Strategic Round of Pilot Projects Applications

Open to GC-CPEH members, Baylor College of Medicine, UTMB-Galveston, and UTHealth faculty and inter-Center partnerships with members of other NIEHS P30 Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers
Funding Period: September 1, 2021, through August 31, 2022
RFA Announcement: June 14,2021
Electronic Letter of Intent Package Due: 5 pm CDT, June 28, 2021
Full Application Invitation: July 8,2021
Full Application Power Point Due: 5pm, CDT, July 21, 2021
IAC Review: July 30, 2021 

The GC-CPEH is soliciting applications for a Strategic Round of Pilot Projects in the area of Veterans’ Environmental Health.  This Strategic Round will support 3-5 Pilot Projects designed to promote veterans’ health at the intersection of genetics/epigenetics, environmental exposures, and data science to understand individual and place-based determinants of disease risk and intergenerational health outcomes. 

The RFA for these Strategic Pilot Projects also encourages Inter-Center partnerships to establish collaborations with GC-CPEH members and/or utilize GC-CPEH Facility Cores (for reference see GC-CPEH Facility Cores resources) to support interdisciplinary research relevant to Veterans’ Environmental Health.

Award Types: The Pilot Projects are for one year with no opportunity for extension (including no-cost extensions) and a budget not to exceed $50,000, with the possibility of support for up to $75,000 for appropriately justified studies involving human subjects. 

GC-CPEH Military Environmental Exposure Research and Veterans’ Health Initiative: Examples of exposures of interest during military service (Deployment, Military Duty Station, Garrison) are shown in the Table below.  Research related to the health effects of these or other service-related exposures, including engagement of the veterans’ community, is of relevance to this RFA.

Conflict SpecificExposure Specific
Deployment:
Vietnam; Gulf War; Operation Iraqi
Freedom and Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring
Freedom in Afghanistan
Airborne:
Herbicides; Agent Orange; Burn Pits; Combustion Products and other Airborne Hazards
Occupational hazards (military
occupational specialties)
:
Firefighters; Pilots; Bomb Squad
Chemical:
Vaccines; Prophylactic Drugs; Radiation; Chemical warfare agents; Paints; Solvents; Welding fumes; Pesticides; Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); Trichloroethylene (TCE); Endocrine Disruptors; Solvents; Paints; Fuel; PFAS; Metals
Garrison:
Water; Housing; Occupational tasks
Biological:
Infectious diseases; Biological weapons
Physical and Psychological Stressors:
Heat; Stress; Noise; Deployment itself

Who Can Apply? Investigators from GC-CPEH supporting institutions (BCM, UTHealth, and UTMB) who are eligible for Principal Investigator status on federal research grants are eligible for this RFA.  GC-CPEH Full Member privileges will be extended to non-Center members who receive Pilot Project funding, including subsidies during the funding period through the GC-CPEH Facility Core Utilization/Subsidy Program

Members of other NIEHS P30 Core Centers in the following categories are also eligible:

  • Early-stage/established Investigators working in the area of Veterans’ Environmental Health as part of a new or established inter-Center collaboration with GC-CPEH member(s)
  • Established Investigators in Veterans’ Health exploring new research directions in a field relevant to Environmental Health Sciences as part of a new or established inter-Center collaboration with GC-CPEH member(s)
  • Early-stage/Established Investigators in Environmental Health Sciences exploring new research directions in a field relevant to Veterans’ Health as part of a new or established inter-Center collaboration with GC-CPEH member(s)
  • Early-stage/established Investigators at other NIEHS P30 Core Centers working in Veterans’ Environmental Health seeking to use GC-CPEH Facility Cores resources

For BCM, UTHealth, UTMB/GC-CPEH Investigators:

  • Early-stage/Established Investigators in Veterans’ Health exploring new research directions in a field relevant to Environmental Health Sciences
  • Early-stage/Established Investigators in Environmental Health Sciences exploring new research directions in a field relevant to Veterans’ Health

Application and Review Procedure:

The LOI Package must include:

  • Cover Letter, including identification of collaborators (if relevant)
  • A one-page summary of the research objectives - Title of Project, Background, Significance, and Specific Aims
  • NIH Biosketch for PI and (inter-Center collaborator(s) if relevant): https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm
    • Letter of Intent (LOI) Package should be sent electronically to Tracie Albritton at taalbrit@utmb.edu no later than 5 pm CDT, June 28, 2021.
    • The package will be reviewed by the GC-CPEH Pilot Project Program Committee for relevance to the goals of this RFA , with up to 10 LOIs invited to submit full applications
    • Invited applicants should submit the full applications, prepared in PowerPoint electronically to Tracie Albritton at taalbrit@utmb.edu no later than 5 pm CDT, July 21, 2021
    • The GC-CEPH/ Collaborating P30 Internal Advisory Committee will evaluate the invited Pilot Project applications using an oral review process described below:
      • The applicant will be scheduled for a 15-minute oral presentation describing the research proposal, followed by 10 minutes for questions from the review panel  
      • The applicant is expected to describe the significance, innovation, approach (including the specific aims for the pilot project as well as future research objectives), present an itemized budget, and identify anticipated use of GC-CPEH supported Facility Cores if applicable
      • The presentation will be conducted remotely, and every effort will be made to accommodate the applicant’s schedule in choosing a time for the presentation
    • All applicants will receive communications within two weeks following the presentation indicating funding decisions and JIT requests as required.

    Reporting: A written summary of the study’s accomplishments is due within four weeks of the end of the project period. Grantees will also be followed to monitor progress (e.g., grants submitted, awards received, and publications) resulting from the award. In addition, awardees may be invited to present the outcome of their research at GC-CPEH events, including Annual Retreat and Symposia.

    Contact Information

    For feedback on potential project ideas or on how to make contact with inter-Center partners:

    Cheryl Walker, PhD, Director, GC-CPEH, BCM
    E-mail: Cheryl.Walker@bcm.edu
     
    Cornelis (Kees) Elferink, PhD, Co-Director, GC-CPEH, UTMB
    E-mail: coelferi@utmb.edu
     
    Elaine Symanski, PhD, Deputy Director, GC-CPEH, BCM
    E-mail: Elaine.Symanski@bcm.edu

    For assistance in GC-CPEH Facility Core Utilization/Subsidy Program:

    Heyreoun An Han, PhD, Lead, Research Operations, GC-CPEH, BCM
    E-mail: Heyreoun.anhan@bcm.edu

    For questions on the application process and submission of proposal:

    Tracie Albritton, Pilot Project Program Manager, GC-CPEH, UTMB
    E-mail: taalbrit@utmb.edu