CSDA Frequently Asked Questions

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Jump to FAQ's about:  the Pre-Proposal Application, Eligibility, Percent Effort, Other Funding, Electronic Confidential Support Forms, and Miscellaneous Issues (including IRB requirements, indirect costs, salary caps, preliminary animal research, and success rates).

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQ’s, email ddcf@aibs.org with “2015 CSDA” as the subject line. No phone calls please.

Pre-Proposal Application

How do I return to my pre-proposal once I've started it?

You may use this link to access a pre-proposal that is in progress. You should bookmark this page to return to your pre-proposal.

What is the difference between the institution where I hold a faculty appointment and the grant-receiving organization?

The degree-granting institution where you hold a faculty-level appointment (e.g., Harvard University) may differ from the grant-receiving organization. If you are associated with an affiliated research hospital or research institute (e.g., Dana Farber Cancer Institute) and your grants are administered through that organization, then that institution is the grant-receiving organization.

Are there any limitations on the number of applications that can be submitted per institution for this competition?


No, there are no limits regarding the number of applications that can be submitted per institution. However applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit a complete pre-proposal application to be considered for the competition.

Eligibility

Must my institution nominate me to apply for the 2015 Clinical Scientist Development Award competition?

No, nominations are not required to apply for this competition. Applicants must meet all eligibility criteria in the Request for Applications to apply.

What is a degree-granting institution?

An accredited, degree-granting institution in the U.S encompasses the institution, all affiliated graduate schools, related hospitals and research institutes.

Am I eligible to apply if I work at a research institute or hospital that is affiliated with a university or medical school?

Individuals working at research institutes or hospitals affiliated with a medical school or university (the degree-granting institution) are eligible as long as they hold a full-time assistant professor appointment at the degree-granting institution.

Do I qualify to apply if I work at an independent research institute or hospital?

Individuals from independent research institutes and hospitals that do not grant doctoral degrees or are not affiliated with an accredited, degree-granting institution in the U.S. are not eligible to apply. These awards are intended to support physician scientists working in an academic environment. Investigators at non degree-granting research institutes and hospitals with academic appointments are encouraged to apply through eligible institutions.

Why are there restrictions on the tax status of the institution accepting the award?

DDCF can award grants only to institutions that have letters from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service documenting that they have been determined to be exempt from federal income taxation as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Code"), and that they are not a private foundation or a Type III supporting organization as defined in Section 509(a) of the Code. Please contact ddcf@aibs.org if you have any questions.

Am I eligible to apply if I do not have a valid medical license?

No, only physician scientists with a valid medical license at the time of application are eligible for this competition.

How does DDCF define research facilities?

Research facilities are the physical areas provided to applicants by their institutions to enable them to carry out their research activities.

I work in epidemiology research so my research space is office-based and I do not have a laboratory. Do I need to have a laboratory to be eligible to apply?

No, research facilities and laboratory space are not synonymous. Independent research facilities are the physical area provided to applicants by their departments to enable them to carry out their research activities. A laboratory may not be necessary for investigators working in areas such as epidemiology or health outcomes research to conduct their independent research activities.

Are there any limitations in terms of clinical areas you are willing to fund?

No, clinical investigators working in any disease area are eligible for this award.

Does the foundation have specific disease areas or research types of focus for funding through the Clinical Scientist Development Award?

No, generally, the foundation is neutral to research type and disease area in its funding decisions provided that projects meet the definition of clinical research and have the potential to significantly advance the frontiers of clinical research.

I have a joint appointment. Which institution should I apply through?

You should apply through the institution where you have a full-time assistant professor appointment. If your appointment is considered full-time at both institutions, then you should apply through the institution that will administer your award.

Can non-U.S. citizen investigators apply to the CSDA?

Yes, as long as they meet all eligibility criteria, applicants do not have to be U.S. citizens.

I work in clinical research, but I have a Ph.D. not an M.D. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Applicants must have received an M.D. or a foreign equivalent, or D.O. from an accredited institution.

My title is instructor. Am I eligible to apply?

In general, full-time, post-fellowship instructor positions are not eligible. Individuals may be eligible to apply in the rare situation in which they hold full-time instructor appointments that are considered equivalent to assistant professor appointments at other institutions, such as Harvard University. Please contact us if you have an instructor appointment and think that you may be eligible for the competition.

I was appointed as assistant professor in the clinical track prior to November 1, 2009. Am I eligible to apply?

No, applicants that held their first assistant professor appointment prior to November 1, 2009 are not eligible to apply.

I was an instructor prior to my current appointment as assistant professor. Am I eligible to apply?

You are eligible to apply provided that your first appointment as assistant professor occurred between November 1, 2009 and November 1, 2013.

Must my first assistant professor appointment have started between November 1, 2009 and November 1, 2013 to be eligible for the competition?

Yes, applicants must have received their first assistant professor appointment between November 1, 2009 and Novemer 1, 2013.

