Medical Research

CSDA Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-proposals are no longer being accepted for the 2019 CSDA grant competition. These questions and answers are only provided for reference.

Jump to FAQ's about: Application (including tax status), EligibilityEligibility Criteria ExemptionsOther FundingBudget, and Miscellaneous (including IRB requirements, indirect costs, salary caps, preliminary animal research and success rates).

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email ddcf@aibs.org. No phone calls please, as 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. 

Application

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 or even department within an institution. 

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.

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 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. Please note that eligible faculty at state universities are eligible to apply; this tax ID requirement does not preclude their application for the award.

Eligibility

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 can be 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. Whether an effort commitment of less than 75 percent would be conducive to committed and long-lasting clinical research careers will be evaluated during the review process to determine funding merit of an application.

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. Whether an effort commitment of less than 75 percent would be conducive to committed and long-lasting clinical research careers will be evaluated during the review process to determine funding merit of an application.

Am I eligible to apply if I do not have a valid U.S. 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 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 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 instructor positions are not eligible except for instructors from Harvard Medical School. Applicants from Harvard Medical School should see 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 more than four years ago. Am I eligible to apply?

No, applicants that held their first assistant professor appointment earlier than the eligibility window for the competition are not eligible to apply, regardless of the faculty track.

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).

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. 

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 four years of their Harvard instructor appointment or their first assistant professor appointment at a previous institution. 

Eligibility Criteria Exemptions

Does the foundation make exceptions to the eligibility criteria for the competition?

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, that have taken considerable time away from the eligibility period.

Exemptions for other eligibility criteria, such as the degree requirement and applicants' status as assistant professors for at least one year, are not granted.

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 served as the principal investigator of a single or multiple-principal investigator National Institutes of Health, peer-reviewed, R01 or equivalent research grant on or before the Clinical Scientist Development Award start date. 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 am the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health R01 grant or equivalent that I inherited from another investigator. Am I eligible to apply?

No, you are not eligible to apply. An award will not be made if the applicant has served as the principal investigator of a single or multiple-principal investigator National Institutes of Health, peer-reviewed, R01 or equivalent research grant on or before the Clinical Scientist Development Award start date.

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.

Budget

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.

Does the award provide any formal coverage of indirect costs?

Yes, the award has an indirect cost allowance of up to $15,000 (10 percent of direct costs) per year for the three-year duration of the award.

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 five 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.

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 via email to ddcf@aibs.org to discuss whether the proposed research falls within 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 the most promising research plans to enable individuals to transition to independence research careers. 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 in 2019, we expect that you will have approval by the grant start date of July 1, 2019 or no later than October 1, 2019.

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, 2019 CSDA applicants must have IND approval in place by March 22, 2019, the deadline for full proposal application submission. 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, provided the aims described in the pre-proposal have not changed.

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 2018 was nine percent.

How many awards will be made?

DDCF plans to award approximately 17 grants in 2019.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?

If your question is not answered after reviewing the FAQs, email ddcf@aibs.org.

Please do not attempt to contact us by phone as you may not be able to reach the appropriate contact. We can most effectively address questions submitted via email.