Developmental Research Project Program

Request for Applications (RFA)


The South Carolina IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) solicits applications for the Developmental Research Project (DRP) Program designed to promote the career development of faculty within the SC INBRE network. DRP proposals must focus on Biomedical Science and fit within the broad scientific focus areas of SC INBRE: Regenerative Medicine; Cell and Molecular Biology; Neuroscience; and Bioinformatics.

Up to 11 new awards will be given. DRP awards support independent research and mentored career development of each recipient. SC INBRE DRP faculty will utilize SC INBRE support to establish their independent research programs and, in the process, provide research training to students and/or postdoctoral fellows in the Biomedical Sciences.

Important Dates

  • Release Date: Friday, September 14, 2018
  • Deadline for submission of application: Monday, December 3, 2018, 11:59 pm EST
  • Period of performance: July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020

Award amounts and number of anticipated awards:

Up to seven awards of $50,000 each for predominantly undergraduate institution (PUI) faculty

Up to four awards of $50,000 each for comprehensive research university (CRU) faculty (two at USC Columbia, one each at MUSC and Clemson University; CRUs will supplement these awards with institutional support)

Utilization of core facilities

If core facility support is required, projects should propose to work with one of the following INBRE-supported facilities:

    • NMR facility at Claflin University, Dr. Muthukrishna Raja (Email, 803-535-5673)
    • Microarray Facility at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Kim Creek, Director (Email, 803-777-0952)
    • Proteogenomics Core Facility at the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Jeremy Barth, Director (Email, 843-792-9984)
    • Instrumentation Resource Facility at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. Bob Price, Director (Email, 803-733-3392)

If the technical services required by the project cannot be provided by any of the listed facilities, or the project is based upon existing collaborations that involve the use of other resources, it is acceptable to use other service providers in or outside South Carolina, but a justification must be provided.

If utilizing the services of a core facility, applicants must work with facility directors to plan the proposed experiments: a letter of support from the chosen facility’s Director, or a quote – if using a commercial facility – must be included in the proposal.

The computational and data storage resources of SC INBRE’s Bioinformatics Core are also available to SC INBRE DRP applicants. To access these resources, contact the Bioinformatics Core Director, Dr. Homayoun Valafar (Email, 803-777-2404).


DRP proposals are solicited from faculty at all institutions of higher education that participate in the SC INBRE network, including CRUs, Network PUIs and Outreach PUIs. Eligible applicants include:

    1. Tenure-track Assistant or Associate Professors at participating SC INBRE PUIs.
    2. PUI faculty who will attain tenure-track status with the successful completion of a DRP are also welcome to apply, but must provide a letter from their Department Chair committing to this change of status.
    3. CRU tenure-track or research faculty at the Assistant or Associate Professor level.
    4. PUI or CRU faculty at later stages of their career who lack current NIH funding and intend to utilize SC INBRE support to re-tool or change fields of interest and re-gain competitiveness for independent funding can also apply, provided that they abide by all requirements of the RFA, including mentoring.
    5. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements for, but not have current substantial NIH funding as PIs or as contact PIs in multiple PI grants. Faculty who are PI’s of R01, R21, R15 AREA grants, or are current COBRE target faculty are not eligible to apply; R03-funded investigators can apply if the proposed project extends upon or is unrelated to the currently R03-funded studies.
    6. Competitive renewal applications from currently funded DRP recipients will also be considered for a third year of support.

**Only one proposal per funding period will be accepted from any faculty. Women, minorities and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Page Limits and Page Format

    • Page limits are five pages for the Project Description with one additional page for Specific Aims.
    • Proposals must be prepared with 0.6” margins all around, using Arial (or similar sans serif) font and a font size no smaller than 11pt.

Proposal Assembly

All DRP Program proposals must be assembled in the following sequence, using NIH form pages from NIH application form 398, found at

Fill out the forms in their entirety and according to the NIH application for 398 instructions.

