2022 Pilot Project RFA

Request for Pilot-Project Applications

Funding Opportunity (Pilot Projects Grants)
Cognitive Neuroscience of Development & Aging (CoNDA) Center

Application Deadline: 5:00 PM Monday, July 18, 2022

Program Summary: The CONDA Center is pleased to announce a funding opportunity for Pilot-Projects. The CONDA Center is a NIH/NIGMS supported Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE) that focuses on the cognitive neuroscience across the lifespan and strives to support and develop neuroscience research in the region.

The goal of the Pilot Project Program is to provide support to promising research led by faculty at CoNDA participating institutions (UNMC, UNO, Creighton & Boystown). Applicants must not have concurrent funding from other IDeA programs (INBRE, other COBRE or CTR). 

Relevant Areas of Research: This mechanism aims to support innovative, collaborative projects in the field of neuroscience in general with emphasis on the cognitive neuroscience in development and aging in health and disease. 

Pilot Projects focused on the below issues are of high interest to the CoNDA Center. Applications proposing the study of animal models or human subjects will be considered.

Successful applicants (up to 4 candidates) will receive up to $50,000 in direct costs per year for 1-2 year. Funding for second year will be competitively reviewed, requiring demonstrated progress and need.

Applications that propose the use of the CoNDA Center Research Cores (Neuroimaging core or Translational Imaging & Behavior Assessment Core) will be prioritized. Preference will be given to those proposals likely to lead to submission of Research Project Leader proposals to the CoNDA CoBRE. 

DEADLINE: Monday, July 18, 2022: 5:00 PM 

Funding Objectives - Eligibility - Preferences  
Overview/Objective: The CoNDA Center Pilot Project program is designed to support faculty at CoNDA participating institutions (UNMC, UNO, Creighton & Boystown) to pursue new ideas in neuroscience related to development and aging in health and disease.This mechanism aims to support innovative, collaborative projects in the field of neuroscience in general with emphasis on the cognitive neuroscience in development and aging in health and disease. Pilot-Projects (up to 4 candidates) will be awarded for up to $50,000 direct costs per year for 1-2 years. Funding for second year will be competitively reviewed, requiring demonstrated progress and need. Successful awardees may apply for a 1-year competitive renewal of their project. Second year funding (if applicable) is contingent on favorable review by the CONDA Center Leadership Team of a two-page progress report due ten months after project initiation. Renewal decisions will be based on project progress, scientific integrity and rigor, potential for Center synergy, and potential for successful external funding. Funding for second year will be competitively reviewed, requiring demonstrated progress and need.

