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UT BRAIN: Final Instructions for Seed Grant Proposals

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UT SYSTEM
NEUROSCIENCE AND NEUROTECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
SEED GRANT (UT BRAIN) APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
AND
PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES

NEUROSCIENCE AND NEUROTECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
Department of Neuroscience
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station C7000
Austin, Texas 78712-0805
Website: http://www.utsystem.edu/sites/neuroscience

Click Here to Download the PDF Version

PROGRAMMATIC CONTACT
Cynthia Thompson
The University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station C7000
Austin, Texas 78712-0805
Email: UTBrain@utexas.edu

 

OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
Purpose: The 2015 UT BRAIN seed grant program is designed to foster new collaborations in the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology with investigators of diverse disciplines.  Applications from individuals not ordinarily associated with brain research, or teams that cross boundaries, forming interdisciplinary collaborations capable of bringing new techniques and untested ideas are particularly encouraged.  Accordingly, applicants might consider applications that integrate expertise, including but not limited to biological, chemical and physical sciences, engineering, computational modeling and statistics. 

The UT BRAIN seed grant program will award up to $5 million in 2015 to fund inter- and intra-institutional collaborative research projects proposing new technologies and novel approaches, techniques, and concepts in the earliest stages of development, that have the potential for significant impact on neuroscience. 

Budget: The University of Texas System Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Research Institute (UTS-NNRI) will support applications for maximum direct costs of $100,000 per collaborative project for one year.  Indirect Costs are not supported.  The grantee may request approval of a one year No Cost Extension (NCE) within 90 days of the Project End date.  NCE approval will require justification and be subject to review.  All awards will be payable to the Lead Institution to administer.

Eligibility: Applications must be submitted by a University of Texas System Component Institution as the Lead Institution.  All Principal Investigators must, at the time of application, hold a faculty position or equivalent at a UT System Component Institution, and be authorized by that Institution to act in a PI Role.  All Collaborating Investigators must hold a Ph.D., M.D.  or equivalent degree, and have a faculty position or equivalent at a Texas college, university, medical school or other research facility. 

PIs are eligible to submit more than one proposal with different collaborators. 

 

GRANT APPLICATION INFORMATION
Completed Application: A completed application, consisting of the grant application and all supporting documentation, must be submitted through proposalCENTRAL (proposalcentral.altum.com), using the fields and templates found at proposalCENTRAL by March 15, 2015, 5 p.m.  Central Standard Time.  If the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, applications will be accepted the following business day.  Fax, email or hard copy submissions will not be accepted.  See “Prepare and Submit a Proposal” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/review/CreateApp.pdf for more information. 

Application Review: Applications will be externally peer-reviewed between March 2015 and April 2015.  Awards will be announced in May of 2015.    

Animal and Human Subject Assurances: Animal welfare and human subject certifications are not required at the time of application.  However, Investigators are encouraged to initiate their certification applications on a schedule that recognizes that rDNA, IRB/IACUC approval at many institutions can take more than 90 days.  Certifications must apply specifically to the funded project and must include the name of the awardee.  An award letter will not be issued unless the appropriate certifications are in place.

 

APPLICATION FORMAT AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

REGISTRATION
First time users must register and fill out a Professional Profile in proposalCENTRAL (https://proposalcentral.altum.com) to begin the Application process (see “Registering and Completing Your Professional Profile” at https://proposalcentral.altum.com/review/RegUser.pdf for more information).  Once registered and logged in, go to the “Grant Opportunities” tab, find the UT System Neuroscience and Neurotechnology Research Institute program, entitled, “UT BRAIN seed grant”, and click “Apply Now”.

FORMAT
Applicants must adhere to the following formatting instructions. 

  • Contact PI name must be included in the header for each section of the application
  • Use Arial, 11pt minimum, font type and size for the text of the application.  A 9-point Arial font type may be used for figures, legends, and tables. 
  • Single-spaced text is acceptable. 
  • Margins must be at least 0.5 inches in all directions, unless a form with different margins is supplied in the Application Templates. 
  • Page numbering:
    • Cover Pages- The first few pages of the application form are considered cover pages and are not numbered.
    • Proposal Sections- The sections of the proposal must be numbered in the lower right hand corner.  Each section should have independent page numbering.

