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DoD Epilepsy Research Program Preannouncement

25 Feb 2020 3:05 PM | Hawk Tran (Administrator)

The FY20 Defense Appropriations Act provides funding to the Department of Defense Epilepsy Research Program (ERP) to understand the causative links between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and epilepsy so that post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) will be both preventable and treatable.  As directed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Defense Health Agency J9, Research and Development Directorate manages the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation.  The managing agent for the anticipated Program Announcements/Funding Opportunities is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC).

The ERP is providing the information in this pre-announcement to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY20 funding opportunity. This pre-announcement should not be construed as an obligation by the Government. The FY20 ERP Program Announcements and General Application Instructions for the following award mechanisms will be posted on the Grants.gov website. Pre-application and application deadlines will be available when the Program Announcements are released. 

Applications submitted to the FY20 ERP should address one or more of the following Focus Areas.  An application that proposes research outside of the FY20 Focus Areas is acceptable, as long as the applicant provides a strong rationale.  The Focus Areas will be mechanism-specific.

  • Innovative Research:  Tools intended to better inform or improve upon how PTE research can be performed:
    • Hardware and/or software platforms that will improve seizure detection, characterization, or diagnosis
    • Bioinformatics strategies, to include machine learning, that will improve access, annotation, curation, and visualization of large and novel datasets from single or multiple sources
    • Development of new models or better characterization of existing etiologically relevant models for PTE
    • Improved characterization of the circuits involved in PTE
    • Validate targets of post-traumatic epileptogenesis or established PTE
  • Markers and Mechanisms:  Identifying markers or mechanisms via preclinical models that address PTE, which may include the following:
    • Biomarkers
    • Treatment
    • Prevention
    • Diagnosis
    • Prognosis
    • Comorbidity
  • Epidemiology:  Epidemiological characterization of PTE following TBI, which may include the following:
    • Risk factors such as demographics, genetics, anatomy, pathology, or type of injury
    • Outcomes including latency to epilepsy, comorbidities, and mortality
    • Pre-existing conditions including psychological and psychiatric risk factors
    • Treatment and healthcare outcomes research
    • Differentiation of PTE and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES)
  • Longitudinal Studies: Studies of the evolution of PTE, which may include the following:
    • Seizure frequency and semiology
    • Demographics, genetics, anatomy, pathology, or type of injury
    • Comorbidities (e.g., depression, functional deficits, sleep disorders, major illness)
    • Latency between type of injury and PTE
    • Mortality
    • Treatment and healthcare outcomes research
  • Quality of Life: Studies focused on improving quality of life for individuals with PTE and their caregivers by addressing the following:
    • Psychosocial factors
    • Neuropsychological dysfunction (cognition and memory)
    • Behavioral health (anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, impulsivity)
    • Wellness
    • Reducing stigma
    • Activities of daily living
    • Care gaps (adjunct programs, support groups, access to care)
    • Sleep disorders
    • Medication side effects

https://cdmrp.army.mil/pubs/press/2020/20erppreann

Idea Development Award

Level I:  Funding Level I is intended to support early-career investigators ranging from the post-doctoral level (e.g. research associate, fellows, residents or equivalent) to within 3 years of their first independent faculty position. (mentor required)

Level II:  The Principal Investigator (PI) must be an independent investigator at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent)

Intent:  To support novel, innovative research to understand the magnitude and underlying mechanisms of PTE.

  • Level I is intended to support high-risk or high-gain research. Requires a mentor as part of the application.
  • Level II is intended to support a more mature, hypothesis-driven research project.

The following Focus Areas are open to both Levels I and II:

  • Innovative Research
  • Markers and Mechanisms
  • Epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies

Preliminary data, while not required, are encouraged for both levels.

Clinical pharmacologic trials are specifically discouraged.

Level I:

·      Maximum funding of $300,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)

·      Maximum period of performance is 3 years

·      Indirect costs may be proposed in accordance with the institution’s rate agreement

Level II:

·      Maximum funding of $500,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)

·      Maximum period of performance is 3 years

·      Indirect costs may be proposed in accordance with the institution’s rate agreement

Quality of Life Award

Level I:  Funding Level I is intended to support early-career investigators ranging from the post-doctoral level (e.g. research associate, fellows, residents or equivalent) to within 3 years of their first independent faculty position. (mentor required)

Level II:  The PI must be an independent investigator at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent).

Intent:  To support innovative research that improves the quality of life and care for individuals living with the common symptoms of PTE and/or their families and care providers, as related to the ERP’s mission.

  • Level I is intended to support high-risk or high-gain research. Requires a mentor as part of the application.
  • Level II is intended to support PIs at or above the level of assistant professor (or equivalent) from any field or discipline.

The following Focus Areas are open to both Levels I and II:

  • Quality of Life

Preliminary data, while not required, are encouraged for both levels.

Clinical pharmacologic trials are specifically discouraged.

Level I:

·      Maximum funding of $300,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)

·      Maximum period of performance is 3 years

·      Indirect costs may be proposed in accordance with the institution’s rate agreement

Level II:

·      Maximum funding of $500,000 for direct costs (plus indirect costs)

·      Maximum period of performance is 3 years

·      Indirect costs may be proposed in accordance with the institution’s rate agreement

Research Partnership Award

The PI must be an independent investigator at or above the level of Assistant Professor (or equivalent).

Intent:  To create an avenue for collaborative research partnerships between/among investigators to address a research problem or question in a manner that would be unachievable through separate efforts. 

·      Level I is intended to support preclinical or pre-validation research.

·      Level II is intended to support research requiring access to a patient cohort for a prospective study.

Applications must include clearly stated plans for interactions between/among the partners.  The plans must include communication, coordination of research progress and results, and data sharing between all investigators and organizations participating in the project.

The following Focus Areas are open to both Levels I and II:

·      Markers and Mechanisms

·      Epidemiology

·     Longitudinal Studies

Preliminary data are required.

Clinical pharmacologic trials are specifically discouraged

Level I:

·      Maximum funding of $1,300,000 in total costs

·      Maximum period of performance is 3 years

·      Indirect costs may be proposed in accordance with the institution’s rate agreement

Level II:

·      Maximum funding of $3,100,000 in total costs

·      Maximum period of performance is 4 years

·      Indirect costs may be proposed in accordance with the institution’s rate agreement

A pre-application is required and must be submitted through the electronic Biomedical Research Application Portal (eBRAP) at https://eBRAP.org prior to the pre-application deadline.  All applications must conform to the final Program Announcements and General Application Instructions that will be available for electronic downloading from the Grants.gov website.  The application package containing the required forms for each award mechanism will also be found on Grants.gov.  A listing of all CDMRP and other USAMRDC extramural funding opportunities can be obtained on the Grants.gov website by performing a basic search using CFDA Number 12.420. 

Submission deadlines are not available until the Program Announcements are released.  For email notification when Program Announcements are released, subscribe to program-specific news and updates under “Email Subscriptions” on the eBRAP homepage at https://eBRAP.org.  For more information about the ERP or other CDMRP-administered programs, please visit the CDMRP website (https://cdmrp.army.mil).

Point of Contact:

CDMRP Public Affairs
301-619-9783
usarmy.detrick.medcom-cdmrp.mbx.cdmrp-public-affairs@mail.mil


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