2019 Brain Health Institute/Center for Computational Cognitive Neuro-Psychiatry (CCNP) Pilot Grants Program – Details for application and review

We are pleased to announce a new pilot grants program to support studies conducted at the CCNP Core facility housed in the Research Tower on Busch campus.  CCNP was established to allow for researcher-friendly, rapid collection of data from human participants performing cognitive tasks. Data collected at the CCNP will serve as the foundation for computational modeling efforts as a means to accelerate and improve our understanding of the psychological mechanisms involved in mental illness and its treatment.  CCNP has access to large samples of individuals with psychiatric conditions, as well as to psychiatrically healthy subjects. The Center includes expertly-trained staff who recruit participants for studies, administer clinical interviews, and run experiments in the 3 testing rooms available on-site. To initiate a project, investigators simply need to work with CCNP staff to develop local IRB protocols for their projects (formally: amendments to the CCNP Umbrella IRB protocol) and then CCNP staff will carry out all of the data collection once the study is approved. Services include recruiting participants, creating and managing study databases, clinical interviewing, and running participants through experimental procedures. Investigators are free to have as much or as little contact with the staff and participants as they like. Consultative services for psychological instruments are also available from our Director of Clinical Assessment at the CCNP. More information is available on the CCNP website.

There are two main objectives of this pilot grant program: (i) to foster the emerging field of computational cognitive neuropsychiatry at Rutgers by promoting the use of the CCNP core facility and (ii) to support pilot experiments that will lead to sustained funding from an external agency (e.g., NIH). There will be four pilot grants available annually; each one-year award is limited to $20,000 in direct costs; no indirect costs or overhead costs are allowed. Two of the four awards, supported by the Rutgers New Brunswick Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, will be reserved for applicants who are full-time faculty from Rutgers-New Brunswick.  The other two awards, supported by the Brain Health Institute, will be reserved for applicants who are full-time faculty from RBHS.  For both type of pilots, collaborative efforts are encouraged.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling-basis until April 2020 or until the four awards have been made. Submitted grant applications will first go through a scientific review organized by the Brain Health Institute in collaboration with CCNP co-Directors and conducted by local faculty with expertise in the subject matter. One main factor in determining funding will be perceived likelihood that the pilot data generated will lead to external funding. The outcome from the scientific review will be announced within two months of submission. The principle investigators of meritorious applications, selected from the scientific review, will then be asked to submit and obtain IRB approval for the proposed pilot project within four months of being informed of the scientific review results. Only applications that obtain IRB approvals within the four-month deadline will be awarded the pilot funds. The IRB application and approval should not be too cumbersome as the CCNP has an approved umbrella IRB protocol that includes all standard operating procedures at the Center. Each selected pilot project will be submitted to the IRB as an amendment to the CCNP umbrella protocol. The umbrella protocol acts as a frame for individual experiment protocols, and includes generalized approval for recruitment, clinical assessment, cognitive experimental tasks, monetary compensation for study participation, and risks and benefits of participating in studies at the CCNP. Your amendment must be specific to your experimental protocol, and will mainly include details about the exact clinical and cognitive assessment tasks that will be used in your study. Pilot grant applicants who are selected after the initial scientific review will collaborate with the CCNP staff to develop documents for our IRB and then CCNP staff will submit your protocol and interact with the IRB. Throughout the process of approval, we will continually update you and may need to request additional information from you. The process of approval once a protocol is submitted can take 6-8 weeks or longer. This timeline will vary from protocol to protocol given the relative risks and novelty of the experimental procedures. Regardless, to be awarded the pilot grant, it will be the responsibility of the applicant to obtain the IRB approval within four months; therefore, it will be important to begin the IRB application and submission process as soon as your project is selected and respond in a timely manner to address issues raised by the IRB.  Contacting CCNP staff prior to preparing the pilot application will also be important to determine if the planned studies can be executed at the core facility (CCNP@ubhc.rutgers.edu ).

The pilot awardees will have to provide evidence of related extramural grant applications within 6 months of completion of the pilot, and outcomes within a year of the pilot. All pilot awardees will be required to submit a final progress report within 6 months of the end of the award. This report will include publications and grant applications submitted, as well as results obtained and significance of those results.

Format:  All applications should be single-spaced, use font/size Arial 11 with 0.5 inch page margins and include the following components-

  1. A face sheet: please use the attached Word form (click here to download).
  2. Applicant NIH-style biosketch (5 pages), with current grant support listed.
  3. Proposal (2 pages with no appendices)–The project should be described in sufficient detail to elucidate hypothesis, significance, and central methodology.  Figures, tables, diagrams, etc., must be included within the 2-page limit.
  4. Budget (1 page/itemized table format in US $) – Funds can only be used to pay for the hourly expenses incurred executing the project at the CCNP core facility. The user fee is $200 per hour of participant testing. Although you pay only for hours in which the CCNP Core tests participants for your study, the cost is all inclusive, that is, it includes participant recruitment, as well as data management. There is an additional cost for subject compensation (minimum $20/hour). If your study design requires additional compensation to subjects beyond the standard $20/hour and coverage of subject transportation fees these will be added as appropriate.

Funds cannot be used for salary support, supplies or equipment. Please provide a budget description that includes number of subjects to be tested and the number of testing hours proposed in the pilot project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the CCNP Co-Director, Dr. Steve Silverstein, or CCNP Clinical supervisor, Dr. Molly Erickson to help determine the appropriate number of subjects and testing period and help develop the budget.  Requests must not exceed $20,000.

  • References (1 page, optional) –a listing up to ten bibliographical references may be included.

Submit a SINGLE PDF file, including the face sheet to bhi@ca.rutgers.edu.

Please contact Dr. Steven Silverstein, CCNP Co-Director (silvers1@ubhc.rutgers.edu) or Dr. Molly Erickson, CCNP Clinical Supervisor (molly.erickson@rutgers.edu) with questions.