MRF Grants

Application Deadlines

The Medical Research Foundation supports promising biomedical exploration and the development of research careers in clinical investigation in Oregon through a program of three competitively awarded research grants: Early Clinical Investigator, Emergency Interim Support and New Investigator. Please note that OHSU investigators who apply for MRF Emergency Interim Support can also apply for OHSU Bridge Funding at the same time; this blog post explains the change.

MRF Grants are awarded three times per year; application deadlines are April 15, August 15 and December 15. There are no official start dates for MRF Grants; however, approximate start dates are July 1, November 1, and March 1. Only applications received by 11:59 p.m. on the deadline will be accepted for review. Late or incomplete applications will not be reviewed. No supplemental materials will be accepted past the due date. When application cycles are open for MRF Grants, they will be posted to the competitive application portal.

Reference letters are due one week later on April 22, August 22, and December 22.

If the due date falls on a holiday or weekend day, the deadline is changed to the closest following business day. For example, August 15, 2021, fell on a Sunday, so the grant deadline was Monday, August 16, 2021, and the reference letters, Monday, August 23, 2021.

Early Clinical Investigator (ECI) grants are intended to further the development 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.

View the grant guidelines

MRF Emergency Interim Support

Through Emergency Interim Support, the MRF supports established investigators who are in need of bridge funding. The grant provides funding for research programs that have lost national grant funding, enabling investigators to develop data supporting application renewals. The application must contain a clear explanation of current grant funding and the status of grants in revision. A letter of support from the department chair or the institute director must accompany each application describing the commitment of the unit to that investigator and their research program.

The maximum award for Emergency Interim Support is $50,000.

View the grant guidelines

OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding

Through OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding, the OHSU Office of the Vice-President for Research supports established investigators at OHSU who are in need of bridge funding. The grant provides funding for research programs that have lost national grant funding, enabling investigators to develop data supporting application renewals. The application must contain a clear explanation of current grant funding and the status of grants in revision. A letter of support from the department chair or the institute director must accompany each application describing the commitment of the unit to that investigator and their research program.

The maximum award for OHSU Presidential Bridge Funding is $50,000.

View the grant guidelines

Through New Investigator grants, the MRF supports promising new investigators in biomedical research. Principal investigators must be at the beginning of an independent career with a faculty position at one of Oregon's colleges or universities. A letter of support from the department chair or the institute director must accompany each application describing the independence of the principal investigator and the commitment of the unit to that investigator and their research program.

The maximum award for an New Investigator grant is $50,000.

View the grant guidelines

Allowable Costs

  • Reagents and supplies
    • Equipment (> $3,000) is generally not allowed. 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.
  • Publications and miscellaneous costs
  • Travel expenses if directly related to the conduct of the approved project, or to present research findings at a meeting (limit of $2,000)
  • Salary and fringe benefits for essential personnel
    • Salary and benefits for the Principal Investigator are generally not allowed, although they may be included if well-justified (e.g. part-time summer months for institutions that do not pay summer salary).
  • Consultant costs, if well-justified

Indirect, administrative support, and tuition costs are not allowed.

Regulations

  1. MRF grants are awarded to institutions. The grantee institution will account for expenditures at the close of the grant period. These grants are made for a period of one year for research conducted in Oregon. See also No-Cost Extensions below.
  2. Funds will be used for the purposes stated in the application. Major deviations (greater than $5,000 between approved categories or changes in purpose or direction of research) must be approved by the MRF before being undertaken. 
  3. Unencumbered balances will be returned to MRF at the end of the grant period or if an awardee leaves the institution.
  4. If funding from another source is received for the project being supported by an MRF grant, notify the MRF Committee. Uncommitted funds are to be returned to MRF for use in supporting other projects.
  5. Publications resulting from MRF-supported projects should list this funding in the acknowledgments. Citations should be communicated to the MRF.
  6. New grants resulting from MRF-supported projects should be communicated to the MRF. 
  7. A written report is due 90 days after the grant period 

Review

MRF grant applications are reviewed by the Scientific Review Committee for scientific merit, an evaluation of the investigator and their environment, and the likelihood of future research funding. If appropriate, an evaluation of the mentor and proposed training is included.

Members of this Committee are physician or scientist faculty from Oregon universities but are not necessarily experts in the proposed research topic, so write your application accordingly. The peer-review committee will provide brief critiques of each application.

Applications and reviews are then submitted to the MRF Committee for final funding review and authorization. Applicants will be advised of the decision by the MRF Committee within approximately one week after the meeting.

A SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION GENERALLY INCLUDES:

  1. Clearly stated and testable hypothesis/hypotheses
  2. Clear Specific Aims
  3. Significance and Innovation sections
  4. Research plan, including: Methods of approach to be used, including the rigor of the previous research and a discussion of how the data will be obtained and analyzed
  5. Discussion of potential pitfalls and alternative approaches
  6. Previous work by the applicant and others with key references
  7. If the applicant does not have prior experience with the proposed approaches, including a collaborator with such experience is recommended. Include letter of support and biosketch.
  8. Early Clinical Investigator and New Investigator applications should include a section entitled “Career Plans” that provides a brief description of how the proposed work fits into the applicant's research training and long-range goals. Particular emphasis should be given to how the award may enable the investigator to obtain future funding.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has posted sample applications and summary statements (reviewers’ comments). Given that MRF applications are reviewed somewhat similarly to NIH grant and fellowship applications, investigators new to writing grant proposals may find these examples useful.

No-Cost Extensions

Please submit your requests through the competitive application portal.

Written Report

Awardees will submit a brief (500 word) written report of results to the MRF within 90 days of the final grant period. This summary should be written in lay language.  Also, submit any publication and any grants resulting from MRF-supported activities. Reports will be assigned and submitted through the competitive application portal.

Questions

Please refer to our FAQ page or contact MRFsubmit@ohsu.edu.