DRPP: Call for Letters of Intent

PR-INBRE Developmental Research Project Program: Call for Letters of Intent Release Date June 25, 2019

Overview: This announcement is a call for Letters of Intent (LOIs) for the PR-INBRE 2P20GM103475-17 Developmental Research Projects Program. As a goal of the PR-INBRE to establish a solid foundation of research excellence and capacity via mentoring and training of promising faculty in PR, this FOA will provide funding for innovative Pilot projects to qualified faculty in the PR-INBRE network to be funded at $75,000 direct costs for 1.0 year (January 2020-December 2020).

Since this is the final year of the current grant cycle, this call for proposals will differ from other years. While we continue with our prior commitments to the currently awarded full and pilot proposals during this final year, the new pilot project initiative will be focused on the development of promising faculty who may be eligible for full proposal support contingent upon the funding of a new five-year cycle. Therefore, the major objective of this call for proposals is to support projects from new investigators to gather sufficient preliminary data to apply for a competitive full proposal. Therefore, please, note the new eligibility criteria listed below.

The research proposals will go through several tiers of review that include initial review of the LOIs, followed by an invitation for proposals. The proposals will be subjected to peer-review by at least two experts in the field and will be discussed and ranked by a five-member review committee. Funding recommendations will be based on the technical merit of the applications, the potential for gathering high-impact preliminary data for future independent proposals, as well as the programmatic objectives of supporting quality research culled from a broad range of INBRE institutions and target areas. The selected applications will then receive another tier of review by the External Advisory Committee, followed by final approval from the NIH IDeA Program.

An Applicant may submit only one application as principal investigator.
All investigators from PR INBRE PUIs and outreach institutions are eligible to apply (see http://inbre.hpcf.upr.edu/pr-inbre-institutions/)
LOIs and queries regarding this FOA can be directed by e-mail to the Developmental Research Program Coordinator at: inbre_proposals@hpcf.upr.edu

Eligibility for proposals:

  • Early-stage investigators, as defined by 10 years within the completion of a terminal research degreesuch as a Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D. will receive priority.
  • However, this competition is open to all faculty with less than 5 years-experience as an assistantprofessor in a PUI or outreach institution in the PR INBRE network.
  • Current INBRE-funded investigators who will complete their projects in 12/2019 may apply but thespecific aims must be distinct from their currently funded INBRE projects.
  • Investigators must not have had previous R-type funding.
  • Investigators may not hold a developmental-type research project award, such as MBRS/SCORE orRCMI or U54 pilot projects, at the time of funding.
  • Investigators must be full-time faculty with tenure-track or renewable/modified tenure track positions.
  • The research projects must be in the following thematic areas: Bioinformatics, Neuroscience, MolecularMedicine/Genomics, or Drug Discovery and Development.
  • The LOI must identify a suitable mentor or senior research collaborator who will guide the applicant in the preparation of the proposal and the research design. These mentor/collaborators selected must be established investigators from research-intensive institutions, with expertise in the proposed reseatch. If necessary, we can assist you with identifying a suitable mentor.


  • Letters of intent due: July 31, 2019
  • Invitations for full proposals: August 07, 2019
  • Full proposals due: September 07, 2019
  • Project start date: January 01, 2020

Proposals that are not compliant with programmatic goals or do not contain the requested information will not be invited for full proposals.

Mandatory components of a LOI

  1. Cover letter containing the following information:
    • Full name, faculty title, and institutional affiliation
    • Title of project
    • The thematic area (Bioinformatics, Neuroscience, Molecular Medicine/Genomics, or DrugDiscovery/Development)
    • Identified mentor (for full proposals) or collaborator (for pilot projects)
  2. One-page abstract including the health relevance, rationale, hypothesis, specific aims, and a brief description of the research design. Applicants must articulate how the proposed project falls within the scope of one of the INBRE thematic areas.
  3. NIH biosketch (5 page limit)

Criteria for Proposals:
The proposals will follow the NIH PHS 398 format and will consist of a Face Page (signed by the institutional representative), a Project Summary, Specific Aims page, and a Research Strategy (6 pages) including Significance, Innovation, and Approach Sections. Budget and Budget Justification sections are not subject to these page limits.

  • A letter or e-mail of commitment should be supplied from the mentor/collaborator.
  • A concise mentoring or a collaboration plan should be included within the proposal page limit. Please, indicate how you will be mentored to achieve research independence as well as your plans formentoring students if student trainees are included in the project.
  • Please, indicate how funding of this proposal can generate the preliminary data to enable thesubmission of a full proposal either to the PR-INBRE or for other extramural support.
  • The NIH guidelines for Human Subjects Research, Vertebrate Animals, Select Agents Research, and Resource Sharing should be followed and included after the Research strategy but without the constraints of the proposal page limits. Applications that do not include these sections will beadministratively withdrawn.
  • If appropriate, projects should include evidence of having applied for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for Human Subjects Research, IACUC, and Biosafety Committees. Projects will not receive funding until the appropriate IRB approvals have been received.
  • A minimum 25% FTE is required from the PI, and proposals should be accompanied with a letter from an institutional official pledging this 3 calendar-month release time. Salary support for the PI is allowed.
  • Salary for technical personnel (technicians/postdocs) and funds for supplies are allowed. Students may receive salary allowances, but not tuition payments or stipends.
  • F&A costs are allowed.
  • Additional requirements: Five-page recent NIH Biosketch, Facilities and Resources (no page limit), and Other Support (no page limit).


Application page limit6
Mentoring/Collaboration and Grant Submission PlantShould be included within the 6-page limit
Required Support LettersLetter or e-mail from the mentor and a letter of support from Department chair with approval of at least 25% release time.
IRB and IACUC ApplicationsEvidence required if applicable
Number of anticipated awards7
Funding level$75,000
Maximum Project period1.0 yr