Research Rising Intensive Grant Training Program Announced

Researchers affiliated with the Life Span Institute's Research Rising project, Advancing Intellectual and Developmental Disabilty Research at KU, are accepting applications for a training program focused on early career investigators studying intellectual and developmental disability research.

The Research Rising Intensive Grant Development Training Program for Early Stage Investigators (ESI) Studying Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, or ESI Training Program, is a multifaceted, 9-month (Aug-May) program designed to support early career faculty investigators progressing towards submitting their first major extramural funding award proposal. Target funding mechanisms can be a range of major independent research awards, including but not limited to NIH R01 and R21 awards, IES Awards (e.g., Early Career, Exploration, Development, Initial Efficacy, Assessment), or NSF awards. Separate awards from private funding agencies also may be appropriate. 

Participants will be supported by a team of senior faculty with strong track records of external funding. These mentors will guide groups of early career scientists through the proposal development process. Each participant also will be matched with an individual mentor with overlapping expertise and history of funding with the targeted agency or grant mechanism. Participants also will benefit from a team structure in which peers offer support and feedback.   

The team of mentors will provide early input on research aims to ensure they are addressing significant, innovative, and fundable questions. They also will work with participants to identify critical resources and potential collaborators, and make pre-proposal contact with the funding agency as appropriate. Participants will learn “tricks of the trade” from experienced KU faculty familiar with different funding agencies.

This program has been developed as part of a $3 million investment from the KU Office of Research as part of their Research Rising Program. It is led by Drs. Colombo, Shogren, and Mosconi who collectively have experience successfully competing for research funding from NIH, IES, NSF, industry, and private foundations, among others. Additional mentors also may be invited based on need and availability.

ESI Training Program Structure
The ESI Training Program is a nine-month program comprised of the following:

•    Specialized training and guidance in grant development with faculty coaches
•    Collaborative opportunities with separate ESIs at KU studying IDDs
•    Activities and resources designed to provide ESIs with the tools and knowledge they need to write a successful major research award proposal (e.g., proposal writing seminar, mock review).
•    Self-directed interdisciplinary peer group activities of approximately 4-8 faculty members (ESIs) and 1-2 coaches (senior faculty members). Mentees share and review proposal sections, provide constructive feedback to one another, and address problems and needs of mutual interest.
•    Internal subject matter experts who provide counsel on mentees’ research plans, help them prepare and present a Chalk Talk, and review proposal drafts.
•    External Subject Matter Experts who review mentees’ final proposals through the KUCR PEER Program.

Faculty investigators (tenure or non-tenure track) with demonstrated experience conducting research involving people with or model systems of intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) including, but not limited to autism, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Specific Language Impairment (SLI), or others. Areas of research focus can range from basic to applied, across disciplines. Only applicants who have yet to serve as PI on a major independent externally funded research award are eligible. Applicants also should be within 10 years of completing their terminal degree. It is expected that participants will be actively involved and working towards the development of their proposal throughout the training period.

How to Apply
To apply for the 2023-2024 ESI Training Program, candidates should submit an updated biosketch (no more than 5 pages), a brief description of their proposed research project including a title, background rationale, hypotheses/aims, planned design and measurement approaches (no more than 2 pages), and a statement of impact and statement of innovation (no more than 1 page combined). All materials should be in 11 pt Arial font, single-spaced. A list of three candidate KU mentors also should be included. All materials should be collated as a single .pdf document and submitted via email to Spring Hull . Materials should be submitted no later than 5 pm May 22, 2023.