REQUIRED INFORMATION
To submit an application, the following modules must be completed:

Project Title: Not to exceed 75 characters in length (including spaces). 
Enable Other Users to Access this Proposal: This module allows you to give other users access to your grant application.  When you give a person access to your grant application, you can give them one of three levels of permissions.  These include View, Edit, and Administrator.
Applicant/PI: This is the Contact PI at the Lead UT-System Component Institution.  Some (or all) of the required information will have been automatically filled in from your profile.  The information was provided when you initially registered with proposalCENTRAL and completed the Professional Profile.  If any of information is not current at the time of submission, you will need to update the Professional Profile before finalizing this section and submitting the final version of your application.  Pay particular attention to your contact information, as all notifications to you will be sent using this information.  Please keep contact information up to date. 
Organization/Institution: Contact information for the Signing Official and Financial/Fiscal Officer from your institution is required.  Select the correct person or enter new names in the Organization/Institution module. 
Key Personnel: In addition to the Principal Investigator, Key Personnel are defined as individuals who will contribute to the scientific development or execution of the project in a substantive, measurable way whether or not salaries are requested. 
Assurances and Certification: All activities involving human subjects or vertebrate animals must be approved by an appropriate institutional committee before the application will be funded.  Furthermore, compliance with current US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines for conflict of interest, recombinant DNA, and scientific misconduct is required.  The assurances/certifications are made and verified by the signature of the institutional official signing the application. 

  • Vertebrate animals.  Every proposed research project involving vertebrate animals must be approved by an appropriate Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), in accordance with Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, prior to award.  All research supported by the Institute (including subcontracted activities) involving vertebrate animals must be conducted at performance sites which are covered under an approved Animal Welfare Assurance.  The assurance number cannot be entered on this screen – it will appear only if properly entered in the institution profile (for the institution you selected in the institution section of the proposal).  The number reflected should be the Lead UT-System Component Institution’s number.  If no assurance number appears here, please contact your institution’s grants and contacts office to have them add the assurance numbers to the institution profile.  If you need assistance, contact proposalCENTRAL customer support.
  • Human subjects.  All proposed research projects involving human subjects must be approved by the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB), prior to award.  The institution must have received approval from the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  The assurance number cannot be entered on this screen – it will appear only if properly entered in the institution profile (for the institution you selected in the institution section of the proposal).  The number reflected should be the Lead UT-System Component Institution’s number.  If no assurance number appears here, please contact your institution’s grants and contacts office to have them add the assurance numbers to the institution profile.  If you need assistance, contact proposalCENTRAL customer support.

     If institutional review of human subjects (IRB certification) or vertebrate animal use (IACUC certification) has not been completed before the submission date of the application, you must indicate that the approval is pending on the certification. 

Budget: Enter your budgetary details in this module.  Allowable budget items are limited to salaries, fringe, materials and supplies, equipment and travel.  Travel is capped at $2,000 per project and must be used exclusively for travel between collaborating sites included in the proposal.  Indirect Costs are not supported.

Collaborations with other institutions will be handled as subawards.  The total for the Collaborating Institution(s) must be included in the “Consortium and Contractual Direct” field, and a separate Budget and Budget Justification files for the Collaborating Institution(s) must be submitted, using the templates provided in the “Download Templates and Instructions” section, and uploaded to the “Proposal Attachments” section.

Proposal Attachments: Use the templates provided in the “Download Templates and Instructions” section.  Upload pdf versions of completed templates to “Proposal Attachments” section.

1) Project Summary: (not to exceed 1 page)

  • Abstract: In the space provided, succinctly describe the research project, methods, and expected results, in scientific/technical terms. 
  • Relevance: In the space provided, clearly state rationale for proposed research relative to intent of UT BRAIN.  Briefly discuss new research partnerships between collaborating departments and/or institutions, novelty of proposed research, and respective contributions of Key Personnel.

2) Specific Aims: (not to exceed 1 page)

     List and concisely describe the goals of the proposed research and summarize the expected outcomes. Since this funding program is “seed funding”, please indicate where you expect to submit a future proposal for external funding.

3) Project Description: (not to exceed 5 pages, including figures).

    The Project Description should be organized in the order specified below, beginning each section with the appropriate subtitle: Significance, Innovation, Approach.

  • Significance: Describe the problem or critical barrier to progress in the field, and how achievement of the Specific Aims will significantly impact the status quo.
  • Innovation: Explain how proposed research seeks to shift current research or clinical paradigms, including discussion of novel theoretical concepts, approaches, techniques, or instrumentation and their advantage over existing/standard means. 
  • Approach: Describe strategy, methodology and analyses to be employed to achieve the Specific Aims.  Present potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success.  Discuss strategy to establish feasibility, and handling of particularly risky aspects of the project.

