Synopsis and objective

Amount:  up to $50,000 direct costs per year for a maximum of two years.

Application Due Date:  October 28th, 2019

The Nebraska Center for the Prevention of Obesity Diseases (NPOD) invites applications for its pilot grant competition.  The primary objective of this pilot grant program is to stimulate research in the area of obesity research and/or signaling by nutrients or bioactive food compounds, and to enhance competitiveness in obtaining external support.



Applications from NPOD members and non-members will receive equal consideration. Previous and current NPOD project leaders are not eligible for pilot grant support, but applications from previous seed and pilot grant recipients will be considered. Collaborations across UNL and UNMC are encouraged. Only one proposal per principal investigator (PI) is permitted per competition. However, there is no limit on the number of proposals an applicant may participate in as a co-investigator. NPOD is particularly interested in projects that make use of NPOD’s research core facility, BORC (see https://cehs.unl.edu/borc/). It is expected that the majority of pilot grant awards will be for wet lab research, but applications with a focus on bioinformatics or translational activities are also encouraged. All required approvals (e.g., IRB, IACUC, IBC) must be obtained before funds are released. Preference will be given to tenured applicants and applicants in tenure-leading appointments.



The application form for pilot grant awards is available on the NPOD website at https://npod.unl.edu under the Funding Opportunities tab.

The application is in the general format of an NIH R01 proposal, with different page limitations. The face page needs to include name of applicant, project title, budget request. The face page needs to be followed by a budget and justification, biographical sketch (NIH style, 5-page limit including other support), research plans (specific aims, background, preliminary results and research plan not to exceed 4 single-spaced pages including figures and tables), a statement regarding authentication of key reagents, proof of biostatistical consultation*, and a description of plans for future external funding applications, and bibliography. The bibliography does not count toward the page limit. The margins must be 0.5 inches on all sides and use of Arial font with a font size of 11 is required.

*NPOD requires all applicants for pilot grants to provide documentation of consultation with a biostatistician of their choice regarding experimental design, and recommend using NPOD’s bioinformatics and biostatistics coordinators, Drs. Kathy Hanford or Steve Kachman (see https://cehs.unl.edu/npod/biomedical-and-obesity-research-core/). Documentation is to be provided by the biostatistician signing the application’s face page.

The maximum budget will be up to $50,000 direct costs per year for a maximum of two years; F&A costs are not allowed. Applicants may request less funding than the maximum limit as deemed appropriate for the proposed project. Funding will be contingent upon satisfactory progress in the first year, a continuation request by the investigator, and availability of funds. Equipment requests should not constitute the major portion of the budget. 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.

Applications in pdf format must be received via email at mgilbertsen2@unl.edu or jzempleni2@unl.edu  no later than 5 PM on October 28th, 2019.



Pilot grant PIs will become NPOD members and will be expected to attend monthly meetings and participate in NPOD events.  PIs will present their research progress at a monthly work-in-progress seminar of the NPOD, and also to the external advisory committee during NPOD’s annual review meeting. In addition, PIs will be required to submit a report to NPOD in time for submission of the center’s annual report to NIH (typically in February). A final report documenting progress, publications, and grant proposals submitted and awarded, will be due to NPOD within 30 days after the end date of the pilot grant. PIs will acknowledge NPOD support (NIH P20GM104320) in publications and presentations resulting from their pilot grant. PIs are expected to submit an R01 grant proposal to NIH or a similar type of grant proposal to another federal agency by the end of the funding period.



The scientific merit of each proposal will be assessed by a panel of experts with no conflict of interest, appointed by the NPOD director. Awards will require approval by the NPOD’s external advisory board.  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, investigators and environment. In addition, relevance of the proposal to the mission of NPOD will be assessed. The review will use the NIH scoring scale of 10-90. Decisions by NPOD are final. Successful applicants will be notified as soon as possible.



Pilots grants are intended to start no later than January 1st, 2020, with year one of the grant terminating 12 months after the start date.