Medical Research

SCD/AC Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to FAQ's about: Budget & Financials, Eligibility, Funding Areas, IRB/IND Requirements, Miscellaneous, Other Sources of Funding, and Proposals

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email ddcf@aibs.org with “2019 SCD/AC – [Last name]” as the subject line. No phone calls, please. We are better able to address your questions if contacted via email. Calling might delay a response as calls often do not reach the appropriate contact at the foundation.

Budget & Financials

DDCF has committed approximately $5 million over three years to support research projects for Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures. The number of projects funded will depend on the number of meritorious applications received and their budgets. Flexible annual direct cost amounts of $150,000 - $300,000 will be considered, plus a 10% annual indirect cost allowance. Please see the Request for Proposals for additional award information.

Is there a maximum grant amount that I may request to support the proposed project?

A maximum annual direct cost of $300,000 is recommended, but larger budgets will be considered if well justified. Please contact the foundation at ddcf@aibs.org ahead of the deadline and before making an application submission. Include “2019 SCD/AC – [Last name]” in the subject line.

Is there a budget guideline reference document available to prepare the budget?

Guidelines for preparing a budget, as well as a budget template, are part of the Request for Proposals. If you are preparing a budget on behalf of an applicant and do not have access to the instructions, please get in touch with us (ddcf@aibs.org) and include the name of the applicant for whom the budget is being prepared.

What are allowable grant costs?

For general guidance about allowable grant costs, please check our grantee Guidelines and Policies. For specific questions, please read the Request for Applications or inquire at ddcf@aibs.org with “2019 SCD/AC – [Last name].”

Do I need to list co-investigators in the budget even if their effort will not be charged to the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures grant?

Yes. Co-investigators and their effort towards the proposed Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures project should be specified in the budget even if salary charges are not planned.

Does the award support indirect costs?

Yes. The three-year award is inclusive of indirect costs at a rate of 10 percent.

I plan on establishing subcontracts with investigators at other institutions to carry out the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures project. Can these investigators charge indirect costs in the sub-contract?

Yes. Subcontracts may charge indirect costs at a rate of up to 10 percent of the subcontract direct cost.

If the budget has a subcontract, do I include the total subcontract cost in the main budget’s 10 percent indirect cost calculation?

No. Do not include the total subcontract cost in the main budget’s indirect cost calculation. Please use our budget template to avoid subcontract costs being double-counted in budget calculations. Please simply follow the numerical formulations in the budget template. (The subcontract indirect costs will come out of the resulting total annual indirect cost amount.)

Is there a salary cap for this award?

No. The foundation does not have a salary cap for this award. However, the amount of salary charged to the grant must be commensurate with the effort that will be dedicated to the research project.

Eligibility

Will DDCF support only principal investigators who are medical doctors?

No. Unlike some of our other grant programs, applicants to the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures award do not have to be medical doctors. Applicants with doctoral degrees with or without a medical degree (M.D., Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., D.O., or the equivalent) and a full-time faculty rank appointment (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor) at an academic institution or the equivalent position in a nonprofit research organization are eligible to apply.

Must I have a full-time faculty appointment to apply?

Applicants must have a full-time faculty rank appointment at a U.S. academic institution or the equivalent position in a U.S. nonprofit research organization. Exceptions may be considered on a case by case basis. Contact us at ddcf@aibs.org.

Can fellows apply to the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures program?

No. Fellows are not eligible for this competition.

Does the principal investigator have to be a U.S. citizen?

No. The principal investigator does not have to be a U.S. citizen. Applicants with M.D., Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., D.O., or the equivalent degrees and a faculty rank appointment (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor) at an academic institution or the equivalent position in a nonprofit research organization are eligible to apply, provided that they are affiliated with a U.S.-based institution that is exempt from federal income taxation as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

I am an investigator working outside the United States. Can I apply to the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures program?

Investigators working abroad can apply only if they have a faculty appointment at an academic institution, or the equivalent position in a nonprofit research organization, that is located in the U.S. and if they meet all other eligibility criteria for the competition.

I do not have a faculty appointment at a U.S.-based institution and work at an institution outside of the U.S. Am I eligible to apply?

No. Researchers at institutions outside of the U.S. that have neither a faculty appointment nor the equivalent position in a nonprofit research organization, at an institution in the U.S. are not eligible to apply.

Can two investigators be principal investigators on the project?

Yes, but you must decide which of the two will submit the application. The principal investigator submitting the application must be at the institution that would receive the grant, if awarded. In addition, the principal investigator who submits the application will be considered the main point of contact for communications with the foundation. Additionally, if two principal investigators are named in the application, they will be consider as co-equals.

Do I have to apply as a team with another principal investigator?

No. Applications from teams are not a requirement of this competition.

Can a team of more than two principal investigators apply for this competition?

No. There is a maximum of two principal investigators per project. Principal investigators may have co-investigators for the project, though these would be considered as key personnel.

Can I submit more than one application?

No. You may only submit one application as a principal investigator. You may, however, be considered part of the key personnel of another application.

Are there any limitations to the number of applications that an institution can submit for this competition?

No. There are no limits regarding the number of applications that an institution can submit. However, applicants must meet all eligibility criteria and submit a complete application to be considered for the competition.

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

Institutions accepting and administering any DDCF award must be exempt from U.S. federal income taxation as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the "Code") as amended and must not be a private foundation or a Type III supporting organization as defined in Section 509(a) of the Code per the conditions of Doris Duke’s will establishing the foundation. Contact ddcf@aibs.org with “2019 SCD/AC – [Last name]” if you have further questions.

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.