I completed my fellowship in 2002, was appointed as a full-time instructor in 2005, and was appointed as an assistant professor in December of 2009. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. To be eligible, applicants must be appointed to their first full-time assistant professor position between November 1, 2009 and November 1, 2013.

I was appointed as an assistant professor at my current institution in 2009, but was previously an assistant professor at another institution (appointed in 2007). Am I eligible to apply?

No. To be eligible, applicants must be appointed to their first full-time assistant professor position between November 1, 2009 and November 1, 2013.

I held a research associate position in 2008, but was appointed as full-time assistant professor in December 2009. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, you are eligible to apply. Research associate positions are not considered full-time assistant professor appointments.

Can fellows apply to the CSDA?

No. Individuals in fellowship and research associate-level positions are not eligible for the CSDA competition.

I have been a full-time assistant professor for more than five years, but I took an official leave of absence during this time. Can a leave of absence exception be made to the eligibility requirement since my first assistant professor appointment was made prior to November 1, 2009?

The foundation will consider requests for such exceptions on a case-by-case basis. There are no guarantees that exceptions will be granted. All eligibility criteria exception requests must be submitted to ddcf@aibs.org by October 3, 2014. Interested applicants must submit a clear, brief justification for the exception request together with their biographical sketch. Requests missing a biographical sketch will not be considered.

Are acting assistant professors or adjunct assistant professors eligible for this award?

This award is intended for physician scientists who hold a full-time academic position with a length of appointment that covers the grant period (minimum of three years). Individuals with acting and adjunct professor post-fellowship positions are not eligible unless these positions are recognized as full-time assistant professor faculty appointments by your institution.

Are adjunct instructors or acting instructors eligible for this award?

No. This award is intended for physician-scientists who hold a full-time assistant professor position with a length of appointment that covers the grant period (minimum of three years).

My institution considers an adjunct assistant professor position to be a full-time faculty position equivalent to assistant professor at other institutions. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. If your institution considers an adjunct assistant professor position to be a full-time faculty position, equivalent to assistant professor, you may apply for this award.  

Am I ineligible if I held an acting instructor, acting assistant professor or an adjunct position before November 1, 2009?

If the position of acting instructor, acting assistant professor or adjunct assistant professor was considered a temporary position at your institution, then it does not count toward the five year restriction.

What exceptions does the Foundation make to allow application to the CSDA competition?

Exceptions are granted on a case-by-case basis. The foundation encourages justified exception requests for leave of absence due to illness, maternity leave and extra professional activities such as care of an ill relative, etc. that have taken away considerable time from the eligibility period. Exceptions to other eligibility criteria, such as the requirements that applicants must be assistant professors for at least one year and not longer than five years are typically not granted.

Percent Effort

I have a National Institutes of Health K series award, which requires 75% research effort. Can I still apply for the CSDA?

An awardee must devote 75% of his/her professional time to research, but there is no minimum effort requirement for the CSDA project itself. However, if the CSDA proposal requests salary support for the CSDA grantee, the percent effort committed to the CSDA project must be equal to or greater than the percent salary charged.

I am a surgeon and I have a large clinical commitment; however, I also do research. Do I have to dedicate 75% of my time doing research?

On rare occasions, exceptions have been made on a case-by-case basis. Please contact ddcf@aibs.org if you have questions.

Other Funding

I have been successful in obtaining other research funding. Will this hurt my chances in getting an award?

No, candidates will not be penalized for having other career development awards, but there can be no budgetary overlap between the proposed aims of the CSDA research and those of other awards.

I am the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health R01. Can I apply for this award?

No. An award will not be made if the applicant has been or becomes the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health, peer-reviewed, R01 or equivalent research grant on or before July 1, 2015. This includes but is not limited to: research projects that are part of a P01 program project, P50 center grant or a U01 cooperative agreement, and DP1, DP2, and R37 grants. 

I have a National Institutes of Health K series award or other research support. Can I propose the same scientific aims?

No. The aims proposed on your CSDA application must be distinct from those of other awards, with no budgetary overlap. To avoid conflicts in the event that your proposal receives a funding recommendation, we strongly suggest that you do not propose the same aims and budget in different grant applications.

Electronic Confidential Support Forms

Where can my mentor and department chair access the electronic support forms needed for my application?

When you, the applicant, provide the contact information for the mentor and department chair at
https://ddcf-csda.aibs.org, they will be emailed instructions on how to access the electronic confidential support forms. We strongly suggest you provide the contact information for your mentor and department chair at the website above well in advance of the pre-proposal deadline of October 31, 2014.

My mentor and/or department chair would like to provide letters of support on institutional letterhead. Can I append these to my pre-proposal?

No, do not attach any materials that are not required by the pre-proposal instructions. Any additional materials will be removed and will not be provided to the peer-review panel. The mentor and department chair will be able to provide a signed letter on institutional letterhead if you are invited to submit a full proposal in the second stage of the competition.

