Medical Research

CSDA Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to FAQ's about: Pre-proposal Application (including tax status), Eligibility, Eligibility for Applicants at Harvard Medical School, Eligibility Criteria Exemptions, Other Funding, Online Confidential Support FormsBudget and Miscellaneous.

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email ddcf@aibs.org with "2018 CSDA" as the subject line. Please do not attempt to contact us by phone. We are better able to address your questions if contacted via email.

Pre-proposal Application

How do I return to my online pre-proposal application form 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 application form.

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 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.

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

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (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 and that they are not a private foundation or a Type III supporting organization as defined in Section 509(a). Please contact ddcf@aibs.org if you have any questions.

Why is the tax ID for my institution not being accepted when I try to access the pre-proposal form?

The tax ID is not working because it is not associated with 501(c)(3) organization in the IRS database.

For applicants from state universities: While state universities are eligible for tax-deductible contributions (and many other foundations can make grants directly to the university) DDCF must make grants to state institutions through their 501(c)(3) grant-receiving arms. For example, applicants from the University of Texas may apply through the University of Texas Foundation. Contact your institution's grants office to obtain the tax ID number of the appropriate grant-receiving organization to gain access to the eligibility questionnaire and pre-proposal. DDCF is unable to provide information on the tax ID that applicants must use to gain access to the application site.

Eligibility

Must my institution nominate me to apply for the 2018 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 doctoral degree-granting institution?

An accredited, doctoral 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 doctoral 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, doctoral degree-granting institution in the U.S. are not eligible to apply. These awards are intended to support physician scientists working in a faculty track. 

Does DDCF accept applications from state universities?

Yes. DDCF welcomes applications from state universities. Many state universities do not have a 501(c)(3) tax status, so applicants from state universities are encouraged to apply through their institution’s 501(c)(3) grant-receiving arms. For example, applicants from the University of Texas may apply through the University of Texas Foundation. DDCF encourages applicants to seek guidance from their institution to identify the appropriate institutional entity through which they can apply. DDCF is unable to provide information on the tax ID that applicants must use to gain access to the application site; this information can only be provided by the applicants’ institutions.

I am unable to commit 75 percent effort to research because I need to maintain my clinical specialty competency skills during the award period. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Surgeons or others such as interventional cardiologists and electrophysiology cardiologists whose clinical competency skills must be maintained during the award period may apply provided that no less than 50 percent effort is committed to research if an award is made. These applicants must provide a clear justification in the online application stating the reasons for the projected reduced amount of research effort.

I am a surgeon and I have a large clinical commitment; however, I also do research. Am I eligible to apply if I cannot dedicate 75 percent of my time doing research?

Applicants in surgical specialties may apply provided that they dedicate no less than 50 percent of their effort to research should an award be made. These applicants must provide a clear justification in the online application stating the reasons for the projected reduced amount of research effort.

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.

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

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

No. Applicants must have received an M.D. (or a foreign equivalent), or a D.O. from an accredited institution to apply for this award.

My title is instructor. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Full-time, post-fellowship instructors are not eligible except for instructors from Harvard Medical School. Applicants from Harvard Medical School should refer to additional information below

I am an adjunct assistant professor. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Adjunct assistant professor appointments are not eligible to apply.

I was appointed as assistant professor in the clinical track prior to December 1, 2012. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Applicants that held their first assistant professor appointment prior to December 1, 2012 are not eligible to apply regardless of the faculty track and employment status (including part-time appointments).

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

Yes. You are eligible to apply provided that you were not an instructor at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and that your first appointment as assistant professor occurred between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016. Applicants from HMS should see additional information below

I was an instructor at Harvard Medical School prior to my current appointment as assistant professor. Which appointment should be considered as my first faculty appointment?

DDCF considers the Harvard instructor position to be equivalent to the assistant professor rank elsewhere. Therefore, if you were a Harvard instructor prior to your current position, you must have been appointed to your Harvard instructor appointment no earlier than December 1, 2012 to be eligible to apply.

Must my first assistant professor appointment have started between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016 to be eligible for the competition?

Yes. Applicants must have received their first assistant professor appointment between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016.

I was appointed as a full-time instructor in 2008, and was appointed as an assistant professor in December of 2012. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. You are eligible to apply unless you were a full-time instructor at Harvard Medical School. To be eligible, applicants must be appointed to their first full-time assistant professor position between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016. See below for additional information regarding Harvard Medical School. 

