PLRC Grants

 

Dr. Gavin Arteel, Director of Pilot and Feasibility; Dr. Paul Monga, Co-Director of Pilot and Feasibility

The Pittsburgh Liver Research Center sponsors Pilot and Feasibility grants every year, and it collaborates with the Coulter Program to fund an annual grant in translational research. 
 

Request for Applications - 2020 PLRC Pilot and Feasibility Awards

(download pdf)

  • Letters of Intention to Apply due October 15, 2019
  • Applications due December 3, 2019

The Pittsburgh Liver Research Center is pleased to announce the 2020 Request for Applications for Pilot and Feasibility Grants. The grants will fund new initiatives and/or support new investigators who are pursuing liver-related research that should lead to K/ R type funding or other extramural support at a later date.

Pilot and Feasibility grants:

  1. Are one-year awards for liver-related research. Funds can be used for reagents, animals, and core services, but not for equipment or travel. Under special circumstances and with proper justification, salary support may be considered. No indirects will be given. All funds must be used for the conduct of research. Funding will run from April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021.

    1. $25,000 grant(s) will be awarded to individual applicants.  The PLRC will fund four or more of these applications.
    2. $50,000 grant(s) will support a team of at least two investigators—a practicing physician and a basic scientist—working together to answer an important question pertaining to liver health and disease. Alternatively, the grant can be multidisciplinary with two scientists or physicians from different departments. The synergy, complementarity, integration, and multidisciplinary nature of the proposal should be visible, as applicable. Budget of $25,000 for each PI should be clearly justified. This award is intended to promote team science and/or multidisciplinary science.  The PLRC will fund one (1) of these applications.
  2. Are for one year; in rare cases, awardees may apply for a second year of funding. Applicants applying for a second year of funding must provide a report of their progress to date and will be considered on a competitive basis with the entire pool of applicants.
  3. Provide support for investigators to collect preliminary data sufficient to support a future extramural grant application for independent research and/or to test a novel hypothesis.
  4. Encourage and support dissemination of research via peer-reviewed publication.
  5. Are NOT intended for:

    1. Bridge funding
    2. Large projects by established investigators
    3. Supporting or supplementing ongoing funded research of an investigator.

Expected outcomes:

  1. The funds will be distributed in two disbursements. The first will be April 1, 2020. At the midpoint of the funding period, the PI(s) will submit a brief mid-year report; once the report has been approved, the second half of the funds will be disbursed.
  2. At around the mid-point of the award, the PI(s) will present their P and F funded research to the PLRC members at a scheduled event.
  3. At the end of the funding period, it would be ideal for the PI(s) to have generated sufficient high-quality data to publish in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  4. At the end of the funding period, it would be optimal for the PI(s) to have sufficient high-quality preliminary data to apply for extramural funding (K, R or equivalent) for the continuation of the project.
  5. At the end of the funding period and using the data generated during the Pilot and Feasibility award period, the awardee(s) will submit to the PLRC one of the following: (1) a project completion report, or (2) a publication, or (3) a copy of the submitted grant application.
  6. PLRC support shall be acknowledged in all relevant publications and presentations. A statement related to the acknowledgment can be obtained from the PLRC Administrator (Ann Vinski vinskiam@upmc.edu).
  7. The PLRC Director and Pilot and Feasibility Director are available to discuss the progress of the project and offer other relevant scientific advice. The PLRC office will be able to provide any supporting documents or letters necessary for the preparation of a successful grant application.
  8. The successful P and F recipients who are junior investigators will be required to identify two longitudinal mentors and have regular meetings with them for career development.
  9. PIs will attend and participate in the PLRC Enrichment activities, including monthly seminars and relevant Special Interest Group roundtables.

Eligibility:

All academic full-time faculty (including Instructors, Research Assistant Professors, and Assistant Professors) and senior Post-Docs who are eligible to apply as PI for extramural NIH funding and who are affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh and/or UPMC are eligible to apply.  Projects will be considered on any aspect of fundamental or applied research relating to basic liver function, liver pathophysiology, or clinically relevant areas. Projects that will utilize the PLRC Scientific Cores will be given preference. Applicants must fall into one of the following categories of eligibility. Please note that this is a tiered priority scale, with preference being given to junior investigators.

  • Track 1 (N). Junior investigators without independent grant support (excluding career development awards) seeking to establish independence in the field of liver research. **This category of applicant will be given preference.**
  • Track 2 (EN). Established investigators with independent grant support—past or present—who have not been involved in liver research and who wish to develop new research directions related to the liver.
  • Track 3 (E). Established investigators working in liver-related research who wish to begin a new project representing a major departure from their previous NIH-funded research.

