2022 Rutgers Addiction Research Center (RARC-BHI) Pilot Grant Program 

We are pleased to announce the 2022 pilot grant program for the Rutgers Addiction Research Center in the Brain Health Institute. There are two main objectives of these pilot awards program:  

(1) to foster new collaborative, interdisciplinary addiction research among full-time resident faculty, and  (2) to support pilot data that will lead to sustained funding from an external agency (e.g., NIH).  

Pilot grants will be awarded for a one-year period and are limited to no more than $40,000 direct costs; no indirect costs or overhead are allowed. The awards can span any of the domains represented in the RARC: Basic Science; Epidemiology, Etiology, and Prevention; Treatment & Recovery; and Public Policy. Because a primary objective of the pilot program is to grow new interdisciplinary collaborations, preference will be given to applications that include PIs from different domains within the RARC, or different departmental or school affiliations. One of the PIs must have a primary affiliation in RBHS since this pilot grant program is funded by the RBHS Chancellor. Faculty with part-time or visiting appointments are not eligible. Early career investigators, and investigators who have not previously had NIH funding are especially encouraged to apply. We anticipate making up to four awards in 2022-2023. wards to RU-NB faculty PIs who make use of the Center for Advanced Human Brain Imaging Research at the BHI may be eligible for additional pilot funding from RU-NB and CAHBIR.    

Format:  All applications should be formatted as an R21 NIH style application (1 page Specific Aims and 6 pages for the Research Plan). The rationale for this format is that it will allow investigators to have a proposal that can be directly submitted to NIH even in the event that the pilot is not funded through the initial round of pilot funds. All submissions will receive NIH-reviewer style feedback from an external scientist (additional details below); accordingly, we hope this process will be beneficial for investigators regardless of funding. Include Literature Cited, and, if applicable, sections on Vertebrate Animals, Protections for Human Subjects and Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children. Also include Budget, Budget Justification, NIH Biosketches for all Co-PIs, Facilities and Resources and Equipment information.  Within the Research Plan under the Innovation section please describe explicitly how the pilot funding will promote new collaborations and/or new projects. The application should be single-spaced, and use font/size Arial 11 with 0.5 inch page margins. All applications must include the Cover page (Title, co-PI’s, institutions, Project Abstract, etc.) and the Submission Check List accompanying this announcement.  The application should be combined into one PDF document with the Cover page in the front.  Only grant award recipients will need to submit the RAPSS Endorsement form and proof of University’s FCOI compliance.  IRB and IACUC approvals will also need to be submitted post-award using the Just-In-Time (JIT) approach. These forms and approvals are not required at the time of initial grant application submission; however, awardees will have to submit these items before the funds from the grant award are disbursed.  We anticipate that the award announcement will be made in March 2023.  It is recommended that the applicants prepare and submit the IACUC/IRB applications associated with the pilot grant project well in advance, to the appropriate institutional committees, in order to get these approvals in a timely-fashion.  

Please note-the pilot award funds cannot be used for PI and co-PI salaries; however, pilot funds can be budgeted for post-doc, student and research technician stipends and salaries.  Expenses are allowed as on NIH awards (e.g. supplies, animals etc.).  Purchase of equipment costing more than $5000 needs to be well-justified in the budget.  The entire application, including the Cover page & Check List, should be combined into one PDF document with the Cover page in the front.  Submit the SINGLE PDF file to rarc@bhi.rutgers.edu by 5 PM, Monday, December 12, 2022. 

All grants will undergo a dual stage review process, organized by the Rutgers Addiction Research Center-Brain Health Institute. They will have an initial external review to judge scientific quality and be assigned a priority score by external reviewers (similar to NIH study section review). They then will be reviewed by an internal committee (similar to an NIH Council Review) to allocate funds consistent with the long-term strategies for developing addiction research at Rutgers and the sources of pilot funds. One main factor in determining funding will be perceived likelihood that the pilot data generated will lead to external funding. MPI applications with PIs from different domains or departments will be prioritized. Career stage and history of prior funding will also be considered, with the goal of promoting new NIH-funded faculty.  

All pilot awardees will be required to submit a final progress report within 2 months of the end of the award. This report will include publications and grant applications submitted, as well as results obtained and significance of those results. One PI also will be required to orally present results of the studies at the Annual RARC symposium. 

Awards will be announced in March 2023. Additional pilot funding may be available next year; successful applicants from this round can apply for a second year of funding at that point but will compete with new applications as well. 

If you intend to submit a pilot grant proposal, please email rarc@bhi.rutgers.edu with a brief letter of intent, including the names of the PIs, title of your proposal, and a brief description of your project by November 18, 2022. This will allow us to identify external reviewers to ensure a timely review of applications.  Those who submit a letter of intent, will receive the application cover page and submission checklist. To download the cover page and submission checklist, click here.

Please contact Danielle Dick, RARC Director, or Emily Balcke, RARC Program Manager (rarc@bhi.rutgers.edu) with questions.