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Weill Cornell Medicine - JumpStart Research Career Development Program

External Deadline: 
Mar 2020
Internal Deadline: 
Apr 2020

Application Deadline:  April 15, 2020

Instructions for electronic submission: To apply for this opportunity, please submit the materials requested below to this link no later than April 15, 2020, at 5:00 PM EST.

Objective

The objective of the Weill Cornell Medicine JumpStart Program is to provide support for early-career researchers and junior faculty interested in pursuing a career as a physician-scientist or translational scientist. The program provides funding during the crucial period of career development that spans the completion of research training through the early years of the first faculty position at Weill Cornell. We invite Department Chairs, Division Chiefs, and Center and Institute Directors to nominate up to two (2) of their most promising scientists for the program. Applicants can be Assistant Professors, Instructors, 3rd year clinical fellows, or late-stage postdoctoral trainees at WMC.  

Description

The program provides one year of initial funding, with the possibility of continuing support up to a total maximum of $300,000 for up to 3 years, based on satisfactory academic progress and submission of a competitive K01, K08, K12, K22 or K23 award application, or equivalent, within 18 months of the initiation of JumpStart support. Requests will be evaluated by the JumpStart Review Committee, and the most meritorious three proposals will be awarded.

Interested candidates should contact their Department Chairs, Division Chiefs, and Center and Institute Directors to seek nomination for the JumpStart Program. Faculty and trainees in the Department of Medicine have separate submission instructions and should refer to “Application deadline and submission” instructions below.

Important Dates

Application deadline:                                         April 15, 2020

Review of applications:                                     May 2020

Notice of award:                                                May 2020

Funding begins:                                                July 2020        

Progress reports due:                                       March 3, 2021

Notice of continuing funding or termination:        April 2021

Eligibility

Applicants must hold a MD, PhD, MD/PhD, or equivalent doctoral degree and seek additional research training under the supervision of a sponsor or sponsors with the intent of embarking on an independent research career.

Applicants must be full-time faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine. Faculty members with appointments at HSS, MSKCC, Houston Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hospital, WCM Qatar, and Burke Neurological Institute are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must be Assistant Professors, Instructors, 3rd year clinical fellows, or late-stage postdoctoral trainees. Late-stage postdoctoral applicants and clinical fellows must have a high potential to obtain a faculty position at WCM, which must be clearly articulated in the letter of support.  

Applicants must devote a minimum of 75% of their full-time appointment/effort to research. Surgeons that are interested in applying for the JumpStart Program must have at least 50% of their time dedicated to research activitiesThe letter of support must attest to the protected research time.  

Applicants must have completed at least one year of research training in their current laboratory working on the research project proposed for the JumpStart Program prior to the start of this award.

Applicants must have a written commitment from their division/department for a full-time faculty position at the time that they apply for the award. The faculty position commitment, which includes either an instructor or assistant professor level appointment, must be clearly articulated in the letter from the division chief and/or department chair.

The applicant’s career goals must be aligned with submission of an application for an NIH K01, K08, K12, K22 or K23 award, DOD/AHA/ACS career award, or equivalent within 18 months of initiation of JumpStart funding.

Applicants cannot concurrently hold a departmental seed grant, other type of seed grant funding, or a career development award such as a CTSC KL2 award or other foundation grant with similar purposes to a K award.

Applicants from the Department of Medicine may not submit an application if they have currently hold or have been selected to receive an award from the Fund for the Future program

Candidates from the Department of Medicine should submit their applications through the Fund for the Future Program.

For specific questions regarding eligibility, please contact Dr. Florencia Marcucci, flm4001@med.cornell.edu.

