Vice President for Research & Economic Development
Proposal Services & Faculty Support
March Funding Focus Newsletter #2 (COVID-19 Edition)
What is a Limited Submission?
A limited submission solicitation (RFA, RFP, etc.) places a cap on the number of proposals that Auburn may submit to a sponsor. Auburn coordinates limited submissions by sending out a notification via this newsletter and creating competitions in the Auburn University Competition Space (also known as InfoReady ).To apply to any limited submission posted below, click on the above link and search for your competition reflected on the page. Please refer to the Limited Submission Procedures page for a list of requirements.
Limited Submission Announcements

The current grant level is $300,000; $75,000 per year for a four-year period. For the 2021 award, one nomination will be invited.

Candidates must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
  • Hold a doctorate in biomedical sciences, medicine, or a related field.
  • As of Sept. 10, 2020, hold a full-time appointment at the rank of assistant professor. (Appointments such as research assistant professor, adjunct assistant professor, assistant professor research track, visiting professor, or instructor are not eligible).
  • Must not have been appointed as an assistant professor at any institution prior to June 15, 2017, whether or not such an appointment was on a tenure track. Time spent in clinical internships, residencies, in work toward board certification, or on parental leave does not count as part of this three-year limit. Candidates who took parental leave should contact Pew’s program office to ensure that application reviewers are aware of their circumstances.
  • May apply to the program a maximum of two times. All applicants must be nominated by their institution and must complete the 2021 online application.
  • If applicants have appointments at more than one eligible nominating institution or affiliate, they may not reapply in a subsequent year from a different nominating entity.
  • May not be nominated for the Pew Scholars Program and the Pew-Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research in the same year.

Based on their performance during their education and training, candidates should demonstrate outstanding promise as contributors in science relevant to human health. This program does not fund clinical trials research. Strong proposals will incorporate particularly creative and pioneering approaches to basic, translational, and applied biomedical research. Candidates whose work is based on biomedical principles but who bring in concepts and theories from more diverse fields are encouraged to apply.
Ideas with the potential to produce an unusually high impact are encouraged. Selection of the successful candidates will be based on a detailed description of the work that the applicant proposes to undertake, evaluations of the candidate’s performance, and notable past accomplishments, including honors, awards, and publications. In evaluating the candidates, the National Advisory Committee gives considerable weight to evidence that the candidate is a successful independent investigator and has published significant work.

Institutional Limit: 1 Nomination
Internal Deadline: April 10, 2020, 4:45pm
IMPORTANT UPDATES & EVENTS
International Relationships and Activities

The U.S. Government has expressed serious growing concerns regarding inappropriate influence by foreign entities over federally funded research (see Sources below). One issue that has moved to the forefront is the failure of federally-funded researchers at U.S. institutions to disclose their relationships and activities with foreign government, institutions, and funding agencies. Several Federal agencies have indicated that failure to disclose foreign relationships and activities may jeopardize eligibility for future funding .

Auburn University (AU) strongly encourages international collaborations, but it is important for our investigators to be transparent about their foreign relationships and activities (see memo dated February 21, 2019). AU' s Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development (OVPRED) has compiled a webpage to provide guidance and resources to remind AU researchers of their compliance obligations.
COVID-19 RELATED UPDATES

Auburn University researchers,

As you have seen in recent communications from senior leadership, in an effort to maintain the health and well-being of students and university personnel as the coronavirus (COVID-19) has entered the state of Alabama, Auburn has transitioned to a model of remote instruction and—as much as possible—a remote work environment for employees, through April 10. Accordingly, this message is to provide guidance on how these changes will impact research operations during this time period.
Principal investigators should develop plans for their research activities that are consistent with Auburn University’s plan of action. 
  • Stay in communication with all research and laboratory staff. We suggest creating an emergency call or contact list that includes all members of your research team, designating a specific point of contact for all research-related activities.
  • Identify essential research operations and who will be responsible for performing essential activities (including back-up plans as appropriate). 
  • Identify research functions that can be performed remotely. Remote work time could be used for preparing manuscripts, proposals, literature reviews, etc. 
  • Consider what resources are needed for ongoing experiments and whether to adjust orders and/or related needs to maintain continuity of research operations.
  • For regulatory approvals that may expire soon, contact the appropriate office to request an extension, if needed.
  • Consider shutting down non-essential equipment that will not be damaged by shutdown or that requires reagents where supplies may not be readily available. Plan for maintenance of equipment and disinfection of laboratory surfaces and equipment to protect research personnel (for laboratories that must remain open).


Purpose
NIAID and NIGMS are issuing this Notice of Special Interest (NOSI) to highlight the urgent need for research on the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). NIAID is particularly interested in projects focusing on viral natural history, pathogenicity, transmission, as well as projects developing medical countermeasures and suitable animal models for pre-clinical testing of vaccines and therapeutics against 2019-nCoV.
NIGMS is specifically interested in incorporation of data from the 2019-nCoV into ongoing research efforts to develop predictive models for the spread of Coronaviruses and related pathogens.

Background
Coronaviruses are a diverse family of viruses that cause a range of disease in humans and animals, and there are currently no approved coronavirus vaccines or therapeutics. In January 2020, a novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, was identified as the causative agent of an outbreak of viral pneumonia centered around Wuhan, China. Current information regarding confirmed cases is changing daily and can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website ( https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html ) and through other sources. Transmission characteristics and the associated morbidity and mortality are not completely understood, but there is clear evidence of human-to-human transmission. Many other aspects of viral pathogenesis, natural history, and host range are poorly understood. Given this, there is an urgent public health need to better understand the 2019-nCoV, particularly to improve understanding of fundamental virology, immunology, and the development of animal models and medical countermeasures.