Eligibility: Eligible applicant must be a faculty at CoNDA participating institution (UNMC, UNO, Creighton & Boystown).Applicants must not have concurrent funding from other IDeA programs (INBRE, other COBRE or CTR). Applications from under-represented minorities, including women and people of color are encouraged as outlined in Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity. If you have any questions about these criteria, please contact the project coordinator or center director.
Core Services  
Applicants are encouraged to utilize the CoNDA Center Research Cores: Translational Imaging & Behavioral Assessment Core & Neuroimaging Core. Core directors can help applicants with study design and data analysis. Applicants that propose CoNDA Core utilization will be prioritized.
Grant Forms and Submission Information  
Applicants may submit only one application per cycle.
The Application must include the following components:
Project summary (limited to 30 lines or less of text, ½ inch margins, Arial size 11; Please place Title of project and Mini Grant PI name in the header of this page)
  • Research Plan: limited to five pages in total for Specific Aims and Research Strategy
  • Specific Aim(s):One page maximum, but can be shorter.
  • Research Strategy:
    • Significance: a) the rigor of prior research - the strengths and weaknesses of the research that is used to form the basis for the proposed research question.
    • Innovation:Briefly describe how the proposed research may refine, improve, or propose a new application of an existing concept or method.
    • Approach: Can include preliminary data, although not required. Experimental design, including steps taken to ensure scientific rigor (robust and unbiased experimental design, sample, measures, procedures, analysis, interpretation and reporting of results, explained as appropriate for a pilot project) and consideration of key biological variables if applicable. Please see: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-16-011.html 
    • Plans for extramural funding applications: Please specify your plan for funding from NIH or other agencies upon successful completion of this project.
    • References:Excluded from 5-page limit.
  • Detailed Budget for Year 1 and Year 2 – Pilot-Project can be awarded for up to $50,000 per year for 1-2. Second year award is subject to competitive renewal requiring demonstrated progress and need.
  • Budget Justification
  • Letters of Support: Can be included as needed. 
Convert and combine the final documents into one PDF file and email to Dr. Raj Dave, PhD before 5:00 PM on Monday, July 18, 2022.
Anticipated Project Start Date: Feb 1, 2023.
Special Considerations, Institutional Approvals and Reporting  
  • Funds cannot be used to support applicant salary.
  • Equipment (>$5,000 per item) and/or computer purchases are not allowed.
  • Renovation and/or Honorariums are not allowed.
  • Travel is limited to research related tasks only (e.g., no conference travel). Travel to locations outside of the US & Canada is not allowed.
  • Awardees are responsible for working with their department grants administrator to monitor and manage funds available/spent on this award.
  • All awardees must provide quarterly and annual progress reports. 
  • Awardees are required to present the Pilot-Project progress at meetings organized by the CoNDA Center.
  • As part of their grants, awardees must provide documentation of publications and peer-reviewed funding that result from their award. A pdf file of your published papers/abstracts should be emailed to Dr. Raj Dave, PhD.
  • Awardees are required to cite CoNDA Center support in publications and presentations that are generated by or related to research performed using CoNDA Center funds.
Direct and indirect costs: The budget should list direct costs only. If the application is funded, the UNMC CoNDA Center will pay for indirect costs (overhead) per NIH guidelines. For non-UNMC applicants, indirect costs associated with Pilot Project will be awarded to the investigator’s institution for NIH-funded pilots. Please work with your Sponsored Programs office to ensure that your proposal budget includes your institution’s correct F&A rate.
Regulatory Approvals  
If the Pilot-Project application requires approval by an Institutional Animal Care Use Committee, Institutional Review Board, or other regulatory approvals, please note on front sheet. Approval is not needed at the time of submission, however we strongly recommend that you start working on the approvals in advance to expedite the funding. Protocols must be submitted to IRB/IACUC for approval within 10 days of notification of funding and final approval must be sent to us within 30 days. Approvals need to be received by Johna Belling, grants administrator prior to final submission of the proposal to the NIH (see below).
Grant Evaluation  
Applications will be first evaluated administratively and responsive applications will be forwarded to review by a panel of external experts. Each application will be reviewed for innovation, feasibility, scientific merit, relevance to CoNDA research priorities, and potential for generating subsequent publications and federal funding (preferably RO1). Following selection for funding, the applications are submitted to the NIH for final approval. Applicants are typically notified of the selection within two months of the submission deadline.
Fund Management and Responsibilities  
Pilot-Project Grants awarded by the UNMC CoNDA Center are funded for 1-2 years from the award date. Second year award is subject to competitive renewal and not guaranteed. Grant recipients are responsible for managing their projects' funding. Awardees are responsible for working with their departmental fund manager to manage the award. Awardees are expected to utilize their funds towards completion of their project within the award period. If there are any unused funds, they must be returned to the CoNDA center. Under exceptional circumstances, if the awardee was unable to complete their project, their request to carry-over funds may be considered. Overspending is not allowed. Also, see Independent Funding section. If awardee is based at UNMC, a cost center number will be established for the developmental grant. If awardee is not based at UNMC, a subcontract will be set up with that institution. Awardee's department's fund manager will be the best source of information for dealing with the subcontract.
Independent Funding  

If you receive independent NIH or equivalent institutional funding for a project that is currently funded by the CoNDA Center, congratulations! Please notify the CoNDA Center Project Coordinator immediately so that funds allocated to your grant can be returned to the CoNDA Center. NIH regulations prohibit simultaneous funding.

CONDA Center events: If you are funded by the CONDA Center, we expect you to participate in the center activities such as the monthly seminar series. If you have any questions, please contact us.


CoNDA Center Contact Information 

CoNDA Center Director
Prof. Anna Dunaevsky, PhD

Project Coordinator
Dr. Raj Dave, PhD

Grants Administrator
Johna Belling