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Guidance for Submission of Proposals for AViDD Developmental and Mentored Research Projects

Updated: Nov 19, 2022

Developmental Research Projects

The key purposes of the Developmental Research Projects (DRPs) are expanding the scope and range of research, investigators, and institutions involved in antiviral discovery, allowing for testing of novel ideas (with little preliminary data), and developing new technologies. The use of DPRs permits maximal flexibility to advance in directions that seem most scientifically fruitful; successful projects may also mature and replace full Research Projects that are no longer contributing significantly to the objectives of the Center. The Developmental Research Projects may involve scientists associated with the Center (excluding Research Project Leads) or may extend to appropriate scientists outside the Center interested in contributing to the research platform of the Center.

DRPs are limited to one or two years, with a range of $200,000 to $250,000 per project per year, direct costs. The Developmental Project Leader must commit at least 1.2 (CY) person months effort per year. DRPs can take place in Years 2-3 of the project period and must be completed by the end of Year 3.

Mentored Projects

The goal of the Mentored Projects (MPs) is to increase the availability of qualified researchers and other personnel for antiviral discovery research by providing opportunities to further their professional advancement. Mentored projects must relate to the Center objectives and may be used to support post-doctoral fellows, early career investigators, or senior investigators new to the field of antiviral discovery and development.

MPs may support post-doctoral fellows, early career investigators, or senior investigators new to the field and who are interested in starting and pursuing research in the areas of antiviral discovery and development. Individual MPs are not intended for pre-doctoral candidates, nor are they appropriate for post-doctoral fellows who have been in a laboratory for more than six years.

MP budgets may include salary and research costs of candidates, as well as other reasonable costs. Projects are limited to two years. The activities require that each candidate have a mentor and devote at least 9.6 (CY) person months effort per year to the project. MPs can take place in Years 2-3 of the project period and must be completed by the end of Year 3.

We will use a 2-stage process to evaluate and award SRPs:

Stage 1: Solicitation and Submission of Draft Applications

DRPs and MPs will initiate in Year 2 of the project period. To qualify for support, DRPs and MPs must directly complement or facilitate one or more primary theme objective(s) of the parent AViDD and be exceptionally innovative. In accordance with program objectives, no funds may be used to supplement an existing AViDD project. Additionally, researchers currently supported by a AViDD, or that have a conflict-of-interest with someone supported by a AViDD, are not eligible to apply for a DRP or MP. Each DRP or MP application should propose a high-risk/high-return project with clear potential for delivering transformational results or paradigm shifts. Applicants must be able to serve as a PI/PD per corresponding institution policies. NIAID recognizes a need to promote diversity in the biomedical research workforce and encourages its efforts to lead to opportunities for talented researchers from all groups including underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities and women.

Each AViDD is encouraged to solicit draft DRP or MP applications for projects that align to and complement AViDD objectives. Solicitations may be disseminated to appropriate researchers and/or scientific communities (academic or industrial); opportunities must be open and publicly announced. An informal “white paper” format should be used to prepare each draft; do not use form PHS 398 at this stage. The description of the proposed research plan should be limited to no more than three pages; include clearly defined aims and a justification for why the proposed work is highly innovative, addresses a major challenge, and complements parent AViDD objectives.

AViDD SABs will evaluate their solicited draft applications as detailed in their Administrative Core plan for soliciting, reviewing and identifying the most meritorious DRP and MP applications. Each AViDD will submit prioritized draft applications to NIAID for consideration. Please include a cover letter summarizing the solicitation (with metrics), evaluation, and prioritization of draft proposals. Information supporting final SAB recommendations should also be provided.

The deadline for receipt of draft applications is February 1, 2023.

Stage 2: NIAID Evaluation and Submission of Formal Application

Selection of DRPs and MPs for funding will be determined by NIAID Program Staff based on AViDD SAB recommendations, project merit, programmatic priorities and available funds. Upon selection, DRP and MP PIs and corresponding AViDDs will be provided guidance on submitting a formal application using form PHS 398.

NOTE: No clinical trials will be supported, and any involvement of human subjects must not entail more than minimal risk. If human subjects or vertebrate animals are involved, the appropriate sections described in the PHS 398 Instructions must be completed. Each application must also address plans for data sharing and, if applicable, biosafety concerns.

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