About Us

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The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is providing a healthier future for a changing world with new discoveries through research.

Our internationally known faculty researchers are exploring new approaches to the treatment of disease, including Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease, Primary Care and Prevention and Investigative Genetics.

We support and serve all HSC faculty, staff and students.



Research Enhancement Assistance Program (REAP)

 

Developed by The President’s Research Council and the VPR’s Research Advisory Committee, a series of new research enhancement programs are rolling out. The programs described below will be managed by the Faculty Research Support Team (FRST).  Detailed information about each program are listed below.

Early Stage Investigator (ESI)

Early Stage Investigator (ESI) Pilot Grants Program

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PDF of program overview

Program Overview

 

The ESI Pilot Grants Program awards are intended to assist early-stage investigators as they launch their independent research careers. The awards may be used for the collection of preliminary data, equipment, or research assistance necessary to strengthen an extramural grant application. Applications for both clinical and basic science research are encouraged. Faculty who receive support through this program are expected to collect preliminary data to submit a research proposal for extramural funding.

 

Applications (see below) will be scored using an NIH 1-9 scale.

Applicants can request up to $50,000 for one year. A faculty member can submit only one application per funding cycle; unfunded proposals may be resubmitted one time with revisions. The maximum project period is 12 months.

Allowable costs: personnel (research staff, students, postdoctoral fellows, residents/fellows), inpatient/outpatient care, core services, and supplies and consultant and equipment costs (less than $5,000).

Unallowable costs: faculty salaries, office equipment, renovations, alterations, publication and travel expenses.

Eligibility: Applicants must be early-stage investigators, as defined by the NIH. An ESI is a principal investigator who has completed their terminal degree or post-graduate clinical training within the past 10 years and who has not previously competed successfully as PI for a major NIH independent research award.

 

Applications: Applications are accepted through InfoReady. Proposals will include the following:

  • ESI Cover Page [on the InfoReady submission platform]
  • Application Research Plan – 2 pages containing the following sections:
  1. Specific Aims (1 page)
  2. Brief description of the Research Approach (1 page)
  • NIH biosketch (PI only)
  • Detailed Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • Departmental Letter(s) of Support
  • SMART Goals

 

Review Criteria

The applicant must be an early-stage investigator and have adequate laboratory space (if research is lab-based). The review will use NIH scoring criteria and also consider the following additional criteria:

  • Does the investigator have appropriate experience and training?
  • Is/are the PD(s)/PI(s) likely to progress to robust, independent and productive research careers, including obtaining independent research funding and publishing high-impact research papers?
  • Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions?
  • Do the PD(s)/PI(s) demonstrate an ability to conceptualize and organize a short-term research project that will translate to an independent R01 or equivalent research application?
  • Is there a plan and the potential to submit subsequent R01 or equivalent applications, to receive additional independent research grant awards, to produce research results, and to author high-impact publications?
  • Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?

Review Process:

  • The Principal Investigator must submit the full application to the Department Chair or Dean for their assessment and commitment of resources,
  • This Chair’s and/or Dean’s sign-off assessment of quality and trajectory of research plan and program must be conducted prior to submission to FRST,
  • Applications with a statement of Chair/Dean’s approval and support will then be submitted by the Investigator to InfoReady by the announced deadline. FRST will review applications for 2-3 weeks prior to a scheduled RAC meeting for a regulatory and financial compliance screening review,                                                                                                                        
  • FRST will then send the application package to RAC for review:
    • Ad hoc review panel (three or four members) selected by RAC which can also involve non-RAC specialty reviewers
    • Ad hoc review panel makes a recommendation to RAC
    • RAC will make a funding recommendation to the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation                                                                                                            
  • If funding is approved, the relevant parties will be notified in writing, and the ESI award will be processed/managed by FRST

