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TS ALLIANCE GRANTS PROGRAM

Request for Letters of Intent
TS Alliance 2015 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.  A recent white paper describes the impressive scientific progress in the field and highlights key TSC research needs for the future.

The 2015 TS Alliance Research Grants Program aims to support basic research relevant to TSC and scientific studies that accelerate the translation of basic research findings into clinical impact for those affected by TSC.

Click here to download detailed LOI Instructions for applicants.

Funding Mechanisms Available in 2015

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 must include up to $1500 for travel expenses to support the applicant’s professional development
  • 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 $1500 may be included for travel expenses to attend a relevant scientific meeting.
  • Research grant awards are intended to provide funding for an independent researcher, e.g., tenure-track faculty 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 proposalCENTRAL.

Rothberg Courage Award

  • Duration: up to three years (can be shorter if appropriate for the project)
  • Budget limits (can be less if appropriate for the project):
    • Maximum total costs of $100,000 per year ($300,000 total) inclusive of both direct and indirect costs.
    • No more than 10 percent of the total costs ($10,000 per year or $30,000 total) may be applied to indirect costs.
    • Up to $1500 may be included for travel expenses to attend a relevant scientific meeting.
  • The TS Alliance Rothberg Award for Courage in Research was established by members of the Rothberg family to serve as a catalyst for innovative research to find treatments and a cure for TSC.  This award recognizes and supports outstanding scientific research directed at finding a cure for TSC.  Successful proposals will be those that address one or more of the following:
    • Generate preclinical data testing the ability of a biomarker to better or more rapidly measure treatment effect that will enable more robust and efficient clinical studies.
    • Develop an animal or cellular model that is superior to existing preclinical models for increasing confidence that potential treatments are likely to be effective in humans and determining the dose and duration of treatment required for testing in humans.
    • Test hypotheses regarding mechanisms affecting tumor growth specific to TSC, e.g., understanding why LAM occurs primarily in women or learning why cardiac rhabdomyomas often regress at a young age.
    • Identify an existing non-rapalog molecule (or combination of molecules) that has been previously safely administered to humans, or a new non-drug intervention, that eliminates TSC-related tumors in preclinical models rather than only shrinking or stabilizing tumor growth.
  • Rothberg Courage Awards are intended to provide funding for an established independent researcher, e.g., tenured faculty 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 proposalCENTRAL.

Key Dates

  • Online Submission for Letters of Intent Opens: May 25, 2015
  • Letters of Intent Due: June 25, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. US EDT
  • Full Proposal Invitations Sent by TS Alliance: July 30, 2015
  • Full Proposals Due (by invitation only): September 10, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. US EDT
  • Earliest Project Start Date: December 1, 2015

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

Overview

  • 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 and impact.
  • The TS Alliance will invite a relatively small number of applicants to submit more detailed Full Proposals.

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 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.

Required Components of the Letter of Intent

  1. PI contact information, Sponsor (if a postdoctoral fellowship application), the anticipated duration of funding, and the total (not itemized) estimated annual budget.
  2. 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.
  3. A technical abstract describing the proposed work and its potential impact, not to exceed 2500 characters, including spaces.
  4. Keywords selected from a list online during the application process.
  5. One to four Specific Aims or outcomes that will result from the proposed research.
  6. 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 references (only if needed).
  7. An NIH-style biosketch of the PI and, if a postdoctoral application, the Sponsor; this form is available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/biosketch.pdf or you may use an existing NIH-style biosketch if you have one.
  8. The components above must be submitted online prior to June 25, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. US EDT.

Detailed LOI Instructions for the online application process will be available by May 25 and a description of research funded by previous awards is currently available at on the TS Alliance website at www.tsalliance.org/grants. The TS Alliance anticipates awarding one or two postdoctoral fellowships, one or two research grants, and one Rothberg Courage Award, 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 2014, principal investigators who received a total of $17.9 million from the TS Alliance subsequently garnered an additional $197 million from the NIH for TSC-related research and $8.6 million from the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

TS Alliance Indirect Costs Policy

For research grants, including postdoctoral fellowships and Rothberg Courage Awards, 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 

Or:

Steve Roberds, PhD   
Chief Scientific Officer
Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance  
801 Roeder Road, Suite 750  
Silver Spring, MD  20910  
Telephone:  1-800-225-6872 or 301-562-9890 ext. 225  
E-mail: sroberds@tsalliance.org


 
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