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TS ALLIANCE GRANTS PROGRAM

The TS Alliance is now requesting applications for the 2016:

TS Alliance 2016 Research Grants Program

The TS Alliance endeavors to stimulate, support and coordinate research that will lead to a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) while improving the lives of those affected. 

Postdoctoral Fellowships

  • Duration: up to two years (can be shorter if appropriate for the project and the trainee)
  • Budget limits (can be less if appropriate for the project):
    • Maximum total costs of $75,000 per year ($150,000 total) inclusive of both direct and indirect costs
    • No more than 10 percent of the total costs ($7,500 per year or $15,000 total) may be applied to indirect costs
    • Postdoctoral fellowship awards may include up to $1500 for travel expenses to support the applicant’s professional development
  • Postdoctoral fellowship awards may support any type of basic or translational research relevant to TSC that provides an outstanding opportunity for the trainee’s professional growth.
  • Postdoctoral fellowship awards are intended to provide funding for an individual who has recently earned a PhD or MD degree and is working with a Sponsor to do research relevant to TSC.  The Sponsor must be tenure-track faculty or an equivalent level at a research institution or company.  The award is intended to fund the applicant’s salary and some of the laboratory supplies or tools necessary to conduct the proposed research.  The award is not intended to fund technical support for the project or to purchase equipment in the Sponsor’s laboratory.  The trainee applicant is considered to be the “Principal Investigator” for the purpose of postdoctoral fellowship awards.

Research Grants

  • Duration: up to two years (can be shorter if appropriate for the project)
  • Budget limits (can be less if appropriate for the project):
    • Maximum total costs of $75,000 per year ($150,000 total) inclusive of both direct and indirect costs
    • No more than 10 percent of the total costs ($7,500 per year or $15,000 total) may be applied to indirect costs
    • Up to $1,500 may be included for travel expenses to attend a relevant scientific meeting
  • Research plans should address one of the following four high-priority areas:
    • Understanding phenotypic heterogeneity in TSC, i.e., research on genetic, biologic, or environmental factors that might explain why TSC is so different from person to person
    • Gaining a deeper knowledge of TSC signaling pathways and the cellular consequences of TSC deficiency
    • Improving TSC disease models, whether cell-based, tissue-based, or animal models
    • Developing clinical biomarkers or patient-reported outcome measures for TSC, particularly those that assess disease burden or stratify an individual’s risk of progression or developing specific manifestations of TSC
  • Research grant awards are intended to provide funding for an independent researcher, whether tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty or staff, or an equivalent level at a research institution or company. The award may support laboratory supplies, personnel costs, services, or equipment necessary to conduct the proposed research.  The TS Alliance fully supports collaborative projects between co-investigators, but only one investigator may be considered the “Principal Investigator” for the purpose of applying through the online submission system.

50K Crowdfunded Research Challenge

The #IAMTSC | We Are TSC 50K Crowdfunded Research Challenge was created as a way for the TS Alliance to fund small, focused projects and engage the global community in TSC research.

Letters of Intent submitted to this program will be peer-reviewed for scientific merit, innovation, and potential impact.  Based on this review, three applicants will be selected for participation in the online Challenge.  Those three applicants must then produce and submit a brief video highlighting their research plans to the TS Alliance.  Examples of last year’s submissions may be viewed at www.iamtsc.org/challenge

The TS Alliance will publicize the Challenge through social media, and the TSC Community and general public will cast votes by making donations after viewing the videos.  The project that receives the highest number of votes will receive a $50,000 grant to carry out the research proposed in his or her Letter of Intent and video.

  • Duration: one-year project
  • Budget limits
    • Total cost of $50,000 per year inclusive of both direct and indirect costs
    • No more than 10 percent of the total costs ($5,000 total) may be applied to indirect costs
  • Research plans should be relevant to one of the following four high-priority areas:
    • Understanding phenotypic heterogeneity in TSC, i.e., research on genetic, biologic, or environmental factors that might explain why TSC is so different from person to person
    • Gaining a deeper knowledge of TSC signaling pathways and the cellular consequences of TSC deficiency
    • Improving TSC disease models, whether cell-based, tissue-based, or animal models
    • Developing clinical biomarkers or patient-reported outcome measures for TSC, particularly those that assess disease burden or stratify individuals’ risks of progression or developing specific manifestations of TSC
  • Challenge grant awards are intended to provide funding for relevant TSC research to an investigator at any stage of his or her career.  The award may support laboratory supplies, personnel costs, services, or equipment necessary to conduct the proposed research. 
  • Applicants submitting a Letter of Intent to the 50K Research Challenge may also submit a Letter of Intent to the TS Alliance Research Grants Awards for a project having a larger scope.

