2022 PCRC Pilot Program Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
- Estimated Publication Date of FOA: by November 8, 2021
- Required Interest Letter Due Date: January 3, 2022
- Estimated Notification of Accepted Interest Letter Date: February 2, 2022
- Application Due Date: March 30, 2022
- Estimated Award Date: July 1, 2022
Please note: Interest Letters are competitive, and full applications will be accepted by invitation only.
Section I: Funding Opportunity Description
Background of the PCRC
The PCRC was established in 2010, with foundational funding by a cooperative agreement from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR; U2CNR014637). The PCRC exists to lead, catalyze, and empower a community of investigators who are developing an evidence base to ensure high quality care and optimal well-being for persons with serious illness and their caregivers. An overview of the PCRC resources and scientific environment is available on the PCRC website: www.palliativecareresearch.org.
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages small pilot research grant applications focused on generating pilot data for future studies and supporting investigator development for building the science of palliative care. For this funding cycle, priority will be given to projects that address minority health and health disparities in the context of serious illness, including the impact of structural racisim and discrimination on the outcomes of minority and disadvantaged populations. We strongly encourage investigators to work collaboratively with community partners on these pilot award applications.
For the purposes of this FOA, key definitions include:
Discrimination: A socially structured action that is unfair or unjustified and harms individuals and groups. Discrimination can be attributed to social interacations that occur to protect more powerful and privileged groups or instirutions as the detriment of other groups. Racisim refers to discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
Structural discrimination: refers to macro-level conditions that limit opportunities, resources, and well-being of less privileged groups (Healthy People, 2020).
Structural racisim and discrimination: For the purposes of this FOA, structural racism and discrimination refers to structural discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity and/or other statuses, including but not limited to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, social class or socioeconomic status, religion, national origin, immigration status, limited English proficiency, or physical characteristics or health conditions.
NIH-designated populations with health disparities: Racial and ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, underserved rural populations, and sexual and gender minorities in the U.S.
Purpose of the PCRC Pilot Awards
The goal of the PCRC pilot awards is to provide seed funding for future research activities through the PCRC. Additionally, the awards offer opportunities for investigators to participate in investigator development activities and be mentored/coached by senior investigators in the field. For your reference, previously funded PCRC pilot grant awards are listed on the PCRC website [https://palliativecareresearch.org/research/pilot-studies]
The PCRC study section, NINR program officers, and PCRC leadership will prioritize projects that:
- Align with funding opportunities supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the Office of End-of-Life and Palliative Care Research (OEPCR).
- Use the PCRC infrastructure and cores
- Involve PCRC investigators/members as mentors as applicable.
- Focus on patient and caregiver outcomes.
- Are feasible to accomplish in 12 months.
- Generate pilot data that support future extramurally-‐funded studies involving the PCRC.
For the purpose of this pilot award, research evaluating medications, drugs, or biologicals or health services interventions (with non patient or caregiver outcomes) are not considered. Your research study must focus on patient and/or caregiver outcomes.
Specific areas of research interest include, but are not limited to:
- Examination of the impact of structural racial/ethnic or socioeconomic status-based discrimination on the outcomes of patients and caregivers receiving palliative care.
- Examination of the impact of structural racism and discrimination in health care settings on quality of life and health outcomes.
- Pilot projects that address structural racism and discrimination in healthcare settings with the goal of improving patient or caregiver outcomes around serious illness.
- Experience and outcomes of caregivers in hospice and palliative care, including minority and disadvantaged populations.
- Trajectories of symptom experience and patient functioning
- Populations particularly in need of palliative care research, including: pediatric populations, caregivers, underrepresented minorities, those who are economically disadvantaged, and those with multiple chronic conditions.
- Development and testing of nonpharmacologic interventions used in hospice and palliative care.
- Pilot-‐testing interventions and study procedures in preparation for future PCRC studies.
- Projects utilizing the PCRC Data Repository to engage in measurement development/validation and secondary data analysis.
