Request for Applications - Dixon Translational Grants Initiative

August 14, 2017 - 5:00pm
About This Event: 

Request for Applications:

Innovation Awards and New Investigator Awards

Submit electronic copies of applications to:

Submission Deadline: Monday, August 14, 2017 by 5:00 p.m.


The Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences (NUCATS) Institute and Northwestern Memorial Foundation (NMF) would like to announce the Request for Applications for the 2018 Dixon Translational Research Grants Initiative. The NUCATS Institute and NMF partnership is charged to:

  • Enable distinguished Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (NMHC) and Northwestern University clinical, research, education, and community service programs through the strategic allocation and use of the NUCATS Institute and NMF resources
  • Provide exemplary stewardship of donor funds and all funds granted through the NUCATS Institute and NMF
  • Generate extraordinary philanthropic support by matching the generous intent of Northwestern Medicine supporters with Northwestern Medicine needs
  • Assure Northwestern Medicine institutional values throughout the culture and organization of the NUCATS Institute and NMF

NMF provides substantial support to Northwestern Memorial HealthCare’s (NMHC) role as one of the leading academic medical centers in the United States by investing in patient care, research, education and community service missions. The NUCATS Institute is committed to speeding transformative research discoveries to patients and the community. Two key parts of this mission are to provide infrastructure that promotes innovative translational research and to catalyze inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary collaborations across Northwestern.

The Dixon Translational Research Grants Initiative is seeking proposals for highly innovative, multi-disciplinary clinical and translational research collaborations at Northwestern Medicine to facilitate research that can make a meaningful impact in medical science at a national level.

Review Criteria:
Ideal proposals will clearly demonstrate the following elements:

  • Innovation and novelty of proposed clinical and translational research
  • A strong team and appropriate infrastructure to support the project
  • Strong potential to lead to meaningful impact on clinical care – successful proposals will provide a clear description of this impact
  • Clear objectives, a detailed timeline, anticipated results and outcome measures
  • Priority is given to projects with near term (1-3 year) clinically relevant results, or results that can be translated to patient care within 1 year of project completion
  • A plan to secure future funding from other sources upon completion of the project

Grant proposals are reviewed exclusively by NMHC/NU employees and are considered confidential information, not to be disclosed to anyone outside the review process.

Principal Investigator Eligibility:

  • Innovation Awards: Eligibility is limited to faculty of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) or NMHC employees. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago faculty will be eligible to apply, provided they have appointments within the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
  • New Investigator Awards: Applications will be accepted from full time FSM faculty within the first three years of their initial faculty appointment as an Instructor or Assistant Professor (applicants must have a faculty appointment effective January 1, 2018), as well as an NMHC employee with a medical faculty co-principal investigator jointly affiliated with Northwestern Memorial Hospital or Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, and FSM.
  • For BOTH Awards: Proposals with co-investigators are encouraged, especially those featuring collaboration across other Northwestern University schools (i.e.: Engineering, Business, etc.), and those with new collaborators. Either the PI or co-investigator must have clinical activity. Please designate a single PI. Limit 1 project per PI per submission cycle in either category. For projects involving post-docs and students on visas, proof that the visa extends through the duration of the project period will be required before the award is made. Only one resubmission is allowed.

Funding Levels:

  • Innovation Award: $50,000 maximum, for one year.
  • New Investigator Award: $35,000 maximum, for one year.

Project Description:
These awards provide funding to support original and innovative clinical and translational research. Ideal prospective proposals should challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice, explore an innovative hypothesis or address critical barriers to progress. Translational research may include laboratory-based research with clear clinical impact; development of measures or markers of disease presence, severity, or improvement; and development of drugs, devices, or interventions to treat disease or to improve health – including the translation of previous research in animals to pilot clinical studies. Research proposals, whether using human tissue and cell lines or not, must be translational to patient care. Examples of previous awards can be found at:

Research projects that would advance the Northwestern Medicine vision are especially encouraged. For more information please visit

Clinical Studies:
All clinical studies should address the feasibility of the study (adequate numbers of potential patients and resources to conduct the study) in the narrative. Investigators may use the Feasibility Query Tool (I2B2) to determine if there are adequate numbers of potentially qualified research participants and give a detailed description of their recruitment plan (not applicable to studies at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. and Lurie Children’s). Those planning to use NUCATS clinical trial support services are required to contact Kelsey Richey at or 312.503.2227, for budget preparation and planning assistance.

