Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) -- Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) -- Translational Research Award

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

The SCIRP TRA is intended to support translational research that will accelerate the movement of promising ideas in SCI research into clinical applications. Although not all-inclusive, some examples include demonstration studies of pharmaceuticals and medical devices in preclinical systems and/or clinical research on therapeutics, devices, or practice using human tissues or resources. 

The ultimate goal of translational research is to move an observation forward into clinical application and accelerate the clinical introduction of healthcare products, technologies, or practice guidelines. Observations that drive a research idea may be derived from a laboratory discovery, population-based studies, or a clinician’s first-hand knowledge of patients and anecdotal data. However, applicants should not view translational research as a one-way continuum from bench to bedside. The research plan is encouraged to involve a reciprocal flow of ideas and information between basic and clinical science. 


  • Pre-Application Deadline:   May 21, 2020
  • Invitation to Submit an Application: June 2020
  • Application Submission Deadline:  August 25, 2020

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Applications must address at least one of the FY20 SCIRP TRA Focus Areas. Applications may address more than one Focus Area. In particular, applications combining biomarker studies with studies in one or more of the other FY20 SCIRP Focus Areas are encouraged. Applications using clinically relevant combinations of interventions within or across Focus Areas are also encouraged. The FY20 SCIRP TRA 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. ○ Early 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. ○ Clinical trials are not supported in the FY20 SCIRP TRA biomarkers Focus Area; however, ancillary biomarker studies with existing clinical trials are allowed and encouraged.

• Bowel, genitourinary, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, and neuropathic pain: ○ Includes studies of the mechanisms of dysfunction specific to SCI, where the application demonstrates 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. ○ Studies relevant to this Focus Area using qualitative research approaches are allowed.

 Psychosocial issues relevant to people with SCI, their families, and/or their care partners: ○ Applications should directly address, or show clear relevance to, the needs of Service members and Veterans. ○ Studies of depression, resilience, or self-efficacy are especially encouraged. ○ Studies may address the causes of psychosocial issues, diagnosis, and/or interventions designed to promote adjustment, independent living, and social participation, and to improve quality of life. ○ Preclinical animal studies are not responsive to this Focus Area. ○ Studies relevant to this Focus Area using qualitative research approaches are allowed.

• 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. ○ Applications studying mechanisms of regeneration or identifying novel therapeutic targets must include a feasible projected pathway for translation and clinical implementation. ○ Basic research projects designed to understand general mechanisms underlying axonal sprouting, regeneration, or neuroplasticity are discouraged unless they directly address translatable approaches. ○ Studies relevant to this Focus Area using qualitative research approaches are allowed.

Eligibility Requirements

Independent investigators at all academic levels (or equivalent) may be named by the organization as the PI on the application. An eligible Principal Investigator (PI), regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or citizenship status, must be employed by, or affiliated with, an eligible organization.



Amount Description

he anticipated direct costs budgeted for the entire period of performance for an FY20 SCIRP TRA award will not exceed $1,250,000. Refer to Section II.D.5, Funding Restrictions, for detailed funding information.

Funding Type



Junior Faculty
Medical Fellow/Resident
Post Doctoral Fellows


Engineering and Physical Sciences
Medical - Clinical Science
Medical - Translational

External Deadline

May 21, 2020