Early-career Development Grant for Echo Scientists (EDGES) Request for Application

The application period for 2023 is now closed.

1. Funding Opportunity description/purpose
2. Key dates
3. Award Information
4. Award Eligibility
5. Application and Submission Information
6. Application Review
7. Award Administration and Reporting
8. Contact Information
9. FAQs

 

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION

Federal and American Heart Association funding opportunities for early career scientists in cardiovascular imaging are continuing to decline. Accordingly, other societal awards can potentially play an increasing role to promote research activities for those investigators who are early in their professional careers in field of echocardiography. The EDGES program is designed to address this gap. It also aligns with several important initiatives set forward by the ASE which include providing support and professional development opportunities for early career members in the Society, and the desire to create avenues for the continued evolution of echocardiography through technical advancement and through new applications to meet the complex needs of increasingly complex patient populations.

Purpose and Description of Program

The program will provide three grants of $25K maximum to fund projects that will address a clinical gap in cardiovascular ultrasound imaging through research led by an early career scientist. An early career scientist is defined as an eligible member that has completed their terminal degree of training within seven years of submitting the application.  Grant review will be prioritized based on potential impact on clinical care, novelty, and potential for stimulating future funding and career growth. It is not necessary that funded research proposals fully complete a scientific goal, but rather to make substantial progress towards Aims that can be used for secondary high-level funding from extramural sources or industry/investor funding. Key concepts for the awards include a funding period of approximately one (1) year in duration, and the principal investigator (PI) of the grants must be a member of the ASE.  The plan for “next phase” funding is an expected component of the application. While the program is meant to foster the research careers and research programs of early career scientists, it is expected that the program will also foster partnerships between physicians, veterinarians, sonographers, engineers, and data scientists. As part of the EDGES program, the ASE is willing to provide an advisory panel of experienced ASE scientists who could serve as an external mentoring committee to aid in the transition to future funding if requested by the PI.

Potential Areas of Research Interest

The overarching goal of this program is to support highly innovative early-career researchers who are addressing clinical gaps in cardiovascular ultrasound. There are no specific research themes that will be prioritized, and clinical gaps may include, but are not limited to, new imaging technologies, novel approaches or populations for diagnostic imaging, ultrasound therapy, workflow automation, or patient/practitioner safety.

KEY DATES

  • Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)
    April 2, 2023
  • Application Due Date
    July 1, 2023, by 5:00 PM EST
  • Scientific Review (anticipated)
    September 2023
  • Earliest Start Date
    October 1, 2023

AWARD INFORMATION

Award Budget and Duration

Application budgets should be appropriate for the scope of work proposed and may not exceed a maximum of $25,000 total costs. Indirect costs are discouraged but when deemed necessary by an institution should not exceed 10% of budget and are applied to total costs. The scope of the proposed research should be approximately one (1) year in duration. If there is sufficient justification, awardees are eligible to submit a competitive renewal for a second year of funding.

AWARD ELIGIBILITY

Eligible Applicants
Applications will be accepted from physicians, PhDs, veterinarians, sonographers, other healthcare professionals who are within seven years from having completed training. Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the PI is invited to apply for the EDGES program. The PI must be an active member of the ASE. A PI or co-PI may submit only one application.

Eligible Organizations
Eligible organizations for qualifying as a primary site include any higher education institutions (colleges, universities), public or state-controlled institutions of higher education, or other nonprofit organizations (e.g. with 501(c)(3) IRS Status), or for-profit healthcare systems with a proven track record of research productivity. Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are eligible to apply. Industry subcontracts are allowed but for-profit companies are disallowed from being the primary research site. Multiple applications from the same institution are allowed provided each research proposal is scientifically distinct.

Awardee Responsibilities
The PI will be responsible for ensuring that all regulatory requirements for human or animal research will be met prior to receiving funds. The awardees must also follow the guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research (see Award Administration and Reporting below). The PI or a delegate member of the investigational team should be willing to present the results of the research project to the ASE Scientific Sessions. An additional $1500 is provided to awardees for offsetting travel costs.

APPLICATION AND SUBMISSION INFORMATION

Electronic Submission
Applicants must submit all information and application elements as a saved .pdf file electronically by emailing them to Rana Sharaf at RSharaf@ASEcho.org by 5:00 PM EDT on Saturday, July 1, 2023.

Font, Page Formatting, and Figures
Conventional font types (Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, etc.) and a font size no smaller than 11-point should be used. Page margins should be no less than 0.5 inch. Embedded figures should adhere to the page margins and should have descriptive figure legends. Figure legends can be smaller than 11-point but must be legible.

Title Page
A title page must contain the following information:

  • Descriptive title of the proposed activity
  • Name(s), institution(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PI(s)
  • Names of other Key Personnel
  • Proposed funding period
  • Institutional signing authority and/or fiscal administrator

Biosketches
For the PI and all key personnel, an NIH-style biosketch must be provided with content (including a personal statement paragraph) and page limits similar to those outlined by the NIH.

Resources and Key Equipment (limit ½ page)
A brief description of resources and equipment that are key to the proposal should be provided. Do not list all resources available to the investigators, but instead limit the description to those resources that are immediately available and critical to the proposal. This section could include a description of laboratory space, computer resources, clinical research resources, animal resources, core services, and equipment.

Research Strategy (limit 5 pages)
The research strategy should describe how the studies will address a key clinical need or gap in cardiovascular ultrasound. The EDGES awards are not intended to entirely solve a clinical problem, but to lay the foundation that will lead to major advances in patient care or the practice of cardiovascular ultrasound. Proposals should include the following components (with suggested page lengths):

  • Specific Aims (1/2 page)
  • Background and Description of the Clinical Problem (1/2 page)
  • Innovation (1/2 page)
  • Scientific Methods (3 pages)
  • Impact on career development and path to future funding (1/2 page)

For applications submitted for a competitive renewal, an additional page describing Research Progress and Justification for extension of funding should be provided.

