First year of EXITO pilot project program, letter of intent due Oct. 15

Background: Portland State University and OHSU received a major grant from the National Institutes of Health in 2013 to serve as a center for innovation and to help undergraduates, including those from diverse backgrounds, be successful in health research careers. The grant fell under NIH’s BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) initiative, a set of experimental training awards designed to learn how to attract students from diverse backgrounds into the biomedical research workforce and encourage them to become future contributors to the NIH-funded research enterprise. Funds from this grant were used to create PSU’s BUILD EXITO (Enhance Cross-disciplinary Infrastructure Training at Oregon) program with the long-term objective of aligning institutions and faculty from Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the U.S. Pacific Islands to support the development of innovative undergraduate research training programs that eventually will increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing biomedical, behavioral, social, and clinical research careers.

Funding Opportunity: The EXITO Pilot Project program aims to stimulate the development of new research opportunities for faculty and students and yield new proposals for external funding. The program will provide competitively awarded seed funding for new studies that incorporate EXITO Scholars in proposing and conducting the research projects. EXITO Research Learning Communities will serve as the catalyst for originating pilot project proposals that include the Scholars working in collaboration with their research mentors. Pilot project applications will require the creation of research teams comprising a mix of EXITO Scholars, junior faculty members, and senior faculty researchers. Priority will be given to projects that include cross-institutional collaborations among EXITO partners in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and the U.S. Pacific Islands.

The EXITO pilot project grant mechanism, funded by the NIH, is similar to an NIH R03, supporting discrete, well-defined projects that can be completed in a single year. Examples of the types of projects this mechanism will support are:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Secondary analyses of existing data
  • Small, self-contained research projects
  • Projects that will develop a research methodology
  • Development of a new research technology

Only faculty from any BUILD EXITO Partner institution are eligible to apply (PSU and OHSU both qualify). BUILD-EXITO Scholars cannot be the PD/PI but can be co-investigators. Up to 10 applicants will be awarded up to $50,000 for the one-year project period.

There will be two separate technical assistance workshops on Nov. 17 and Nov. 23 (time and location will be posted soon). Participation in one or both workshops is strongly encouraged.

Letters of intent should be submitted via email to Leslie Bienen by October 15, 2015. Click here for the official RFA and application guidelines.

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