Colorado Cystic Fibrosis Research & Development Program

Pilot Grants Program

Overview of plans for the Pilot Grants Program

The Pilot Grant Program will be integral to successfully meeting the aims of the Colorado RDP, and is a principal mechanism to promote CF-research. In addition, the Pilot Grant Program will serve to enhance collaboration between the Research Cores. Eligible investigators (discussed below) will be encouraged to submit proposals, which utilize a multidisciplinary approach to explore novel aspects of NTM detection or treatment in the context of CF lung disease. Success of the Pilot Grants Program will be determined primarily by the proportion of Pilot Grants that subsequently receive extramural funding, as well as the number of publications supported in part by these funds, and progression to more definitive clinical trials. Finally, success will be measured by the ability of these funds to recruit new investigators to CF-related research, or retain existing investigators within the field.


Eligibility for Pilot Grants Program

Investigators eligible for pilot funding will be:

  1. new investigators without current or past NIH research support; or

  2. established investigators with no previous work in CF who wish to apply their expertise to a problem in this area; and/or

  3. established investigators who propose testing innovative ideas that represent a departure from ongoing research interests. All eligible investigators must have faculty appointments and be independent investigators. Postdoctoral fellows or their equivalent will not be eligible.

The proposed pilot study will present a testable hypothesis and clearly delineate the question being asked, procedures to be followed, and data analysis. Projects will be focused, and funding for these studies will be limited to two years or less with a recommended budget for the first year of $40,000 (direct costs). Any individual investigator will be eligible only once for this support. Clinical pilot studies will be encouraged, and will attempt to collaborate with the UCD Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) to avoid duplication of effort and enhance utilization of services and resources. Studies may be terminated by the RDP administration before their approved time limit if:

  1. the investigator receives outside funding for the project;

  2. the project was found not to be feasible; or

  3. the investigator leaves the RDP-affiliated institution.


Solicitation, initial review, and management of the pilot and feasibility program

Proposals included with this initial RDP application were solicited from Investigators within the Colorado CF research community. Announcements for future awards will appear on the RDP website, distributed via e-mail to the Colorado CF research base, and be disseminated by the NJH Medicine Office of Research to all affiliated institutions, including the School of Medicine, CHCO, CSU and NJH.

Review of the pilot grant proposals will be conducted by the Internal Advisory Committee together with the RDP Executive Committee, as well as ad hoc reviewers. These sessions will be chaired by the Pilot Grant Program Director (Dr. Day). Grant proposals will be reviewed using current NIH recommended review criteria for scientific merit and eligibility using a 9-point scale priority score. Criteria for review will include:

  1. Overall impact of the research on the CF field;

  2. significance of the proposed studies;

  3. investigative team;

  4. innovation of the proposed studies;

  5. approach; and

  6. research environment.

All applicants will be given a summary statement and score. The top ranked proposals will be funded based on availability of RDP resources.


Initial pilot grant awarded (2015)

We had 3 excellent applications in the first round of pilot grant funding. The review panel awarded $40,000 to the pilot grant entitled, “Identification of inducible antibiotic responses in NTM.”  Drs. Ken Malcolm (PI) and Rebecca Davidson (Co-PI) will test whether regulated gene expression in NTM contributes to intrinsic antibiotic resistance. They hope to identify antibiotic-sensitive and resistant isolates of M. abscessuss, compare global transcriptional profiles, and evaluate genes that are regulated by antibiotic exposure. These studies will expand our knowledge of antibiotic responses in NTM and provide the groundwork for future studies to identify high priority targets of novel therapies and virulence factors. This grant will make use of the NTM Culture, Biorepository, and Coordinating Core, the Molecular Core, and the Clinical Research Core in our Center.