Deadlines: 

Letter of Intent: Monday, November 15, 2021, 5 pm

Full Proposal: 5pm, Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 5 pm

Overview

The Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute (Greehey CCRI) is soliciting proposals for pilot project awards. The primary goal of this program is to support collaborative translational studies that will lead to the repurposing of FDA-approved drugs for treating pediatric cancers. The program is supported through Greehey CCRI institutional funds.

Eligibility

Greehey CCRI Program

Applicants must hold faculty appointments or equivalent research-level positions at UT Health San Antonio (UTHSA) or The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).

Only collaborative applications that link studies relevant to pediatric cancer with approaches to identify and test new uses for FDA-approved drugs and/or drugs currently in clinical trials for treating pediatric cancers will be considered. The focus can include synthetic lethal interactions and novel combinatorial approaches to improve therapy. The use of Greehey CCRI target identification core and/or the Center for Innovative Drug Discovery (CIDD) for identifying candidate drugs and the use of the Greehey CCRI PDX core for testing the anti-tumor efficacy of candidate drugs are highly encouraged.

Previous pilot project award recipients may apply, but the new application must be a distinct project or a substantial departure, not a simple extension of the previously funded project. Applicants need not be directly affiliated with the Greehey CCRI but must have a Greehey CCRI faculty member as the collaborator. The relevance of the project to children’s cancer must be clearly defined within the proposal.

Submission, terms, and conditions

An individual may submit no more than one project as a Principal Investigator, plus one as a Co-Investigator.

A required letter of intent (LOI) must be submitted by Monday, November 15, 2021, at 5:00 pm.  It should include the project’s title, principal investigator (PI), a one-page summary of the project, and a list of 3 to 4 potential reviewers from UTHSA, but not from the same department or research group as the PI (Click here for LOI template). The deadline for receipt of the full application is December 15 at 5:00 pm. Note that all applicants must first submit an LOI before the full proposal. Both the LOI and the full proposal should be submitted electronically, each in a single PDF file attached to an email message to Ms. Nickie Akande (Akande@uthscsa.edu). Pilot application forms can be found here.

Awards will be made initially for a one-year period starting on or about January 31, 2022. Progress reports will be requested six months (brief) and 12 months after the initiation of funding. For projects involving the use of human subjects or vertebrate animals, no expenditures will be permitted until Greehey CCRI is provided with a copy of the official letter of approval by the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Investigators are encouraged to submit IRB and IACUC protocols early to avoid significant delays in project initiation. Excessive delays in meeting these regulatory requirements may result in the withdrawal of the award. Applicants must also be in compliance with institutional research training and conflict of interest disclosure policies.

Budget and financial policies

The initial budget for these awards is $50,000. Additional funds will be considered based on the project’s progress and subjected to satisfactory review (at six months and 12 months after the initiation of funding) by the scientific review committee. Facilities and Administrative costs are not allowed. Funds may not be used to support the salary of the PI or faculty-level collaborators. Although the PI (and Co-PI/Co-I, if applicable) should be listed in the personnel section of the summary page, there is no minimum effort requirement. Budgets may include non-faculty salaries, but they should not exceed 25% of the total amount requested. In addition, budgets may NOT include funding for travel or the purchase of computers or other equipment unless it can be justified as essential to the project.  Other allowable expenses include consumable laboratory supplies; animal purchase and per diem; Greehey CCRI, or UTHSA core facility fees; costs related to human subject enrollment and management (listed as “Patient Care Costs” on the budget page); and other expenditures that can be justified as being essential for the completion of the project.

Application requirements and format

Applications should be prepared using the templates provided (adapted from PHS Form 398). Font size should be no smaller than 11pt, preferably Arial or Times New Roman. The font size for figures, figure legends, charts, and tables may be smaller but clearly legible. Margins all-around should be at least 0.5”. Pages should be numbered sequentially. The length of the Research Plan (narrative with illustrations included) is limited to 4 single-spaced pages. The organization of the proposal should be as follows:

  • Cover page (p. 1)
  • Project summary (level appropriate for scientific peers in the field) and key personnel (p. 2)
  • Budget (p. 3)
  • Budget justifications (p. 4; maximum 1 page)
  • Biographical sketch for PI (maximum 4 pages; for NIH template, format, (see sample)
  • Biographical sketches for other key personnel (maximum 4 pages each)
  • Research plan (maximum 4 pages; use continuation page template)
  • Hypothesis and specific aims
  • Background and significance
  • Preliminary data
  • Work proposed (including statistical analysis, pitfalls, alternatives)
  • Literature citations (maximum 1 page)
  • Additional information regarding the project (maximum 1 page) to include:
    • Collaborative, interdisciplinary, or community engagement features, if applicable
    • Description of how the pilot project will interact with existing programs of the Greehey CCRI, or UTHSA, as appropriate
  • Letters of support (1-page maximum) from core directors or Research Imaging Institute are required (if applicable)
  • Letters of collaboration (optional; 2-page maximum)
  • Appendices are not allowed
  • A UTHSA Certificate of Proposal (COP) is not required

Review process and criteria

Applications will go through a two-tiered system of review. The first phase, or scientific review, will be performed by a Scientific Review Committee, including members of the Mays Cancer Center. Scientific merit will be scored by these reviewers based on the following criteria:

  • Significance
  • Novelty / innovation
  • Strength of the study protocol, including:
    • Design
    • Feasibility
    • Preliminary data
    • Integration with ongoing research
    • Qualifications of the investigative team
  • Contribution to the career development of basic/translational scientists, if applicable
  • The extent of meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Likelihood of future NIH or other competitive external funding
  • Use and leveraging of Greehey CCRI, or partner resources (for example, core facilities, biobanking)
  • Potential for ultimately improving health outcomes
  • Protection of human subjects and experimental animals

A programmatic review will be conducted to determine the potential impact on childhood cancer. Funding decisions will be based on scientific merit programmatic relevance.

Funding expectations

Depending on the availability of funds, up to three proposals will receive support.

Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator

The principal investigator of funded projects is required to:

  • Abide by NIH rules and regulations
  • Abide by Greehey CCRI/UTHSA policies and procedures
  • Submit progress reports in a timely fashion
  • Acknowledge support from Greehey CCRI funds in all publications relevant to the pilot project