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Four Diamonds offers funding for pediatric cancer research

Four Diamonds Fund is now accepting applications for funding in support of pediatric cancer research at Penn State Children’s Hospital and Penn State Cancer Institute.

The main goal of the research mission of Four Diamonds is to support innovative research leading to enhanced cure rates and therapies in childhood cancer to improve the quality of life for these children in need of medical care.

Three types of funding are available:

The logo of the Four Diamonds Fund includes the organization's name and the tagline Conquering Childhood Cancer.

  • Faculty research grants
  • Trainee research grants
  • Funding for pilot projects in collaborative pediatric cancer research

Deadline for applications is Jan. 29, 2020.

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RFA Details: Four Diamonds Faculty and Trainee Research Grants

Overview: Faculty Research Grants Expand answer

Faculty applications may be submitted under this mechanism for clinical research, Laboratory-based research or quality projects with budgets less than or equal to $40,000 (indirect costs are not allowed). Applications may be in any area of pediatric cancer research. The principal investigator cannot be a Four Diamonds Endowed Investigator or be currently supported by a Four Diamonds endowed laboratory.

Applicants who have previously been funded by Four Diamonds are expected to include their publication record resulting from the initial funding period, advancing either fundamental understanding of pediatric oncology or a novel diagnostic or therapeutic approach to pediatric cancer. Successful application for external funding resulting from prior Four Diamonds awards is advantageous.

Funded investigators are required to present their findings approximately 12 months after initial funding to a Pediatric Oncology Academic Conference. A final progress report will also be required.

Overview: Trainee Research Grants Expand answer

Trainee applications may be submitted for clinical research, laboratory-based research or quality projects with budgets less than or equal to $20,000 (indirect costs are not allowed). Applications may be in any area of pediatric cancer research.

The principal investigator cannot be currently supported by a Four Diamonds endowed laboratory.

Funded investigators are required to present their findings approximately 12 months after initial funding to a Pediatric Oncology Academic Conference. A final progress report will also be required.

Submission Format and Guidelines Expand answer

Margins

Applications must use standard paper size (8.5 by 11 inches) and use half-inch margins on all sides for all pages. No information should appear in the margins except page numbers.

Font

Applications must use Arial or Times New Roman typefaces, a black font color and a font size of 11 points or larger.

Cover Page

All applications must include a completed copy of the appropriate cover page template found in Box – Faculty Research Grant cover page or Trainee Research Grant cover page. For both, Penn State Access ID login is required.

Budget

Applicants must use the SIMS budget system to create a budget, in conjunction with their department research administrator. Applications must also include budget justification, relating funds to the scientific plan. Four Diamonds will not pay for faculty salaries, publication expense, indirect costs or travel to meetings. For Trainee Research Grants, Four Diamonds will not pay for the trainee (PI) salary.

For the Faculty Research Grants, per University policy, faculty principal investigators must have some effort which will need to be cost-shared by their department.

Other faculty should be listed as collaborators with zero percent effort. All faculty collaborators should be included on the IAF regardless of percent effort.

Statement of Problem

The application must include a two-page statement (including key references) that succinctly describes the problem that will be addressed; the hypothesis or objective; the rationale; the specific aims; the research strategy; and the nature of the scientific contributions that will be made by the principal investigator and any collaborators. The relevance to pediatric oncology must be clearly stated.

Biosketch

Applications must include a current NIH biosketch, including the personal statement and current research support information, for the principal investigator. Templates and examples are available on the NIH website.

How to Submit Expand answer

Applications must be submitted by noon Jan. 29, 2020, to Penn State Limited Submissions at https://www.research.psu.edu/limitedsubs.

No late applications will be accepted.

Review Process Expand answer

Applications will undergo scientific merit review facilitated by Research Development at Penn State College of Medicine.

Recommendations for funding will be made by the Four Diamonds allocations committee and approved by the chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, the chair of the Department of Pediatrics and the Vice Dean for Research and Graduate Studies of Penn State College of Medicine.

Requirements for Awardees Expand answer

Awardees will be required to present at a Four Diamonds Advisory Board Meeting and to a Pediatric Oncology Academic Conference and may be asked to present at a Four Diamonds Advisory Board Meeting at the end of the funding year.

Note for Previous Awardees Expand answer

Those who were awarded previous Four Diamonds research funds are reminded that a condition of their award is to send an update on the use of those funds to FourDiamondsApplications@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

These updates have an impact on the consideration of future funding requests.