This includes guidance for awardee organizations, researchers and reviewers of NSF proposals. Please note that this website will be updated as new developments arise: NSF News and Reports on Coronavirus
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

In light of the emergence and spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States and abroad, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to explore how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19, to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention, and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge.

NSF encourages the research community to respond to this challenge through  existing funding opportunities . In addition, we invite researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism, which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of or access to data, facilities or specialized equipment as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events. Requests for RAPID proposals may be for up to $200K and up to one year in duration. Well-justified proposals that exceed these limits may be entertained. All questions should be directed either to a program officer managing an NSF program with which the research would be aligned or to  rapid-covid19@nsf.gov .

Complete guidance on submitting a RAPID proposal may be found in Chapter II.E.1 of the NSF  Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide .

We ask that all investigators and organizations maintain awareness of the dynamic nature of this event through regular monitoring of official communications from the  Centers for Disease Control  and  World Health Organization .

NSF has also provided  Frequently Asked Questions  that address questions associated with NSF proposal submission and award management relevant to research proposals relating to COVID-19 as well as possible impacts of COVID-19 on activities under existing awards and on participation in NSF's merit review panels; that website will be updated as appropriate.

This Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) complements a separate National Science Foundation (NSF) DCL ( NSF 20-052 ) that referred to the emergence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and expressed NSF's interest in accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical-care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of COVID-19; to inform and educate about the science of virus transmission and prevention; and to encourage the development of processes and actions to address this global challenge.

In that DCL, NSF invited researchers to respond to this challenge through  existing funding opportunities . In addition, NSF invited researchers to use the Rapid Response Research (RAPID) proposal type, which allows NSF to receive and review proposals having a severe urgency with regard to availability of, or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, as well as quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic disasters and similar unanticipated events
.
Through this DCL, the Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (OAC) within the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering is inviting RAPID proposals and supplemental funding requests to existing awards that address COVID-19 challenges through data and/or software infrastructure development activities. Such activities would be funded by the  Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E) program  or the  Cyberinfrastructure for Sustained Scientific Innovation (CSSI) program .

Proposals in response to this DCL and the NSF DCL on COVID-19 ( NSF 20-052 ) may also request the use of NSF-funded advanced computing resources such as  Frontera Stampede2, Bridges, Comet, and JetStream . To ensure availability of these computing resources, investigators must contact OAC prior to submission of the proposal.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard have committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on COVID-19.
The Gates Foundation and Wellcome are each contributing up to $50 million, and the Mastercard Impact Fund has committed up to $25 million to catalyze the initial work of the accelerator. The Gates Foundation’s funding is part of its up to $100 million commitment to the COVID-19 response announced last month.
“Viruses like COVID-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly,” said Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like COVID-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster. That requires governments, private enterprise, and philanthropic organizations to act quickly to fund R&D.”
The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will work with the World Health Organization, government and private sector funders and organizations, as well as the global regulatory and policy-setting institutions. The Accelerator will have an end-to-end focus, from drug pipeline development through manufacturing and scale-up. By sharing research, coordinating investments, and pooling resources, these efforts can help to accelerate research. This kind of collaboration was a key lesson from the 2014 Ebola outbreak. By providing fast and flexible funding at key stages of the development process, the Accelerator will de-risk the pathway for new drugs and biologics for COVID-19 and future epidemic threats, ensuring access in lower-resource countries.

As stated in the Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing, worldwide competition in manufacturing has been dominated in recent decades by the maturation, commoditization, and widespread application of computation in production equipment and logistics, effectively leveling the global technological playing field and putting a premium on low wages and incremental technical improvements. [1]  The next generation of technological competition in manufacturing will be dictated by inventions of new materials, chemicals, devices, systems, processes, machines, design and work methods, social structures and business practices. Fundamental research will be required in robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, materials science, sustainability, education and public policy, and workforce development to take the lead in this global competition. The research supported under this solicitation will enhance U.S. leadership in manufacturing far into the future by providing new capabilities for established companies and entrepreneurs, improving our health and quality of life, and reducing the impact of manufacturing industries on the environment.
The goal of this solicitation is to support fundamental research and education of a future workforce that will enable Future Manufacturing: manufacturing that either does not exist today or exists only at such small scales that it is not viable. Future Manufacturing will require the design and deployment of diverse new technologies for synthesis and sensing, and new algorithms for manufacturing new materials, chemicals, devices, components and systems. It will require new advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, new cyber infrastructure, new approaches for mathematical and computational modeling, new dynamics and control methodologies, new ways to integrate systems biology, synthetic biology and bioprocessing, and new ways to influence the economy, workforce, human behavior, and society.

Among this array of technologies and potential research subjects, three thrust areas have been identified for support in FY 2020 under this solicitation:
  • Future Cyber Manufacturing Research
  • Future Eco Manufacturing Research
  • Future Biomanufacturing Research

Mandatory Letters of Intent Due: April 10, 2020 (5pm central)
Full Proposals Due: June 5, 2020 (5pm central)
Proposal Services & Faculty Support
844-5929 / c ls0071@auburn.edu