Community & Collaboration Translational Research Project Pilot Funding Opportunity

Anna Thornton Matos

Contact Anna Thornton Matos, C&C Project Director at or at 216-368-5776.

The Community and Collaboration (C&C) component of the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity intended to support, promote and highlight multi-disciplinary collaboratives by providing pilot funding for a Translational Research Project1 (TRP) that addresses a particular health issue or problem facing the local community. Applicants must consist of teams that include investigators from more than one discipline and at least one engaged community2 stakeholder3.

As one of the two largest, cross institutional components of the CTSC the C&C component strives to foster translational research conducted by effective multi-disciplinary investigative teams enriched with a diversity of stakeholders in order to institutionalize team science with stakeholder engagement across the CTSC.  According to National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) who funds the CTSC, translation is the “process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public”. Therefore, the CTSC C&C component will focus on awarding TRP projects that can clearly articulate how the project “traverses a particular step of the translation process for a particular target or disease”.

Scope of Proposals

The CTSC C&C component welcomes proposals from both established and emergent teams containing inter-disciplinary members, that are committed to engaging stakeholders as a part of their TRP. Priority will be given to those with well identified stakeholder partners, as well as, applicants with a completed TAP4. Successful proposals will demonstrate an understanding of the benefits of team science and stakeholder engagement, as well as, clearly identify and articulate how the TRP pilot funds will be used to both be translational and improve population health outcomes.


Awards for the translational research pilot projects will be granted by the CTSC C&C component.  The C&C will fund two, $30,000 awards and must be expended before April 30, 2020. 

Case Western Reserve University will serve as the fiscal entity through which CTSC monies will be distributed and awards administered.


The Collaborative Lead (PI) is required to be a full-time faculty member (or the equivalent) from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University, MetroHealth Medical Center, and Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and eligible to be a PI for an NIH grant.

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Team includes investigators from at least two disciplines (different schools, institutions, departments, etc)
  • Team must include at least one external/community stakeholder who is engaged as a research partner with role and responsibility fully articulated
  • Guaranteed ability to expend funds before April 30, 2020
  • If human subjects are involved, approved IRB # or copy of IRB application must be included with the application.
  • The institution of record will be the PI’s primary institution.


The deadline has been extended to 11:59pm on July 3, 2019.

Application Instructions

Proposals will include the following:

  • Proposal should include: Specific Aims; Study Rationale (how the project fits the definition of translation described above); Research Plan; Innovation (how is your idea new and transformative); Research Team (including brief description of past collaborations (if any), backgrounds and roles), Timeline and Next Steps.  Proposal should be no more than 10 pages, 1.5 line spacing, and 11 pt font; excludes references and Biosketch. 
  • Additional information that should be submitted, but is not included in the page limit includes:
    • Cover Page that includes the Title, PI/Co-PI, Institution(s), Department(s), and all co-investigators and stakeholders
    • NIH Biosketches for the PI/Co-PI
    • References Cited
  • One-page budget with categories and justification (note investigator salaries and travel are excluded).  

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by the CTSC scientific review committee scored according to the rubric listed below. Reviewers will provide comments as appropriate via InfoReady. The committee will take into consideration the following:

  • Clear articulation of the problem being addressed by the proposed project
  • Rationale for how the project is translational, based on the definitions provided
  • Identification (by name, affiliation and email) of at least two investigators from different disciplines and their unique contribution to the team and project.
  • Identification (by name, affiliation and email) of at least one external stakeholder, with roles and responsibility on the project defined
  • Identification of 3-5 additional team members
  • Evidence of commitment of investigators and stakeholders to collaborate
  • Clear partnership vision and goals
  • Feasibility, including having IRB in time for any human subjects research
  • Likelihood of future success
  • Budget justification

Scoring Rubic

  1. The Team (25 pts)

  • Do the investigators have the expertise to carry out the project?
  • Team includes a diverse group of investigators from different backgrounds and disciplines?
  • Have at least one engaged stakeholder as an active member of the research team.
  • Evidence of clear plan of contributions of the team – shows how the project can only take place within a multidisciplinary (with stakeholders) team.
  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  1. The Translational Research Project (40 pts)

  • How well aligned is the proposed project to the definitions of a translational project defined in the RFA?
  • Research plan is impactful and appropriately designed.
  • Does the project address an important health issue or problem facing the local community?
  • Likelihood that project will lead to a larger funded translational science project
  • Does the described project (either the project proposed or project in which the pilot data will be applied to) meet the definition of a translational science project?
  1. Innovation (10 pts)

  • Is the project novel and transformative?
  1. Timeline/Feasibility (15 pts)

  • Outlines a clear and actionable timeline
  • Demonstrates how the budget be expended by April 30 2020
  • If human subjects are involved, provides IRB approval or feasible plan for obtaining IRB approval?
  1. Budget/Budget Justification (5 pts)

  • Description of expenditures both in spreadsheet and narrative form
  1. Participation in a prior CTSC C&C Team Development Retreat and completed a TAP? (5 pts)

Footnoted Definitions

1 Translation (as defined by NCATS):  The process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and populations – from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral interventions.

2 Community (as defined by NCATS):  The term community includes all stakeholders connected to clinical and translational research.  Communities may include but are not limited to non-profit or industry entities engaged in translational research, and might include disease advocacy groups, local health providers, community-based organizations, and other national or local communities.

3 Stakeholder:  An independent, engaged, individual or group who has a stake in the outcome, and whose input could greatly enhance the research endeavor.  Types of stakeholder may vary depending on the focus of the problem, the type of research conducted, and the composite and orientation of the investigative team.

4 Team Action Plan (TAP): A written plan developed as part of a CTSC C&C Team Development Retreat, outlining several translational research projects emanating from a collective group process that involves both investigators and stakeholders.

Other Definitions

Translational research (as defined by NCATS): The endeavor to traverse a particular step of the translation process for a particular target.

Translational science (as defined by NCATS): The field of investigation that seeks to understand the scientific and operational principles underlying each step of the translational process.