Seed Grant RFA - 2017

Amount:  $32,000 with no option to renew
Due Date:  September 30, 2017
Funding Period:  Intended start December 1, 2017. Concludes May 31, 2018

The Nebraska Center for the Prevention of Obesity Diseases (NPOD), funded by a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence grant (Award Number P20GM104320) from the NIH, invites applications for its SEED GRANT competition. This is special, one-time, funding of $32,000 available for projects with a required end date of May 31, 2018, with no exceptions.  The primary objective of this seed grant program is to stimulate research in the area of obesity research and nutrient signaling and to enhance competitiveness in obtaining extramural support.

In this call for proposals, priority will be given to proposals in two areas:    

  • Area 1: Prevention of obesity-related diseases through dietary molecules. Proposals targeting this area are expected to focus on the prevention of obesity-related diseases through essential and non-essential dietary compounds. Pharmaceutical approaches to the prevention and treatment of disease will not be considered.
  • Area 2: Interactions between diet and non-coding RNAs or Biomarkers of disease. Two lines of research will be considered for funding in Area 2, i.e., 1) proposals with a focus on the interactions among nutrition, non-coding RNAs, and disease, and 2) proposals with a focus on biomarkers of disease.

ELIGIBILITY:  Applications from NPOD members (excluding currently funded project leaders) and non-members will receive equal consideration.  Collaborations across UNL and UNMC, and proposals leading to the development of new research tools (animals, laboratory protocols, surveys, and computational protocols) are strongly encouraged. Only one proposal per principal investigator is permitted per competition. However, there is no limit on the number of proposals an applicant may participate in as a co-investigator.  

The NPOD is particularly interested in projects that satisfy all of the following: 1) collaborative, interdisciplinary research; 2) research that directly addresses the most critical areas in nutrient signaling and the prevention of obesity-related disease, e.g., metabolic switches, epigenetics, computational biology, metabolomics, microbiomics, extracellular vesicles, and/or non-coding RNAs; and 3) projects with a high likelihood of future external funding.

IMPORTANT: Seed grant projects require administrative approval by NIH. All required approvals (e.g., IRB, IACUC, IBC) must be obtained by October 10, 2017. NPOD will provide assistance with compiling an NIH face page form if requested by the applicant.

REQUIREMENTS:  All PIs selected to receive this Seed Grant funding will become NPOD members and will be expected to attend monthly meetings and participate in NPOD offered events.  PIs will be required to present their research progress at a monthly work-in-progress seminar of the NPOD, and also to the external advisory committee at the NPOD annual review meeting in the fall of 2018. A final report documenting progress, publications, and grant proposals submitted and awarded, will be due to the Center office in the spring of 2017.  Funded research teams are expected to submit a collaboration-based R01 grant proposal to NIH or a similar type of grant proposal to another federal agency before the end of the funding period. Award recipients must acknowledge NPOD funding in papers and presentations. Funded researchers at the pre-tenure level are strongly encouraged to compete for project leader slots in NPOD when they become available.

BUDGET SPECIFICATIONS: The maximum budget will be $32,000 direct costs; F&A costs are not allowed. This is one-time funding with no chance for renewal or extension.  It is required that funds for the selected projects will be spent prior to May 31, 2018.  Applicants may request less funding than the maximum limit as deemed appropriate for the proposed project. Equipment requests are not allowable. All budgeted items must be justified and relate directly to the research project. Salaries for faculty are not allowed.  However, salaries for other personnel are permitted.

 APPLICATION: The application form for seed grant awards is available below.  Application forms can also be obtained from Sarah Gibson, Administrative Coordinator, NPOD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 316D Leverton Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0806, phone 402.472.3862, e-mail: 

 The application is in the general format of an NIH R01 proposal with, however, different page limitations. The face page, should be followed by a budget, budget justification of overall budget, biographical sketch (new NIH style, 5 page limit including other support), research plans (specific aims, background, preliminary results and research plan not to exceed 2 single-spaced pages including figures and tables), and bibliography. The bibliography does not count toward the page limit. The margins must be 1 inch on all sides and using Arial font with a font size of 11 is required. Applicants must identify the area for which they are applying.

DEADLINE: Applications in pdf format must be received via email at and/or no later than 5 PM on September 30, 2017.

SELECTION: The scientific merit of each proposal will be assessed by a panel of experts appointed by the NPOD director; awards will be approved by the NPOD’s external advisory board and NIH.  In the case of potential conflicts of interest, reviewers will be excused accordingly. The review criteria will follow NIH guidelines with the overall scientific merit of the proposal based on overall impact, significance, innovation, approach, and investigators. Additional review criteria will include relevance to NPOD strengths and foci, strength of collaboration, relevance to funding priorities of major external funding agencies, and feasibility. The review will use the NIH scoring scale of 10-90. Decisions by the NPOD are final. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible. The intended start date for funding is December 1, 2017 and the end date is May 31, 2018.

 A P P L I C A T I O N