Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

A CTSA partner accelerating discoveries toward human health

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NUCATS Voucher & Pilot Programs

The NUCATS voucher (tier 1: $2,500) and pilot (tier 2: $10,000) programs are designed to accelerate research by providing rapid, targeted funding to address small but critical gaps in clinical and translational research work.

These funds are particularly intended for projects with the potential for strong clinical or translational in a short timeframe, junior faculty who have not yet established a significant funding base, projects involving critical steps in the device and drug development pathway and projects that address a critical need in translational science are is too small to be suitable for conventional funding.

They’re also designed for projects involving research dissemination and implementation in community and practice settings, though those pilot requests are subject to their own eligibility requirements.

Due to funding institute constraints, preference will be given to those meritorious projects that can be completed in a six-month time frame.

Please direct questions about the pilot and voucher programs to Abby Cosentino-Boehm at 312-503-2306.

 Applicant Eligibility

All applicants must be NUCATS members and either:

  • Faculty in one of the NUCATS partner institutions (Northwestern University, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago or Shirley Ryan AbilityLab), engaged in research and eligible to apply for follow-on external grant funding.

OR

  • An individual (such as community/practice partners, students, trainees, post-doctoral fellows, residents and fellows) who is collaborating with a NUCATS member who meets requirements in the line above. This individual may be a co-investigator, but not a PI.

 Request Eligibility

  • The request must be for clinical or translational research projects.
  • Gap addressed by the request should not be fundable through other sources available to the applicant.
  • The request should be hypothesis driven (encouraged but not necessary for D&I pilots [LINK]).
  • You must specify your timeline (including the target date for follow-on funding) and delineate the targeted source of subsequent extramural funding.
  • You must provide enough data to provide preliminary results or demonstrate feasibility for an important specific aim of a grant or other source of funding (pharma, foundation).
  • The request must demonstrate that there is significant potential impact on human health in the near term.
  • It should include a one-page report addressing the outcome of funding within the 30 days of the service being rendered. You will also be asked to report the outcome of pilot or voucher funding for NUCATS reporting purposes.
  • You must provide a signed statement of understanding that manuscripts or other project outputs that result from this or subsequent work enabled by this opportunity must cite the NUCATS grant.
  • And you must commitment to participate in NUCATS evaluation of grant outcomes.

 Tier 1 Voucher Program Details

Vouchers through this program are awarded on a rolling basis. The total amount that may be requested in a single application is $2,500 for all proposed activities. Investigators may submit more than one application during a given year for different projects pending an update on the initial award. Requests for more than $2,500 must be pre-approved by the NUCATS director or deputy director. The NUCATS Navigator team will conduct an administrative review, and applicants will receive a response within two weeks of the submission of a complete application.

Examples of Tier 1 support include:

  • Consultation with faculty statisticians and statistical analysts in the Biostatistics Collaboration Center
  • Regulatory support from NUCATS
  • Computational Cluster CPU time to run specific analyses
  • Participant recruitment
  • Laboratory or hospital tests such as CBCs
  • Qualitative focus groups
  • Bridges in funding will be considered on a case-by-case basis

To apply, complete the appropriate application in NITRO Competitions.

You will be required to, in 500 words or less, provide the significance, hypothesis, aims, analysis plan, impact and deliverables of your project. Be sure to address lack of alternate funding and plans for future funding. You must describe your focus area.

The submitted budget must clearly indicate the separate budget expenses/amounts for the academic and community co-PIs.

If you are utilizing a Northwestern University or affiliated core, you must include specific line-item estimates from the applicable cores and/or resources.

If your request includes PHI or research participants, please include the IRB number and approval information. IRB approval must be obtained prior to the release of funds. Due to changes with our funding program, funds cannot be released until after the project protocol is submitted and approved by the IRB and submitted to NIH for review.

Priority will be given to applicants without current "active" NUCATS support.

If you are requesting services from Lurie Children’s Hospital, please contact the Office of Research before submitting.

 Tier 2 Pilot Program Details

Awards of up to $10,000 will be given two times per year. Exceptions to the $10,000 limit may be considered in cases for which significant scientific opportunity can be demonstrated; requests must be pre-approved by the NUCATS director or deputy director. The NUCATS Pilot and voucher program team will conduct an initial administrative review, then NUCATS staff and faculty will conduct a second layer of review depending on domain of the request. Experts in D&I will participate in the review of all D&I submissions.

Examples of Tier 2 support for pilot data include:

Non-allowable costs include your own salary, or salary of anyone in your group; hiring a summer student, part-time employee or similar; laptops; computer disk storage; travel to scientific meetings; and food.

To apply, complete the appropriate application in NITRO Competitions. You must, in 1,000 words or less, provide your project’s significance, hypothesis, aims, analysis plan, impact and deliverables. Be sure to address need, lack of alternate funding and plans for future funding.

Please be sure to fill out and submit the required, additional cover sheet.

The submitted budget must clearly indicate the separate budget expenses/amounts for the academic and community co-PIs.

If you are utilizing a Northwestern University or affiliated core, you must include specific line-item estimates from the applicable cores and/or resources.

If your request includes PHI or research participants, please include the IRB number and approval information. IRB approval must be obtained prior to the release of funds. Due to changes with our funding program, funds cannot be released until after the project protocol is submitted and approved by the IRB and submitted to NIH for review.

Priority will be given to applicants without current "active" NUCATS support. If more than one application is submitted in a given round, please rank your applications by need.

If you are requesting services from Lurie Children’s Hospital, please contact the Office of Research before submitting.

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Participating Institutions: