the application without further review. The applicant must state the date (month and year) of their first faculty appointment in the appropriate space on the contact information page of the application. Note that changing institutions once after having already become a faculty member does not restart the five year time period.

The five year time-frame may be extended if there are extenuating circumstances requiring a leave from relevant academic activities (e.g. child-bearing, armed services commitment). These will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be accompanied by a letter of explanation by the applicant.

An individual may apply for the AST Faculty Grant while still in training, however, he/she must have been offered and accepted a faculty position that will begin on or before initiation of the grant. In this case, the applicant must submit a letter from the Department Chair of his/her future department that confirms the institutional appointment and provides assurance that the candidate will have an office and/or independent lab space. The letter should also confirm that the candidate will have sufficient start up funds to carry out the project that are independently controlled by the candidate to perform his/her work independently from his/her mentor. Additionally, the letter should stipulate the amount of protected research time (at least 75%) should this grant be awarded.

AST Membership: The applicant must be an active member of the AST or have submitted a completed membership application by September 15, 2014 (with expectation that membership will be active before the grant review occurs). Applicant’s membership dues must be paid to date by November 1, 2014, otherwise, the application will not be considered for funding.

The proposed work is to be performed in a North American laboratory.

Education: The applicant must have an MD, DO, PhD, DVM, or equivalent graduate degree, and have completed post-graduate training (residencies, post-doctoral fellowships, etc.) at the time of the application.

Citizenship: The applicant must be either: a) U.S., Canadian, or Mexican citizen; b) a lawfully admitted permanent resident foreign national of the U.S., Canada, or Mexico with a valid visa during the awarded period; or c) a foreign national admitted lawfully for residence in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico during the awarded period. Funding will not be released until visa status is confirmed.

Previous/Additional Funding: An individual cannot apply for an AST Clinical Science Faculty Development Grant if he/she has been awarded any AST Faculty Grant (or joint grant between AST and another society) in the past. A candidate is also ineligible if they are a PI on a previous or current NIH grant to perform independent research (RO1, project on a PO1 grant,R21, VA Merit award or comparable non-mentored award). However, an applicant may have current or previous Career Development Awards or Grants-in-Aid. A concomitant K Award or comparable mentored award is permitted if the applicant is ready to establish independence of previous mentors and has already become or has been offered and accepted an independent faculty position, as defined above. This should be specifically addressed in the letter from the Department Chair. For applicants who hold other types of grants not mentioned above, please click here for additional information.

The AST Clinical Science Faculty Development Grant project must be distinct from that of any concurrent award. Moreover, this work should not directly overlap with funded projects of other faculty members within the same Section or Department.

Note: Faculty may only hold ONE new AST Grant per year as a PI of a Faculty Development Grant, or as mentor/sponsor of a Fellowship Grant. If more than one grant from a given faculty member (as PI or mentor) is submitted and deemed competitive for funding, the AST will determine which grant to fund.

D. Application Process

All applications will be stored in a secure, password-protected environment. At any time in the application process, the applicant will be able to save the application and return to the site to complete it at a later date, prior to the deadline. Applicants must complete the application process online. The various components of the application, listed under application requirements below, should be generated as individual document files that will be uploaded and compiled into a single .PDF file during the application process.

E. Specific Application Requirements

Use font Arial/Helvetica, size 11 pt., no less than 0.5 inch margins. Applications that do not conform to these guidelines will be returned without review.

1. Title: must be entered into the appropriate space on the contact information page.
2. Abstract of the proposed research plan: This document should concisely summarize the project in 400 words or less. The abstract should introduce the project and note its relevance to transplantation. It should describe the long-term objectives and specific aims, research design and methods for achieving these goals.
3. NIH-type Biosketch: This document may not exceed four (4) pages and must include:

  • Applicant name
  • Position Title
  • Education/Training: beginning with baccalaureate or other initial profession education, such as nursing, and include post-doctoral training, institution and location, degree, year(s) of completion, field(s) of study.
  • Positions and Honors: list in chronological order previous positions, concluding with your present position. List any honors including present membership on any Federal Government Public Advisory Committee).
  • Selected peer-reviewed publications (in chronological order). Do not include publications submitted or in preparation.
  • Research Support: list selected ongoing or completed, during the last three years, research projects, federal and non-federal support. Briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and your role (e.g. PI, Co-Investigator, Consultant) in the research project, total amount of grant and amount of funding for the year the AST grant may be awarded. The applicant should explain any specific or budgetary overlap with the grant and in the case of pending applications, how these will be resolved in the event the funding is received from more than one agency. The final resolution of any funding conflicts will be decided by the AST.