    • Face Page in NIH format: application form 398, face page template – This page must be filled out in its entirety and signed by an authorized institutional representative
    • Project Summary/Abstract, performance site and personnel: form 398, form page 2 – Fill out all components and indicate whether or not the project uses human embryonic stem cells.
    • Budget Page, NIH format: application form 398, form page 4. Enter direct costs only, total up to $50,000
    • Budget Justification:
      • Allowable costs include personnel; supplies; travel; equipment; and other costs as allowed on NIH research project grant budgets, including indirect costs.
    • Biographical Sketch of PI in NIH-format: application form 398, Biographical Sketch Format Page
    • Biographical sketches of other key personnel, also on NIH 398 forms
    • Biographical sketches of mentors, also on NIH 398 forms
    • Project Description subdivided into:
      • Introduction/Response to Reviewers’ Comments (for resubmissions only): one page
      • Progress report (for DRP competitive renewals only): two pages
      • Specific Aims: one page
      • Significance and Innovation and Research Plan: up to five pages
      • Literature cited (limit references to about 20)
      • Mentoring Plan for Target Faculty: up to two pages. Each DRP target faculty will select two mentors, one from the same institution as a career mentor; the other from the same scientific area, this could be a senior collaborator. A written mentoring plan must accompany each application.
    • Letters of support from mentors. Each mentor must provide a letter of support
    • Plans for training of students/postdoctoral fellows under the award: up to two pages. Make sure to include opportunities for training in lab safety and responsible conduct of research in the plans for student training. Also explain what role the students will have in the project and how participation in the project will help develop the students’ research and intellectual skills and help them mature as scientists.
    • Human Subjects. If research involves human subjects, discuss the use of human subjects as required in NIH grant applications. Provide targeted enrollment tables, a certificate of training in HS research for the PI, and proof of IRB approval for the project. No activities involving human subjects can be initiated without appropriate IRB approval of the protocol. If your proposal does not involve human subjects, please state so. File for IRB approval, if needed, when you begin preparation of your DRP application.
    • Vertebrate Animals. Describe the project’s animal protocols according to NIH guidelines, addressing the required four points for animal use protocols (see for additional information). Research involving vertebrate animals must be approved by the IACUC before work on the project can start. Submit your animal protocol for approval while you are preparing your DRP application. If the research does not involve vertebrate animals, please state so.
    • Biosafety. Discuss the biosafety aspects of the proposed work and, if necessary, file for approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee as you prepare your proposal to SC INBRE. If there are no biohazards, please state so.
    • Plans for Further Development of the Work. Describe plans for publication and how you plan to use the data in grant proposals; if possible, mention specific opportunities for funding, new collaborations, etc.
    • Checklist. NIH application form 398, checklist form page. This is the page where the indirect costs associated with the project are calculated and shown.


Applications will be reviewed by the Administrative Core personnel to determine responsiveness to the RFA, eligibility of the applicant, completeness of the application, and information about human subjects, animal use and biosafety. Applications deemed incomplete, ineligible or not responsive will be returned to the applicants.

All proposals that meet the eligibility requirements and guidelines will be independently evaluated by at least two reviewers selected from a pool of individuals with suitable expertise. Reviewers will apply the following review criteria:

    • Scientific merit of the proposed project
    • Potential to lead to a competitive extramural grant proposal and potential for publication
    • Qualifications of project personnel
    • Appropriateness of budget
    • Broader impact within the INBRE network, including involvement of underrepresented minorities within the research team: African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Americans, women, and/or Persons with disabilities.
    • Qualifications of mentors and quality/appropriateness of mentoring plan
    • Quality of proposed training plans for students
    • Appropriateness of descriptions of human subjects/vertebrate animals/biosafety protocols

Final decisions on funding will be made jointly by the SC INBRE Administrative Core, SC INBRE External Advisory Committee and NIGMS.

Awards and Reporting Requirements

Principal Investigators will receive a notice of award/declination and copies of the reviewers’ comments via email.

Award recipients are required to provide the SC INBRE Administrative Core with project data for evaluation and reporting purposes, as follows:

    1. A brief interim progress report, including a summary of the supported activity, summary of expenditures, project plans for the future, and project achievements (publications, presentations, proposal submitted) is due after six months of activity of the award. DRP award recipients are expected to apply for extramural support as soon as possible during or after the completion of their DRP award work. They are also expected to publish their results, and present them at regional and/or national conferences.
    2. A comprehensive final report is due 30 days after the end date of the award.
    3. All publications resulting even in part from work supported by SC INBRE must acknowledge SC INBRE support, and a PMCID must be obtained for each publication in a timely fashion.

After the expiration date of each award, SC INBRE will continue to contact DRP PIs for outcome-related data such as grants, publications, etc. Failure to provide any requested materials for award or evaluation purposes will constitute default under this program, and disqualify the DRP award recipient from further SC INBRE support.

Application Submission Instructions and Contact Information

DRP applications, complete of required signatures on Certification and Budget pages, must be submitted as a single pdf file no later than 11:59 pm EST on the deadline, by email to, with copy to

If you have a question, a FAQ page has been prepared. If this page does not answer your question, please direct any inquiries relating to this call for applications to Dr. Edie Goldsmith by email ( or by phone (803) 216-3809.

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