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Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) -- Neurofibromatosis Research Program -- Research Academy-Scholar Award
The NFRP Neurofibromatosis Research Academy (NFRA) will bring together established investigators (Director and Deputy Director) and early-career independent investigators (Scholars) to develop successful, highly productive neurofibromatosis researchers that will conduct research with the aim of lessening the clinical impact of NF1, NF2, and Schwannomatosis. The NFRA is a unique, multi-institutional interactive virtual research academy focused on supporting innovative high-impact research in a collaborative research and career development environment. The NFRA will provide a framework of intensive monitoring and iterative guidance with proposed research, national networking, collaborations, and a peer group for Scholars.
The NFRA is a platform (see Figure 1 below) that consists of Scholars and their Career Guides (mentors), and it is managed by an Academy Director and Deputy Director (i.e., the NFRA Leadership). The Neurofibromatosis Research Academy Scholar (the investigator named as the Principal Investigator [PI] on the application) is expected to participate in all development and training activities hosted by the NFRA Leadership, such as participation in monthly webinars and one-on-one mentoring sessions. Additionally, the Scholar and Career Guide (mentor) are expected to communicate and collaborate with other members of the NFRA (other Scholars and Career Guides, NFRA Leadership), and build relationships within the neurofibromatosis patient and advocacy community.
The NFRA Leadership serves as a resource for the Scholars and Career Guides, assessing the progress of Scholars, and facilitating communication and collaboration among all Scholars and Career Guides, as well as with national NF research and advocacy communities. In addition to fostering scientific development, the NFRA, through its Leadership, provides opportunities for professional and leadership development of the Scholars to include skills and competencies needed to fund and manage a productive laboratory. The NFRA leadership team will also provide opportunities to NFRP FY23 (and subsequent year awardees) Early Investigator Research Award and NFRP FY23 (and subsequent year awardees) New Investigator Award - Early-Stage Investigator researchers to engage with NFRP NFRA Scholars.
This FY23 funding opportunity is soliciting Scholars to join the NFRA. This award mechanism enables the Scholar to pursue a neurofibromatosis project that may be basic, translational, and/or clinical research, and addresses at least one of the FY23 NFRP Areas of Emphasis under the guidance of a Career Guide. The Career Guide is not required to be at the same institution as the Scholar; however, if the (primary) Career Guide is from a different institution, a secondary Career Guide at the Scholar’s institution is needed.
• Required Pre-Application Submission Deadline: Aug. 11, 2023
• Application Submission Deadline: Aug. 25, 2023
Areas of Interest
Areas of Emphasis: The FY23 NFRP strongly encourages research applications that specifically address the critical needs of the NF community in one or more of the Areas of Emphasis listed below. All applications are also encouraged to include materials and data from diverse populations in their research.
• NF2 and Schwannomatosis-related areas (e.g., hearing, balance, schwannoma, ependymoma, meningioma, LZTR1, SMARCB1)
• Endpoint validation, biomarker discovery, and technological innovation for assessments
• Application of data science
• Non-tumor manifestations not limited to: o Pain o Cognitive manifestations o Sleep
• Heterogeneity of NF-related phenotypes
• Genetics, genomics, epigenetics, systems biology, metabolomics, or similar approaches
• Preclinical efficacy studies
• Target identification and drug discovery
• Nutritional, environmental, and other modifiers of NF
• Health services research
To be named as the PI on the application, the Scholar:
o Must be within 7 years of terminal degree as of the full application submission deadline. – A Statement of Eligibility (Attachment 9) is required with the submission of the full application. – Time spent as a medical resident, clinical training, or on family medical leave is excluded. – Time spent as a postdoctoral research fellow is not excluded.
o May be in a non-tenure track or tenure track position.
o Must not have a career development award similar to the NFRA-SA concurrently
. o NFRA Scholars, are required to attend a DOD NFRP biennial multi-day NFRA workshop. In alternate years, they must also attend a DOD NFRP NFRA 1-day workshop.
o Must have an institutional commitment of approximately 50% protected time for NF research and Academy activities, including participation in monthly webinars as directed by NFRA Leadership.
To be named as the Career Guide on the application, the Career Guide:
o Must be an independent, established neurofibromatosis researcher at the level of Associate Professor or equivalent.
o Must have neurofibromatosis research funding (past and present).
o Must have a record of neurofibromatosis publications in peer-reviewed journals.
o Must demonstrate a commitment to develop and sustain the Scholar’s independent career in neurofibromatosis research.
o Must be committed to fully participating in the NFRA and potentially serving on the NFRA Advisory Board as requested by NFRA Leadership.
o Must demonstrate a commitment (at least 5% effort for mentoring and participating in NFRA activities such as offsite meetings and webinars) to develop and sustain the Scholar’s independent career in NF research.
o An NFRA Career Guide can only commit to one NFRA Scholar during the entire period of performance for the award, with the ability to serve as a secondary Career Guide for another Scholar.
o A Career Guide does not have to be from the same institution as the Scholar; however, if the Career Guide is from a different institution, a secondary Career Guide at the scholar institution is needed.
o Career Guides are required to attend a DOD NFRP biennial multi-day NFRA workshop. In alternate years, they must also attend a DOD NFRP NFRA 1-day workshop.”
Note: The PI and Career Guide are not required to be at the same organization. Neither the Director nor the Deputy Director of the NFRA can be listed as a Career Guide.
The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY23 NFRP NFRA-SA should not exceed $750,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.