2020 Pilot Project Application

Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures

Pilot Research Project Grant Application – June 2020 Instructions

Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center announces its ninth call for Pilot Grant proposals. The Center’s mission is to increase the Environmental Health (EH) research portfolio at Mount Sinai and to bring non-EH researchers into the field through new transdisciplinary collaborations. TCEEE plans to award a total of $145,000 in pilot funding for this round. Applications can be made to either the $70,000 or $25,000 grant program. Awards will be granted based on the availability of funds.

Research projects should deal with an issue relevant to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) (e.g. metals, pesticides, plastics, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, air pollution, pesticides etc.). Studies on gene-environment interactions, or interactions between social environment and chemicals/air pollution are encouraged. See NIEHS’ 2018-2023 strategic plan for a description of their current research priorities. Both basic research and population science applications are encouraged. Grantees will be expected to briefly report on research progress annually, including subsequent extramural funding. These grants are intended to fund pilot projects that will lead to further investigation, such as an NIEHS grant to fund further years of research.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION FOR COVID-19 RESEARCH PROJECTS:  In response to the critical need for research projects to address the COVID-19 pandemic, we will give special consideration for pilot grants with a focus on COVID-19 infection risk or severity. Funding will be awarded to projects that seek to better understand the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and clinical management of COVID-19. Health disparities are evident in COVID-19 infections and are likely driven by differences in environment that track along socioeconomic gradients. Studies that address environmental factors that address COVID-19 health disparities are encouraged and will be given priority. NIEHS priorities for COVID-19 research can be found here https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-ES-20-015.html and will be given added weight in our pilot review.

Among the $25,000 grants, applications from Assistant Professors, Associate Professors, and Community-engaged research proposals will receive additional funding priority after reviewer scoring. No special priorities are set aside for the $70,000 grant.

Although postdoctoral fellows are not Center members and cannot apply for a pilot grant as the contact PI, we allow fellows to submit pilot project applications as a multiple PI (with a Center Member faculty as the contact PI) with the condition that the pilot must support the fellow’s K award as a future goal. Please see eligibility section below for a full list of center members.

Applications focused solely on toxicology/environmental health topics that are the purview of other NIH Institutes are not responsive. These include drugs of abuse (covered by NIDA), and ethanol (covered by NIAAA). However, an application dealing with any of these issues and an environmental toxicant is responsive. (For example, a proposal on the role of neurotoxic metal exposure in drug-seeking behaviors; or trichloroethylene as an inhibitor of alcohol dehydrogenase). Likewise, studies on gene-chemical interactions, mixed social environment-chemical interactions or nutrition-chemical interactions are encouraged.


Eligibility

  • PIs must be Mount Sinai Core Center members at the time of submission. For the full list of center members click here.
  • To ensure that Pilot Project funds are distributed equitably, an Associate or full Professor PI, once funded, is not eligible to submit a new application for 1 year after receiving funding. Assistant Professors are exempt from this rule.
  • Non-center members, including researchers and community-based organizations outside Mount Sinai, can apply as a co-investigators. If you are a community member and have an idea for a research proposal, please contact Luz Guel for more information about partnering with a P30 center member to apply: Luz.guel@mssm.edu.
  • Outside collaborators who are members of other NIEHS P30 centers are encouraged and such collaborations are considered in the review process. A list of centers can be found here.

P30 Core Usage: Mount Sinai’s P30 Core Center has a number of core resources available to center members. Some of the resources available are the laboratory support for environmental exposures, epigenetic biomarkers, phenotyping, and statistical analysis. Non-usage of P30 cores will be factored into funding decisions. For more information about our Core Facilities click hereUsage of P30 core facilities is given added weight in the final funding decision. Usage of services outside of Mount Sinai, when such services are available intramurally in the Mount Sinai System, will not be allowed without prior approval.


Criteria Used to Assess Awards

Proposals will be sent to qualified experts within and outside Mount Sinai. Reviewers will follow NIH guidelines (i.e. Overall Impact, Significance, Investigators, Innovation, Approach, and Environment). Scoring is scaled 1-9 with 1 being the highest impact score. An overall impact score is the primary criteria for funding decisions.

Additional Review Criteria include the potential for future funding in a larger extramural grant (scored on a 1-9 scale) and transdisciplinary research approach (reviewer comments are solicited but not scored).


 Application Instructions

To apply, the following material must be received in a single PDF file by the application deadline Monday, June 8th, 2020 (11:59 pm).

Please submit the application, using the link here.

  • Cover Page: (Please use this form)
    • List Title, PI and all co-investigators and affiliations. Place “*” beside names of Center Members
  • Proposal: (Please use this form) Single-spacing, three pages maximum. The Abstract Page (300 word max), budget page, budget justification, biosketches, and references are NOT included in the 3 page limit. Headings include:
    • Specific Aims and Hypothesis/Aim
    • Significance/Background
    • Innovation
    • Approach
    • How this grant will be leveraged into future funding
  • Budget Form: (Please use the NIH PHS Form 398)
  • Budget Justification Form: click here
    • No Faculty Salary support is allowed Salary for research assistants or trainees is allowed.
  • Biographical Sketch: (Please use this form). Include one for each PI and co-Investigator. A mix of Center members and non-members is accepted. Following NIH format, including past training and academic appointments followed by a short paragraph on research expertise and role in the project. List up to 15 relevant publications. Biosketches may not exceed 5 pages for any investigator. Click here to view an example.
  • References: Literature cited, no limit.

Format Instructions:

Page: 8.5 X 11 inches, Margins 0.5”, Font Size: Arial 11 or Times New Roman 12

Applications not meeting guidelines (in particular length, budget, or not on correct form) will be administratively triaged. 

Award Period: July 15, 2020 – July 14, 2021

Grantees will be notified on July 13, 2020.


Junior Faculty Assistance Program (Optional)

To facilitate career development in EH, we are available to assist Junior Faculty applying for this RFA in two ways:

  • Assistance finding potential collaborators: For those who request help in finding environmental health faculty collaborators within or outside  Mount Sinai, please contact Dr. Robert Wright: robert.wright@mssm.edu
  • Pilot grant pre-review process: Available for Postdoctoral Fellows, Instructors, and Assistant Professors. As an additional incentive to apply, Junior Faculty center members are eligible to submit their application 2 weeks prior to the standard due date. This pre-review application has a 3-page limit, and budget and bio-sketches are not required.

Following the pre-review process, the PI will receive a single page document with potential criticisms the application may generate, and it is scored using the same criteria as the actual review.

Pre-review Program only:

Pre-review due date: Friday, May 22, 2020 (11:59 pm)

The review will be returned: Friday, June 5, 2020

Final Submission Due Date: Monday, June 15, 2020 (11:59 pm)


For questions regarding the RFA’s requirements and scientist collaborators:

E-mail Robert Wright: robert.wright@mssm.edu

For Administrative Questions:

Contact Rozalyn Paupaw: rozalyn.paupaw@mssm.edu

Phone: (212) 824-7370

Interested in a Center Membership?

If interested in joining the Mount Sinai P30 Core Center, please use this link to complete your application.