PennCERT Small Grant Program: Request for Applications

The Penn Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (CERT), funded by a Cooperative Agreement from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is a joint program of Penn's Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB), Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI), Center for Experimental Therapeutics (CET),General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), and Office of Health Services Research.

The primary aim of the PennCERT is to examine patterns of anti-infective drug use and patterns of anti-infective drug resistance across a series of medical settings of increasing complexity and size (e.g., academic hospitals, primary care practices and community health facilities throughout the UPHS, the population-based region served by a network of hospitals in the Delaware Valley, Medicaid datasets from around the U.S., the General Practice Research Database of electronic medical records from 6% of the general practitioners in the United Kingdom, etc.).

Ultimately, the goals of the PennCERT are to identify optimal patterns of anti-infective drug use, develop methods for achieving improved patterns of use, and examine the effectiveness of these interventions. These objectives are advanced through linking investigators with diverse training to develop studies examining the risks and benefits of real world patterns of anti-infective drug use and determinants of these patterns of prescribing.

The PennCERT efforts include the following:

a) conducting pilot research on the risks, benefits, and use of anti-infective medications, targeted at the development of R01 quality grants and proposals;

b) conducting other research concerning anti-infectives, including drug utilization and subsequent intervention studies, safety studies; efficacy and effectiveness studies, and methodology studies;

c) testing and building the capabilities of the current HUP Drug Use Evaluation Program as a laboratory, expanding it to broader outpatient populations;

d) improving the use of anti-infectives locally and nationally, with pilot studies leading to grant funding for larger scale efforts, as well as formal dissemination of evidence-based data both known and to be known;

e) conducting an extensive education program, including expanded undergraduate medical education coursework in clinical therapeutics, a Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE), and Ph.D. fellowship training in pharmaco-epidemiology, and opportunities for MSCE and PhD students in epidemiology and biostatistics to use existing in-house databases to answer new questions, to participate in ongoing research, and to develop new research projects; and

f) organizing and formally disseminating the results of CERT work, including publications and presentations for the scientific/professional community, the FDA, AHRQ, other CERTs, and the public.

More information about the PennCERT can be found at


  • Faculty, fellows, and students from all schools at Penn are eligible, but fellows and students must specify a faculty member who will assume scientific and administrative responsibility, and who must co-sign the cover letter.
  • Applications will be evaluated based on scientific and public health impact, potential for future funding, and cost.
  • Grant winners will be expected to join the monthly meetings of the PennCERT.

Application Format:

  • Applications should focus on the PennCERT mission to identify optimal patterns of anti-infective drug use, develop methods for achieving improved patterns of use, and examine the effectiveness of these interventions.
  • Applications should address any one or more of the six research, education, and dissemination activity areas described above in a) through f), and identify by letter which activity area(s) is (are) targeted.
  • Applications must include a cover letter submitting the application, co-signed by the chair of the department; a 2-page NIH biographical sketch (; NIH-style other support pages (; a budget; an abstract (<500 words); and a maximum of a 5-page description per project. Research project proposals should be formatted as: Specific Aims, Background, Study Design, Source Population, Analysis, Sample Size, Limitations, and Implications. In addition, applicants should identify any public or private partnerships anticipated as part of the proposed project.
  • Applications should specify which, and how much, of the following available resources are requested: access to CERT data; data programmer support; biostatistical support; publication costs; travel costs to present the research; other research costs (up to $10,000 in additional direct costs). Investigator salary support is not available.
  • IRB review and approval is required, but can wait until after the award is made.

Application Procedures:

  • The grant period will be September 1, 2001-August 31, 2002.
  • Applications are due on or before June 1, 2001.
  • Submit 10 copies of the applications to Brian Strom, MD, MPH, 824 Blockley Hall, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021.
  • Please address any questions to Judy Kinman at (215) 898-1489 or

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 27, March 27, 2001