SMART Goals

Funds will be made available in three tranches (40/40/20%) based on progress made according to agreed-upon SMART goal milestones. SMART goals will be used as project progress markers at day 90, 180 and 270. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. SMART goals are intended to measure project progress, not outcomes. For the Early Stage Investigator Pilot Grants program, awardees will be expected to participate in grant consultation specific for submitting grants. These workshops or advisory sessions will be provided through the Division of Research and Innovation (DRI). The SMART goals for this program will include an estimated date for submission of the application (which may be after the funding period) and participation in professional development activities and grant writing workshops to facilitate the resubmission. FRST will meet with the PI at 90, 180, and 270 days to determine progress on the SMART goals. If there are any scientific issues reported at any of these meetings, a member of RAC and/or appropriate designated faculty member from the PI’s college, if applicable, will meet with the PI to modify the SMART goals. After Day 270, FRST will audit all expenditures, and any unobligated funds will be recovered.

Note that SMART Goal “dates” may be adjusted in accordance with the time frame for the funding agency resubmission; dates to be set at the time of award from DRI. 

Action 

Amount 

Upon 

Tranche 1 

40% of approved budget 

Day 0 (launch meeting) 

Tranche 2 

40% of approved budget 

Day 90 and attaining SMART goal 1 

Tranche 3 

20% of approved budget 

Day 180 and attaining SMART goal 2 

SMART Goal 1 should include IRB or IACUC approval if applicable.

SMART Goal 2 should be specific to the research project proposed.

SMART Goal 3 should include draft documents of the external proposal submission, including the following sections:

  • Specific Aims (1 page)
  • Research Strategy (6 or 12 pages per grant mechanism)
  • NIH biosketches
  • Budget
  • Budget Justification
  • References (not included in page count)

 

Deadlines:

 

Application Deadline   `           November 15, 2021

Scientific Review                    December-January

Earliest Start Date                  Late January 2022

HSC Bridge Funding Program (BFP)

HSC Bridge Funding Program (BFP)

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PDF of program overview

Overview

 

The HSC Bridge Funding Program (BFP) provides up to 12 months of support for full-time faculty members to maintain their research activities during a lapse in funding and resubmit more competitive grant applications for successful funding. Typically, applicants have been unsuccessful in a recent attempt to renew or replace a major federal grant (e.g., R01) but are likely to be funded upon resubmission of a revised application, based on the overall impact score, and summary statement/critiques of the previously unsuccessful application.

Applications are evaluated by a review committee that will be formed for each application. Applicants must demonstrate that their research program is jeopardized by the lack of extramural funding, that they have one or more rounds of unfunded extramural applications, and that they will contribute a significant portion of their available discretionary or start-up funds to maintain their lab. Intellectual property arising from funded project activities will be governed by the policies of the HSC.

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be full-time faculty members. Priority will be given to applicants that meet the following criteria:
    • Faculty who have lost all extramural funding in their research portfolio and anticipate a deleterious effect (e.g. loss of critical research personnel or animals).
    • Recent grant applications (last two years) that received promising scores (close to the funding range) but did not receive funding; the applicant should explain how the reviewers’ critiques will be satisfactorily addressed.

NOTE: Bridge Funding applications may be submitted up to six months prior to the expected funding loss. Established investigators must have independent research programs with continuous, peer-reviewed, extramural funding during the previous three-year period. Applicants must include the summary statement from at least one recent well-scored but unfunded application.

  • Faculty who have received Bridge Funding Program funds within the past three fiscal years are not eligible to apply.                                                                                                         
  • The number of proposals funded will depend on available funds and the number of meritorious, qualified applicationsreceived. Awards will be for up to $75,000 for up to one year. Unspent funds, or funds that have not yet been used when external funding is received, must be returned to FRST for redistribution. Faculty are expected to report any external funding received during the year of BFP support.                                  

Because time is of the essence for the program’s success, Bridge Funding Program applications may be submitted at any time of year, and will be reviewed on a “first-come, first-served” basis.

