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PennCERT Small Grant Program: Request for Applications
March 25, 2008, Volume 54, No. 26

The Penn Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics (PennCERT), funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is a program of Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB). The theme of PennCERT is infectious disease and anti-infective therapy. The mission is to decrease inappropriate use of antibiotics, with the ultimate goal of reducing antibiotic drug resistance. Major foci are to conduct evidence-based research to improve decisions about the use and effects of anti-infective drugs; to implement and evaluate interventions aimed at reducing inappropriate use of anti-infectives; to develop methods and population resources to support such aims; and to develop educational/informational programs targeted to both the professional community and the general public. The sub-themes of the PennCERT are pharmacoepidemiology, patient safety, and health information technology.

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) 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;

d) organizing and formally disseminating the results of relevant research on the appropriate use of anti-infectives and the prevention of infection, including publications, presentations, and programs for the scientific/professional community, the FDA, AHRQ, other CERTs, and for the public.


• 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 as described above.

• Applications should address any one or more of the above research, education, and dissemination activity areas described above, and identify which activity area(s) is (are) targeted. Applications describing the organization of symposia or seminars, the development of new courses or new programs for the professional community and especially the public, and other innovations consonant with the PennCERT mission, will be entertained.

• 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 for non-research proposals may modify this format as needed.

• Applications should specify which, and how much, of the following available resources are requested: access to PennCERT 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

• Submit all applications to Brian Strom (bstrom@mail.med.upenn.edu); cc. Judy Kinman, project manager: kinman@mail.med.upenn.edu. An original and a copy of the paper application should be submitted, along with an electronic copy of the proposal.

• The initial deadline for this round of applications will be April 30, 2008.

• Please address any questions to Judy Kinman at (215) 898-1489 or kinman@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Almanac - March 25, 2008, Volume 54, No. 26