4. Statement of career goals (no more than one page): explaining the applicant’s short and long-term career goals and how the grant will enhance these plans. The career statement should also include alternative means of support and activities that may be available should the applicant be unsuccessful in receiving the grant.
5. Complete proposed research plan: This document cannot exceed six pages; references are not included in the page limit. It should summarize the proposed research project as well as any simultaneous training that will be obtained during the period of grant support. The Aims should include the key questions posed or hypotheses to be tested, followed by a brief Introduction providing the rationale for the research, Preliminary Results supporting the research plan, and a Research Plan explaining how the questions or hypothesis will be studied with emphasis on experimental design over the details of the specific methods to be used. Anticipated results and potential pitfalls and alternative approaches should be briefly discussed. Specific research (and, if applicable, training) goals to be reached at the end of the grant should also be provided.
6. Letter from the Department Chair: addressing the date (month/year) of the first faculty appointment and the institutional commitment to the faculty member, including: a) an office distinct from lab space and/or independent lab space; and b) a start-up package or grant funds controlled by the applicant to work on projects that are independent from his or her mentor. Please see details in Section C: Eligibility Criteria for the AST Clinical Science Faculty Development Grant. Note: If the applicant is still in training at the time of the application, but has been offered and accepted a faculty position to begin on or before initiation of the grant, the letter must be from the Department Chair of the applicant’s future department confirming the appointment, providing assurance that he/she has the necessary institutional resources to conduct independent research, and stipulating the amount of protected research (at least 75%) should this grant be awarded.
7. Two (2) letters of recommendation: from two individuals who are familiar with the applicant’s potential as a research investigator. Electronic copies with original signatures on institutional letterhead must be uploaded to the website as part of the application.
Letters of recommendation with original signatures must be included in the electronic file as part of the uploaded application.

F. Review Process

All complete applications received by the submission deadline will be reviewed and scored by the AST Grants Committee comprised of a broad panel of researchers from a number of institutions who have widespread experience in evaluation of applications based on scientific strength of the applicant and of the proposed experimental plan. The AST aims to award at least one Clinical Science Grant application. The remaining available grants will be awarded to Basic and/or Clinical Science applications, according to their score.

All applicants will be notified of the application status in November 2014. Grant recipients will be recognized at the AST Grants Ceremony during the 2015 Cutting Edge of Transplantation (CEOT), Feb 5-7, 2015, in Chandler, Ariz. Recipients are expected to attend the 2015 CEOT and must register for the meeting. Registration is NOT included as part of the AST grant.

Applicants (whether accepted or not) will receive comments on the strengths and weaknesses of their grant application.

G. Funding Guidelines

  1. Two grants from the same group or from the same institution with significant scientific overlap will not be funded regardless of score. The discretion as to which grant will be funded will be made by the AST Grants Committee at the time of review.
  2.  The AST Clinical Science Faculty Development Grants are one- or two-year $50,000/year grants, paid in quarterly installments to the institution of the successful applicant.
  3. The funding for any grant is contingent upon having qualified applicants apply.
  4. The funding of any grant and total number of grants awarded by the AST is dependent on budgetary constraints in a given year.
  5. Funding will not be released until visa status is confirmed.
  6. Grant funding is not transferable from one recipient to another. If the grantee relocates, the AST will determine if the grant can be transferred.
  7. Research must begin on July 1, 2015.
  8. Applicants holding an NIH RO1 or any equivalent award are not eligible for an AST grant. However, an applicant can hold a K series (or equivalent) mentored grant. An applicant can apply for an AST grant at the same time he/she is applying for an NIH RO1, PO1 or any equivalent independent research award and may retain AST funding if an NIH RO1, PO1, or any equivalent award is received after the initiation of their AST grant if they can justify that the projects are distinct or that the grants fund different aspects of a related project. Applicants who receive an NIH RO1, PO1 or equivalent grant are requested to send their Specific Aims from both grants to the AST office along with an explanation for how the two projects are different. For applicants who hold other types of grants not mentioned above, please click here for additional information.
  9. No indirect costs are permitted.
  10. The AST must be acknowledged as a funding source in all manuscripts and presentations derived from the funded research by using the following statement: “This work was supported by a research grant from the American Society of Transplantation”. Copies of these publications must be submitted to the AST National Office.
  11. Funding of the second year of the grant will be contingent upon submission of a progress report by the applicant. The progress report must confirm additional sources of funding. The progress report will be requested from the applicant approximately three months prior to the beginning of the second year of funding and second year funds will not be released until this information has been received and reviewed.
  12. A final report of the results of the funded research must be submitted to the AST National Office.