 

 

Funding:

The Bridge Funding award may be used to support:

  • Supplies/project expenses;
  • Animal care or core facility services;
  • Participant costs; or
  • Salaries/benefits for non-faculty research personnel
  • BFP award funds may NOT be used to support:
  • Faculty salaries;
  • Travel;
  • Equipment;
  • Budget overdrafts;
  • Administrative costs (i.e., school and departmental surcharges); and
  • Subawards

Review Criteria

The applicant must have an independent research program and adequate laboratory space, if research is lab-based. Review will use the NIH scoring criteria and consider the following additional criteria:

  1. The applicant has demonstrated conscientious efforts to establish and maintain extramural funding and to diversify funding streams.
  2. Support of the Department/School/Administrative Unit(s), including documentation of the financial commitment to the applicant and a statement that the Unit(s) will provide 33% of the BFP award. (Note: When there are remaining or unspent balances, any matching fund from the supporting unit will proportionally be returned.)
  3. Quality of the applicant’s research portfolio and research productivity.
  4. Recent grant applications (last two years) that received favorable scores (close to the funding range); the “pay-line” for the programs should be included (if available); the applicant should explain how the reviewers’ critiques will be addressed.

Review Process

  • Chair’s and/or Dean’s assessment of quality and trajectory of research plan and program,
  • Applications will then be submitted to InfoReady (managed by FRST) two weeks prior to a scheduled RAC meeting in order for a regulatory and financial compliance review,
  • Applications will then be sent to RAC for scientific and feasibility review:
    • Ad hoc review panel (three or four members) selected by RAC which can also involve non-RAC ad hoc reviewers
    • Ad hoc review panel makes a recommendation to RAC
    • RAC will make a funding recommendation to the Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation
  • If the award of funding is approved, awards will be processed/managed by FRST.

 

 

SMART Goals

 

Funds will be made available in three tranches based on progress made according to agreed-upon SMART goal milestones. SMART goals will be used as project progress markers at days 90, 180 and 270. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

SMART goals are intended to measure project progress, not outcomes. For the Bridge Funding Program, awardees will be expected to participate in grant writing workshops specifically for revising and resubmitting grants that will be coordinated by FRST and relevant College/School personnel. The SMART goals for this program will include an estimated date for submission of the revised application (which may be after the funding period) and participation in professional development activities and grant writing workshops to facilitate the resubmission. FRST will meet with the PI at 90, 180, and 270 days to determine progress on the SMART goals. If there are any scientific issues reported at any of these meetings, a member of RAC and/or appropriate Associate Dean for Research (or a faculty member designated by the relevant College or School Dean) will meet with the PI to modify the SMART goals. After Day 270, FRST will audit all expenditures, and any unobligated funds will be recovered.

Action

Amount

Upon

Tranche 1

50% of approved budget

Day 0 (launch meeting)

Tranche 2

25% of approved budget

Day 90 and attaining SMART goal 1

Tranche 3

25% of approved budget

Day 180 and attaining SMART goal 2

Application Materials

  • BFP Cover Page

 

  • Detailed Budget and Budget Justification for the Bridge Period (use BFP form)
  • NIH Biosketches
  • Summary Statement of recent grant submissions and their pay-lines (if known) for relevant programs
  • Specific Aims of the research during the Bridge Funding period (one-page limit)
  • Research Plan: Two-page description of the research that will be conducted during the Bridge Funding period
  • Plans for Obtaining Extramural Support: Plans to obtain renewal support for this sponsored program. Include the Specific Aims section that is planned for the extramural grant application and SMART goals (total two-page limit).
  • Other Support: A list of all funds available in existing research accounts, start-up funds or institutional research funds committed to the applicant. The availability of other sources of support for the applicant’s program will be considered in the decision. A list of pending alternative grant applications should be included.
  • Letter of Support from the Administrative Support Unit

Note: Any inquiry about BFP should be addressed to FRST.

Faculty under a department or college Performance Enhancement or Improvement Plan are not eligible for BFP funding.

