Funding/Seed Grants

The Nebraska Center for Substance Abuse Research (NCSAR) was established in 2015 with a mission to bring the power of science and research to bear on drug abuse and addiction, thereby improving the quality of life of the affected individuals, while reducing the health care costs in the state of Nebraska through innovative collaborative basic and clinical research, premier education programs, and outreach to those suffering from addiction.

The establishment of the NCSAR promotes multidisciplinary neuroscience research activities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and member institutions to prevent, treat and diagnose degenerative, inflammatory and infectious neurologic disorders in the context of substance abuse. One goal is to provide pilot funds to support cross-campus collaborations among basic and clinical scientists.

We are pleased to announce the first request for applications. The objective of the NCSAR pilot grant is designed to support innovative pre-clinical translational and clinical research projects to improve investigation, diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse related disorders.

This first request for applications focuses on substance abuse and its consequences on the biological functioning within the CNS, with the ultimate goal of developing therapeutic strategies aimed at preventing and treating drug addiction and the associates co-morbidities.

Below is additional information on how to apply. Deadline for applications is:  4 p.m. Central Daylight Time; Friday, July 28, 2017.

Applicant Eligibility and Preference  

To be eligible for a NCSAR pilot grant, you must

  • possess a doctoral-level degree
  • have an academic appointment at or above the instructor (faculty appointment) level at one of our member institutions 
  • be eligible to apply for an independent NIH R application  

Established investigators in another field applying their expertise to drug abuse and addiction and meet the above criteria are welcome to apply.

Applications must adhere to several criteria and will undergo a rigorous, objective review process.


Pilot grants are available up to $30,000 for one year.

Three grants will be awarded

  • one for pain research at UNMC
  • two for other substance abuse work; interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaborations will be prioritized.


Pilot grants awarded are funded for up to one calendar year from the award date. If you have questions, please contact us.

Direct and indirect costs

  • The budget should only list direct costs. No indirect costs are awarded.

See Requirements and Restrictions for additional information.

Member Institutions  

University of Nebraska Medical Center

University of Nebraska, Lincoln

University of Nebraska, Kearney

University of Nebraska, Omaha

Omaha Veterans Administration Medical Center

Creighton University 

Boys Town National Research Hospital

Grant Instructions  

Please submit the following documents (note: click here to download forms). *Required documents:

*Face Page: please complete the NIH PHS 398 Face Page (Form Page 1)

*Project Abstract and Relevance Statement: please use NIH PHS 398 Form Page 2. Abstract: Length is limited by the text box. The abstract should describe: 1) the goal of the proposed project, 2) issues addressed and 3) how success will significantly alter the landscape of drug abuse research in Nebraska. Relevance Statement: Using no more than two or three sentences, describe the relevance of this research to public health. In this section, be succinct and use plain language that can be understood by a general, lay audience.

*Your Biosketch (NIH form; NIH Instructions)

*Budget (NIH format-Form Page 5)

*Budget Justification

*Research Proposal:

  • Specific Aims (one page)
  • Research Strategy (four pages):
    • Significance
    • Innovation
    • Approach:
      1. Include the scientific premise of the proposed research (the strength and weaknesses of the research that is used to form the basis for the proposed research questions.
      2. Can include preliminary data, although not required
      3. Experimental design, including steps taken to ensure scientific rigor and transparency (robust and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results, explained as appropriate for a pilot project)
      4. Plans for extramural funding applications (e.g. to NIH or other agencies, please specify) upon successful completion of this project.
  • Authentication of key biological variables; see (not included in Research Strategy page limits).

Literature Cited (not included in Research Strategy page limits)

Letters of Support (if any)

Appendices:  Not allowed


Convert and combine the final documents into one PDF file. E-mail proposal to Sara Dejano before 4:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Friday, July 28, 2017.  Each applicant will receive a notice that his/her application has been received. If you have not received this receipt e-mail, please contact Sara Dejano.

Regulatory approvals  

If your grant application concerns a study that requires approval (e.g. Institutional Animal Care Use Committee, Institutional Review Board, Biosafety, etc.), please complete and include the Regulatory Committee Form.

