New Funding: Viral Infections & Related Phenomena

Date: May 7, 2020

To: Notre Dame faculty researchers

From: Paul Bohn, Director, Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics (AD&T)

Subject: AD&T Research Opportunity – Viral Infections & Related Phenomena

With the advent of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, diagnostics (testing) and therapeutics (anti-virals, vaccines) are dominating the news. The critical role of diagnostics and therapeutics places a special responsibility on our community of researchers, and this has created a unique environment, motivating us to announce a fundamental restructuring of AD&T activities and investments to address the challenge and opportunity of SARS-CoV-2. This restructuring has received the enthusiastic approval of the AD&T Steering Committee as well as the Vice President for Research.

As a first step, I am writing to announce a new competitive funding opportunity intended to support research on diagnostics and/or therapeutics related to SAR-CoV-2, COVID-19, and related topics.

Target areas: Proposals are requested that address the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and/or prognosis of:

(1) viral infections, including those caused by SAR-CoV-2;

(2) adventitious pathogens/infections or complications from COVID-19, including, but not limited to, pneumonia, hypoxemic respiratory failure/ARDS, sepsis and septic shock, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia, acute kidney injury, strokes, and complications from prolonged hospitalization including secondary bacterial infections, thromboembolism, gastrointestinal bleeding, and critical illness polyneuropathy/myopathy; and

(3) technology development that addresses either of the first two topic areas, including, but not limited to, computational modeling to predict disease spread, rapid individual diagnostics, community diagnostics, predictive modeling of vaccine and drug candidates, rapid methods to identify, isolate, and target biomarkers, better high-throughput screening methods to rapidly take drug candidates from the lab to clinical testing, better PPE designs, etc.

“Harvest-Funding” Mechanism:[1] Funds will be awarded as matching grants to projects that are currently supported by extramural funding and received initial support no earlier than July 1, 2017. These harvest awards are intended to help faculty researchers build on existing data and/or technologies and rapidly move promising results to translation and/or implementation. These matching grants can be directed to (a) extend the scale or scope of currently funded diagnostics/therapeutics research, or (b) implement new technologies or approaches, including, for example, assay validation, prototype development, engineering designs, materials testing, computational modeling, etc. The funds themselves can be used to support new work by graduate students/postdocs, purchase of supplies or materials, supercomputer access time, infrastructure needs, or other appropriate costs of executing the specified research.[2]

How to Apply: Two page (maximum) research proposal to include the following elements: (a) title, (b) PI(s), (c) project summary of the externally funded project,[3] including sponsor, dates, and total direct costs, and (d) statement of proposed new work, including relevance to programmatic areas, specific experimental or computational research objectives, and potential impact of the proposed extension on public health broadly understood. In addition (not counting toward the 2-page maximum), we require a budget and brief justification.

Proposals will be accepted May 15, 2020 – June 30, 2020 and will be reviewed and rated according to: (a) scientific excellence; (b) relevance to the program objectives; (c) feasibility of the research plan; (d) potential for technology translation, and (e) capacity to leverage existing resources. After the peer-review ratings are received, the proposals will be ranked and a proposed set of funded projects presented to the AD&T Steering Committee for approval. Proposals may be single- or multi-PI (but the lead PI must be a Notre Dame faculty member) and should address as many of the evaluation criteria as possible. AD&T has allocated $250,000 for this program and anticipates making 6-10 awards for research in AY20-21.

All proposals should be submitted by e-mail to adt@nd.edu as a single PDF file.

Questions: Please submit any questions to adt@nd.edu. This request for proposals is also posted at advanceddiagnostics.nd.edu/opportunities/viral-infections-related-phenomena.

 

[1]This opportunity replaces the AD&T Discovery Fund Seed Grant program, which ordinarily would accept applications in this time window. A separate call for substance abuse research seed grants, which are donor-supported and limited to this topic, will be released soon.

[2]All awards and research activities supported by this program are subject to the guidance on research continuity, including laboratory access and expenditures of internal funds, issued by Notre Dame Research. If research grants are approved prior to laboratory access being available, the grant period will be coordinated with the commencement of laboratory operations.

[3]In case there is any ambiguity about external funding data, the NDR Cayuse system will be considered the official record.