RFA Details: Funding for Pilot Projects in Collaborative Pediatric Cancer Research

Overview Expand answer

The mission of Four Diamonds is to provide superior care and comprehensive support for pediatric cancer patients and to support innovative research in pediatric oncology. For many years, the Four Diamonds research mission has been advanced through the laboratories of Four Diamonds pediatric cancer investigators who have primary appointments in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Penn State Children’s Hospital/Penn State College of Medicine.

This announcement invites applications from Penn State investigators who are not currently funded by Four Diamonds. Applications are required to have a scientific collaboration with a cancer researcher in the Department of Pediatrics to pursue pilot projects in important and promising areas of pediatric cancer research.

The pilot projects supported under this initiative will facilitate the development of substantial collaborative interactions between Penn State pediatric cancer researchers to further the mission of Four Diamonds.

Eligibility Expand answer
  • Pilot Projects for Collaborative Pediatric Cancer Research may focus in any area of cancer research with relevance and applicability to pediatric oncology.
  • The principal investigator must have their primary academic appointment at Penn State at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or professor. Junior investigators with promising preliminary data are encouraged to apply.
  • The principal investigator cannot be a Four Diamonds Endowed Investigator or receive other support from Four Diamonds.
  • The application must include as a collaborator one of these investigators:
    • George Blackall, PsyD
    • Valerie Brown, MD, PhD
    • Smita Dandekar, MD
    • Sinisa Dovat, MD, PhD
    • Elizabeth Finch, MD
    • Andrew Freiberg, MD
    • Chandrika Gowda, MD
    • Robert Greiner, MD
    • Suming Huang, PhD
    • Wei Li, PhD
    • Lisa McGregor, MD, PhD
    • Daniel McKeone, MD
    • Barbara Miller, MD
    • John Neely, MD
    • Pooja Rao, MD
    • Nidhi Shah, MD
    • Gayle Smink, MD
    • Vladimir Spiegelman, MD, PhD
    • H.G. Wang, PhD
  • An investigator may only be listed as the principal investigator on one submitted application; however, there is no limit to the number of applications that an investigator listed above may contribute to as a collaborator.
  • A track record of research relevant to pediatric oncology is preferred.
  • Applicants who have previously been funded by Four Diamonds are expected to have a publication record resulting from the initial funding period, advancing either fundamental understanding of pediatric oncology or a novel diagnostic or therapeutic approach to pediatric cancer. Successful application for external funding is desirable.
  • Applicants may only hold one Four Diamonds Grant at a time. Applicants who were previously funded can submit a new application, but this must be on a new area of research.
Program Guidelines Expand answer
  • Applicants should propose basic research or clinical/translational research on important and promising pediatric cancer-related problems that will lead to the development of preliminary data for a grant application to NIH or another national sponsor of cancer research. The intent is for these funds to support the collaborative project.
  • Pilot projects will initially be funded for a 12-month period; with funding of up to $100,000 direct costs (indirect costs are not allowed). A second year of funding for an additional $100,000 may be applied for if productivity in the first year is sufficient (see below for details).
  • Grant funds may not support the salary and fringe benefits for either the principal investigator or the primary collaborator(s). Alternatively, grant funds may be requested to support salaries and benefits for research staff, student stipends, supplies, equipment, expenses related to the use of human subjects, and publication expenses. Four Diamonds will not pay for travel to meetings.
  • Grants to obtain preliminary data to be used in applications to external research sponsors, particularly to NIH are encouraged.
  • PIs of funded Four Diamonds grants must agree to:
    • submit a final progress report at the completion of the Four Diamonds award;
    • provide the Four Diamonds Office with a copy of any publications resulting from the Four Diamonds project;
    • notify the Four Diamonds office regarding any external funding that is subsequently received using preliminary data obtained with support;
    • submit an abstract to the next Pediatric Research Day, and if selected, to present; and
    • present findings from their research at Pediatric Oncology Academic Conference.
  • No awards will be made if relevance or commitment to pediatric oncology research is not clearly evident.
  • It is expected that all the necessary compliance protocols (IACUC, IRB, etc.) will be submitted by Sept. 30, 2020. Failure to do so will result in termination of the award unless dispensation is applied for and awarded.
  • Funded investigators are required to present their findings 12 months after initial funding to a pediatric oncology conference to assist in determining sufficient progress for award of the second year. A second year of funding may be requested by completing a new application as per instructions, including stating the progress in the first year. At the end of the second year, a presentation at a pediatric oncology research conference and a final progress report are required.
Submission Format and Guidelines Expand answer

Margins

Applications must use standard paper size (8.5 by 11 inches) and use half-inch margins on all sides for all pages. No information should appear in the margins except page numbers.