Team Science (TS)

Research Enhancement Assistance Program: Team Science (TS)

PDF of program overview

Purpose:

 

Team science has been growing in importance in biomedical and behavioral discoveries.  For instance, NIH-funded extramural research, including that funded by research project (R) grants, has been producing mostly multi-author papers with increasing numbers of authors per paper over time. Other funding mechanisms at NIH designed to promote large-scale, multi-project Team Science (TS)—mainly program project or center (P) grants and cooperative agreements (U)—generate papers with greater numbers of authors. Greater numbers of authors are often associated with greater citation influence. When we look more closely at the impact of the shift, we see that collaboration is proving to move science forward in important and diverse ways.

To facilitate “team science” at HSC, the Division of Research and Innovation (DRI), working with the President’s Research Council (PRC) and the DRI Research Advisory Committee (RAC), has developed a new initiative to support this approach. This Program Announcement (HSC-TS-001) will provide developmental support for a project or program that will ultimately result in a competitive and fundable grant application to an external funding agency that provides significant direct and indirect funding to establish a major ongoing and sustainable initiative of strategic HSC research interest. The proposal will be evaluated based on the merit of the scientific idea, and the strength and synergy of the proposed team. Awards are for a two-year, non-renewable period.

This program has the HSC values of Collaboration and Be Visionary as its underpinnings, with two opportunity pathways:

  • Collaboration among team members to develop a project requiring interdisciplinary skills and approaches that are essential to exploring and/or developing a novel approach and solution to an existing problem within a defined area of strategic research interest to HSC. The current Research Areas of Strength at HSC, among many, include:
  • Cardiovascular Research
  • Genetics/Genomics
  • Health Disparities / Population Health
  • Prevention of Substance Use and Related Risk Behaviors
  • Neurodegenerative Disease, primarily Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Vision Research

                  Projects within this pathway would involve investigators with different types of                   expertise addressing the same problem from different scientific perspectives.

  • Multi-project/Multi-Investigator Pathway: Multi-project grant applications share the following features: at least two interrelated research projects, connected to a theme with each capable of standing on its own scientific merit but complementing one another; collaboration and interaction among projects and investigators to achieve a common goal with synergy among projects. These are the so-called P and U category awards (as defined by NIH).

P01 / P20—multidisciplinary, multi-project research program headed by a PI or PIs who bring in other investigators to conduct research projects and share resources toward a common program goal.

P30 / P50—a center core grant that supports shared resources and facilities for a multidisciplinary research team or group of investigators focusing on a common research topic. P50 centers may also serve as regional or national resources for special research purposes.

 

U01 / U54—support for translational or implementation research from basic to clinical to population, including ancillary supportive activities that create a multidisciplinary focus on a disease or a biomedical problem.

R18 – support for dissemination and implementation (D&I) research that involves extension or adaptation of generally accepted and efficacious interventions that have been previously carried out in well-controlled settings to broader populations or settings.

 

R24—support for resource-related research projects or enhanced research infrastructure. One example is to facilitate the translation of laboratory and animal studies into novel resources for the treatment of disease.

Since this Team Science initiative is designed as a semi-annual program, there is no limit on the number of applications that can be submitted for consideration.  Applications will be reviewed twice a year (exact dates to be announced, typically mid-December, mid-April). Requirements include:

  • A faculty member can be a principal investigator (PI) on only one application per year,
  • Existing faculty member and/or unit (department or college / school) discretionary funds must be committed to the endeavor. Where possible, a significant unit or investigator match is expected as a demonstration of unit investment and commitment to the project,
  • To participate in this program, the PI(s) must be full-time regular tenure-track or tenured faculty member(s). Co-Investigators (Co-Is) may be in any faculty category. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and part time faculty are not eligible to serve as PIs or Co-Is.

Funding:

A maximum of up to $200,000 inclusive of any unit match funds over a two-year period per application; special attention will be given to the fiduciary credibility of the proposed TS budget and research plan. Funding will be released as major components of the project are completed (as shown in SMART goals). Up to three awards per year may be made, depending on availability of funds.

The TS Program will have internal review by PRC and RAC members as well as external content experts, if needed.

