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SCTR funding opportunities promote discoveries

MUSC investigators now have additional resources to compete for institutional dollars through several new continual funding opportunities available through the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute's (SCTR) Pilot Project Program.

The SCTR Program Office announced the Discovery Grant pilots in May as part of a newer 12-month rolling funding cycle. These grants provide seed funding and support to investigators including junior faculty and trainees who want to:

  • collect new pilot data;
  • initiate collaborations among others; and
  • accelerate discovery and innovation that can contribute to improved patient care.

The program lays the foundation for larger, federally-supported research projects. Pre-applications for these grants are required and due by noon, June 20.

The program has one cycle for Discovery grants in 2011-2012, is exclusive of Matching Fund Pilot Projects, which are accepted monthly for all SCTR Pilot Project grant categories. Previously, investigators submitted their grant applications once a year competing for single pilot project funding.

In addition to the Discovery grants, SCTR's other Pilot Project grants include:

  • Community-University Partnership Pilots (budgets accepted up to $20,000);
  • Health Disparities Pilots (up to $10,000); and
  • Fast-Forward Seed Grant Pilots (up to $10,000).

Applications for each of these pilots are accepted on a continual basis with an application cut-off on the 20th day of every month. Matching Fund Pilot Projects are accepted monthly for all SCTR Pilot Grant categories: Community-University Partnership—address community health issue; Health Disparities—laboratory, clinical or population-based study addressing questions related to S.C. health disparities and Fast-Forward Seed Grant Pilots—tests potential translational hypothesis and accumulate preliminary data for planned grant proposal (within six months). Budgets for these grants can also be matched 50/50 with funds from the principal investigator up to the categorical dollar limits.

For the 2011-2012 funding cycle, SCTR has secured approximately $1.2 million, with $500,000 committed by the College of Medicine and $500,000 from the University of South Carolina as annual institutional cost-share support for pilot project funding. Earlier, College of Medicine Dean Etta Pisano, M.D., announced a $500,000 a year commitment (50/50 matching funds) from the college and principal investigators to spur funding of additional pilot projects throughout fiscal year 2011-2012.

More information about the program can be found at

Perry V. Halushka, M.D., Ph.D., College of Graduate Studies dean, SCTR co-principal investigator and director of the Pilot Project Program, is enthusiastic about these new funding mechanisms available through SCTR. "Once-a-year funding is not sufficient and available often enough for junior investigators who want to advance their ideas and gain the proper funding. These new, fast forward grants are available often enough for researchers to get answers quickly and proceed with their experiments that lead to extramural funding."

College of Nursing researcher Susan Newman, Ph.D., R.N., is among dozens of campuswide researchers whose research benefitted from SCTR Pilot Project funding. Newman was awarded funding from 2009-2010 for her clinical work in spinal cord injuries titled, "A Survey of Unmet Needs after Spinal Cord Injury."

"SCTR Pilot Project funding allowed me and my community partners to add another strategy to our needs assessment research. Our project consisted of conducting a health and service needs assessment survey for individuals with spinal cord injury living in the Tri-county area. We are now using this information to inform the development of an intervention funded by the NIH to address the identified needs," said Newman.

SCTR records report a total of 51 funded projects since 2007, totaling more than $3 million. It provided research support and established two core facilities—synthetic chemistry and 2D gel electrophoresis and resulted in 25 extramural grants, 20 publications, and 11 patent applications and intellectual property disclosures so far.

The program organizes two scientific retreats throughout the year providing a platform for investigators to develop new collaborations with scientists and colleagues from MUSC and beyond to advance research, knowledge and guide funding opportunities. The SCTR Success (Support Center for Clinical and Translational Science) Center provides guidance and many other research supports for investigators.

SCTR Pilot Project Program—Discovery Grants
Apply at
Pre-application due date: noon, June 20
Pre-app review date: July 20
Full applications due: noon, Aug. 24
SRC full application review: Sept. 21
Earliest anticipated start date: Nov. 1

SCTR institutions
MUSC, Claflin University, Clemson University, Greenville Hospital System, Greenwood Genetic Center, Health Sciences South Carolina, Palmetto Health, the Ralph V. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center, South Carolina Research Authority, Spartanburg Regional Health System and the University of South Carolina.


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.