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Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) -- Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) -- Investigator-Initiated Research Award
The SCIRP IIRA is intended to support studies that have the potential to make an important contribution to SCI research, patient care, and/or quality of life.
Important aspects of this award mechanism include:
• Impact: Applications should articulate the short- and long-term impact of the proposed research on both the SCI research field as well as the SCI community. Projects must address one or more of the FY21 SCIRP Focus Areas.
• Relevance to Military Health: Projects should be relevant to spinal cord-injured military Service Members, Veterans, and/or their family members and care partners. Collaboration with military and VA researchers and clinicians is encouraged.
• Preliminary Data: Observations that drive a research idea may be derived from laboratory discovery, population-based studies, a clinician’s first-hand knowledge of patients, or anecdotal data. Applications must include preliminary and/or published data that are relevant to the mission of the SCIRP and support the proposed research project.
IIRA applications may focus on any phase of research from basic through translational, though studies focused exclusively on target identification are discouraged. Permitted research includes preclinical studies in animal models (except where otherwise specified), research with human subjects, or human anatomical substances, as well as ancillary studies associated with an existing clinical trial.
Early-Career Partnering PI Option: The FY21 SCIRP encourages applications that include meaningful and productive collaborations between investigators. The FY21 IIRA includes an option for an Early-Career Partnering PI. The PIs may have experience in similar or disparate scientific disciplines, but each PI is expected to bring distinct contributions to the application. The Partnering PI Option is structured to accommodate two PIs. One PI will be identified as the Initiating PI and will be responsible for the majority of the administrative tasks associated with application submission. The Early-Career PI will be identified as a Partnering PI. Both PIs should contribute significantly to the development of the proposed research project, including the Project Narrative, Statement of Work (SOW), and other required components. If recommended for funding, each PI will be named to an individual award within the recipient organization.
- Pre-Application Deadline: May 24, 2021
- Invitation to Submit an Application: July 2021
- Application Submission Deadline: Sep. 3, 2021
Areas of Interest
Applications to the FY21 SCIRP Investigator-Initiated Research Award (IIRA) must address at least one of the Focus Areas listed below. Applications may address more than one Focus Area. In particular, applications combining biomarker studies with studies in one or more of the other Focus Areas is encouraged. Applications using clinically relevant combinations of interventions within or across Focus Areas are also encouraged. The FY21 SCIRP Focus Areas are:
• Preserving and protecting spinal cord tissue at time of injury for improved neurologic outcomes ○ Responsive projects may include surgical and acute care management of SCI. ○ Therapeutics (devices and pharmacologic interventions) to stabilize SCI in the prehospital environment and during transport are encouraged. ○ Applications proposing neuroprotective interventions need to demonstrate a clinically feasible window for treatment and more than an incremental improvement over existing therapies.
• Identifying and validating biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, and for evaluation of treatment efficacies ○ Biomarkers must focus on diagnosis, prognosis, progression, and/or recovery of SCI. ○ Projects with a clear link between a biomarker and underlying physiology are encouraged. Projects can include imaging and other modalities. ○ Applications should demonstrate a clear path to clinical use. ○ Biomarker studies directed at identifying the best single or combination of treatments for individuals (personalized medicine) are encouraged.
• Bowel, genitourinary, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, and neuropathic pain ○ Mechanism-focused studies must be specific to SCI and demonstrate a clear path from increased understanding to advancing treatments. ○ Studies addressing the needs of and treatments for individuals with SCI across the full lifespan from acute to chronic injury are encouraged.
• Psychosocial issues relevant to people with SCI, their families, and/or their carepartners ○ Applications should directly address, or show clear relevance to, the needs of Service Members and Veterans. ○ Projects should provide an understanding of critical factors promoting psychosocial well-being leading to implementation of potential treatments and interventions. ○ Studies addressing social isolation, loneliness, and depression, as well as resilience, selfefficacy, and interactions between people living with SCI and their care-partners are especially encouraged. ○ Preclinical animal studies are not responsive to this Focus Area.
• Rehabilitation and regeneration—maximizing the function of the residual neural circuitry, including harnessing neuroplasticity and recovery to improve function after SCI ○ Studies that address critical questions of dosing, targeting, or safety required to move the research toward clinical use are supported.
Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent) may be named by the organization as the PI on the application.
The Partnering PI must be an independent, early-career investigator within 10 years after completion of their terminal degree by the time of the application submission deadline (excluding time spent in residency or on family medical leave). Time spent as a postdoctoral fellow is not excluded. Lapses in research time or appointments as denoted in the biographical sketch should be explained in the application.
The anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY21 SCIRP IIRA award will not exceed $500,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.