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Rapid Response "Policy Changes and Public Health Crises" Seed Grant Call

Rolling deadline

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Updated January 2024

Due to the rapidly evolving environment and the recent Notice of Special Interest call from NICHD  (NOT-HD-22-038: Notice of Special Interest (NOSI)), the Maryland Population Research Center invites seed grant proposals for projects on the Impact of Policy Changes and Emerging and Evolving Public Health Crises on NICHD Populations of Interest. Grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded in response to this call, and proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, as received, with an expected review time of 2-3 weeks. Priority will be given to research projects that build on current research strengths and facilitate multidisciplinary research linkages and to junior and “new” investigators (those who have not previously obtained an NIH R01 or equivalent grant). In accordance with the NOSI, while this Seed Grant Call is primarily focused on policy change and public health crises that are national in scope or, at a minimum, affect a large share of the U.S. population, there is no requirement that research submitted in response to this seed grant call be national or regional in scope. Research focused on outcomes in specific locations are also permitted if the results can be generalized to the United States overall, a large segment of the U.S. population, a major U.S. subpopulation, or a health disparities population. 

The principal aim of this program is to assist in the development of research ideas that have the potential to significantly enhance scientific knowledge in the population sciences, specifically related to projects on the impacts of policy changes and public health crises on NICHD populations of interest, and to garner external research support. Proposals focusing on the development and analysis of preliminary data to increase competitiveness of MPRC Faculty Associates in obtaining external funding are especially encouraged as are projects that anticipate the use of the Maryland Federal Research Data Center (RDC). Examples of previous awards can be found on the MPRC website++


Only MPRC Faculty Associates are eligible to apply for grants under the Seed Grant Program, although joint applications from MPRC Affiliates and a current Associate will be considered. Applicants must have applied for MPRC Associate status by the previous academic semester at the latest. (Exceptions are possible for new faculty.) Preference is given to applicants who have not received Seed Grant funding for at least three years. 

Proposal Format

Proposals should be no more than three (3) single-spaced pages in length, exclusive of title page, abstract, timeline, references, budget pages, current CVs for all investigators, description of any human subjects (if applicable), and appendices. Proposals are to be written in Arial 11-point font with 0.5 inch margins all around. Proposals must include an Abstract and subsections for Specific Aims, Significance and Innovation, and Approach. The Approach section should combine an outline of the eventual, full-study data and method and a description of the activities funded by the Seed Grant and how they will lead to increased competitiveness in obtaining extramural funding. Seed Grant applications may be revised and resubmitted once if not funded on the first submission. Revised Seed Grant applications must include a description of up to one-half page that addresses comments received from the initial review. If also submitted elsewhere, please state. If the pilot project will involve the use of human subjects, a brief description should be included using the NIH guidelines. All seed grant research proposals that are approved for funding and involve the use of human subjects must obtain appropriate human subjects approval through the University’s Institutional Review Board. 

Budget Guidelines

Proposed projects will be for a period of up to one year, bearing in mind that this is a rapid-response initiative. Project budgets may request up to $20,000 in direct costs to support any activity that directly relates to the successful conduct of the project. There are no indirect costs paid on MPRC Seed Grants. Budget items may include support for data entry, interviews, data acquisition, access to restricted-use data, travel costs related to data collection or meetings with collaborators, release time during the academic year, summer salary support, and graduate research assistance. For more complex data processing tasks, proposals may also request in- kind programming support from MPRC in place of, or in addition to, graduate student research assistance. Summer salary is limited to 11% of a faculty member’s academic year salary. The Center will not pay for computer equipment when that computing can reasonably be accomplished with the existing equipment at the Center. Unspent funding at the end of the one-year project period will revert back to the MPRC Seed Grant pool unless a request for a time extension is requested and approved by the MPRC Director.

Review and Selection

The Associate Director will screen all submitted proposals to determine whether the proposals meet the program’s goals, including relevance to policy changes and public health crises. Faculty whose proposals are deemed to be outside the scope of the Center’s mission will be removed from further consideration and the investigators will be notified. Proposals that pass this initial screening will undergo formal review by the Center’s Executive Committee. After reviewing the proposals, the Committee will rank them and forward their recommendation for funding to the Director. The Director will make final funding decisions, based on availability of funds. The following prioritized criteria will be used in evaluating the proposals:

  1. The overall quality of the proposed research and fit with the NICHD Population Dynamics Branch* mission;
  2. The potential of the proposed research to be expanded into an externally funded (e.g. NIH R01, R21, or R03) grant application, with priority given to the NICHD Population Dynamics Branch*;
  3. A proposal has received a favorable review from the funding agency and needs additional resources for resubmission (please include Summary Statement with reviewer comments);
  4. Proposed research that crosses disciplines and solidifies ties between departments or other institutions, especially in the Washington, DC area;
  5. Proposed research for which other sources of funds are not available;
  6. Proposed research by applicants who are junior faculty or NIH “new investigators”;
  7. Investigators who have not been previously funded under this program (not a requirement).
  8. Proposed research using the Maryland Federal Research Data Center 

Monitoring and Grantee Obligations

The Center’s Administrative Core will monitor progress on seed grant projects and will provide an expense report to each project principal investigator on request. Grantees will submit a final progress report including any grant proposals or papers submitted or in preparation within one month after the end date of their Seed Grant period and will notify MPRC of any proposals and papers subsequently submitted or awarded / accepted. It is expected that an external grant proposal will be submitted no later than six (6) months from the completion of the Seed Grant period and will be administered through MPRC. Grantees’ papers and publications will acknowledge the MPRC Seed Grant program (Grant number P2C HD041041), and grantees will submit published peer-reviewed articles to the PubMed Central system linking to the P2C (see MPRC Information Services for assistance in doing this).

Proposal Deadlines 

Proposals will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be reviewed as received. Please allow up to three weeks for the review process. The Associate Director and Development Core Director, Susan W. Parker**, welcomes contact about proposal ideas prior to submission. Submit completed proposals using the Seed Grant Proposal submission form*** on the MPRC website.

The Center’s Mission Statement 

The Maryland Population Research Center draws together leading scholars from diverse disciplines to support, produce, and promote population-related research of the highest scientific merit. The Center’s research focuses on four key areas: (1) gender, family, and social change; (2) health in social context; (3) social and economic inequality; and (4) people and place. The Center strives to develop young scholars and to encourage scholars from allied fields to engage in population-related research through research support, training and mentoring. The Center’s proximity to Federal statistical agencies allows scholars access to under-utilized or restricted-use government data for their research. This university-government partnership allows Center faculty members to conduct innovative academic research while contributing to the improvement of data collection at the Federal statistical agencies, thereby enhancing the public infrastructure for population research. The Center's proximity to Washington, D.C. also strongly positions its faculty to provide non-partisan, scientific evidence on population-related issues of importance to policy makers.    

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