About BIRC Seed Grants
BIRC Seed Grants are intended to support external grant applications by demonstrating the feasibility of an experimental protocol, developing the scientific and technical expertise of the investigators, providing evidence of successful collaboration, and generating publications in peer-reviewed journals. The Seed Grant Program is intended for both experienced MRI users seeking pilot data and researchers with little or no MRI experience seeking to establish a track record of MRI research.
Preliminaries to undertaking MRI/fMRI research
- Human subjects approval. Projects must have IRB approval before data collection can begin. Ideally, IRB approval should be pending or already granted when a Seed Grant application is submitted. We recommend that you consult with BIRC staff, who can provide standard text regarding BIRC facilities and our Siemens Prisma 3T scanner.
- Requisite expertise. Each phase of MRI research (design, implementation, safety assessment, data acquisition, data analysis) requires specialized training. The review committee will evaluate your plans for each phase. BIRC provides needed equipment and a professional technician to assist in data acquisition and can provide limited consulting on each phase of MRI research. Contact BIRC staff if you require training in any of these domains, or if you would like advice about potential collaborators to fill gaps in expertise.
- Number of sessions. Sample sizes must be justified, ideally by formal power analysis or by comparison with similar studies in the literature. Normally, the cap for seed projects will be 20 hours of scanner time (in addition to development time needed to implement and verify experimental protocols). In some cases, applicants may be able to justify additional sessions (e.g., when the power analysis calls for slightly more participants).
- Other support. Seed Grants cover scanner time but not other costs associated with MRI research, such as participant fees. Investigators should seek departmental or university funds for such costs. In addition, if internal funds are available to buy a limited amount of scanner time, a Seed Grant may be used to acquire additional scanning time as appropriate.
- Policies and procedures. Once approved, a project will be subject to the same policies and procedures governing all MRI research at BIRC.
- The principal investigator must be a UConn faculty member. Applicant teams may also include students, postdocs, and other faculty members, as well as researchers from other institutions.
- Applicant teams must have sufficient expertise in MRI design, implementation, data acquisition, and data analysis (BIRC staff will assist with safety assessment), or alternatively must detail specific plans to acquire this experience.
- Proposed projects must not fit within the scope of funded research programs of any team member.
Seed Grant proposals will be reviewed by the BIRC Scientific Advisory Committee on a rolling basis, with deadlines announced on the BIRC website. Applications will be evaluated with regard to scientific merit and feasibility, the expertise of the applicant team, and the likelihood that the project will result in competitive grant proposals and other scientific products. The productivity of prior Seed Grants awarded to the applicants will also be considered, as will resource availability (including scanner and staff time).
At the conclusion of the project and semi-annually, the principal investigator should provide a brief report summarizing the main findings, identifying any publications or presentations resulting from the project, and indicating plans regarding grant proposals, publications, and presentations. Recipients of external awards are also encouraged to submit a funding report for studies that will use BIRC resources.
BIRC Seed Grant Application Required Information
- Team. Submit a list of key personnel (PI and personnel responsible for design, implementation, data acquisition, and data analysis), with role and basis for expertise (particularly qualifications for conducting neuroimaging research) listed for each person.
- Goal and timeline. Briefly describe the scientific goal of your study and your plans for submitting an external grant, specifying agency/program, anticipated total budget, and anticipated MRI budget. Include a timeline for data acquisition, data analysis and grant submission.
- Design. Briefly describe the motivation for the study, the hypothesis you are testing, and the predicted results, supporting this motivation with reference to the current literature in your field..
- Implementation. List the presentation devices, response devices, software, coil configurations, and any other equipment (e.g., the mock scanner for acclimating individuals from special populations) your study requires.
- Data acquisition. Describe your data acquisition plan, including the number of scanning sessions and the length of each session.
- Data analysis. Outline your data analysis plan; specify software and intended analyses in a brief paragraph.
- Human subject approval. If an IRB protocol has been approved, provide your protocol number and expiration date. If approval is pending, list the date of submission. Attach a PDF of your approved or pending protocol.
- Other costs. List other costs needed to complete your project (e.g., participant fees) and the source of those funds or your plans for obtaining them.
- Funding available. List any current grant funding that could possibly support this research, and explain why this funding cannot be used to support this project.
- Results of previous BIRC seed funding. If any team member has previously been granted BIRC seed funds, please report the approval date, title, and outcome (e.g., data acquired but not analyzed, data analyzed but not used for publication or grant application, publication, used as pilot data in a grant, or will be part of a manuscript or grant application with intended submission date) for each prior seed grant.
Submit BIRC Seed Grant
Please use the following form to submit your completed Seed Grants.