RFA for Faculty Pilot Project Grants

MUSC Center for Global Health
Request for Applications (RFA) for Faculty Pilot Project Grants

Deadline:  March 13, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. EST
Earliest anticipated award notification:  April 10
Late Applications will not be reviewed. 
Full Application Details

The MUSC Center for Global Health (CGH) is pleased to announce that it will fund several pilot project grants for up to $20,000 for a 12-month period. We anticipate awarding between four to six grants through this funding process.  Through this RFA, the CGH seeks to provide pilot funds to stimulate research in low and middle-income countries, with the larger goal of enabling investigators to leverage preliminary findings and data to become the basis of a competitive extramural research grant application. Projects that have the best potential for future growth and external funding will be prioritized for funding. Applications that include matching funds will be given preference.  This funding mechanism is designed to support research in low and middle-income countries (a listing of eligible countries can be found at the World Bank website).  Applicants should describe plans for how the results generated will be applied to obtain future external funding.

Principal Investigator (PI) must have primary faculty appointment at MUSC. Applicants at all levels are eligible, and early-career investigators are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants must not have existing funding that can support the proposed research. Proposals may include collaborators from other institutions but the PI must be MUSC faculty.

Proposal Due Date: March 13, 2014 at 12:oo p.m. EST

Access the South Carolina Translational Research (SCTR) Pilot Project website to submit your application.  The process includes uploading the following documents (PDF only): Biographical Sketch for all investigators, Project Description, Budget and Justification, Proposal. Letters of Support from foreign collaborators (encouraged, but optional) can be attached at the end of the Proposal.

  1. Biographical Sketch. Please use PHS 398 Form Biographical Sketch Format Page in MS Word at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html. Follow the 4-page limit, include a personal statement, and select up to 15 publications.  If one of the Co-Investigators serves as a Co-PI, list the Co-PI as the first Co-Investigator on the online application and indicate by entering “(Co-PI)” after his/her last name. Personal statement of Co-Investigators must describe his/her role in the project. Convert the Word document to PDF to upload.
    NOTE: Please do not use PHS 398 PDF forms, which are not compatible with the SCTR application system. Use the PHS 398 MS Word forms, and convert to PDF format to upload.
  2. Project Description/Global Health Relevance. Provide a NIH-formatted, one-half page description (Arial font size 11, at least 0.5” margins). State the application's broad, long-term objectives, relevance to global health in low and middle-income countries, and specific aims.  Summary should serve as a succinct and accurate description of the proposed work when separated from the application.  
  3. Budget and Justification. Please use PHS 398 Form Page 4: Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period in MS Word version at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html and use Continuation Format Page as needed for the budget justification. Each budget item listed in the Form Page 4 must be clearly justified. On the online application, upload the budget and justification as a single PDF file.

    NOTE: Do not use PHS 398 PDF forms, as they are not compatible with the SCTR application system. Use the PHS 398 MS Word forms, and convert to PDF format to upload. 
    Faculty salary support is not allowed.  All expenses must be directly related to proposed research. Facilities and administrative costs, also known as indirect costs, are not permitted.

  4. Proposal. (5-page limit). (Arial font size 11, at least 0.5” margins PDF only). Provide an NIH-formatted, five-page proposal. The NIH form can be accessed at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.pdf.  The page limit excludes references and support letters and technical appendices. Include description of the goal of the proposed study, preliminary data, hypothesis, specific aims, research design and methods, a description of the research team and research setting, and expected outcomes that would become the basis of a competitive extramural research grant application.  Applicants should identify collaborating in-country investigators.  It is not necessary to have approvals of all applicable institutional human, animal, and biosafety protocols (such as IRB, IACUC, IBC) to apply for this grant.  However, approvals must be in place and documented before funding is released. 

    Include no more than three documents such as reports and papers, survey instruments, and illustrations. Reference section should be limited to two pages.  Technical appendices that contain material normally included within a proposal should not be attached and will not be considered. Convert the proposal, references, technical appendices and optional letters into a single PDF file to upload.

  5. Letters of Support. A letter of support from a collaborating in-country investigator is strongly encouraged, but optional.  Letters of support should be submitted as part of the single PDF file with the proposal, references and technical appendices.  

Matching Funds.  We encourage (but do not require) applicants to seek matching funds.  Applications with matching funds will be given a higher priority.  If matching funds are available to the investigator, upload a signed statement from the PI and the provider of matching funds in the “Upload Department Division Chair statement” box.  Upload as PDF.  Clearly indicate the source and amount of matching funds.  The match must be in U.S. currency and can be from PI’s Department/Division, Center or Foundation grants but cannot be from existing grants.  

Evaluation: Application will be evaluated by reviewers with appropriate expertise and ranked based on the review criteria as described below.  Preference will be given to the most promising applications based on scientific merit, innovation, impact, and feasibility to become the basis of a competitive extramural research grant application. Selected applicants will be notified via email at the earliest anticipated date of April 10, 2014.  Please see the application review criteria and process section below for more details.


  • NOTE: Funds cannot be released until all applicable institutional human, animal, and biosafety protocols (such as IRB, IACUC, IBC), and any other required regulatory documents (such as INDs, IDE, and CITI Training) have been approved and documented.
  • Principal investigators for funded projects will be required to submit an annual report and final progress report two years following the completion of their project to the Center for Global Health indicating: the number of subsequent grant applications, the funding outcome of these applications, and any publications or presentations that may have been based on the pilot grant.  
  • Awardees must agree to credit the MUSC Center for Global Health in any publication, publicity or applications that result from awards.  
  •  It is the PI’s responsibility to inform the CGH office of any changes to the project, including departure from the PI’s institution.  This will help to determine how both parties should proceed, such as transfer a PI’s responsibility to another team member or to close out the project.

Award Considerations

  • Awardees and business managers are encouraged to engage appropriate members of the Finance and Administration immediately upon receiving funds to ensure the best way to handle international financial transactions.  International transactions can be complex and it is critical to plan ahead of time to ensure there are no delays in the research project.   When possible, setting up a sub-award with the partnering institution can help alleviate transactional issues. 
  • International research typically requires IRB approval both in the U.S. and at the partnering institution.  As international IRB approval can be time-consuming, starting the approval process as soon as possible will help keep the project on target.

For questions, contact Kathleen Ellis, Director of Operations, MUSC Center for Global Health at ellisk@musc.edu

South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Institute (SCTR) has resources and consultation services (such as biostat, budget, regulatory, coordinator core and intellectual property consultations) that can help investigators interested in applying under this RFA.  Please submit your request for a consultation (online link) or call the SCTR SUCCESS Center at 843-792-8300.