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IHII Internal Funding Opp Announced

May 4, 2021, 13:46 PM by Melodi Moore

Understanding COVID-19 Disease and Developing Countermeasures

The Sealy & Smith Foundation of Galveston has generously provided funds for the IHII COVID-19 Research Program. The purpose of this program is to support rapid progress on COVID-19 research and to enhance faculty success in obtaining the extramural grants.

Research project must study SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19. Applications focused on development of animal models, therapeutics or vaccines; or studying pathogenesis of COVID-19 in established or newly developed experimental models are encouraged. We are also interested in projects studying the host range of SARS-CoV-2 infection; effects of aging, pregnancy or comorbid diseases (e.g. diabetes) on COVID-19 severity; or development and testing of products to control SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease and improve the safety of clinical operations. Other areas of research that match NIH priorities for the control of SARS-CoV-2 will be considered.


  • All UTMB full-time employees (faculty, nurses, students, residents, staff and trainees etc.) are eligible to submit the application to the IHII COVID Pilot Program. Note: Please contact if you need to identify a collaborator or mentor in support of your proposed project.
  • Investigators may submit more than one application for consideration. Receiving a previous COVID grant does not disqualify you from receiving another but potential funding will be based on 1) progress made on funded COVID pilot, 2) new pilot is completely different than funded pilot, and 3) no overlap with any of the funding in PI and collaborators labs.
  • If you have previously submitted a project for review and were rejected, revision and resubmission is highly recommended. 
  •  The PI must not have already received funding for the proposed project from other intramural or extramural resources; all related, pending proposals must be disclosed in your application.

Funds will be available in the range of $10,000 – $50,000 for one year, although exceptions will be considered for especially meritorious projects that will yield rapid progress. You may request funding for new data generation, a new research area, or to obtain preliminary data in support of a grant application that has been reviewed and scored by the NIH or other equivalent agencies.

  • All funds must be spent within one year after the award is made (by February 2022).
  • It is expected that, when needed, core facilities at the UTMB will be utilized.
  • Funds may be used for up to 5% of clinical faculty salary support (including tenure-track) but this must be well justified within the project.
    Funds may not be used for indirect costs. Requests for equipment and travel must be highly justified (e.g., attending scientific conference is not a justifiable expense).
  • Funding of research taking place outside of the UTMB campus must be well justified.
  • If funds are requested for bridging grants to support revision of scored R01 (or equivalent) grant applications, include in the application the summary statement, Introduction (= what will be done with COVID-19 funds to improve the proposal) and originally submitted grant application.


  1. An Office of Sponsored Programs Proposal Routing Form must accompany all intramural research grant applications.
  2. PROPOSAL PACKAGE. Applications not following the instructions will be rejected back for editing and resubmission.

Please organize as following:

    A. Title of the proposal and type (pilot, data acquisition, or bridging)
    B. Names, affiliation, and expertise of the PI and collaborators as relevant to the proposal.
    C. Proposed research plan. This section should not exceed three pages. Organize the research plan to answer these questions:

    • Specific Aims: What do you intend to do?
    • Scientific Premise and Significance: Why is the work important? What has already been done? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced and improve the health outcomes? 
    • Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Do the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new collaborations, methodologies or technologies?  
    • Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Are appropriate controls, potential problems, and alternative tactics considered? Is appropriate approach developed to perform the work and analyze/interpret the results?
    • A description of how the proposed project will lead to therapeutics, vaccines or other control measures that will prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity, or better understanding of pathogenesis and mechanisms of emergence. Also explain any synergy with other parts of our infectious disease and immunology research programs, and collaborative arrangements that capitalize on the unique strengths of the scientific environment at the UTMB.
    • A description of how the IHII support will lead to new extramural grant support. Include an explicit plan for new grant submissions.

D. Detailed budget and budget justification. You may use PHS 398 form for preparing the budget (
E. Biosketch and Other Support (list the grants that are funded, submitted/pending and clearly state if there is any overlap between the proposed and funded/pending applications). Please cite additional funds that are available (or pending) for developing the proposed project. Investigators must also list start-up funds.
F. A list of cited literature. This section is not considered in page limitations.

Proposal submission:
Proposals may be submitted on a rolling basis beginning immediately until August 1, 2021. Please send a single PDF file to Ms. Jennifer Mayes ( Please name your file as “LastName-COVIDPilot.pdf.”

Review of proposals:
The IHII executive committee members will review the proposals. Reviewers will be asked to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal, as well as the likelihood that successful completion of the proposed project will advance the IHII’s goals and will lead to new extramural grant support. It is expected that committee members will meet once a month to review the proposals.

Awards will be made depending on the availability of the funds. Awards will be made for one-year period.

Please contact Ms. Jennifer Mayes ( or Dr. Nisha J. Garg ( with questions or for further information.


  • Awardees agree by acceptance of funding to include the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity (IHII) in their affiliations on all publications and presentations arising from the grant, and to acknowledge the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity and the Sealy and Smith Foundation for financial support.
  • The Principal Investigator will be responsible for monitoring the deliverables, progress of the project, and providing a final report. Reports should include status of the study, resources committed, and value created (new manuscripts, disclosures, grants, etc.). The final report will be due 45 days after the end date of the project.
  • The IHII will expect the submission of a related extramural grant within six months of completing IHII pilot funding in order for an investigator to be eligible to apply for future IHII awards.