Support

Funding may be used to cover research related expenses including salary support for the candidate, research personnel expenses such as salaries for technical personnel, supplies, equipment, publication costs, and travel related to professional development conferences. The funding guidelines are listed below:

Salary/Fringe: up to $50,000 for salary plus fringes for the candidate

Project support: $50,000

Maximum annual award amount: $100,000

Application Requirements

  1. NIH style Biosketch
  2. Candidate’s current and pending support
  3. Detailed budget for initial period (PHS 398 FP4) and composite budget (PHS 398 FP5)
  4. Candidate’s background, career goals and objectives (1 page)
  5. Candidate’s plan for Career Development including a timeline for K submission (1 page)
  6. Research plan (max 3 pages). Prepared according to NIH 2009 revised PHS 398 guidelines. Begin each section of the Research Plan with a section header (e.g., Introduction, Specific Aims, Research Strategy, etc.). The Research Strategy Section should be composed of three distinct sections – Significance, Innovation, and Approach; the approach section may include preliminary data. Please include the title of your project. The research plan should include sufficient information needed for evaluation of the project independent of any other document.  Be specific and informative and avoid redundancies.  Limit to three (3) pages.
  7. Letter of Support from Faculty Mentor (1 page). Describe the primary mentor’s research qualifications and previous experience as a research supervisor. The statement must include a description of the mentoring plan for the candidate, and a plan for transitioning the candidate from the mentored phase to the independent phase of the award.
  8. Mentor’s Biosketch  
  9. Letter of support from the Center/Institute director, Division Chief and/or Department Chair. The letter of support is weighed heavily in determining the success of the application and should explicitly state that the applicant has at least 75% protected time dedicated to research. Other topics should include 1) a brief description of the candidate’s research plan; 2) a career development plan; 3)scientific environment in which the work will be performed; 4)evidence of institutional commitment in terms of space, equipment, protected time and other resources 5) the level of enthusiasm for the candidate’s likelihood for career success and 6) attest to the candidate’s likelihood to obtain a faculty position at WCM. 

Application deadline and submission

Applications should be submitted as a single pdf file using the naming convention: PI LASTNAME_DIVISION_PREK.pdf. here by April 15, 2020 at 5:00 pm EST.

Please note that faculty and trainees with primary appointments in the Department of Medicine (DoM) seeking nomination for the JumpStart Program must submit their application as follows:

Instructors and Assistant Professors with primary appointments in DoM: Apply through the DoM Funds for the Future program using their application deadline (indicate your interest in being considered for the JumpStart program or both programs) 

Third year clinical fellows and late-stage postdoctoral trainees in DoM: Submit application to your division chief (contact your division chief for more information)

Review Criteria

Each proposal will be evaluated based upon the candidate’s qualifications, the sponsor and training plan, the environment, and the scientific proposal.

The strength of the letter of support from the department chair, division chief, or center/institute director will be considered.

Particular attention will be directed at whether the applicant has the potential for a successful, independent research career and potential for garnering future NIH awards

The qualifications of the applicant, including suitable career stage, relevant research experience, prior scientific publications, and related accomplishments.

Scientific merit of the research proposal.

The training environment including the quality of the opportunity presented by the project for the candidate to acquire new approaches, techniques, and methods.

The mentor's relevant research expertise, previous training record, and specific plan for training the applicant, as well as resources and environment.

The commitment of the division and/or department to the development of basic scientists, physician and translational scientists, as reflected in a commitment to provide sufficient space, resources, and protected time to promote the development of young investigators.

Restrictions and reporting conditions

The goal of the JumpStart program is to support junior faculty until a K award or equivalent is received. When the K-award is received, JumpStart funding will be terminated.

Progress reports are required annually for continuing support in years 2 and 3. The annual progress report should be submitted by the first business day of March, and must be structured as described:

A two-page narrative consisting of the following sections: Major goals of the project; accomplishments under these goals; and goals for the coming year.

A list of quantifiable measures of progress resulting from JumpStart funding, such as new publications, new related funding, and invited presentations.

A current other support document listing pending and active grants

A detailed budget for the coming year (PHS 398 FP4).

Progress toward applying for K award (including a timeline)

Progress reports will be carefully reviewed by the JumpStart review committee prior to the award of additional funding.

Frequently Asked Questions

I currently hold an NIH K12 award. Am I eligible to apply to the JumpStart Program?

No. The JumpStart Program is for researchers who have not yet gotten a K award.

What happens if I receive a K award or equivalent while on JumpStart funding?

The goal of the JumpStart program is to support junior faculty until a K award or equivalent is received. When the K-award is received, JumpStart funding will be terminated.

I am currently putting together an application for a K award. Would I be eligible for this opportunity?

