Due Date:  August 31, 2017


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 pilot grant competition. The primary objective of this pilot grant program is to stimulate research in the area of nutrient signaling and to enhance competitiveness in obtaining extramural support.


In this call for proposals, priority will be given to proposals in two areas; we anticipate funding one project: 

  • 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 OR Quantitative research related to metabolic disease. Three 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, 2) proposals with a focus on biomarkers of disease, and 3) proposals that utilize quantitative research to study metabolic 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, 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 and quantitative research, metabolomics, microbiomics, extracellular vesicles, and/or non-coding RNAs; and 3) projects with a high likelihood of future external funding.


REQUIREMENTS:  Project leaders will become NPOD members and will be expected to attend monthly meetings and participate in NPOD offered events.  Project leaders 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 addition, principal investigators will be required to submit an annual report to the Center each year their project is active. A final report documenting progress, publications, and grant proposals submitted and awarded, will be due to the Center office 30 days prior to the end of the funding period. Funded research teams are expected to submit an R01 grant proposal to NIH or a similar type of grant proposal to another federal agency before the end of the funding period. 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 per project 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.


APPLICATION: The application form for pilot awards is currently available on the NPOD website at under the Funding Opportunities tab, and at the bottom of this page.   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 needs to include name of applicant, project title, total budget request, and the research area for which funding is sought). The face page needs to be followed by a budget for years 1 and 2 (if applicable), budget justification of overall budget, biographical sketch (NIH style, 5 page limit including other support), research plans (specific aims, background, preliminary results and research plan not to exceed 5 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 use of Arial font with a font size of 11 is required. Applicants must identify the area for which they are applying on the face page.


DEADLINE: Applications in pdf format must be received via email at      and/or no later than 5 PM on August 31, 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.  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 start date for funding is anticipated to be January 1, 2018.