Research Proposal Components (similar to that of an NIH application):

  1. Face Page
  2. Budget
  3. Budget Justification
  4. Biographical Sketch for the PI/Team Leader and each investigator (use current NIH format)
  5. Research Plan (6-page limit)

The Research Plan should propose a single integrated program of research addressing a significant scientific question with a single set of specific aims sufficient to accomplish a well-defined goal within the allowable period. The Plan should be highly innovative, develop new concepts, address critical issues, and be sufficiently challenging that a single investigator alone is unlikely to advance the field.

  1. Specific Aims (1-page limit)
  2. Background: Significance and Innovation (2 pages)
  3. Preliminary Studies }   4 page limit for sections c-d
  4. Research Design and Methods }
  5. References (no page limit)
  6. Team Management Plan (describe MPIs, if applicable, and team members and their scientific contributions to the project)
  7. Vertebrate Section (if applicable)
  8. Human Studies (if applicable)
  9. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals (2-page limit)

The proposal should provide “SMART” goals to be accomplished by the end of every six months of the project, where SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. The SMART goals should be tangible and measurable outcomes that the proposed work is likely to produce. There should be a description of major milestones that are tied to the funding (e.g., hiring of staff and purchase of equipment (> $5000), launch of pilot data collection, analysis, presentation or publication). There should also be a description of how this work will lead to extramural funding and the planned funding program to which this project will be submitted.

  1. Literature Cited
  2. Brief Summary of Team Members’ available time/effort to the project. NIH biosketches                         should list current as well as pending support.
  3. Equipment justification and quote (if essential; see Budget below)

 

Budget

The following restrictions apply to requested funds.

 

Allowable

Not Allowable

Faculty Salary

 

X

Student/Postdoc Salary

X

 

Tuition

 

X

Administrative/Staff Salary

X

 

Supplies

X

 

Furniture/Equipment

X*

 

Computers/Software

X

 

Alterations/Renovations

X*

 

Travel

X*

 

Indirect Costs/Subcontracts

 

X

Participant Incentives/Hospital Per Diem

X

 

NOTES:

* Laboratory equipment costing over $5,000 must have clear and significant justification.

* Domestic travel only.  Such travel funds must be directly related to core components of the             proposed research plan, such as data collection.

* Alterations and Renovations must be project-essential and justified.

Funds are for a non-renewable, two-year period. No-cost extensions (NCE) are not allowed, except in extenuating circumstances. All extension and re-budget requests must be approved by the Vice President for Research and Innovation..

Criteria for Review

NIH Standard review criteria will be used: (see NIH Guidance on Center and Program criteria; see below). Note that teams may be asked to present to the Council during the final review stage.

Overall impact (1-9):

An overall impact score that reflects the likelihood for this TS project to exert a powerful influence on research fields involved and the TS environment at HSC. Successful applications should demonstrate how the proposed projects are visionary and transformative.

Significance (1-9):

  • Does the project address a critical barrier to progress in the field?
  • Does this project aim to accomplish what cannot be accomplished by individual R01s?
  • How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?
  • How will the project facilitate large-scale, multi-project team science at HSC?

Investigators (1-9)

  • Are the PI, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project?
  • If Early-Stage Investigators or those in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training?
  • If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field?
  • For multi-PI projects, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise?
  • Does the project team have investigators from multiple units or disciplines at HSC?
  • Is there a compelling description of how team members from different disciplines will contribute to coherently solving the problem in a unique and substantial way?
  • If new teams without a history of collaboration at HSC are proposed, how likely are the teams to successfully collaborate?
  • From existing TS teams, it is demonstrated that they have already collaborated and worked synergistically, resulting in products (if any).

Innovation (1-9)

  • Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions?
  • Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense?

Approach (1-9)

  • Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project?
  • Have investigators included plans to address weaknesses in the rigor of prior research that serves as the key support for the proposed project?
  • Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the work proposed?
  • Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented?
  • For multi-projects proposals, are individual projects scientifically rigorous on their own and complement other related projects to create new synergy?
  • How will the project foster collaboration and efficiencies, ensuring appropriate prioritization of research, needed course corrections and problem identification and resolution?
  • Are there appropriate SMART goals? Successful applications are expected to have well-developed deliverables, outcomes, and future grant application plans.

