Proposed MDA-CAP Mechanisms of Regular Program Review and Support of Seed Grants
In general, program activities and specific research projecs are scheduled to be initiated at different timepoints in a coordinated manner. In addition, the duration of individual research projects varies considerably. In order to ensure that all projects are subject to programmatic oversight to ensure successful completion of project objectives and overall program coordination, each project will be evaluated through the following mechanisms:
- Regular interactions with designated Executive Committee members who will serve as mentors or advisors for MDA-CAP sponsored projects;
- Brief progress report submitted to the SAB at 6 months after funding summarizing progress, problems, and expectations for continued progress in achieving agreed upon milestones;
- Presentation of the research results at the annual MDA-CAP meeting; And,
- Annual progress report detailing progress on project aims and plans for submitting proposals for extramural funding (to USDA, NIH, and other agencies).
Criteria for Project Continuation or Termination. Continued funding of the MDA-CAP-sponsored projects will be determined through two mechanisms.
- Productive projects of high priority will be encouraged to continue as full research programs and seek funding from extramural sources. If requested by the investigators, designated mentors and/or suitable collaborators will be identified from within the MDA-CAP consortium to help with project development and provide other support needed to increase likelihood of receiving extramural funding.
- Projects with no demonstrated progress in a six-month period will be put on a formal alert and required to provide a special update at the 9-month funding anniversary. If these continue to fail in demonstrating progress at 9 months and show little likelihood of success, the Executive Committee will be notified and the project recommended for being terminated. The Executive Committee, in consultation with and approval from the EAB, will make the final decision regarding discontinuation of funding, and all unexpended funds will be required to be returned to Developmental Projects Fund of the MDA-CAP program. It is understood that, for certain types of projects, significant progress will not be able to be achieved in the six-month period and hence progress will be evaluated on the basis of milestones agreed upon prior to the start of funding.
Seed Grants Program. To ensure identification of the most promising programs for future research, education, and extension, we will develop an RFA for MDA related grants each year from year 2 onwards. This is made available on the MDA-CAP website, and sent out via e-mail to the membership and as well as to Research Deans at participating institutions and to other mailing lists including the AABP, NMPF, NCBA, ASI, CRWAD, and other relevant e-mail list-servers. On receipt of applications, the AC assigns external reviewers to review and score the proposals as per standard procedures for USDA and NIH study sections (by assigning a numeric score of 1 to 9). The AC calculates an overall score in order to rank the applications. The review criteria is similar to those applied to USDA and NIH applications (Relevance, Scientific Merit, and Facilities) and special consideration given to new investigators or those whom have not before received federal funding for bTB or JD research. EAB and funding agency input are then solicited for all projects deemed meritorious for funding in order to ensure accountability and relevance.
Mechanism for Funding of Seed Grants. Applicants will be able to request funding for a one-year project for materials and supplies costs associated with the seed-grant. These funds may be used to enable new programs to obtain key preliminary data so as to transition to mature independently funded programs capable of delivering products into translational pipelines. Justification for budgets and project milestones will be required in the applications and developmental grants will be dispersed to the investigators sponsoring institution(s) directly from the Administrative Core at The Pennsylvania State University.