Despite tremendous advances in medicine and healthcare, life expectancy in the U.S. has declined in recent years. This troubling trend is driven by inherent complexities in preventing and treating chronic diseases and also by significant upticks in opioid related-deaths and suicides. Recognizing the need for innovative solutions to improve health and wellbeing, federal funding agencies are increasingly emphasizing the need for convergence research — that is work that is deeply interdisciplinary in nature and that addresses the most pressing problems facing society and the planet.
To prepare interdisciplinary teams at UConn to be competitive for convergence funding from NIH, NSF, and other funding agencies, InCHIP offers a Convergence Awards Program (CAP) that provides support for planning, outreach to strategic partners, and proof-of-concept research activities that will ultimately make teams of UConn researchers more competitive for external funding. InCHIP is especially interested in investing in teams that include but go beyond the social and behavioral sciences and STEM fields to engage partners from fine arts, the humanities, business, and/or law. Priority will be given to teams that have are new or recently formed, that are collaborating across department, college, and campus boundaries, and that have identified both an important research topic and a likely external funding mechanism. For FY21, CAP grants of up to $25,000 will be considered and we anticipate making up to two awards. CAP funding can be used to secure course buyouts for participating faculty (up to two per team with departmental approval, limited to the adjunct replacement cost) and for any other activities essential to the development of the research team, including but not limited to pilot work, graduate student or research assistant support, publication costs, or other approved activities that will enhance the competitiveness of an external grant application.
Please note that the expectation is that a majority of the members of the funded team would be based at the University of Connecticut (any campus) and that external collaborators should have a scientific basis for their inclusion. If you have questions regarding this, please feel free to reach out to Grace Morris.
The team(s) awarded with this fellowship will be required to complete the following activities during the award period:
- Engage in good faith with the best practices in collaborative research established via the Science of Team Science literature (e.g. this field guide in team science.pdf from the National Cancer Institute) with the support of InCHIP’s Research Training and Development Team.
- Hold bi-weekly meetings to affirm collaboration, goals, and sustain progress and communication between team members.
- Work with InCHIP’s Research Training and Development Team to submit an external grant application within 18-24 months of funding.
- Full proposals will be considered starting on September 14, 2020. Applications will be received on a rolling basis until all available funds are awarded.
- Funding decisions will be made within one month of applying.
- Funding will begin immediately after notice of award, pending the completion of a compliance review.
How to Apply:
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Application instructions are below. Items 1-3 should be saved in a single PDF document that is no more than three single-spaced pages. Items 4-5 do not count toward the three-page limit. Note that a letter of support from the department head(s) (Item 5) is only required for faculty applicants seeking a course release.
- Cover page (template below) that includes:
- Title of the proposed project
- Names and departments of each team member
- Research topic:
- Describe the proposed research topic and its relevance to the mission of InCHIP
- Provide information about likely external funding sources (e.g., RFAs or program announcements from NIH, NSF, foundations, etc.)
- Research plan:
- Describe the specific activities that will be undertaken during the award period, including a timeline and a description of how the proposed activities will advance the team’s ability to secure external grant funding.
- Describe the role of each team member and their qualifications to complete the proposed work. Be explicit in demonstrating the convergent nature of the research team.
- Describe the team’s plan for communication (e.g., mode and frequency).
- Checklists from research team members (s) other than the PI(s) (template below)
- Biosketches of all research team members (NIH or NSF format)
- Letters of support from Department Head(s) are only required if course buyouts are requested
- UConn Primary Appointment: PIs must be full-time faculty whose primary appointment is at UConn/UConn Health. Investigators with primary appointments at CCMC, Jackson Labs, TIP companies, or other institutions are not eligible to lead projects, but they may be named as Co-PIs, collaborators, or consultants on an eligible PI’s project. Proposals that include external Co-PIs should be careful to describe how responsibility for the project will be divided between institutions, and ideally they will include cost-sharing commitments from external partners.
- Effort and Salary: Although no minimum effort level is required for CAP projects, a UConn/UConn Health PI/Co-PI must have departmental research time available during the award period or address in the application how they will handle the time commitment required by the project. PIs/Co-PIs must each make significant and distinct intellectual contributions to the design and direction of the project. Generally speaking, CAP awards are only available to UConn/UConn Health tenure-track and clinical faculty. In residence faculty and research faculty are not eligible to apply as PI but can be named as Co-PIs, collaborators, or consultants on an eligible PI’s project.
- Application Limits: Eligible faculty may only submit one proposal per year as PI or Co-PI. Investigators may serve as collaborator on multiple projects.
- Significance/Importance – why does this project matter?
- Innovation/Novelty – how is this project new?
- Feasibility of Approach – how will the work be done?
- Environment/Resources – are available resources/facilities sufficient?
- PI/Team Qualifications – who will be working on this project, and how are they uniquely suited to accomplish this work?
- Degree of Interdisciplinarity – how diverse and complementary is the expertise of the team?
- Outcome – what value/impact will this work promise to return?
- Assessment – how will success be determined?
- Budget – are funds to be used efficiently and effectively to achieve project goals?