If you are putting together an application for a K01, K08, K12, K22 or K23 award, then you are eligible for this opportunity. K99 are not included.

For K99/R00 awards, the NIH has to approve the R00 phase, and usually, although this is case by case, moving to a different institution is preferred. If the candidate stays at the home institution, he or she has to demonstrate excellent startup package/conditions, etc. to support his or her case.

 

In the letter of support, would a statement expressing the commitment of the Department/Division for a full-time faculty position be sufficient or the letter should be more in the style of an offer letter?

Just an expression of commitment is sufficient (not an offer letter).

Regarding concurrent funding from foundation grants, are Research Fellowship Awards allowed but Career Development Awards not allowed?

Concurrent funding where a major component involves a mentoring and training program, and thus involves career development, is not compatible with the JumpStart mechanism.  Therefore, someone holding this type of fellowships would not be eligible for the JumpStart program.

Is startup funding considered a “seed grant”?

No.

I noticed that part of the eligibility criteria is 75% protected research time. I was wondering if there is an exception. I believe my department could guarantee 50% but 75% will be difficult.

For non-surgeons, the JumpStart program requires a minimum of 75% protected research time. To align ourselves with NIH guidelines, surgeons that are interested in applying for the JumpStart Award must have at least 50% of their time dedicated to research activities.

I am a surgeon. Is there a modification in my amount of protected research time?

To align ourselves with NIH guidelines, surgeons that are interested in applying for the JumpStart Award must have at least 50% of their time dedicated to research activities. Non-surgeons must have 75% protected research time.

Does the 3-page limit on the research plan incorporate references?

The 3-page limit should be exclusive of references.  There is no limit on the number of references one may include.

Can I use the $50,000 in project support for Salary/Fringe if I do not have other expenditures?

Yes, the funds could be used for salary support, if not needed for other expenses.

Do departments need to inform the Office of the Research Dean about who they plan to nominate prior to application submission, or do they just submit a maximum of two applications by the deadline?

Departments do not need to inform our office regarding who they plan to nominate before the deadline. Once the department selects their two applicants, they can immediately prepare their application for submission by the deadline.

 

The potential candidate is currently supported by grants with a strong career development component. Both grants would end in the Spring. If both awards ended by the start of JumpStart, would he/she still be eligible for the JumpStart program?

If the current grants have ended by the time the JumpStart would begin, she/he would be eligible.

The applicant is currently in a lab and has been training there for several years. In this application, he/she would like to list a different mentor since his/her disease focus will pivot. Does the time spent at the first lab count?

S/he needs to have been working the current project, or closely related work, for at least one year.  The JumpStart support is intended to provide extra time in order to develop preliminary data and publications for a K award or similar funding mechanism.  The JumpStart program is not intended to fund a new project. If the applicant has been working in the current project for less than a year, but the current project is closely related to his/her previous work (same basic idea but in a different context, for example, working on a signaling mechanism in a type of cancer and then applying these concepts to a different type of cancer), then the applicant is eligible to apply for the JumpStart mechanism.   

Are there any indirect costs allowed?

Indirect costs are not allowed.

What is the amount of funding allowed for salary plus fringe?

Up to $50,000 is available for salary support and fringe (inclusive) at the NIH level for the candidate

How many candidates can be nominated by the Department Chairs, Division Chiefs, and Center and Institute Directors?

Department Chairs, Division Chiefs, and Center and Institute Directors can nominate a maximum of two (2) candidates. Candidates interested in applying should contact their Department Chairs, Division Chiefs, or Center/Institute Directors to seek nominations.

What is the process for applicants with primary appointments at the Department of Medicine (DoM)?

Answer:

-       Instructors and Assistant Professors with primary appointments in DoM: Apply through the DoM Funds for the Future program using their application deadline (indicate your interest in being considered for the JumpStart program or both programs)

-       Third year clinical fellows and late-stage postdoctoral trainees in DoM: Submit application to your division chief (contact your division chief for more information)

I am on an H1B visa. Can I apply to the JumpStart Program?

If you are not eligible for a K award due to immigration status requirements, to apply for JumpStart, you must identify an alternative career development award (equivalent to a K award) that you would be eligible for. In the career development section of the JumpStart application, please add a timeline for submission for the K award equivalent.