CHRI Scholars Program

Overview & Application Information

The Child Health Research Institute Scholars Program (CHRI Scholars Program) has been developed to address an alarming decline in the number of junior faculty physician-scientists, particularly related to Pediatrics and Pediatric Specialties, entering or remaining in the research path of their academic career. The declining number of physician-scientists, by altering the team-based approach needed in translational medicine, poses a threat to the UNMC and Children’s mission of excellence in biomedical research. We recognize that the successful career development of physician-scientists requires resources, training, protected time and mentorship. The CHRI Scholars Program will provide centralized oversight mentoring, training and financial support to newly-appointed junior faculty beyond the support provided by Departmental programs. The CHRI Scholars Program is expected to implement growth in the number of funded physician-scientists while increasing scientific productivity and promoting career development.   

CHRI Scholar Dr. Skar and Dr. Anderson Berry

Governance

The CHRI Scholars Program is overseen by the Executive Director and the Scientific Director of CHRI and administered through the CHRI. The Program Committee members represent faculty from basic science and clinical (both medical and surgical) departments.

Program Design

The CHRI Scholars Program is an institutionally funded (CHRI) competitive three-year program that is intended to provide a centralized organization of mentoring and training resources, combined with salary and supplies support to newly-appointed assistant professor physician-scientists with at least 0.4 FTE protected research time under the mentorship of an established investigator.

Eligibility:

Applicants- The program is designed for newly-appointed assistant professors (within three years of appointment at either UNMC or another university) with either a combined MD/PhD degree or an MD degree, with a record of substantial research experience. Applicants in the last year of fellowship who have been offered a UNMC faculty position are eligible. Preference is for assistant professors but an instructor appointment is allowed (within three years of appointment). Women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants are eligible if they have no previous NIH R01 or equivalent funding, and are not on a currently mentored K award or a funded Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) or IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE). Current and former PD/PIs of an NIH Small Grant (R03), Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21), Dissertation Award (R36), or SBIR/STTR (R41, R42, R43, R44) remain eligible. 

If a CHRI Scholar is awarded a mentored K award, an R01 or equivalent funding during the CHRI scholars period the remaining CHRI award funds will be returned to CHRI to fund additional scholars on the date the federal award commences.

Mentor- The mentor should hold substantial peer-reviewed extramural (NIH or equivalent) funding, and have a significant track record in mentoring physician-scientists. Trans-departmental mentoring is strongly encouraged. Proposals involving basic, clinical, translational or population-based studies can be submitted.  Applicant and mentor are expected to be members of CHRI.   

Application process:  

Applicant provides:

Research proposals involving basic, clinical, translational or population-based studies can be submitted. Proposals involving a significant clinical component should consult with the Pediatric Research Office for feasibility prior to submission.

Mentor provides:

Letters of support: Chair’s letter. Applicants are sponsored by their home Department Chair who provides a letter of support confirming that the applicant will have the protected time to pursue the program. Minimum of 0.4 FTE of protected research time is required. Program highly recommends that the scholar initially works within the research space of the mentor that provides supplies and equipment. Program provides three years of salary support ($79,720/year plus benefits); additional funding to support salary beyond the cap to allow 0.4 FTE protected time for research are provided through Departmental funding or other sources that need to be identified at the time of submission. Mentoring team’s letters. Applicant and mentor establish a mentoring team (with at least four members) that is expected to meet every six months to provide mentored support to the applicant. Mentoring committee members, their expertise and their commitment to serve in the committee should be addressed in a letter of support provided with the application. It is highly recommended to have a biostatistician as a member of the mentoring team.   

Font size: Must be 11 points or larger. Smaller text in figures, graphs, diagrams and charts is acceptable, as long as it is legible when the page is viewed at 100%. Type density: Must be no more than 15 characters per linear inch (including characters and spaces). The following fonts are recommended, although other fonts (both serif and non-serif) are acceptable if they meet the above requirements: Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, Palatino Linotype

Applicant selection process: Applicants are selected on a competitive basis by the CHRI Scholars Program Committee. The selection is based on applicant’s academic potential to become an independent investigator, the quality of the research proposal, the commitment of the mentor to the applicant’s success, and the commitment of the sponsoring chair to the career development of the applicant to become an independent investigator.

Training and mentoring activities: The program recognizes that successful training of applicants should be based on individualized mentored training, protected time for research and formal training. The program leverages the training opportunities provided by programs within CHRI, IDeA-CTR and CTR-MSP, including courses, seminars and workshops on career development, leadership, promotion and tenure, managing a research team and time management. 

Award:

Awarded CHRI-Scholars are enrolled in a three-year program. Scholars will be provided with a total of $150K per year for three years including salary for the scholar, and funding for research expenses.

Milestones – Program Expectations: Career development milestones are set throughout the three years of the award

Scholar is expected to participate in the Educational Activities listed below:

The CHRI Program Committee can suspend or deny subsequent years funding based on unmet expectations.

The program is not accepting applications at this time.

Questions regarding this program may be directed to: chri@unmc.edu 

CHRI Scholars Application Template