Budget Restrictions:

  • Indirect Costs: No indirect costs will be funded. Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Lurie Children’s have waived indirect costs for this competition.
  • Travel: Travel will not be funded unless it is a vital component to the project’s success. Total travel expenditures are limited to $1,500 per trip per person.
  • Salary Support: Investigator salary support will be allowed only if directly tied to a stated effort on the proposed study. Salary support for positions including but not limited to research assistants, technicians, and analysts will be accepted in budget requests. Salary support will not be provided for individuals outside of NMHC and campus partners.

Proposal Format:
All applications require:

  • 200-word abstract in lay language
  • NIH-style budget signed by the Department Chair or Division Chief, and budget justification
  • Six-page maximum narrative – up to four pages of text followed by up to two pages of figures – to address the following:
    • What is the clinical need you are addressing and why is this important? What is innovative about your proposal? How does this project meet the objective of the Dixon Translational Research Grants Initiative (written at the top of page 2 of this document)? Cite specifics.
    • How are you proposing to solve the problem? What is your hypothesis? Include your research design and methods, including how you will evaluate and define success.
    • How long will it take you? Include a timeline and significant milestones.
    • Connectivity with previous or existing projects and programs.
    • What are the next steps if this project is successful? Include potential future steps and sources of funding.
    • Brief feasibility assessment for any proposed clinical study.
  • NIH-style other support document (enter “none” in the document if none exists)
  • NIH-style biosketches for all key personnel (co-investigators, other significant contributors, post-docs but NOT graduate students)

FURTHER DETAILS including templates and instructions on how to complete the budget and narrative can be found on the NITRO Competitions website:

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to Tiffany Lamar, Philanthropy Associate, Grants Administration, NMF at 312.926.6183 or Questions regarding NITRO Competitions may be directed to

The Dixon Translational Research Council scientific review committee will assign reviewers to all proposals and collect the completed scientific merit reviews. Reviews are modeled on the current NIH format. The top-ranked proposals for each award mechanism will be sent to the Dixon Translational Research Council for priority assignment based upon programmatic objectives.

The application submission deadline is Monday, August 14, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

Grant Award:
Notification will be sent to all applicants in November 2017 for an anticipated start date of January 1, 2018. For funded projects, the notification will indicate if additional documentation or steps are required prior to the initiation of the project. These steps include:

  • NU faculty selected for awards may be required to complete a Northwestern University Office for Sponsored Research InfoEd Proposal Development record.
  • Following receipt of notification, grant awardees will be asked to obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/ or Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) approval if appropriate. No funds will be distributed until all necessary approvals are in place - this may affect project start date. If the project is staged such that IRB/ACUC approval is required only for later stages, funds may be awarded for initial project stages until approvals are obtained for later stages.

Program Administration:
The Dixon Translational Grants Initiative will be administered jointly by NMF and the NUCATS Institute.

All changes in scope, budget and personnel must be submitted in writing to Tiffany Lamar for pre-approval by sending an e-mail to

Awardees will be required to submit a final report one month after the funding period ends, including a one-page report detailing actual project expenditures. Informal progress checks by NUCATS staff may occur on a quarterly or bi-annual basis. Awardees agree to complete brief periodic surveys to help NUCATS and NMF track key metrics. Annual updates are required until the project and its logical extensions have either been abandoned or reached completion. NUCATS and NMF should be notified when any related invention disclosures and/or patent applications are filed. Non-confidential information will be shared with NIH, the NUCATS Institute and the NMF donor community.

Publications resulting from this work must acknowledge the support of the Dixon Translational Research Grants Initiative and the NUCATS Institute. Copies of publication should be sent to Tiffany Lamar at NMF.

Grant recipients are expected to present their project findings

Event File(s):