Flexible Center Grant Program:

Applications Due May 1

Summary: The Center for Research on Reproduction & Women's Health (CRRWH) at the University has been designated by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Contraceptive Research and Development (CONRAD) Program to be a National Center of Excellence in Contraceptive Research. As a designated center, we have successfully competed for a Flexible Center Grant Program. The purpose of this program is to provide seed monies for research projects related to the development of new contraceptive modalities. In accordance with the guidelines established by the Mellon Foundation and CONRAD Program, funding will be restricted to projects carried out by Junior Investigators (e.g., senior post docs; Research Associates; Assistant Professors). Projects could address basic and/or clinical questions and do not have to have immediate clinical application. Projects could focus on any type of experimental system (e.g., from worms to humans) with a rational case being made for potential application to the development of new contraceptive agents. Projects could also involve clinical trials in which new agents are being tested. This RFA will solicit applications to fund 2 to 3 projects in the amount of $50,000 to $75,000 (total direct costs for entire funding period; indirect costs not permitted; funds for salary support not permitted). The funding period for these grants will commence on 7/1/00 and will end on 6/30/02. An annual progress report to be submitted to the Program Director will be required, and guidelines for the content of this report will be provided.

Mission and Guidelines: The goal of this program is to support research projects related to contraceptive development both within the University of Pennsylvania and outside the University with foreign collaborative research centers that emphasize basic/clinical research in the reproductive sciences. For example, the CRRWH already has long established interactions with the University of Chile, Santiago, Chile (Luigi Devoto, M.D.), the Catholic University of Chile, Santiago, Chile (Horacio Croxatto, M.D.), and the Research Unit in Reproductive Medicine, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Mexico City, Mexico (Alfredo Ulloa-Aguirre, M.D., Ph.D.).

Funds from the Flexible Center Grant will be dispersed for the following purposes:

  1. Support of new research initiatives related to contraceptive research that are proposed by junior level scientists and/or clinician scientists throughout the University who satisfy the criteria of eligibility to be named as Junior Investigators as mandated by the Mellon-CONRAD program.
  2. Support for pilot projects in collaboration with foreign research centers.

Decisions regarding the disbursement of these funds will be made by a Program Funding Committee composed of the Program Director and several faculty members, to be appointed based on the applications received. The criteria for such awards will include, 1) the scientific rationale for use of funds in a research project that could lead to the development of new contraceptives, and 2) the potential for the development of such a project in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry, either through funding from industry or through side-by-side development with industry.

Applications should contain the following information:

  1. Up to 3 pages (excluding references) describing the aim(s), background/significance and research design. Since this is a short application, emphasize salient points only and keep references to a minimum.
  2. Budget: supplies, animals (if applicable), other expenses. Equipment can be requested, but it must be well justified.
  3. CV and documentation of support (Other Support if Assistant Professor; source of support if senior post doc or research associate).
  4. CV and Other Support of senior faculty member (if applicable).
  5. Resources and Environment.
  6. Accompanying IACUC/IRB documentation.

Direct inquiries regarding this RFA and applications to: Gregory S. Kopf, Program Director, Program for Contraceptive Research, Center for Research on Reproduction & Women's Health, University of Pennsylvania, Rm. 1315, Biomedical Research Building II/III, 421 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19104-6142. Tel:(215)573-4780 FAX:(215) 573-4337 or e-mail: kopf@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Student Health Service Reaccreditated

Penn's Student Health Service recently received the official decision of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and we have again achieved accreditation for three years.

As described by JCAHO, the process of accreditation entailed evaluation of the Student Health Service "against a set of national standards by a Joint Commission team experienced in the delivery of ambulatory healthcare services... Achieving accreditation demonstrates commitment to provide high quality care to patients."

All of our staff are justifiably proud of this accomplishment and deserve recognition for their contribution to the accreditation effort and to their dedication to serving the University community.

--Leah Smith, Director of Communications Office of the Vice Provost for University Life

Alzheimer's Pilot Projects

The University's NIH-funded ADCC in the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR) will fund two pilot projects on biomedical, epidemiological or behavioral research in basic science or clinical areas each at a level of up to $20,000/year. These one-year, non-renewable grants support pilot research projects on the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis or management of dementia of the Alzheimer's type or related conditions. The purpose is to assist faculty in obtaining preliminary data to serve as the basis of a grant application to the NIH or other public or private agencies concerned with this important medical and social problem.

A committee will review the proposals and funding depends not only on scientific merit, but also on the likelihood that the pilots will lead to independent investigator initiated proposals. Priority will be given to:

  • Faculty in the early stages of their career who seek to enter the Alzheimer's Disease research arena
  • Senior faculty who intend to shift their research emphasis towards neuro-degenerative diseases.

Applications should utilize the NIH PHS 398 form with a limit of 10 pages (exclusive of literature cited). Approved University applications for human subjects or animals, if applicable, should be completed and attached. The application submission deadline is March 15, 2000, and questions may be directed to Gayle Viale, at (CNDR), via phone (215) 662-4708 or e-mail: viale@mail.med.upenn.edu.

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Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 21, February 15, 2000