Team environment (1-9)

  • Are there appropriate support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?
  • Are there any matching financial and non-financial support from the units of proposed investigators?
  • Has a team management/communication and work process plan been presented?

Budget

Departmental/College or School matching funds, if any, will be considered in the criteria for review. Funds beyond salary cost-sharing are encouraged. Provide a description of the funds that are available and a written signed commitment from the account holder for the direct use of those funds.

Budget inflation will not be reviewed favorably. Realistic budget estimations will be considered. Equipment requested should be justified and clear regarding the purpose and need for the equipment to meet the stated goals of this proposed work.

 

Timeline (included in Research Plan)

Provide a detailed timeline for the study, including data collection, and justify the need for the length of the proposal.

Provide details on how the data collected from this proposal will be used for future grant proposals, giving estimated deliverables and timeline where possible. What specific grant funding mechanism will be targeted?  Provide details of the program announcement (RFA or PA) for which the data obtained from this team science effort will improve chances of securing it. Include timeline of grant proposal submissions (first submission and resubmission).

 

SMART GOAL expectations

Whether a project achieved targeted SMART goals will be evaluated every six months by a subcommittee appointed by the DRI.

 

Review and Evaluation Process:

Proposals will be reviewed first by FRST and then by a subset of the RAC, with ad hoc external reviewers as needed (particularly to evaluate content area). Recommendations for awards will be made to the PRC with a final review and recommendation to the Vice President for Research and Innovation for final decisions. Applications will be accepted twice per year (starting December 2021, then April 2022, etc.).  Written feedback will be provided to applicants using NIH Summary Sheet format.

Allocations of Funds

Post-award grant administration will be provided by FRST. A brief written progress report along with a financial report showing project expenditures are due every 6 months and remaining funds will be provided upon satisfactory progress report evaluation. Funding will be provided in four 6-month tranches (Tranches 1, 2, 3, and 4). The DRI may request that the team provides a presentation on current progress toward the originally stated goal. Detailed annual progress report, along with a financial report, is due 30 days prior to completing each funding year period.

When justified, funding requests can be frontloaded up to 50-75% in the first or second Tranches so that more funds can be allocated at the beginning of the project.

No funds will be transferred to the principal investigator unless all HSC regulatory requirements have been fulfilled (IRB approval, IACUC approval, RCOI Training and Annual Disclosure documents, Biosafety review, safety training, etc.). In the event that regulatory requirements or SMART goals are not met, the DRI will delay the distribution of funding.

All intellectual property arising from funded project activities will be governed by the policies of HSC.

Program Evaluation:  At regular intervals, this program (HSC-TS-001) will be evaluated for changes needed, effectiveness, and relevant process improvements.



Research Units

Research Compliance

  • North Texas Regional IRB
  • IACUC Administration
  • Research Conflict of Interest
  • Research Compliance
  • Post-Approval Monitoring

Research Compliance Overview (pdf)

Faculty Research Support Team

  • Proposal Development Services
  • Award Management Services
  • Limited Submission Opportunities

Faculty Research Support Team (pdf)

Lab Animal Medicine

  • Training
  • Forms & Records
  • Technical Services
  • Animal Vendors
  • Policies & Procedures

Lab Animal Medicine Overview (pdf)

Research Infrastructure

  • Discovery Centers  
  • Flow Cytometry Core
  • Genomics Core
  • Microscopy Core

Research Infrastructure

Sponsored Programs

  • Pre-Award
  • Post-Award Management
  • Accounting
  • Contracts
  • IT

Sponsored Programs Overview (pdf)



Mission Statement

Assist all components of the Health Science Center in:

  • Identifying research opportunities
  • Securing support
  • Overseeing research
  • Ensuring policies and compliance