A. General Information
This is a one- or two-year $50,000/year grant for Junior Faculty. The goal of the AST TRI 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 three main categories: Clinical Trials, Clinical Outcomes, and Translational Research that involves materials from human patients.
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.
Translational Research: projects involving human tissue or other biologic material for in vitro examination to address a clinical issue related to transplantation. In general, these studies should link the in vitro results to other data or outcomes from the same patients to be considered a clinical research faculty proposal.
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 the submission deadline (with expectation that membership will be active before the grant review occurs). Applicant’s membership dues must be paid to date by January 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 TRI 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 TRI 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 either a PI of a Faculty Development Grant or Branch Out 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:
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 TRI 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 March 2014. Grant recipients will be recognized at the AST TRI Grants Ceremony during the 2014 World Transplant Congress, July 26-31, 2014 in San Francisco. Recipients are expected to attend the 2014 WTC and must register for the congress. Registration is NOT included as part of the AST grant.
Applicants (whether accepted or not) will receive a brief paragraph on the strengths and weaknesses of their grant application.
G. Funding Guidelines
The American Society of Transplantation is an international organization of professionals dedicated to advancing the field of transplantation and improving patient care by promoting research, education, advocacy, and organ donation.