College of Medicine Core Enhancement Funding

Based on the success of the pilot round of funding for CoM Core Enhancement initiative last spring, a second round of funding has been made available for this year.  The purpose of the Core Enhancement funding is to provide existing core laboratories with some resources to continue to evolve their technologies and advance the core support capabilities offered to our research community.  In 2010, the CoM in conjunction with the CCTST began to offer investigators an opportunity for Just-in-Time (JIT) funding to support utilization of the cores to generate specific data sets that would greatly enhance the chances that a grant might get funded. 

While this program has benefited many of the core labs by funneling funded customers to the cores, it does not take into account the need for the cores to continue to evolve their technologies to remain current and/or expand their capabilities.  In addition, under the governing rules for core services centers (i.e. those that are able to charge federal grants for services), “all” services provided must be billed at the approved rates, even those that are of a more exploratory nature.  This leaves little opportunity for a core to work with an investigator or a series of investigators on a novel methodology or approach, since few investigators want to pay a core for an unproven technology that may or may not ultimately benefit their research program.  Thus, the need for a new mechanism to provide funding directly to the cores to cover the cost of targeted technology enhancements was recognized by the leadership in the CoM and culminated in this funding opportunity for core directors.  The objective is to provide funding to offset the cost of core services, personnel time, supplies, repairs or small equipment needed to investigate a core development opportunity. Requests can be made in two categories:

1) Funding for the development of new core services up to $20,000.  For this mechanism review criteria will include, feasibility of the study, justification of the proposed development for current and future core activities, and objective endpoints to demonstrate success.  Preference will be given to projects that allow for a new platform technology that can benefit multiple users.  Based on the number of proposals, amounts requested, and the quality of the applications, it is expected that 2-4 applications may be funded.

2) Funding to repair or upgrade equipment, purchase accessories and/or software to enhance capabilities for up to $50,000.  Given the increased investment in this category of funding, a detailed business plan with projections for the Return of Investment is required. The business plan should be provided separately from the 1-page scientific justification.  It is anticipated that 1 or 2 projects in this category could be funded.  Matching funds from other sources to support these enhancements will be viewed favorably.

Eligible applicants include all UC CoM cores that operate as a Government Cost Compliance recharge center.  Please submit a one-page justification of your proposal, a one-page detailed budget, and for proposals over $20,000, a one-page business plan demonstrating return on investment to Beth Bloomberg by Noon on March 15, 2017.  Applications are limited to one proposal per core.  Proposals will be evaluated and recommended for funding by the Core Management Planning and Sustainability (CoMPaS) Committee in the College of Medicine, Office of Research and will be announced by April 15, 2017, with funds to be transitioned by June 30, 2017.  Recipients of awards will be required to provide a progress report by August 1, 2017 and a final report with impact on the core services by December 15, 2017.  Any questions about eligibility and/or preparation of proposals should be directed to Ken Greis.