- Development of measures to fill a critical gap in end-of-life / palliative care science OR validation studies of existing measures to establish psychometric properties for end-of-life / palliative care populations
- Estimated individual award budget is limited to $62,031. Proposals that include a community partner can budget an additional $5000 for the community partner. [Total budget $67,031]
- This budget includes both direct and indirect costs. Indirect costs are specific to the Investigator’s institutional required indirect costs.
- Duration one year (12 months). We will be unable to grant no-cost extensions for these pilots.
Section II: Eligibility Information
Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research is invited to submit an Interest Letter. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Anyone who is eligible for an NINR award is eligible for a PCRC pilot award.
Eligible applicants must be out of training (i.e., not a fellow) and are investigators who have not yet competed successfully for a substantial, NIH research grant, such as independent-level R01 or PCORI award. K awards are acceptable. Applicants must be a PCRC member or have applied for membership at the time of Interest Letter submission. To become a PCRC member, please complete an online application. All pilot project applications should include a mentor with extramural funding, and projects must be completed in one year.
*Please note individuals who are currently on a training award (e.g. T32, R02, and F awards) are not eligible.
Individuals from racial and ethnic groups who are underrepresented in sciences, those from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, and sexual and gender minorities are strongly encouraged to apply.
- Non-‐domestic (non-‐U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
- Non-‐domestic (non-‐U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Number of Applications
Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.
All applicants must identify a mentor with extramural funding to support the applicant in the execution of the pilot study. A number of senior PCRC investigators are available; applicants are encouraged to involve senior investigators from the PCRC with relevant expertise in their pilot projects: (http://palliativecareresearch.org/members/roster/
General Inquires: Email the PCRC
Part 1: Submitting an Interest Letter
Required Interest Letter (IL): Each interested applicant must submit an IL by January 3, 2022 @8pm Eastern.Upload your IL here: Link. You will also be asked to input the following:
The title page must include:
- Title of proposed activity
- Name(s), address(s), and telephone number(s) of the PI(s)
- Name, address, and telephone number of the Mentor
- Other Key Personnel
- Participating institution(s)
- Requested budget amount (please limit to $62,031, or $67,031 if including a community partner)
The one page of the IL must include:
- Title of proposed activity
- Specific Aims
- Background/Evidence Gap
- Significance to palliative care community
- Minority/disadvantaged population included, if applicable
- Health disparity being addressed, if applicable
- Community partner, if applicable
- Study Design/Method
- Study population & setting, including planned community partnership if applicable
- Planned use of PCRC resources [including the transfer of project data to the PCRC De-Identified Data Repository]
- Plans for future extramural funding using the PCRC from this work
**References are not required in the ILs.
Note: Interest Letters are competitive and are reviewed by NINR program officers and PCRC Leadership. Applicants will be notified if they have been selected to submit a full application. Expected notification: Februray 2, 2022
Part 2: Submitting a Full Application
BY INVITATION ONLY
Invited applicants will receive additional instructions (including an Application Form) for submitting an application . Full Pilot Applications are due March 30, 2022 @ 8pm EST/ 5pm PST.
Applications must be submitted on the Pilot Grant Application Template Form. The Research Strategy may be up to 5 pages, single-spaced. Applications that include a community partner may use an additional page to describe the community partner and their role in the project. References, NIH-formatted biosketches, budget documents on PHS 398 budget forms, human subjects, scientific environment, IRB plan, and approved protocols do not count towards the page limit. Appendices other than survey examples or interview guides are not allowed.
Merit Review Process:
The Review Committee will be composed of PCRC members and relevant external consultants. Proposals will be vetted by this Committee and NINR Program Officers to ensure that they meet the pre-‐ specified eligibility criteria. Eligible proposals will be reviewed using a 1-‐9 scoring system that aligns with the NIH format, considering the following review criteria (please review PCRC’s tip for preparing a successful pilot application)
Grant Structure and Criteria Checklist
- Impact: Potential of this study to impact palliative care clinical practice and its evidence base.
- Fit: Alignment with NINR’s Strategic Plan Working Group Draft Framework for 2022-2026 (https://www.ninr.nih.gov/sites/files/docs/strategic_planning_working_group_framework_report_051021_v1_508c.pdf) and importance for conduct in the PCRC, including focus on minority health and health disparities in the context of serious illness.
