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  • BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Fund – Round 3

  • The Brown Institute for Brain Science and the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute created the BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Fund to enable new interdisciplinary/inter-institutional research teams to amass pilot data for applications for extramural funding. This program provides grants of approximately $30K for one year to teams of brain scientists at Brown and its affiliated hospitals. It supplements, but does not replace, the Pilot Research Awards program at BIBS that provides grants to one or more investigators for early-concept, innovative projects (see note at the end of this announcement). The next round of funding for that program is being planned for early 2014.

    Eligibility –The BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Fund is open to all brain scientists at Brown and its affiliated hospitals. Each application must include co-principal investigators whose primary appointments are in different academic departments. One co-PI should be campus based and the other should be hospital based. Please note:

    • Applications should list only two co-PIs unless three departments or institutions are each contributing $5K toward the project. In that case a third co-PI may be listed. No more than three co-PIs are allowed.

    • Individual faculty members cannot be co-PIs on more than one application for each submission deadline.

    • No faculty members can be a co-PI on more than one active award simultaneously. Therefore, those with active New Frontiers Awards are not eligible to apply for a second award.

    Award terms – The maximum allocation for each award from the BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Fund will be $20K and it must be matched by at least $5K from the home department/institution of each co-PI. Grant funds from other sources awarded to a co-PI cannot be used as matching funds. Thus each award is expected to total approximately $30K ($35K if there are three co-PIs) and will remain active for one year. Awards are one time only and cannot be renewed.

    Budget – The BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Fund may be used for expenditures required to complete the proposed project. It is not designed to be an equipment grant but small items (<$10K) may be allowed, if they are essential for the collaboration to succeed. Typical allowable expenses include:

    • Salaries for students and/or research support personnel
    • Supplies
    • Reagents
    • Core facility user fees

    Funds cannot be used for:

    • Faculty salaries
    • Travel to scientific meetings
    • Publication costs
    • Invited speakers
    • Entertainment
    • Indirect costs

    Application process – An application must include the following:

    • Cover letter – Include a letter signed by the co-PIs stating the title of the project and describing the inspiration and nature of the proposed collaboration. Indicate the amount of money being requested from the BIBS/NPNI New Frontiers Fund and the amount that will be committed by the home departments or institutions of the co-PIs. Describe plans to apply for follow-on funding from external sources, including the funding agencies and programs being targeted along with expected submission dates.

    • Biographical sketches of the co-PIs - NIH or NSF style.

    • Research proposal – Describe the background and rationale for the project, the hypothesis being tested, why it is important and the experimental approach that will be used. Briefly outline the research plan for the year, including the contribution to be made by each co-PI. Limit this to no more than 3 pages including tables and figures.

    • Budget – Indicate the amount of money required for the project and how the expenditures will be allocated, using the eligible categories listed above. Provide justification for personnel, equipment and for other categories of expenditures that exceed $10K.

    • Letters of Commitment – Include a letter from the Chair or other appropriate administrator from the home department or institution of each co-PI verifying that at least $5K will be committed to the project for each co-PI, if funded by BIBS and NPNI.

    • Documentation of appropriate IACUC or IRB approval will be required before any applications can be activated.

    Evaluation Criteria – Applications that meet the requirements described above will be evaluated based on:

    • The innovative nature of the project;

    • The added value provided by the collaboration between the co-PIs;

    • The likelihood that the project will be competitive for extramural funding.

    Review Process – A committee of 3-5 qualified researchers appointed by BIBS and NPNI will review the applications. This committee will rate the proposals based on the evaluation criteria and make recommendations about funding to the administrations of BIBS and NPNI. If the review committee cannot agree, input will be solicited from the BIBS Executive Committee.

    Note - BIBS also offers Pilot Research Awards to support risky, innovative interdisciplinary research projects. If you have questions regarding the more appropriate mechanism to seek support for your project (Pilot or New Frontiers), please contact John Davenport at or John Robson at