Mini-Grant Program

Office of Research – College of Medicine

A. Purpose:

The Mini-Grant Program provides seed grants to support faculty and student research and scholarship in the College of Medicine (COM).

This program is designed to,

  • Allow students and faculty to generate pilot data that can be incorporated into a grant application to an external funding agency (private, state, federal or foundation), or
  • Foster activity that will lead to a publication (of a book, monograph, edited collection, article, to name only a few examples), or other tangible outcomes, that advance the student or faculty member’s scholarship.

The Mini-Grant Program is primarily intended to partially support scholarly activity for COM faculty, especially for those supervising students and/or pursuing new lines of inquiry and need to obtain pilot data for competitive applications for future federal funding. The program is not designed to supplement existing funded research or scholarship. Applicants are strongly advised to discuss their proposed ideas with the Assistant Dean of Research prior to submission.

Funds may be used for any purpose related to the conduct of scholarship or research except to offset normal departmental operating expenses (unless these are an integral part of the proposed work: e.g., costs associated with telephone and postage). Examples of acceptable uses of grant funds include but are not limited to: equipment, supplies, drugs, chemical and biological reactive, and costs associated with publication. Applications which include attending a conference must carefully justify why attending that particular conference serves the scholarship or research in question; simply having been invited to present or speak at a conference is not an appropriate request under this program. This is also true of professional development activities, which are only appropriate to the degree that they directly support the research or scholarship in question.

Mini-grants are awarded for faculty and students as follows:

For Faculty: An amount up to a maximum of $8,000.
For Students: An amount up to a maximum of $1,000.

Applicants may not apply to more than one project with substantially the same objectives. Due to the limited number of available awards of $8,000, it is anticipated to be extremely competitive. All competitive applications will require a carefully planned budget and justification as the proposed project and budget will be reviewed together.

B. Eligibility:

All regular full-time faculty members and students in good academic standing may apply. If a proposal is multi-authored, the status of the designated “primary proposal author” will be used to determine funding allocation. Students may apply as a limited group, consisting of not more than two students per faculty. If funded, the Principal Investigator (and Co-Investigators, if applicable to this application) should be prepared to serve as an ad hoc member of the Research Committee to help review applications. This applies only to faculty applicants. 

C. Application:

Applications are accepted only by electronic submission: An electronic copy of the proposal should be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Research, with a visible copy (cc) to the supervisor or student advisor. The proposal should be clear to persons not familiar with the area of scholarship/research.

Proposal Format: Proposals should be single-spaced in 12 pt font with 1-inch margins. Applicants must write a formal application using the following format (sections 2-5 cannot exceed 2 pages):

  • Title Page. Please use the attached Title Page. The title page must include names of the applicant(s) and the applicant’s advisor or immediate supervisor(s). Application is considered signed by PI when it is submitted from the PI’s email address and visible cc to the Assistant Dean of Research.
  • Abstract/Synopsis. This should be a succinct distillation of the entire proposal.
  • Background and significance. Highlight what scholarly or scientific background and literature led you to this project: What is known already? What is not known yet? Why is it important to answer the questions you are posing here?
  • Design and Methods. A narrative that should answer these sorts of questions:
    a. What is the goal of this project and why is it significant?
    b. What specific question(s) or hypothesis will you address with this project?
    c. How do you propose to fulfill them? d. What is your critical approach or methodology?
    e. What is the design of your project?
    f. What data analysis will you use (if this is applicable)?
    g. What is the time frame of your project (and sections)?
  • Future plans based on this project. Either:
    a. Future Funding. Discuss how the funds requested in this Mini-grant will lead to future external funding support for this project (primarily scientific disciplines).
    b. Future scholarship. Discuss how the funds requested in this Mini-grant will enhance your scholarly productivity.
  • Budget. Show your budget in detail on the budget form
  • Budget Justification.Explain each component of the budget request. Please break out salary requests to indicate how much is associated with each person and how much time that represents. Please include a description of any matching or other funds you have, such as from another grant source, or from your department, dean, or division, and include an award notice or letter of commitment.
  • Prior Funding. What funding have you received and what was the outcome of those funds? Please list every internal grant you have received from any source within CNUCOM. While there is no page limit on this section, please keep outcomes to one paragraph each.
  • Literature Cited. No more than 10 references.
  • Letters from Collaborators. Letters should indicate their role on the project.
  • Letters of Support. Letters indicating matching or other support for the project (i.e. departmental or Dean’s office funding)
  • Curriculum Vitae. Provide an abbreviated CV for each professional who is significantly involved in the project. Each CV should be limited to 2 pages, and contain the following sections:
    a. • Professional Positions
    b. • Relevant Publications
    c. • Relevant Funding (intramural and extramural)
    d. • Synergistic Activities (e.g., previous student involvement and presentations)

D. Proposal Review:

The COM Research Committee will review all Mini-Grant proposals. In special cases, the Chair of the Research Committee may appoint additional ad hoc reviewers with appropriate expertise among COM faculty members. Any members with direct interest in a proposal will recuse themselves from consideration of that proposal to avoid a real or perceived conflict. Any applicant may submit name(s) of Research Committee member(s) who may be in conflict and request that they be excluded from the review of their proposal. Although applications requiring Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Review Board (IRB), or Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC), including radioactivity use, will be reviewed without prior approval, funding will not be awarded without a written approval (or exemption) from the appropriate oversight committees. The Research Committee will group applications into two main areas: (1) health sciences, including clinical aspects, and (2) basic sciences, including animal studies. Then, the Research Committee will score applications within those groupings based on a Review Criteria sheet using a 1-9 scale as follows:

Very Good

Awards will be based on the Research Committee’s ranking of the proposals. The Research Committee will assess proposal budgets and determine the amount of funding accordingly for each project meeting the criteria. The Research Committee will forward a ranked list of all proposals to the Assistant Dean of Research. All proposals will receive written feedback from the Research Committee, reflecting the evaluation of the proposal.

E. Final Report and Presentation:

Grantees must submit a written report to the Chair of the Research Committee by September of the following fiscal year. This report will include:

  • Overview. What was the project about and how much money was awarded?
  • Budget. A detailed summary of how the money was spent
  • Goals. Whether and how the objectives stated in the proposal were met
  • Dissemination. How results will be disseminated. Results will be shared with the faculty and students of the University through a seminar (e.g., on a Research Day) or similar presentation.
  • Future Funding. If appropriate, provide faculty member’s plans for external funding.

F. Application Checklist:

Please be sure all of the following are included in your application: (Applications are accepted only by electronic submission)

  • Fully completed Facepage (please use attached format)
  • Narrative (Sections 2-5 cannot exceed 2 pages)
  • Fully completed budget sheet
  • Budget Justification (cannot exceed 1 page)
  • Prior funding (one paragraph each; as applicable)
  • Literature Cited (10 references limit)
  • Letters from collaborators (if applicable)
  • Letters of Support (if applicable)
  • Curriculum Vitae (limited to 2 pages each)

California Northstate University College of Medicine ♦ 9700 West Taron Drive ♦ Elk Grove, CA 95757 ♦ Phone: (916) 686-7300