Regulatory Committee approvals are not required to submit your application; however, applicants are encouraged to submit the study for approval before applying for the pilot grant. These approvals often take several weeks.

If your application is funded, you will not be allowed to spend the award until you e-mail a copy of the approval to Sara Dejano.

Formatting Guidelines ~ Submission  

Formatting Guidelines

Use a font of 11 points or larger. The only acceptable fonts are Arial, Helvetica, Palatino, Linotype, or Georgia.

Font Color: black only. Type density, including characters and spaces, must be no more than 14 lines per inch. Type may be no more than six lines per inch.

Page Margins: use standard paper size of 8 ½” x 11”. Use at least one-half inch margins (top, bottom, left, right) for all pages. Do not include headers or footer or page numbers.

Page formatting: Use only a standard single column of text.

Grantsmanship: use English and avoid jargon. If terms are not universally known, spell out the term the first time it is used and note the appropriate abbreviation in parentheses. The abbreviation may be used thereafter.

Page Limits: although many sections of your grant application are described as separate sections, the limit of four pages for the Research Proposal must be followed or the proposal will be returned without review and not considered for funding.


Convert and combine the final documents into one PDF file. E-mail proposal to Sara Dejano before 4:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Friday, July 28, 2017.  Each applicant will receive a notice that his/her application has been received. If you have not received this receipt e-mail, please contact Sara Dejano.

Requirements and Restrictions  
  • Faculty salary is not allowed
  • No office/computer equipment unless justified for the research itself.
  • Travel funds are only available for drug abuse meetings; specify meeting title, costs, and justification for expending fund.
  • If an awarded grant includes work with humans or animals, Institutional Review Board or Institutional Animal Care Use Committee, respectively, or other review committee approvals, these must be submitted to Sara Dejano, NCSAR administrator, before awarded funds may be spent. See Regulatory Approval Sections.
  • Overspending on the award is not allowed and must be repaid.
  • Any monies remaining after the funding period will be returned to the NCSAR.
  • The Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience grant administrator will notify all recipients and UNMC Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) of awards. SPA will set up cost center number(s) or contracts for each grant awarded. Awardees are responsible for working with their department’s grants manager to monitor and manage their funds and ensure that monies are not overspent. Any adjustments needed to balance the funds are the responsibility of the awardees.
  • All awardees must submit written progress reports after 6 months and a final progress report at the end of the funding period.
  • All Pilot Award recipients are required to attend the NCSAR annual meeting and present their project/results.  
  • As part of their grants, awardees must provide documentation of publications and peer-reviewed funding that result from their award. They are also required to cite the Nebraska Center for Substance Abuse Research support in publications and presentations that are generated by or related to research performed using NCSAR funds. Suggested wording: This work was supported in part by the Nebraska Center for Substance Abuse Research 2017 Pilot Grant.
Scientific Merit ~ Evaluation ~ Notification  

Scientific merit
Grants are evaluated on their innovation, feasibility, and potential contribution to the current body of knowledge.   

Pilot grant applications are evaluated on a number of criteria, including investigator eligibility, scientific merit, relevance to substance abuse research, and potential for generating subsequent funding and publications.

Final funding decisions are made by the Center Director and NCSAR Steering Committee.

All applicants will be notified in early fall 2017 of their proposal decision. Along with the decision notice, applicants receive copies of the reviewers' critiques without the reviewers' names. The critiques are intended to help applicants improve their studies regardless of the funding decision.

Fund Management and Responsibilities  

If you receive a pilot grant, you are responsible for working with your department’s fund manager to manage the award. If any funds are left over at the end of your award period, they will be returned to NCSAR. Extensions are not encouraged but will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Independent Funding

If you receive independent NIH or equivalent institutional funding for a project that is currently funded by a NCSAR grant, congratulations! Please notify NCSAR

Contact Information  

Shilpa Buch, Ph.D.
NCSAR Director
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Sara Dejano
Office Assistant to Dr. Buch
University of Nebraska Medical Center