Why is the tax ID for my institution not being accepted on the application site when I try to access the 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 a state 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 online form. DDCF is unable to provide information on an applicant’s own tax ID. Please note that eligible faculty at state universities are eligible to apply; this tax ID requirement does not preclude their application for the award.

I have not published any work related to sickle cell disease before. Does that make me ineligible?

No. DDCF encourages applications from investigators who have not previously worked in sickle cell disease research but who bring expertise to address the areas of interest in this request for applications.

Funding Areas

Are there specific research areas that will not be funded by this competition?

DDCF seeks to fund research needed to advance curative therapies or new drug candidates that would restore hemoglobin function. Examples of research areas that will not be considered include, but are not limited to: study of associations with disease complications, vitamin D supplementation studies.

Would the competition accept applications for research to advance gene editing into the clinic?

Yes. DDCF sees to fund research needed to advance curative therapies for sickle cell disease.

Can you give examples of research areas that Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures seeks to fund?

Examples of areas that the competition seeks to fund are studies of : therapeutic agents to increase functional red blood cells, approaches to improve gene therapies for long-term benefit and to minimize off-target effects, testing of safer bone marrow conditioning regimens to minimize toxicity in patients with sickle cell disease, determinants of hematopoietic stem cell engraftment in patients with sickle cell disease.

My research involves use of small molecules to increase HbF, does this fall within the scope of the competition?

Using a small molecule to increase HbF levels in sickle cell disease is considered an approach to decrease sickling of red blood cells that would fall within the scope of the request for applications for the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures award.

Institutional Review Board/Investigational New Drug Requirements

When is Institutional Review Board approval or submission required to be in effect - at the time of the full proposal submission or before an award is made?

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, if necessary, is not required at the time of proposal submission. However, if a grant is awarded, DDCF strongly prefers IRB approval to be in place by the grant start date of September 1, 2019 and no later than December 1, 2019.

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?

If necessary, Investigational New Drug approval must be in place by the application submission deadline of May 31, 2019. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the foundation at ddcf@aibs.org ahead of the deadline and before making an application submission. Please include “2019 SCD/AC – [Last name]” in the subject line.

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. DDCF’s definition also includes 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.

How many awards will be made?

DDCF has committed approximately $5,000,000 to the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures program, which amounts to about eight 3-year grants starting in 2019. However, this may vary based on both the quality of the applications received and the proposed budget of meritorious applications.

What is DDCF’s public access policy for publications funded through its grants?

For this program, DDCF’s requires grantees to submit an electronic copy of their final peer‐reviewed manuscripts in the PubMed Central online archive immediately upon acceptance for journal publication. The manuscript will have to be made publicly available in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the official date of journal publication.

Would the public access policy adopted by DDCF limit the journals to which grantees can submit their DDCF-funded work?

No. Grantees may publish their work in any journal they wish. However, the final accepted manuscript must be deposited in PubMed Central for public release no longer than 12 months after acceptance for publication.

Other Sources of Funding

What is the foundation’s policy regarding other sources of funding?

There can be no scientific or budgetary overlap between the proposed aims of the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures research and those of other awards, either at the time of application or after the DDCF award has been made.

Proposals

Is a letter of intent required to apply for this award?

No. A letter of intent is not part of the application process for the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures award. Researchers that wish to apply must submit an application including all required components as described in the request for proposals and application instructions document.

Where can I find instructions for how to apply?

Instructions on how to apply are included in the request for proposals and instructions document.

How do I access the grant application form?

To start an application go to this link: https://www.GrantRequest.com/SID_1149?SA=SNA&FID=35025. To return to an application you have started and that is now in progress, go to https://www.grantrequest.com/SID_1149?SA=AM. (Avoid following the first link twice, as doing so will create application copies.)

Will late applications be accepted?

No. The application site will shut down automatically at the deadline: May 31, 2019 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

I would like to include additional materials as appendices to the application. Is this allowed?

No. You may not include materials beyond those requested by the application instructions. Including additional materials may disqualify you from the competition.

Will the foundation consider proposals for research that involves non-human animals or tissues derived from them?

No. Investigators that propose research using non-human animals or tissues derived from them will be excluded from the competition.

My project does not have preliminary data. Would it be considered responsive to this funding opportunity?

No. The purpose of this competition is to identify projects that will advance approaches to restore hemoglobin function, so some preliminary data should exist to demonstrate feasibility of the proposed approach. Preliminary data does not have to be collected from studies of sickle cell disease specifically, as long as the data are relevant to the proposed approach. We encourage proposals for projects with potential for high impact.

My preliminary data was obtained using non-human animal models. Can I include these data in my proposal?

Yes. Preliminary research in animal models may be included in your application as evidence to support the proposed research plan. However, the proposed research aims may not use non-human animals or primary tissues derived from them. These will not be funded by the award.

Would the restriction about research with non-human animal models preclude me from pursuing research with these models with other sources of funding?

No. Receiving a Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures award does not preclude you from pursuing research with non-human animals or their primary tissue using other sources of funding. If you are planning animal studies concurrent to your proposed Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures project and mention these in your proposal, you must clearly state that these will be supported by other funds and reference the source of these funds.

What if I am unsure if my project falls within the scope of this funding opportunity?

If you have questions about whether your research proposal would fall within the scope of the Sickle Cell Disease/Advancing Cures program, please send an inquiry to ddcf@aibs.org with “2019 SCD/AC – [Last name].”

Who is considered key personnel?

Key personnel are those who will make substantive and scholarly contributions to the development and execution of the research project whether or not they request salaries or compensation.

Should consultants and trainees be listed as key personnel in the “List of Key Personnel and their Roles” section of the proposal?

No. Do not list trainees nor consultants as key personnel.