Joint NC NM4R-AR3T Pilot Funding Application Process

NC NM4R and AR3T logos

Application Process:

Proposal submission will involve two rounds: an initial Letter of Intent (LOI) followed by an invitation to submit a full proposal.

LOI deadline extended to April 23, 2021!

Round 1 LOI, submitted here, should include:

  1. Descriptive title of proposed research
  2. Email address and telephone number of the PI.
  3. Three to five descriptive keywords.
  4. Complete listing of the investigating team with each individual’s academic title, primary department, institution, and proposed role on the project.
  5. Hypotheses and objective of the project (max 500 words).
  6. Overview of the study design/methods (max 500 words).
  7. Relevance to the scientific field of neuromodulation and regeneration, i.e., Regenerative Rehabilitation (max 200 words).

The LOI should be submitted by April 1, 2021 extended to April 23, 2021. Selected proposals will be invited to participate in the Round 2 application process, starting on April 15, 2021 rolling based on date of LOI submission.

Round 2 Full Proposal, uploaded as a PDF file, should include:

  1. Cover Letter from the PI(s)
  2. Project Summary and Relevance: This should serve as a succinct, two-three sentence description of the proposed work when separated from the application. State the application’s broad, long-term objectives and specific aims, relating them to the fields of neuromodulation and Regenerative Rehabilitation. This section should be informative to others working in the same or related fields and understandable to a general lay audience.
  3. Research Plan: The research proposal will generally follow an NIH R03 format and should include:
    • a. Specific Aims (1 page): Concisely state the specific objectives of the research proposal, e.g., to test a stated hypothesis, solve a specific problem, challenge an existing paradigm or clinical practice, address a critical barrier to progress in the field, or develop a new technology. This page should summarize the expected outcome(s), including the impact that the results of the proposed research will exert on the research field(s) involved.
    • b. Research Strategy (limit to 3 pages): a brief background, preliminary studies, and methods. The Research Plan should also include significance, innovation, and approach. Include a scientific rationale for the proposed neuromodulatory methods/technologies and how and why they will be used in your study. Describe the known or neurobiological mechanisms of action of the neuromodulatory methods/technologies that will be utilized and how these studies may further the field’s understanding.
    • c. NC NM4R-Specific (limit to 1 page):
      • i. State how you plan to use the NC NM4R methods and/or technologies in this proposal.
      • ii. State how you plan to secure future extramural funding and how you plan to utilize the NC NM4R methods and/or technologies in future grant proposals. Please be sure to state funding agency, mechanism, and timeline.
  4. Biostatistical Justification: Include this for animal studies and any aims that include human tissue samples, patients, or healthy volunteers.
    • a. The Biostatistical Justification should be placed at the end of the Research Strategy and is not included in the page limit.
  5. List of Resources Available: If the applicant proposes to borrow equipment for a portion of the proposed study, please include a letter of support from the equipment’s owner.
  6. References: This should be placed at the end of the Research Strategy and is not included in the page limit.
  7. Additional Review Criteria:
    • a. If proposing to collaborate with an AR3T or NM4R Center researcher, include a statement describing the unique skills, methods, and/or technologies provided by the Center laboratory, a letter confirming support of the Center researcher, and a communication plan (no more than 150 words) describing data sharing and dissemination of findings between the participating laboratories during the time of funding, and a plan for continuing interactions between the partnering institutions beyond the duration of the pilot project.
  8. Timeline: Each proposal must include a realistic timeline for completing the proposed project.
  9. Budget & Budget Justification:
    • a. The budget must include both direct and indirect costs.
    • b. Personnel Support: PI salary support, including salary and fringe benefits, must be limited to 15% of direct costs. Additional salary support may cover Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Specialists, and Study Coordinators.
    • c. Non-Personnel Research Expenses: Allowable expenses include research supplies, animal purchase and per diem, institutional core service fees, research subject compensation and transportation, and data analysis/statistical support. All expenses must be directly related to the proposed research.
      • i. Unallowable Costs: General office supplies, computer and laptops, tuition, membership dues and fees, conference travel or publication costs unrelated to pilot, subscription costs, mailing costs, or rent.
    • d. Inclusion of capital equipment will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    • e. In-kind budgetary items will be considered as cost-share, and the PI’s primary department will be required to provide a letter of support confirming the commitment.
  10. Address Compliance Issues
    • a. Human studies must include a human subjects section (not in the page limit) and a draft consent form.
    • b. Animal studies must include a Vertebrate Animals section.
    • c. Assurance of IACUC, hSCRO and/or IRB approval and of completion of NIH-mandated responsible conduct or research training, where indicated, must be furnished after Award notice and before funds can be released.
  11. NIH-Formatted Biosketch: Provide a NIH-formatted Biographical Sketch format page. Please use the NIH Biographical Sketch Format Page (non-fellowship) for all key personnel. Convert the Word document to PDF.

The Round 2 application deadline is June 1, 2021. Award Notification will be sent out by July 1, 2021, for a September 1, 2021, start date.

Note: The applicant will automatically receive an email confirmation that their proposal has been successfully uploaded into the system.

Project completion dates will be within 12 months of the date of funding.

Additional Information:

Please see review criteria for more information.

Access the online pilot application. Apply now!

If you are not able to sign into the MUSC InfoReady portal, please email Cindy Gittinger at for assistance with registration.

For questions and/or assistance with proposal development, contact or Cindy Gittinger at