References
References will not count against the 5 page limit for the research strategy. References should be numerical in order of their appearance in text. No particular reference style is recommended.

Budget and Budget Justification
Budgets should be prioritized towards operating costs (supplies, equipment, software, non-classified salary). Salary support for the PI is discouraged but when deemed necessary can be requested up to 25% of the total budget contingent on a letter describing need from the PI’s supervisor.  The description of budgets should include separate information on Personnel (salary, % effort in calendar months, OPE), Equipment, Materials/Supplies, Publication costs, and Miscellaneous costs. Travel costs should not be included.  Instead, the ASE will provide awardees with an additional $1500 travel award to present results at the ASE Scientific Sessions. Indirect costs are strongly discouraged, but when necessary, should not exceed 10% of total costs. The format (Word, Excel, etc.) for the budget is at the discretion of the applicants. A budget justification (limit 1 page) should also be provided. Cost-sharing should be described.

Supporting Letters
Letters of support and collaboration should be obtained from all key personnel listed in the project confirming their role in the project. As mentioned above, a letter from the PI’s supervisor is required if salary support is required for the PI.

Other
For investigations that include vertebrate animals, an NIH-style Vertebrate Animals Section is required, and IACUC approval should be obtained and documented. For clinical studies, approval from the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB) should be obtained and documented.

For those applicants who request an ASE-sponsored external mentorship team, this request should be made in writing and should include a description of any particular expertise or experience if needed.

APPLICATION REVIEW

An EDGES Research Grant Review Committee composed of experts with broad representation from the field of cardiovascular ultrasound will review the proposals. The Committee will include members from the ASE Research Committee and ASEF. All applications will receive a written critique. Grants will receive an Overall Impact score based on the scored review criteria below:

  • Potential impact on clinical care
  • Innovation
  • Scientific method/rigor
  • Impact on the PI’s career development and potential for stimulating future funding


In addition, reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

AWARD ADMINISTRATION AND REPORTING

Award Notice
Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of research funds are at the recipient’s risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

Award Termination
The funding source reserves the right to terminate grant support and request the return of unused funds for any violations of the NIH Principles for Ethical Research. These principles include scientific validity, informed consent, fair subject selection, human and data safety measures, and humane treatment of animals.

Reporting of Findings
Within sixty (60) days of completion of the total funding period, a final EDGES Progress Report Form will be required. The PI will be responsible for the submission of the final Progress Report form. It is expected that the PI will present the results of the research project at the ASE Scientific Sessions (see Budget Information)

Grant Extension
The project is expected to be completed within the timeframe budgeted by the investigators.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Inquiries concerning this funding opportunity can be directed to:

General Grant Information (Questions regarding application processes and grant resources)
Rana Sharaf
Research Manager
American Society of Echocardiography
Email: rsharaf@asecho.org (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 919-861-5574, ext. 7210

Scientific/Research Contacts (Questions regarding application processes and grant resources)

Jonathan R. Lindner, MD, FASE, FACC
ASE Past-president (2018-2019) and Chair for Research Committee
Vice-Chair for Research, Cardiovascular Division
University of Virginia Medical Center
Email: jlindner@virginia.edu (preferred method of contact)

Daniel Forsha, MD, FASE
ASE Research Committee Co-chair
Director of Cardiovascular Imaging Research
University of Kansas School of Medicine
Email: deforsha@cmh.edu (preferred method of contact)

FAQs

Q. Do I have to be an ASE member to be eligible?
A. Yes, only ASE members are eligible to receive these grants. Applications will be accepted from physicians, PhDs, veterinarians, sonographers, other healthcare professionals who are ASE members.

Q: Do I have to be an early career scientist to apply?

A: Advanced fellows who are in the process of transitioning to faculty are welcome to apply.

Q. To whom should my letters of support be addressed?

A. The letters should be addressed to the ASE Research Committee.

Q: The RFA asks for the title page to have the name of an institutional official. Do you need an institutional signature at this point or just the name?

A: Just the name would be sufficient.

Q. Is it okay to apply for ethics approval after submitting the proposal? Can the grant be awarded subject to ethics approval?

A. Grant applications do not need final approval from an institutional review board, human studies committee or animal care and use committee at the time of submission. If approval has not been granted prior to submission of the proposal, applicants should include a letter stating that appropriate institutional review board application is pending. Final institutional review board approval is required prior to release of ASE Foundation funds.

Q. Can I mail you my grant application?

A. No, only online applications submitted per submission instructions will be accepted. Paper or diskette submissions will not be considered.

Q. What if I don’t complete the project during its funding period? Can I apply for an extension?

A. It is the expectation of the ASE Foundation that the scope of the proposed research should be approximately one (1) year in duration. If there is sufficient justification, awardees are eligible to submit a competitive renewal for a second year of funding.

Q. How do I report the results of my research to the ASE Foundation?

A. Accepting funding from the ASE Foundation constitutes a commitment by the grant recipient, his/her co-investigators, and the academic institution to:

  • Complete the project and produce meaningful results within both the designated time period and the budgeted funds provided.
  • Within sixty (60) days of completion of the total funding period, a final EDGES Progress Report Form will be required. The PI will be responsible for the submission of the final Progress Report form.
  • Following the completion of the one year period, it is expected that the PI will present the results of the research project at the ASE Scientific Sessions.
  • Return any unexpended balance of the grant funding at the end of the funding period.
  • Include acknowledgement of this funding in all future publications, press releases, other documents, and presentations that cite results from this project.