Environmental Health Sciences Pilot Grants Available

Information Session: November 12, 2018; 11:00 am-12:00 pm; Claudia Nance Rollins Room 6001

Download a PDF of the application instructions here.

The HERCULES Exposome Research Center (NIEHS P30 ES019776) is pleased to announce the 2019 Pilot Project Program in Environmental Health Sciences. HERCULES will fund five pilot awards at up to $40,000 (direct costs) each.  Additional funds are available through the Winship Cancer Institute partnership described below.  

A major focus of HERCULES is to advance the science of the exposome (the comprehensive analysis of environmental exposures over a lifetime); however, the Pilot Project Program supports any research in the environmental health sciences that aligns with the mission of NIEHS. Pilot projects must focus on the role of the environment in human disease, and may include basic (cellular and animal), biomedical, translational, clinical, epidemiologic, or behavioral projects, e.g., studies on specific environmental toxicants, gene-environment interactions, or social determinants of environmental exposure or risk.  

Through a partnership with the Winship Cancer Institute, additional awards that focus on the role of the environment in cancer biology and cancer prevention will also be supported. Applicants interested in funding from the HERCULES-Winship partnership should include at least one investigator who is a member of Winship. 

The central goal of HERCULES is to support NIEHS-funded investigators and to build the capacity of investigators at Emory and Georgia Tech to successfully compete for NIEHS-funded research awards. To encourage environmental health-focused research, the Pilot Project Program supports developmental projects aimed at competing for NIEHS-funded R21 or R01 research grants. It is critical for pilot applicants to consider the research priorities of NIEHS in their pilot project plans to ensure alignment with Center goals. 

Applications that propose to utilize one or more of the HERCULES Facility Cores are especially encouraged. The Facility Cores are designed to provide investigators with state of the art technologies, tools, and approaches that can be applied to environmental health studies to ensure that the most impactful, rigorous, and innovative research is being undertaken by Emory Investigators. Awardees will receive subsidized core services.  Applicants planning to use a HERCULES Core are required to consult with Core members regarding feasibility and costs before submitting a full application.  Applicable Core consultation meeting times will be provided upon receipt of a letter of intent. 

  • Environmental Health Data Sciences: Expertise in statistical approaches in environmental health research, data management, and systems biology.
  • Targeted Exposure Analysis: A unique suite of multiple types of mass spectrometers allows for measurement of any chemical in multiple biological matrices.
  • Metabolomics: A standardized high-resolution protocol is used to obtain a global view of metabolism and environmental exposures.
  • Clinical/Population Research Services: Expertise in translation of basic science concepts into practical clinical and population research designs and provide opportunities to connect with appropriate population resources including the GA-CTSA.

Projects with translational relevance (clinical or population-based), community-based participatory research projects (see below for guidelines), and collaborative and interdisciplinary projects are particularly encouraged.

Application Guidelines:

Eligibility to Apply:

  • HERCULES pilot awards are open to all investigators at Emory and the Emory-Georgia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering who are eligible to serve as Principal Investigators on NIH R-level grant applications. Faculty in other departments at Georgia Tech are eligible to apply if their proposal includes collaboration with an Emory faculty member.
  • Applicants interested in funding from the HERCULES-Winship partnership should include at least one investigator who is a member of Winship.
  • No HERCULES Core Personnel can be the PI on a HERCULES pilot unless they have been at Emory/Georgia Tech less than 3 years.
  • HERCULES Pilot PIs funded in the previous two pilot cycles are not eligible to apply.
  • Only one application per PI may be submitted.
  • Applications must be focused on the role of the environment in human health and disease and align with the mission of NIEHS.

Recommended Guidelines for HERCULES Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Projects:

  • Applications for community-engaged research projects designed to address local environmental health concerns are encouraged.
  • Community members/partners are expected to participate meaningfully in the development of the research questions and research design, as well as study implementation (e.g., data collection), with resources shared (e.g., compensating partner’s time).
  • The research team and community partner should plan to disseminate study results directly to the community.
  • The HERCULES Community Engagement Core can facilitate community-academic partnerships for CBPR applications. To consult with the Community Engagement Core, contact Melanie Pearson at mapears@emory.edu.
  • All pilot application documents must be submitted through the Emory faculty member and are subject to the standard requirements of the Pilot Project Program.

Letter of Intent due by Friday, December 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm to katehodgins@emory.edu.

The letter should include a descriptive title of the proposed research, overall aim/hypothesis of proposed research, names of key personnel, and any anticipated use of HERCULES Facility Cores (Environmental Health Data Sciences, Targeted Analysis, Metabolomics, or Clinical/Population Research Services). Letters should not exceed one page. Applicants will be notified if they are selected to submit a full application by Wednesday, December 12th. 

Application due by Friday, February 1, 2019 at 5:00 pm to katehodgins@emory.edu.

  • Cover page:
    • Include a paragraph summarizing the proposed research and its environmental health relevance.
    • Describe immediate or future relevance to local communities, if applicable.
    • Include a sentence explaining how the research will advance exposome research, general environmental health research, or cancer science, as applicable.
  • Science portion (4 page maximum length, 11 point Arial, 1-inch margins):
    • Should be written in the style of an NIH R grant, with specific aims, significance, innovation, and approach
    • Include plans for future R-level grant submission and how pilot funding will improve likelihood of success. NIEHS-relevant submissions are particularly encouraged and will be weighted most heavily.
    • Include a sentence describing your consultation with HERCULES Facility Core(s) (including meeting date and attendees), if applicable.
    • References and cover page are not included in the page count.
  • NIH Biosketch
  • Full NIH budget & justification on PHS 398 form (pages fp4 and fp5)
    • Funding of up to $40,000 direct costs may be requested.
    • Funds budgeted for HERCULES Core services should be adjusted to account for services provided free or on a discounted basis to pilot awardees. Budget details should be discussed at the required Facility Core consultation meeting.
    • Indirect costs should not be included in budget.
    • Faculty salary support up to a maximum of 5% effort may be requested (combined effort of all participating faculty, NIH salary cap limit applies).
    • All federal and university rules and regulations regarding the administration of grants apply to these funds. Costs subject to CAS approval, such as computers, general purpose equipment, office supplies, etc., may not be budgeted. Any travel must follow Emory University travel policies and procedures.
    • Requests for equipment must be justified in the budget.
  • Email a compiled electronic version (PDF) of the application to: katehodgins@emory.edu
  • Decisions made by March 15, 2019. Funding starts April 1, 2019. Funding ends March 31, 2020.

Awardee Requirements:

  • Pilot awards are expected to lead to R-level NIH funding, preferably with NIEHS. Awardees are required to keep the HERCULES Center Administrator informed of any funding related to the pilot project.
  • Any resultant publications must cite funding from HERCULES (NIH grant P30 ES019776) and electronic copies of the publications should be provided to the HERCULES Center Administrator.
  • Awardees must agree to participate in HERCULES activities (Retreats, Seminars, Data Clubs, Workshops, Stakeholder and External Advisory Board Meetings) and provide a brief written report at the end of the funding
  • Awardees must supply the following IRB information, if relevant, to the HERCULES Center Administrator for approval by NIEHS before starting research: study team CITI certification, University IRB approval/exemption letter, Human Subjects Statement, and PHS Inclusion Form.
  • A midpoint project report is due December 2, 2019 and a final project update by April 30, 2020.

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