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High Impact Pilot Research Award (IP)

Purpose: To gather preliminary data or demonstrate proof-of-principle to support the feasibility of a new paradigm or research hypothesis. High quality of innovation and clear potential impact are two key components of this mechanism, with the ultimate goal of providing initial support for research with a strong rationale, resulting in the leverage of funding from other funding agencies.

All applications must address one or more of our six research priorities.

Anticipated Number of Grants: Up to 6

Maximum Award Amount per Year: $120,000 (direct)

Maximum Duration: 2 years

Allowable Direct Costs: Salaries, fringe benefits; supplies; equipment*, travel

Project-Related Travel: As needed (must be fully justified)

Travel to TRDRP Conference: Maximum $750 (mandatory)

Scientific Conference Travel: $2,000 per year (excluding a mandatory allocation of $750 in one year of the project for travel to the TRDRP Conference).

Indirect Costs: Full indirect costs are allowed to non-UC institutions. Indirect costs to UC campuses are capped at 25%.

*Any item costing $5,000 or more

Award Requirements:

  • Applicants must have a PI-status at the sponsoring institution.
  • Awardees are required to commit at least 10% of their research effort each year to activities supported by this award.
  • U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.

Review criteria:

Impact (scored separately): The potential for achieving a clear, short-term or long term impact on tobacco-related disease research, tobacco use prevention, tobacco treatment, or policy. This includes (1) scientific impact in a sustained manner on the specified tobacco-related research field or, (2) a targeted impact on tobacco use in specific communities, or (3) direct impact on issues governing state and local policies related to tobacco use and control or any combination of these three components.

Criteria-1 (30% scoring weight)

Responsiveness to intent of the award type: Is the study pilot or exploratory in nature? Does the study represent a new research trajectory that is not currently funded from other sources? Does the applicant describe how the pilot study will lead to an expanded research effort in the future including specific funding sources and award types?

Innovation: Does the research propose new paradigms, challenge existing paradigms, or is it otherwise highly creative in one or more of the following ways: the concept or question, research methods or technologies, adaptations of existing methods or technologies to new uses or with understudied populations? Does the proposed research represent more than an incremental advance upon published data? For example, does the project challenge existing interventions, clinical practice, or policy; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field?

Criteria-2 (50% scoring weight)

Research plan: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well-reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project and the pilot nature of the grant type? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative strategies?

Near term leveraging potential: When the TRDRP-funded studies under a High Impact Pilot Research Award are completed, is there compelling promise and high likelihood that their results will constitute a larger R01-level or P01-level study with high probability of funding from another agency such as the NIH? In other words, with TRDRP funding of the proposal, can the applicant leverage funding from other sources to further develop this area of research within 2-3 years after initial funding?

Criteria-3 (20% scoring weight)

Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the PD/PI and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

Community engagement and communication plan: Does the applicant propose a sound approach to engaging communities affected by tobacco-use in either a collaborative partnership or by proactively informing about the nature and significance of the research and research outcomes? To what extent does the dissemination of relevant results of funded research include channels and tools targeting clinicians, public health practitioners, tobacco control advocates, policy makers, and the general public?

Criteria-4 (non-scoring)

Protection of human subjects from research risk: If human subjects are involved, protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed.

Inclusion of women, minorities, and children in research: If human subjects are involved, the adequacy of plans to include subjects of both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed.  Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.

Care and use of vertebrate animals in research: If vertebrate animals are involved in the project, plans for their care and use will be assessed.