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College of Social Work Seed Grant Program

In collaboration with the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR), the College of Social Work (CSW) will administrate a Seed Grant Program for FY19. Applications will be accepted during a period from November 1, 2018 through January 15, 2019. Applications should be submitted to Applications will be reviewed by March 1, 2019, after which time the Associate Dean for Research will submit a formal recommendation of projects to be considered for funding to the VPR Office email, using the Project Summary Sheet provided on the VPR website.

What is a Seed Grant?

CSW seed grants will support discrete, well-defined projects that can realistically be completed in one year and that require limited levels of funding. The primary aim of the seed grant program is to fund pilot research that can produce a) peer-reviewed scholarly publications AND b) preliminary data needed to support future federal grant proposals (e.g., R21, R34, R01). The secondary aim of the seed grant program is to socialize faculty and doctoral students to the federal (e.g., NIH) grant submission process, in terms of preparing them to develop and submit a competitive proposal.

How do I apply?

Structure your application as follows:

  1. Specific Aims (1 page)
  2. Research Strategy (2-3 pages)
  3. Study Timeline
  4. Budget and Budget Justification
  5. NIH Biosketch (5 pages maximum)

The CSW Grants and Contracts Management Team will be available for consultation concerning seed grant development and can provide limited assistance with templates, budgeting, etc.

How will it be scored?

Applications will be reviewed by two independent reviewers: the Associate Dean for Research and the Director of the Social Research Institute (SRI). In the case of conflicts of interest (e.g., applications from SRI faculty), the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will serve as the second reviewer. Applications will be scored according to NIH review criteria:

  1. Significance. Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
  2. Investigator(s). Are the PD/PIs, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or those in early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise? Are their leadership approach, governance, and organizational structure appropriate for the project?
  3. Innovation. Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by using novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
  4. Approach. Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific project aims? Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed? Have the investigators presented adequate plans to address relevant biological variables, such as sex, for studies in vertebrate animals or human subjects?
    • Study design and analysis: Is the study design justified and appropriate to address primary and secondary outcome variable(s)/endpoints that will be clear, informative, and relevant to the hypothesis being tested? Is the scientific rationale/premise of the study based on previously well-designed preclinical and/or clinical research? Given the methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions, is the study design adequately powered to answer the research question(s), test the proposed hypothesis/hypotheses, and provide interpretable results? Is the trial appropriately designed to conduct the research efficiently? Are the study populations (size, gender, age, demographic group), proposed intervention arms/dose, and duration of the trial, appropriate and well justified? Are planned analyses and statistical approach appropriate for the proposed study design and methods used to assign participants and deliver interventions?
  5. Environment. How will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?

Three additional review criteria will be scrutinized:

  1. Study Timeline. Is the projected timeline feasible and well justified?  Are potential challenges and corresponding solutions discussed (e.g., strategies that can be implemented in the event of enrollment shortfalls)?
  2. Budget and Period of Support. Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.
  3. Likelihood of resulting in future federal research funding. How likely is the project to provide preliminary data necessary for future federal research funding, if successfully implemented? To what extent will the seed project support a future fundable research program?

To facilitate socialization to the NIH review process, each of the seven review criteria will be scored on the NIH 1-9 point scale (1 = exceptional; 9 = poor) by each reviewer. The average of these scores will be computed for each application, and proposals will be ranked from the lowest to highest scores. Funding will be allocated to the lowest scoring proposals until the FY19 budget of $67,500 ($45,000 from the VPR Office + $22,500 from the CSW) is expended. Funding will be provided as follows:

  • $15,500 for doctoral dissertation awards (the maximum requested amount is $7750)
  • $52,000 for Faculty research awards (tenure line and research track faculty are eligible; the maximum requested amount is $26,000 per award)

CSW anticipates making 2 doctoral dissertation and 2-3 faculty research awards in FY19.

Last Updated: 11/20/18