I was appointed as an assistant professor at my current institution in 2012, but was previously an assistant professor at another institution (appointed in 2010). Am I eligible to apply?

No. To be eligible, applicants must be appointed to their first full-time assistant professor position between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016.

I held a research associate position in 2011, but was appointed as full-time assistant professor in December 2012. 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.

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

No. Individuals with acting and adjunct professor post-fellowship positions are not eligible. 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).  

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).

Am I ineligible if I held an acting instructor, acting assistant professor or an adjunct position before December 1, 2012?

No. Acting instructor, acting assistant professor or adjunct assistant professor appointments do not count toward the five-year restriction.

Eligibility for Applicants at Harvard Medical School

Applicants at both the instructor and assistant professor ranks at Harvard Medical School (HMS) are eligible to apply provided that they meet all other eligibility criteria. Please note that DDCF considers the Harvard instructor position as the first faculty position title at Harvard. Therefore, applicants from HMS must have been appointed to their Harvard instructor position between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016. Applicants at the assistant professor rank must be within five years of their Harvard instructor appointment. For questions related to this eligibility criteria contact us at ddcf@aibs.org.

I am an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. DDCF considers instructor appointments at Harvard Medical School (HMS) to be equivalent to the assistant professor appointment elsewhere. Instructors at HMS who were appointed between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016 are eligible to apply provided they meet all other eligibility criteria.

I am an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Applicants at the assistant professor rank at Harvard Medical School (HMS) are eligible to apply provided that they are within five years of their Harvard instructor appointment or their first assistant professor appointment at a previous institution. Harvard applicants at the assistant professor rank must have been appointed to their Harvard instructor position or an assistant professor position elsewhere between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2016 and meet all eligibility criteria.

Eligibility Criteria Exemptions 

The foundation considers exceptions to eligibility criteria on a case-by-case basis and encourages exemption requests for leave of absence due to illness, maternity leave and extraprofessional activities such as care of an ill relative, etc., that have taken considerable time away from the eligibility period. 

Exemptions for other eligibility criteria, such as the requirements that applicants must be assistant professors for at least one year, are typically not granted.

All eligibility criteria exemption requests must be submitted, along with a biographical sketch, to ddcf@aibs.org by 5 p.m. ET on October 27, 2017. Requests missing a biographical sketch will not be considered. There are no guarantees that exceptions will be granted.  Responses to exception requests will be emailed by the end of the business day (ET) on October 31, 2017.

I miss the eligibility window because my first assistant professor appointment occurred before December 1, 2012. However, I took a leave of absence for personal reasons during the period of my faculty appointment. Will the foundation make an exception so I can apply? 

Generally, the length of a parental leave or other well-justified leave for pressing personal or family situations (e.g., family care responsibilities, disability or illness, active military duty) may be deducted from the period of your faculty appointment if the leave had a duration of less than 12 months. However, you must still receive approval from the foundation by submitting an exemption request by October 27, 2017. Your application will not be considered otherwise. 

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 December 1, 2012, i.e., will the foundation make an exception so I can apply?

The foundation will consider requests for exceptions on a case-by-case basis and grant them only when well justified. There are no guarantees that exceptions will be granted. All eligibility criteria exception requests must be submitted to ddcf@aibs.org by 5 p.m. ET on October 27, 2017 and provide the information specified in the request for proposals document. Please also make sure to indicate why, having been an assistant professor for five years, you did not apply to previous CSDA competitions. 

Other Funding

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

Yes. Individuals with K awards may apply provided that all other eligibility criteria are met. Awardees must devote 75 percent of their professional time to research, but there is no minimum effort requirement for the CSDA project itself. 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 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 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 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 of a single or multi-principal investigator National Institutes of Health, peer reviewed R01 or equivalent research grant on or before July 1, 2018. 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, DP1, DP2 R37 and VA Merit 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 online 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 online 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 application submission deadline of 3 p.m. ET on December 1, 2017.

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

No. Do not attach any materials that are not required by the pre-proposal application instructions. Any additional materials will be removed and will not be provided to the peer review panel. Attaching additional materials may disqualify you from the competition. 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 application 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 okay?