Application Process:

  1. PIs who intend to apply for the grant should send a letter of intent via email to Ann Vinski (vinskiam@upmc.edu) no later than October 15, 2019. The LOI should contain the following:

    1. Name(s) of PI(s)
    2. Title of project
    3. Into which track (see above) the application falls
    4. NIH biosketch for each PI, including current, past, and pending grant support (attach to email)
  2. Applications should follow the format of a new NIH R01 Grant (except page limit, see below), using NIH application forms (PHS 398) and must include the following:

    1. Title and abstract
    2. Detailed budget for the proposal. **Please be in contact with your departmental grant administrator for assistance in budget planning.** Effort is required of the principal investigator and must be reflected on the budget page. This effort should be cost shared by the department or other entity that will support such effort at the non-federal fringe rates.
    3. NIH Biosketch for the PI (5 page limit); please use the format that expires in 2020.
    4. Specific Aims (1 page limit).
    5. Research Strategy (6 page limit). The final section of the Research Strategy must be entitled “PLRC Core Use.”  This section will include a description of projected PLRC Core use during the project period.  It is expected that each funded project will use one or more of the PLRC Research Cores: Advanced Cell & Tissue Imaging; Biospecimen Repository & Processing Core; Genomics & Systems Biology Core; Clinical Component.
    6. Bibliography (no page limit).
    7. For Track 1 (N) applicants, including senior Post-Docs, include a letter of support from either your lab mentor/PI, your division chief, or your department chair, that addresses the following:

      1. Your role as one of the corresponding authors on a publication resulting from the work supported by the P and F award.
      2. Your role as one of the contributors to any patent (Intellectual Property) that may be a result of the P and F award.
      3. Support submission of application for extramural funding by the PI on the P and F grant.
    8. For Track 1 (N) applicants, who don’t currently have a career development award (like a K grant), outline short-term and long-term goals as a PI, with special emphasis on career development and a path to independence.
    9. All institutional regulatory approvals for human, tissue, and animal use should be submitted with the application.

      1. If you are using human subjects, you must complete the human subjects section.
      2. If you are using vertebrate animals, you must complete the vertebrate animals section.
      3. If you are using human embryonic stem cells, you must complete that section of the PHS 398 form.
  3. Applications do not require institutional internal review or Dean’s signature.
  4. All documents should be combined into a single pdf file and emailed to Ann Vinski (vinskiam@upmc.edu) no later than December 3, 2019.

Review and Decision Process:

  1. Each application will be peer reviewed by at least two reviewers, one from the PLRC leadership, and one external reviewer.
  2. Following initial review, a group of semi-finalists will be invited to present their proposals, in person, before the Executive Committee of the PLRC and a panel of external reviewers. The PI is required to present in person to be considered for possible funding. The presentations will be scheduled for January 30 or 31, 2020.
  3. The applications will be scored based on scientific merit and NIH fundability as deemed by the PLRC review panel.  Emphasis will be placed on projects that have potential for NIDDK-supported liver research.
  4. Applicants will be notified of award decisions no later than February 15, 2020. The Notice of Grant Award (NGA) will outline the expected outcomes (see above).
  5. Grants begin April 1, 2020.

Pilot and Feasibility Grants

Pilot and Feasibility Grants fund new initiatives and/or support new investigators who are pursuing liver-related research that should lead to R01-type funding or other extramural support at a later date. These awards are for one year, and they provide support for investigators to collect preliminary data sufficient to support a future extramural grant application for independent research and/or to test a novel hypothesis. They are not intended for bridge funding, large projects by established investigators, or supporting or supplementing the ongoing funded research of an investigator.

 
Three groups of faculty are eligible to apply for Pilot and Feasibility Grants.
  • Track 1 (N). Junior investigators without independent grant support (excluding career development awards) seeking to establish independence in the field of liver research. **This category of applicant will be given preference.**
  • Track 2 (EN). Established investigators with independent grant support—past or present—who have not been involved in liver research and who wish to develop new research directions related to the liver.
  • Track 3 (E). Established investigators working in liver-related research who wish to begin a new project representing a major departure from their previous NIH-funded research.
PLRC 2018-2019 Pilot and Feasibility Grant Awardees
PLRC 2017-2018 Pilot and Feasibility Grant Awardees
PLRC 2016-2017 Pilot and Feasibility Grant Awardees

 

Coulter Program – PLRC Joint Awards

The mission of this grant is to provide awardees with the means to develop a viable path to commercialization via a license to an existing commercial entity or the initiation of a startup company through Pitt’s Innovation Institute. The Award is aimed at developing the commercial potential of healthcare solutions that are based on innovative technologies related to liver health, including disease diagnosis, surgery, treatment, and public health. Projects may be medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare IT/software or drug delivery systems.

 
In 2017, Dr. Paulo Fontes and Dr. Chris Hughes received this award for their project entitled, “Whole-organ sonothrombolysis for prevention of ischemic cholangiopathy in DCD liver transplantation.” For more details, please click here.