Font

Applications must use Arial or Times New Roman typefaces, a black font color and a font size of 11 points or larger.

Cover Page

All applications must include a completed copy of the cover page template found in Box (Penn State Access ID login required). The cover page must include a descriptive title of the project; the name, degree, department and the signature of the principal investigator and all collaborators; the email and phone number of the principal investigator; and the funding requested (direct costs) in the application.

Table of Contents

Applications should number all pages consecutively and include a short table of contents.

Project Narrative

In no more than two or three succinct sentences, this section should describe the relevance of this research to pediatric oncology using plain language that can be understood by a general lay audience.

Project Abstract

The project abstract is meant to serve as a succinct and accurate description of the proposed work when separated from the application. It should state the application’s broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, making reference to the goals of Four Diamonds, and describe concisely the research design and methods for achieving the stated goals.

The abstract should avoid describing past accomplishments and the use of the first person. This section must be no longer than 30 lines of text, and follow the required font and margin specifications.

Research Plan

The specific aims, research strategy and future plans sections of the research plan should be a maximum of eight pages (single-spaced including figures and tables, with 15 characters per inch of type), organized as follows:

  • Specific aims (one page maximum)
  • Research strategy (seven pages maximum) – Organize the Research Strategy in the specified order and using the instructions provided below. Start each section with the appropriate section heading: Significance, Innovation, Approach.
    • Significance
      • Explain the importance of the problem or critical barrier to progress in pediatric oncology.
      • Explain how the proposed project will improve scientific knowledge, technical capability and/or clinical practice in pediatric oncology.
      • Describe how the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services or preventive interventions in pediatric oncology will be changed if the proposed aims are achieved.
    • Innovation
      • Explain how the application challenges and seeks to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms.
      • Describe any novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions to be developed or used and any advantage over existing methodologies, instrumentation or interventions.
      • Explain any refinements, improvements or new applications of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation or interventions.
    • Approach
      • Describe the overall strategy, methodology and analyses to be used to accomplish the specific aims of the project. Include how the data will be collected, analyzed and interpreted as well as any resource sharing plans as appropriate.
      • Discuss benchmarks for success anticipated to achieve the aims and specifically include a timeline for completion of the proposed work.
  • Future plans (half-page maximum) – Assuming that this study is successful, this section should describe anticipated plans to apply for external funding including the identity of the most probable sponsor and the expected receipt date for submitting the first such application.
  • Human subjects – Describe involvement, if any.
  • Vertebrate nimals – Describe involvement, if any.
  • Literature cited

Budget

Applicants must use the SIMS budget system to create a budget, in conjunction with their department research administrator. Applications must also include budget justification, relating funds to the scientific plan.

Four Diamonds will not pay for faculty salaries, publication expense, indirect costs or travel to meetings. Per University policy, faculty principal investigators must have some effort which will need to be cost-shared by their department.

Other faculty should be listed as collaborators with zero percent effort. All faculty collaborators should be included on the IAF regardless of percent effort.

Biosketch

Applications must include a current NIH biosketch, including the personal statement and current research support information, for the principal investigator and any other faculty members involved in the proposed pilot project. Templates and examples are available on the NIH website.

  • Personal statement: Briefly describe why the PI is well-suited for their role in the project described in the application.
  • Positions and honors: These should be listed in chronological order, concluding with the present position. Any honors should be listed, as should present membership on any federal government public advisory committee.
  • Contributions to science: This section should briefly describe up to five of the PI’s most significant contributions to science with up to four examples for each. For each contribution, indicate the historical background that frames the scientific problem; the central finding(s); the influence of the finding(s) on the progress of science or the application of those finding(s) to health or technology; and the PI’s specific role in the described work.
  • Research support: This sections should list both selected ongoing and completed research projects for the past three years (federal or non-federally-supported). It should begin with the projects that are most relevant to the research proposed in the application and briefly indicate the overall goals of the projects and responsibilities of the key person identified on the biosketch. Do not include number of person-months or direct costs.
How to Submit Expand answer

Applications must be submitted by noon Jan. 29, 2020, to Penn State Limited Submissions at https://www.research.psu.edu/limitedsubs.

No late applications will be accepted.

Review Process Expand answer

Full applications will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee facilitated by Research Development at Penn State College of Medicine.

Final funding decisions will be made by the chief of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and the chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

The criteria will be scientific and technical merit, the likelihood of making an important contribution to the treatment of pediatric oncology patients and the potential for external funding.

Learn More

For details on these opportunities, email FourDiamondsApplications@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.

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