Developmental Core Awards
Through pilot grants, seminars and workshops and mentoring, the Developmental Core will train investigators to achieve excellence and independence in the conduct of HIV/AIDS research. Awards will be made for two different categories of research projects:
• Interdisciplinary HIV/AIDS Research Projects: Up to $50,000/year will be awarded for up to two years for projects involving two or more investigators from different disciplines. Collaboration is encouraged between investigators in any two different disciplines, but particularly between faculty in clinical and basic science departments. This includes both established AIDS investigators and investigators new to the HIV field. Teams that include faculty at Meharry and Vanderbilt will be encouraged. The goal is to enable subsequent submission of new grant applications to NIH as quickly as feasible. Proposals for new equipment will be considered under this category only if essential for the project and to be used by multiple investigators. Given the extensive technical cores at Vanderbilt, the justification for purchasing equipment must be very strong and compelling.
• New HIV/AIDS Research Pilot Projects: Up to $25,000/year will be awarded for up to 2 years to enable investigators to perform key preliminary studies prior to submitting new grant applications to NIH. A proposal must be for a new project or idea that is distinct from any currently funded project. For established investigators, the proposal should represent a new area of research for that investigator. Equipment requests are not allowed under this category.
The following guidelines apply to each of the two funding categories:
For Interdisciplinary HIV/AIDS Research Projects: Principal investigator must be a faculty member of Meharry Medical College or Vanderbilt University. This includes any faculty level investigator including Research Associates and Instructors, as well as more senior faculty.
For New HIV/AIDS Research Pilot Projects: Principal investigator may be a postdoctoral fellow about to become junior faculty, junior faculty, or an established investigator at Meharry Medical College or Vanderbilt University.
For Junior Investigators: Junior investigators (postdocs, instructors, assistant professors) will be required to submit a career development plan along with their grant proposals. The plans will have to be signed by their department chair or mentor (postdocs). Their proposal will have to address how the CFAR pilot award fits into the career development plan including next steps if the grant is awarded. This requirement is designed to ensure that junior investigators funded through the CFAR pilot mechanism have a focused and clear plan toward independence and are not merely chasing pilot funds.
Meharry, through the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC), provides funding for pilot grants (up to $150,000 per year) and provides research support through Investigator Advocates. MeTRC also provides bioinformatics, biostatistics and regulatory compliance assistance to Meharry investigators. Meharry is also the home of the Robert Wood Johnson Center for Health Policy headed by Dann Howard. This Center, like VICTR and CFAR, is a partnership between Meharry and Vanderbilt in which senior faculty from the social sciences from Vanderbilt are involved in teaching and research with faculty and staff at Meharry. This center offers a unique resource of expertise and resources related to social and policy research in health disparities.