Early Clinical Investigator Guidelines
Early Clinical Investigator (ECI) Grants are intended to further the development of postdoctoral fellows or trainees who interact with human subjects and who are interested in a career in clinical research. Clinical research is defined as research conducted with human subjects or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens, and/or clinical, cognitive, or behavioral data. Research on animal models will be considered only if there is obvious relevance to human health/disease, and the animal studies have a high probability of leading to research on human subjects or specimens.
The maximum award for an ECI grant is $30,000.
- The principal investigator must be a postdoctoral trainee or fellow with specific plans for a career in clinical or translational research.
- The research proposal must be written by the applicant.
- Grants are not made for expensive items of equipment (see Regulations on the MRF Grants page). However, requests will be considered when such equipment will enjoy wide use by a number of investigators or when it will make possible research of unique value. All equipment becomes the property of the grantee institution.
- Proposals should not overlap with established funding.
- A mentor’s letter, mentor’s biosketch, and Applicant Qualifications Form (available both at the bottom of this page and on the competitive application portal) from the mentor that comments on the applicant’s qualifications and career plans must be submitted separately through the competitive application portal within seven days of the application deadline. The mentor should describe in some detail the proposed training and career development program that is being proposed to foster career independence. The mentor should address their track record as a mentor, current funding, and research facilities available to the applicant. The mentor must include a statement that describes their own contribution to the research proposal and confirms the applicant wrote the proposal.
- The research facility with which the applicant is affiliated must be fully prepared to accommodate the project in terms of the principal investigator’s salary and space.
- A letter from the Department Chair addressing the applicant's qualifications for a career in clinical research and the proposed training plan must be submitted separately through competitive application portal the within seven days of the application deadline. Please note this is different from the other letters of reference, including the mentor’s letter. The Chair should comment on the commitment of the Department/Division to the applicant’s research and career goals to develop a career in human investigation and on the availability of time to perform the proposed project. The Department Chair should commit to the applicant’s training plan for a minimum of one year. The letter should also discuss any additional support for the applicant, such as core research facilities, laboratory space, course work, etc. If the mentor is also a department chair, please write two separate letters with different foci.
- All applicants must address their intentions to pursue clinical or translational research through applying for future grants, such as a career development award or other federal funding. Describe the plan to use the data collected under this award to apply for future grants. For applicants who are not US citizens or do not have permanent resident status, they must address their plans about citizenship/residency status, as this will affect their eligibility for future grant applications. They should also discuss their plans to remain in the United States.
- Strong preference is given to proposals having the potential to evolve into ongoing, nationally supported career development awards.
- Research involving human subjects, animals or recombinant DNA must be approved by the appropriate institutional review board (IRB/IACUC/IBC). Investigators are encouraged to submit this application simultaneously, but it is not a requirement. Note, however, that no funds will be distributed until IRB/IACUC/IBC approval is obtained.
Preparation of Proposal
There are two components of an MRF grant application: the InfoReady form and the PDF application packet.
Applicant’s name, appointment, address, fiscal contact and grants and contracts coordinator are entered into the InfoReady online form, as well as well as the email addresses for the Department Chair’s and Mentor’s reference letters.
Applicants must also answer a number of questions regarding their project and a 250-word (maximum) abstract.
All other required components of the applications must be combined into a single PDF and uploaded to the InfoReady competitive application portal. The type font should be no smaller than 11 point, and side margins of at least one inch should be used for the body of the grant. (NIH- style biosketches can be submitted with NIH font and margin guidelines). Please supply all information requested. Failure to do so may cause the application to be administratively withdrawn.
An institutional approval letter signed by the "Responsible Official" for the institution should be included in the application indicating name, title, phone number, and signature. The person signing for the institution is a matter of institutional preference. This is generally the Vice President of Research. However, contact OPAM (OHSU) or your Research Office to determine your institution’s preference.
The order of the required documents combined in the single PDF is as follows:
- Cover letter (required for resubmission only; include a concise response to previous reviews)
- Previous MRF written reviews (required for resubmission only)
- Specific Aims (one page)
- Research plan (six pages)
- Literature cited
- PI's biosketch in current NIH format
- Budget explanation and justification
- Previous, current, and pending support: List all major funding you have received for the past 10 years. For each category (current, previous, pending), list the following: Type of award, project title, PI, amount of annual budget, number of years, dates, one-sentence description of the project, and role in the project if you are not the PI. For current and pending projects, please note any scientific overlap with the proposed project. Append summary budget pages and abstracts for all current and pending support for all research projects for which you are the principal investigator or a co- investigator. If you do not have any current, previous, or pending support, please include the document and write NONE. (This is so we know the document has not been omitted.)
- Other information as needed (e.g., collaborative letters of support, biosketches, abstracts, appendices).
- Institutional approval letter
The following documents are to be sent separately by the Department Chair and Mentor through the competitive application portal:
- Letter of support from your Mentor, Mentor's biosketch, and Applicant Qualifications form (detailed in guideline 5 above)
- Letter of support from your Department Chair (guideline 7 above)
When resubmitting, any materials associated with the original application, including support letters, forms and prior reviews, must be updated and resubmitted. No previously submitted materials or previous reviews will be transferred to a resubmission.
Only applications received by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline will be accepted for review. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
Letter of Support Instructions
The Medical Research Foundation (MRF) awards grants specifically to support research in Oregon. Early Clinical Investigator (ECI) awards are intended to further the development of young investigators who are interested in a career in clinical or translational research. Clinical research is defined as research conducted with human subjects or on material of human origin such as tissues, specimens and/or clinical, cognitive, or behavioral data. Research on animal models will be considered only if there is obvious relevance to human health/disease and the animal studies have a high probability of leading to research on human subjects or specimens.
The principal investigator must be a post-doctoral trainee or fellow with specific plans for a career in clinical or translational research.
The letter of support from the department chair/institute director that accompanies an ECI MRF grant application is essential and should comment on the commitment of the department/division and the training program to the applicant’s plans for the development of a career in human investigation and on the availability of time to perform the proposed project. The letter should also discuss any additional support for the applicant, such as core research facilities, laboratory space, etc. This letter should be uploaded as a single PDF to InfoReady up to one week after the application submission deadline.
The letter of support from the mentor should comment on the applicant’s qualifications and career plans. The mentor should address his or her track record as a mentor, current funding and the research facilities available to the applicant. The mentor should also describe in some detail the proposed training program. The mentor should submit:
- Letter of Support
- ECI Applicant Qualifications Form (separate PDF form available in ECI Grant competitive application portal)
- Mentor Biosketch
These documents should be combined into a single PDF and uploaded separately from the application to the InfoReady competitive application portal up to seven days after the application submission deadline. If there are co-mentors, include letters and biosketches in the single pdf.
For questions about the MRF or application process, firstname.lastname@example.org.