My mentor and/or department chair would like to provide letters of support on institutional letterhead instead of filling out the confidential form. Is that ok?

No, both the mentor and the department chair must fill out the electronic confidential support forms at the website emailed to them. Pre-proposals with missing forms from the mentor or department chair will be disqualified from the competition.

Can my institutional support confirmation form be provided by the head of my division rather than the department chair?

Applicants who are part of a department of medicine or pediatrics may have their division chief provide the institutional support confirmation form. Division chiefs in the departments of Medicine or Pediatrics may provide this form ONLY if they are authorized to confirm the applicant’s appointment term and guarantee that (s)he will be provided with the required research time protection (75%) if selected to receive the Clinical Scientist Development Award. All other applicants must have this form completed by their department chair. 

I have two mentors. Can my mentors both submit electronic support forms?

No, for the pre-proposal you must choose one mentor to submit only one electronic support form. You will be able to provide a joint letter, or separate letters from each mentor if invited to submit a full application.

My mentor is the chair of my department. Do I need to find another person to submit my mentor support form?

No, your chair may submit both the mentor support form and the confirmation of institutional support form. However, note that the two forms are different thus your mentor will have to submit both of them by the pre-proposal deadline of 3 pm EDT on October 31, 2014. Applications with missing forms will be disqualified from the competition. 

My mentor is also the department chair. Can he or she provide only one recommendation form?

No, if your mentor is also the department chair, he or she must submit two recommendation forms: a confirmation of institutional support and a mentor support form. Please note that the two forms are different and must be received by the pre-proposal deadline of 3 pm EDT on October 31, 2014. Applications with missing forms will be disqualified from the competition. 

Will I be notified when my mentor or department chair submit electronic support forms?  

Yes, you will receive an email notification when these individuals submit their support forms for your pre-proposal. We recommend that you add aibs@ddcf.org to your email safe senders list. If you have not received the confirmation emails as the pre-proposal deadline approaches please follow up with the mentor and department chair prior to contacting the foundation. Due to the high volume of applications expected for this competition DDCF will not be able to check if your mentor or department chair have submitted their forms. We strongly suggest you provide the contact information for your mentor and department chair at the website well in advance of the pre-proposal deadline of October 31, 2014. 

Miscellaneous

What is DDCF's definition of clinical research?

Clinical research involves the scientific investigation of the etiology, prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of human disease using human subjects, human populations or materials of human origin. Included in the definition are studies that utilize tissues or pathogens only if they can be linked to a patient.

It is expected that the research protocols of grant applicants will require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Occasionally, the foundation has funded research that does not require IRB approval, such as research using de-identified patient populations. If a research project is being proposed that does not require IRB approval, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff to discuss whether the proposed research falls within the DDCF's definition of clinical research.

In keeping with the wishes expressed in Doris Duke’s will, experiments that use animals or primary tissues derived from animals will not be supported by this program.

When is Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval or submission required to be in effect, at the time of the full proposal submission or before an award is forthcoming?

IRB approval can be pending at the time of full proposal submissions; however, if you receive a grant, we expect that you will have approval by the start date of July 1, 2015 or no later than October 1, 2015.

When is Investigational New Drug (IND) approval required to be in effect, at the time of the full proposal submission or before an award is made?

IND approval can be pending at the time of pre-proposal submission. However, it must be in place by the deadline for the full proposal, February 24, 2015. Full proposals for projects with IND requirements that do not have approval at the time of submission will be disqualified. 

What if I don’t have an exact project title by the time of pre-proposal submission?

You only need a tentative title at the pre-proposal stage and will be able to change it if you are invited to submit a full proposal.

Does the award provide any formal coverage of indirect costs?

The total indirect costs for the duration of the award can be up to $12,000 (8% of direct costs) per year for three years.

Is there a salary cap for this award?

No. The foundation does not have a salary cap for what can be charged against this award.

Can I request salary support for my mentor in the budget?

Yes. Up to 5% of the mentor's effort can be included in the budget.

Can I request support for a graduate student or mentee in my budget?

Yes, you may allocate funds to support a graduate student or mentee as long as these individuals would be working on the proposed project. If an award is made you may be required to provide an additional mentoring and career development plan for these individuals.

My preliminary research has included research in animal models. Can I include this in my proposal?

Yes. Preliminary research in animal models may be included in your application. However, no DDCF funds may be used for experiments that utilize animals or primary tissues derived from animals. If you are planning animal studies concurrent to your proposed CSDA research and mention these in your proposal, you must clearly state that these will be supported by other funds and include the source of these funds.

What is the success rate for CSDA applicants?

Although there is no way to know how many applications we will receive this year, we can provide an estimate of the success rate based on data from previous competitions. The success rate for applicants in 2014 was 9%

How many awards will be made?

DDCF plans to award up to 16 grants in 2015.