NPOD Pilot Project RFA - Proposals Due September 30, 2014

The Nebraska Center on the Prevention of Obesity Diseases through Dietary Molecules (NPOD), funded by a Center for Biomedical Research Excellence grant from 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 first call for proposals, priority will be given to proposals in two areas; we anticipate funding one project from each area: 
  • 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. Proposals with a focus on biomarkers or treatment of disease will also be considered for funding through this mechanism.
  • Area 2: Interactions between diet and microRNAs. Proposals targeting this area are expected to focus the effects of food-borne microRNAs on mammalian gene expression, or the effects of dietary compounds on the expression of genes coding for microRNAs. Proposals with a focus on phenotyping and the development of innovative research tools are encouraged.
ELIGIBILITY:  Applications from NPOD members 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: (i) collaborative, interdisciplinary research; (ii) research that directly addresses the most critical areas in nutrient signaling and the prevention of obesity-related disease (e.g., metabolic switches, nutrient sensors, computational biology, metabolomics, microbiomics, and non-coding RNAs); and (iii) projects with a high likelihood of future external funding.
REQUIREMENTS:  Project leaders will be expected to present their research progress at monthly work-in-progress seminars of the NPOD and once 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 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. 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 $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 for the second year will be contingent upon satisfactory progress in the first year 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:  Click here to download the application in pdf format.

 Application forms can also be obtained from Jolene Walker, 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 first year budget, budget justification of overall budget, biographical sketch (NIH style, 4 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.
DEADLINE: Applications in pdf format must be received via email at and/or no later than 5 PM on September 30, 2014.  
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 December 1, 2014.