Overview

The UT Dallas Collaborative Biomedical Research Award (CoBRA) grant program is a funding mechanism designed to stimulate interdisciplinary research collaborations between faculty at UT Dallas and the UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) that will lead to external funding. Supported and led by the Office of Research, this program will be offered annually pending the availability of resources. Successful proposals will include faculty members serving as PIs from both UT Dallas and UTSW. PIs who accept a CoBRA Grant award commit to the pursuit of external funding for the collaborative effort within 24 to 36 months of receiving this funding. Activities that are not eligible for support through this mechanism include consulting, dissertation completion, research/analysis pertaining to the operation of UT Dallas and/or UTSW, and curriculum development.

Award Information

  • The maximum allowable budget for a CoBRA grant is $125,000/year for 2 years.
  • The duration of a CoBRA award is 24 months.
  • Teams whose CoBRA proposals are not selected in a given award period may resubmit their proposals the following year.

Dates

Submission Deadline: March 31st

Awardees will be notified in early June

Eligibility Guidelines

CoBRA funding is meant to catalyze research collaborations in biomedical science and engineering that have potential for major external funding. Proposed research programs must be new and distinct from what is currently externally supported and priority will be given to collaborations that are new (i.e. the participating PIs have no previous track record of co-funding on externally sponsored work as co-PIs or PI and co-investigator). A collaboration can still be considered new if the PIs have collaborated as authors on one or more peer-reviewed publications. A successful CoBRA grant proposal will demonstrate the following:

  • Project teams should include at least one PI/co-PI with a primary appointment at UT Dallas and at least one PI/co-PI with a primary appointment at UTSW. PI/co-PIs should be tenured/tenure- track faculty, or a Center Director.
  • Adjunct faculty, affiliate faculty, visiting researchers, and postdocs are not eligible to serve as either PI or co-PIs but may be participate in the proposed project.
  • The proposal must provide compelling evidence that one or more external funding opportunities exist that are relevant for the proposed work. The funding levels should substantially exceed that which is provided by the CoBRA mechanism.
  • The timeline for submitting a CoBRA Grant application should be 24 to 36 months ahead of the team’s anticipated submission to one or more target external grant
  • Previous CoBRA awardees (PI and co-PIs) may submit a new CoBRA application no sooner than three calendar years from a prior winning round. For example, a winner from spring 2019 would not be eligible to submit another application until spring
  • Previously awarded PI and co-PI teams are not eligible to submit a new CoBRA proposal as a
  • A faculty member may submit only one CoBRA Grant proposal as a PI or co-PI during each submission deadline.
  • Faculty and/or administrators participating in the review process are not eligible to submit concurrently for CoBRA application.

Allowable Expenses

  • Supplies, equipment, reagents, and publication costs
  • Graduate student tuition and stipend
  • Postdoctoral or Research Scientist salary and benefits
  • Travel, conference/workshop attendance, or conference/workshop hosting for team-building to support the proposal submission for external funding

Unallowable Expenses

  • Faculty salary and/or benefits (neither academic year nor summer support permitted)
  • Transfer of funds to institutions or individuals outside of either UT Dallas or UTSW
  • Administrative or secretarial support
  • Indirect costs

Required Submission Materials

Proposal documents should have 1-inch margins and use a 12-point font.

  • Summary. In 300 words or less describe the project, the potential impact, and the collaboration for a general audience.
  • Proposal. Limited to three pages with the following section headings in sequence. The bibliography does not count against the page limit.
    • Rationale and Vision. Explain the goal, the current state of the art and how your interdisciplinary collaborative work is innovative.
    • Plan. Provide a description of your plan and explain what you need to accomplish during the CoBRA support period to be competitive for external funding.
    • Team. Explain why the project team has the background and abilities to pursue the project and become competitive for external funding in this research area. State if the team is new with the participating PIs having no previous track record of co-funding on externally sponsored work.
    • Justification. Explain why a CoBRA Grant is required to foster the proposed collaboration and how the award will increase the likelihood of securing external
    • Participating Personnel. List participating faculty members, providing a clear explanation of each member’s role in the collaboration. Also list any named graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and/or research scientists. If the proposal involves unfunded contributions from outside of either UT Dallas or UTSW, describe the source(s) of support for those contributions.
  • External Funding Opportunities. Limited to one page, summarize the external funding opportunities for which the CoBRA will enable the pursuit of external funding. Include a timeline with milestones for development of one or more external proposals, names of potential sponsoring agencies and solicitations and relevant deadlines for those
  • Budget. Limited to one page, provide a table with each expenditure category and line item descriptions. It is expected, although not explicitly required, that the budget be balanced across the institutions.
  • Budget Justification.  Limited to three pages, provide a justification for the expenditures relative to materials, supplies, equipment, travel, etc.
  • Co-funding. Co-funding is neither required nor considered for priority in funding. However, if a project requires funds exceeding the stated limit, an academic unit may provide co-funding. If so, provide a description of the source and planned use of the funds to support the overall goals of the project. A letter of support from the academic unit authority should accompany the application expressing commitment to provide the funds during the CoBRA funding period.
  • Biosketches. Provide NIH/NSF format biosketches (including page limitations) for the faculty Key Personnel.

Application Review Process and Evaluation Criteria

CoBRA applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of UT Dallas and UTSW representatives with significant research experience. Applicants will receive a brief list of strengths and weaknesses with a numerical rank (5=highly meritorious and recommended for funding, 1=low priority for application consideration). Evaluation criteria include:

  • Relevance of project goals, plans, and expected product(s) to prepare the team for future external funding opportunities.
  • The skills and abilities of the team for the interdisciplinary project and the pursuit of external funding.
  • The targeted funding program(s), associated funding level(s), and timeline for pursuit.
  • The extent that the CoBRA support is vital for the collaboration.
  • Whether or not the collaboration between faculty PIs is new, where new teaming is prioritized.
  • The extent to which the CoBRA funding will enhance the competitiveness in securing external funding.

Awardee Requirements

Upon award, you must submit the following information to the UT Dallas Vice President for Research:

  • Within 1 month of award, one page text with graphic representation of the project and team. The document must be suitable for presentation on the UT Dallas Office of Research website.
  • Within 10 months of receiving the award: A two-page progress report including research outcomes, other outcomes (manuscripts submitted/presented, conferences, etc.), and progress toward securing external funding. If either research progression or plans toward submission of proposals for external funding has been impacted, a clear explanation for the delay and a mitigation plan is
  • Upon request, provide a brief presentation at UT Dallas during a research symposium or other event to highlight the CoBRA impact.
  • Upon request, provide subject matter expertise by participating on a review panel for future CoBRA competitions.

Other Terms and Conditions

  • Funds will not be released until all necessary compliance related approvals and/or training are acquired, such as IRB, IACUC, IBC, RCR and COI.
  • Funds expire and must be used within 24 months of award such that no carryover of funds will be permitted. Any unused funds must be returned to the UT Dallas Office of Research.
  • Failure to comply with items 1 and 2 of the Awardee Requirements will result in suspension of CoBRA funding and faculty becoming ineligible for future seed grant competitions from the Office of Research.
  • The CoBRA funding must be acknowledged in any resulting publications, exhibitions, or events, including press releases, using the following language: “This project was funded (or partially funded) by The University of Texas at Dallas Office of Research through the CoBRA Program.”