- Innovation: Employs novel theoretical concepts, approaches, methodologies, or interventions to shift research or clinical practice.
- Significance: Addresses an important problem or critical barrier to progress the field, including focus on minority health and health disparties. Project is based on a strong premise. Extends and improves clinical practice and scientific knowledge (if successful). Changes concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, and services in the field.
- Approach: Project includes a well-reasoned approach, methodology, analyses to accomplish aims. Project includes a sound and rigorous experimental strategy that can eventually be reproducible. Project addresses potential problems, alternative strategies and benchmarks.
- Feasibility: Project can be completed within the 12-month funding period. Study timeline reflects completion of the project in 12 months. Budget reflects completion of the project in 12 months.
- Environment and Mentorship: Project includes a mentor plan. Investigator(s) and environment match the goals of the project. A letter of support from the proposed mentor should be included in the application.
- Next steps: Likelihood of leading to successful future extramural funding through the PCRC.
All proposals in a given funding cycle will receive a decision of acceptance for funding, request for minor revisions and reconsideration in the same funding cycle, or not funded. Given the commitment of the PCRC to investigator development, all proposals will be provided with written critiques and feedback.
Section IV: Award Information
The 2022 PCRC pilot program includes awards of up to to $62,031. Proposals that include a community partner can budget an additional $5000 for the community partner. [Total budget $67,031] (inclusive of indirect/F&A costs). Indirect costs are specific to the Investigator’s institutional required indirect costs.
PIs of funded proposals will be given access to up to 3 hours of consultation (total) from any of the four PCRC methodological cores (Data, Informatics, and Statistics; Measurement; Caregiver Research; and Clinical Studies/Methodology), supported by the PCRC infrastructure grant (see https://palliativecareresearch.org/corescenters for description of available resources).
Section V: Collaboration with PCRC
Adherence to PCRC standards is critical for high quality data that is comparable across studies. In order to achieve this, any applicant who applies is agreeing to the following, if funded:
- To follow PCRC standards and processes in their project including the use of measurement instruments and standard data elements, Data Sharing Agreements and participation in the PCRC Data Repository.
- All publications will adhere to the PCRC Authorship Guidelines to ensure consistent approaches to assigning authorship including acknowledgement of PCRC support in all publications and presentations.
- Submit all planned abstracts and publications to the PCRC Publication Committee for review.
- Review by the PCRC Data, Informatics and Statistics Core (DISC) prior to study initiation to ensure highest methodological standards.
- Quarterly updates on study progress and ad hoc, informal updates throughout the funding period.
- Consistent process for declaring and managing Conflict of Interest to ensure transparent and credible research.
- Approval by the appropriate Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in order to proceed. IRB approvals must continue throughout the study period. The PCRC will require appropriate documentation of ongoing IRB approval. The human subjects sections of the pilot studies (DSMP), will be approved prior to receipt of pilot grant funds.
- Submission of a manuscript and an application for extramural funding based on the data gathered through the PCRC project within a year of completion of the pilot.
- Submission of de-identified data set to the PCRC Data Repository after 1 year of completion of the award or after findings are published.
- Notification of the PCRC regarding relevant presentations, publications and submitted/funded grants that were informed by the funded PCRC pilot study.
- Acknowledge the PCRC and the National Institute of Nursing Research in all public communication of work resulting from this grant, including presentations, published studies, media communications, and Internet-based communications. [“This project is supported by the Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group funded by National Institute of Nursing Research U2CNR014637”]
As a national research collaborative, the PCRC maintains a variety of resources for Investigators (Summaries of each of these guidelines and protocols are available on the PCRC website: www.palliativecareresearch.org or upon request).
Please direct all inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like a copy of this Funding Announcement, please download it here (Note: you do not need a Box.com account to download the FOA document).
Rachael Kendrick, MA
Director of PCRC Operations
Laura Porter, PhD
Director, PCRC Pilot Award Program
Christine Ritchie, MD MSPH
Director, PCRC Investigator Development Center