4) References/Bibliography: Provide a bibliography in alphabetical order of any references cited in the Project Description.  Each reference must include the names of all authors (in the same sequence in which they appear in the publication), the article and journal title, book title, volume number, page numbers, and year of publication.  Include only bibliographic citations. 

5) Key Personnel Biosketches: (not to exceed 4 pages each)

Upload NIH-style Biosketches for all Key Personnel as separate attachments, following the instructions given in the template provided.  Investigators should adhere to the pre-2015 NIH Biosketch format, which includes a Publications list of peer-reviewed manuscripts most relevant to the proposed research, and current and pending support.

6) Budget Justification: (no page limitation)

    Provide a detailed cost itemization and justification for each budget category:

  • Personnel: For all Personnel, list name, title, requested salary, effort commitment in terms of calendar-months, and describe role and responsibilities/contributions to the proposed project.
  • Fringe: Indicate Fringe Rate calculated for each individual.
  • Equipment: List single-purchase items with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more, and an expected service life of more than one year.  List each item of equipment separately.
  • Materials and Supplies: Indicate general categories such as glassware, chemicals, animal costs, etc., and include an amount for each category.
  • Travel: The Travel item is capped at $2,000, and must be used exclusively for the purposes of inter-institutional travel of the investigators between collaborating institutions.

    As stated in the Budget section above, applicants must include a separate Budget and Budget Justification for Collaborating Institutions.

6) Protection of Human Subjects: (no page limitation)

UTS-NNRI adheres to the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Public Health Service (PHS) regulations and policies governing human subjects research.  As such, investigators are required to prepare and upload Protection of Human Subjects sections in accordance with the PHS Supplemental Instructions for Preparing the Human Subjects Section of the Research Plan found here: SupplementalInstructions.pdf

This section should include, Protection of Human Subjects, Inclusion of Women and Minorities, Inclusion of Children and Targeted Enrollment table.

7) Vertebrate Animals: (no page limitation)

UTS-NNRI adheres to the DHHS PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  If live vertebrate animals are to be used, federal policy requires that the following five points be addressed in all applications: 

1.  Provide a detailed description of the proposed use of the animals in the work outlined in the Project Description.  Identify the species, strains, ages, sex and number of animals to be used in the proposed work.

2.  Justify the use of animals, the choice of species, and the numbers to be used.  If animals are in short supply, costly, or to be used in large numbers, provide an additional rationale for their selection and numbers.

3.  Provide information on the veterinary care of the animals involved.

4.  Describe the procedures for ensuring that discomfort, distress, pain and injury will be limited to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research.  Describe the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices, where appropriate, to minimize discomfort, distress, pain, and injury.

5.  Describe any method of euthanasia to be used and the reasons for its selection.  State whether this method is consistent with the recommendations of the AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals.  If not, include a scientific justification for not following the recommendations.

8) Resources: (no page limit)

Describe the resources, facilities and equipment to be used for the conduct of the proposed research.  Include a description of how the scientific environment contributes to the probability of success, and any institutional support, shared equipment, or other physical resources available to the investigators (including collaborators). 

9) Signature Page(s):

The signed Signature Page is available for download in the Signature Page section and must be signed by the signing official, then re-uploaded in the Proposal Attachment Section.  
 Collaborations including investigators from different institutions submit a signed signature page from the collaborating institution(s).  Collaborating Institution Signature Pages can be downloaded from the “Download Templates and Instructions”.

You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information.  Any missing information will be listed on the screen.  If your submission is successful, you will receive a confirmation message on the screen and a confirmation email will be sent to the applicant.  
Please note that Project Descriptions exceeding the 5-page limit will not be reviewed.

You will be unable to submit if you have not provided all the required information.  Any missing information will be listed on the screen.  If your submission is successful, you will receive a confirmation message on the screen and a confirmation email will be sent to the applicant.  
Please note that Project Descriptions exceeding the 5-page limit will not be reviewed.

IMPORTANT DATES

 Proposal due date:

March 15, 2015

 

March 2015 – April 2015

Review Period:

Award notification date:

May 2015

 

 

 

Contacts: For help with the online application:

proposalCentral Customer Support
pcsupport@altum.com
(800) 875-2562