Key Dates

  • Online Submission for Letters of Intent Opens: May 1, 2016
  • Letters of Intent Due: June 20, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. US EDT
  • Full Proposal or Video Invitations Sent by TS Alliance: July 27, 2016
  • Full Video Proposals for Online Challenge Due (by invitation only): August 17, 2016
  • Full Proposals for Research Grants and Postdoctoral Fellowships Due (by invitation only): September 26, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. US EDT
  • Earliest Project Start Date: December 1, 2016

Eligibility

This opportunity is open to all investigators at established academic or research institutions or at pharmaceutical or biotech companies worldwide.  Researchers residing in the U.S. do not need to be U.S. citizens to apply for funding.

Process

  • Applications will only be accepted through the online submission system.
  • Applicants submit a brief Letter of Intent describing their specific aims and the relevance of their proposed work to TSC, and generally describing the rationale and any preliminary data supporting the approach.
  • Letters of Intent will be evaluated by reviewers identified by the TS Alliance, including experts selected from the International Scientific Advisory Board or ad hoc reviewers who will evaluate the Letters of Intent for scientific merit, innovation, and impact.
  • The TS Alliance will invite a relatively small number of applicants to submit more detailed Full Proposals for Research Grants and Postdoctoral Fellowships.
  • For the 50K Crowdfunded Research Challenge, the TS Alliance will invite the top three applicants to submit a brief video describing the project for an online challenge.  The three videos will be featured on the www.iamtsc.org website, promoted through social media and voted on by the TSC community and general public.  The awardee will be the project that receives the highest number of votes.

Detailed instructions for the online application process will be available by May 1 and a description of research funded by previous awards is currently available on the TS Alliance website at www.tsalliance.org/grants.  The TS Alliance anticipates awarding one or two postdoctoral fellowships and one or two research grants, depending on merit, requested budgets, and funds available.  Researchers funded by the TS Alliance have a strong history of obtaining additional funding: between 1984 and 2015, principal investigators who received a total of $18.8 million from the TS Alliance subsequently garnered an additional $259 million from the NIH for TSC-related research and $11.7 million from the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Required Components of the Letter of Intent

For all applicants:

  1. Principal investigator contact information
  2. Anticipated duration of funding
  3. Total (not itemized) estimated annual budget
  4. In lay language understandable to someone without a scientific or medical background, an overview of the proposed research including a statement of the impact the research will have on individuals who have TSC
  5. A technical abstract describing the proposed work and its potential impact, not to exceed 2500 characters, including spaces
  6. Keywords selected from a list online during the application process
  7. One to four Specific Aims or outcomes that will result from the proposed research
  8. A research plan overview of no more than two pages, including the rationale, the concept of how the research will be carried out, potential impact of the proposed work, and any references
  9. An NIH-style biosketch of the principal investigator; this form is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SF424R-R_biosketchsample_VerC.docx  or you may use an existing NIH-style biosketch if you have one

For Postdoctoral Fellowship applicants only:

  1. Sponsor’s NIH-style biosketch and contact information
  2. Letters of Reference from three individuals willing to support the applicant’s candidacy for a fellowship

The components above must be submitted online no later than June 20, 2016, at 11:59 p.m. US EDT.

This process is intended to reduce workload on applicants and reviewers by triaging applications based on a brief Letter of Intent.  Those invited to submit Full Proposals will have a much higher probability of funding and will be invited to engage in a dialog with the TS Alliance Chief Scientific Officer during the preparation of the Full Proposals to optimize alignment of the scientific proposal with the goals and areas of emphasis of the TS Alliance.

TS Alliance Indirect Costs Policy

For research grants, including postdoctoral fellowships, the TS Alliance allows no more than 10 percent of the total costs to be applied to indirect costs.  As an example, a maximum of $15,000 indirect costs may be included within an award totaling $150,000, of which at least $135,000 must therefore be direct costs. 

The TS Alliance does not pay indirect costs on contracts based on delivering a tangible or measurable work product.  Examples of such contracts are those to enter data into the TSC Natural History Database.

Related TS Alliance Resources

For Related Inquiries, Contact:

Katie Smith  
Manager, Research and Global Affairs
Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance  
801 Roeder Road, Suite 750  
Silver Spring, MD  20910  
Telephone:  1-800-225-6872 or 240-638-4646
E-mail: ksmith@tsalliance.org


 
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