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CCTS Announces Planning Grant Funding for Multi-institutional Research Programs in T2 Translation

A goal of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences (CCTS) is to foster multidisciplinary projects and encourage collaboration between components of the UT community including MD Anderson and the Schools of the UTHSC-H in the area of T2 Translation.  Here we define T2 translation as research that enhances and assesses dissemination of scientific discovery to the community, health partners, patients, and the public. 

 To achieve this goal, the CCTS announces a competitive one-time-only request for applications to support Planning Grants that will lead to extramural funding such as R01, P50 or P01 grants.  This Planning Grant funding is designed to develop multi-investigator research programs that would promote and support collaborative research programs between UTHSC-H and MDACC investigators in the area of translation of scientific evidence into the community (defined as community, health partners, patients, or the public) 

 CCTS funds in the amount of $250,000 (contributed equally by UTHSC-H and MDACC) will be used to support at least two collaborative projects, each of which will be 1-2 Year Planning Grants. Funding for up to $125,000 direct costs (no indirects are available) per application will be provided to generate necessary preliminary data to support a new competitive research application, encourage activities that lead to a demonstrable record of collaborative research among the investigators, and fund the administrative support for the preparation of the multi-investigator research grant proposal. The expectation is that these 1-2 year awards will be used to support the development of multi-investigator grant proposals that will be submitted within three years to federal or state funding agencies. The proposed research program must include a clearly defined path to the securing of extramural funding to provide sustained support for the research program.

 The proposed project or program should be designed for eventual competitive federal or state funding with the following components:

  • Leadership by at least one funded and established PI; up to two PIs can be named.
  • A hypothesis-driven goal
  • Availability of core resources necessary to support the Projects
  • The research team must be multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary and include researchers from MDACC and UTHSC-H
  • Must include at least one junior investigator whose research will be integrated into the overall research program
  • Preference will be given to new collaborations i.e. teams that do not have a previous track record of grants or publications.

 A two-step review process will include submission of a letter of intent and subsequently a full proposal based on the letter of intent.  

The letter of intent is due on April 1st. and should be emailed to  It should be typed in Ariel 11, must be no more than 2 pages excluding the budget page, and must include the following, in one document:

  • The  names of the principal investigator and key members of the collaborative team, including those from other institutions
  • The hypothesis, scientific goals and objectives of the Planning Grant;
  • A 1-2 year budget outline briefly explaining how funds will be used;
  • NIH biosketches of the Principal Investigator(s).  If the multiple PI mechanism is used, explain how the PIs will interact and jointly accomplish the work.

Invitations to submit a full proposal will be announced on May 1st . The deadline for the submission of the full proposals will be August 1st.

Awardees will be announced August 30th with an expected start date of Sept 1, 2009.

The full proposal will follow the classic NIH R01 style including sections of: Specific Aims, Background, Methods, Strengths/Weaknesses, and References.   A full budget and NIH biosketches for all key collaborators must be appended.

 The full proposal must be no longer than 10 pages excluding references.

 Review criteria will include:

  1. Significance Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive this field?
  2. Approach Are the conceptual framework, design (including composition of study population), methods, and analyses adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to support the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?
  3. Innovation Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies?
  4. Investigator Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)? 

Environment Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed methods take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of core infrastructure? 

Areas of T2 translation on which these grants might focus include:

  • Screening
  • Survivorship
  • Outcomes or health services research
  • Prevention
  • Disparities
  • Community based research
  • Environmental health

A joint symposium sponsored jointly by MDAA, UTSPH, and the CCTS will be held February 26, 2009 from 1-4pm with lunch preceding at noon in the School of Public Health Auditorium.  The symposium will feature mini-talks from researchers at MDAA and UTSPH and thus foster cross-institutional collaborations that may be useful in responding to this RFA. 

Funds for refreshments or supplies for meetings to develop the Planning Grants will be available from the Administrative Core (contact Ms. Linda Gilbert at  or 713-500-7922.