No. Both the mentor and the department chair must fill out the online confidential support forms at the website emailed to them. Pre-proposal applications 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 commitment 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 she or he will be provided with the required research time protection (75 percent) if selected to receive the Clinical Scientist Development Award. All other applicants must have this form completed by their department chair. 

I have more than one mentor. Can all my mentors submit online mentorship forms?

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

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

No. Your chair may submit both the mentorship form and the institutional commitment form. However, please note that the two forms are different and that your mentor will therefore have to submit both of them by the pre-proposal application deadline of 3 p.m. ET on December 1, 2017. Applications with missing forms will be disqualified from the competition. 

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

No. If your mentor is also the department chair, he or she must submit two forms: an institutional commitment form and a mentorship form. Please note that the two forms are different and must be received by the pre-proposal application deadline of 3 p.m. ET on December 1, 2017. Applications with missing forms will be disqualified from the competition. 

Will I be notified when my mentor or department chair submit their online forms?  

Yes. You will receive an email notification when the mentor and department chair submit their online forms for your pre-proposal application. We recommend that you add ddcf@aibs.org to your email safe senders list. If you have not received the confirmation emails as the pre-proposal application 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 check if your mentor or department chair has submitted their forms until after the deadline, and missing forms will eliminate applicants from the competition. 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 December 1, 2017. 

I submitted a pre-proposal application but would like to change the mentors. May I make this change?

No. Submitted applications may not be edited. The peer review of pre-proposal applications evaluates the ability of the mentor(s) to enable career development of the applicant and provide research guidance. Therefore mentors cannot be changed after submission of the pre-proposal application.

Can I replace mentors after submission of a pre-proposal application?

No. Changes to the mentor(s) are not allowed once a pre-proposal application has been submitted.

Budget

A project budget is not part of the pre-proposal application and should not be submitted at the pre-proposal application stage of the competition. The information below is provided only for informational purposes. Details about how to prepare a budget will be provided to applicants invited to submit a full proposal application in the second stage of the competition.

May I include a project budget with the pre-proposal application?

No. Budgets may not be submitted with pre-proposal applications. A budget will be part of the full proposal application for those invited to proceed to the second stage of the competition.

Does the award provide any formal coverage of indirect costs?

Yes. The award has an indirect cost allowance. The total indirect costs for the duration of the award can be up to $15,000 (10 percent 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.

If invited to submit a full proposal application, can I request salary support for my mentor in the budget?

Yes. Up to 5 percent of the mentor's effort is allowed to be included in the budget.

Would the award allow costs for support of graduate students or mentees in my budget?

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

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.

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. This award program does not prioritize funding for any disease areas or research types.

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

No. The foundation is generally 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.

Does the foundation have priority areas for funding for the CSDA competition?

No. The foundation does not have funding priority areas. The priority is to fund the best individuals and their research plans to enable their transition to independence. The selection of awardees is based on peer review that evaluates both the potential of the applicant for a career in research as well as the potential of the project in supporting the investigator’s transition to independence.

Can I propose aims that will need use of non-human animal models for their completion?

No. Experiments that utilize non-human animals or primary tissues derived from them should not be included in the research plan. 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.

My proposed research aims build on preliminary data generated with non-human animal models or their primary tissues. Can I include these data in my application?

Yes. Animal-based research may be presented as preliminary evidence supporting the research plan but the aims themselves may not include research with non-human animals.

My project is subject to IRB Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. Does IRB approval have to be in place before submitting a pre-proposal application? 

No. IRB approval can be pending at the time of pre-proposal application submission; however, if you receive a grant, we expect that you will have approval by the grant start date of July 1, 2018 or no later than October 1, 2018.

My proposed project is subject to Investigational New Drug (IND) approval. Does IND approval need to be in place at the time of pre-proposal application submission? 

No. IND approval can be pending at the time of pre-proposal application submission. However, IND approval must be in place by the deadline for full proposal application submission, March 16, 2018. Full proposal applications for projects with IND requirements that do not have approval at the time of submission will be disqualified. 

Will I be able to revise my project title if invited to submit a full proposal application?

Yes. You will be able to change your project title as needed if you are invited to submit a full proposal application.

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 2017 was ten percent.

How many awards will be made?

DDCF plans to award approximately 16 grants in 2018.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQ’s, email ddcf@aibs.org with “CSDA 2018” as the subject line. Please do not attempt to contact us by phone.