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The application format should explicitly address the following criteria, in numerical order. Failure to fufill the criteria and requirements will result in an an adminstrative rejection.

Proposal Criteria

1. The unsolved problem must be clearly articulated, along with an explanation of its general importance to neuroscience.  This should be understandable by a lay person (e.g., our donors).

2. The problem or question must represent a new direction for the PI's laboratory (preferably in a field in which the PI has not previously worked).  Explain how/why this is true.

3. Candidates must propose a new approach to the problem i.e., one that has not been previously described, and should provide evidence based on recent literature searches to support this assertion. 

4. The approach should be high-risk/high-reward, and preliminary data are not required (although they can be provided). The application should explain how/why the objective justifies the risk of failure. Where failure is a significant possibility, anticipated failure modes should be listed.

5. The award is not intended to support technology development projects. However, technology development can be part of the project, if (and only if) there is an immediate application of the technology to the problem posed in point #1.  If new technology is part of the application, explain how it will be critical to solving the proposed problem.

6. The application should contain a brief statement explaining why Caltech is ideally or uniquely suited for pursuing such a project.  This statement is important for our donors.

7. The application should describe the possible outcome(s) of the project. Acceptable outcomes can include solving the problem, generating sufficient preliminary data to apply for NIH funding to support further research, or failure (i.e., "the approach failed").

8. The proposal should be 1-2 pages, 12 point font.  Brevity and clarity will increase the chances of funding.

Rules and Requirements

  • The award requires a 1:2 match from the applying laboratory:  $25,000 for a $50,000 single-lab award (total budget $75K), or $50,000 (jointly from the two collaborating labs) for a $100,000 award (total budget $150K).
  • Preference will be given to awarding a single grant to two collaborating laboratories. That is, if a strong collaborative proposal is presented, a single award of $100,000 will be made.
  • Priority will be given to faculty who did NOT receive a Chen Institute award in FY2018.
  • Applications are open to Caltech research faculty, tenured faculty and tenure-track faculty.
  • No faculty member may participate in more than one application.
  • Collaborative proposals should be with other Caltech laboratories.
  • Applications should include a simple budget ($75K or $150K) outlining how you propose to use the funds, each with a short (1-2 sentence) justification. Budget can include personnel (graduate RA, postdoc, SURF or other undergraduate), equipment, equipment usage (e.g. fMRI hourly fees) reasonable consumable supplies, and reasonable travel for dissemination of research findings. No faculty salary will be awarded (no page limit).
  • You must provide a document listing your other support: title of grant, amount of money, and brief one sentence description, (no page limit).
  • A DAF is required, if you are submitting a proposal with collaboration between labs in different divisions then the DAF must be signed by both Division Chairs.

 Proposal Deadline: Monday, November 5, 2018 at 5pm

 Proposal Submission

  • Upload your proposal, budget, list of support, and DAF as a combined pdf file to our submission portal.

Proposal Terms

  • Grants are for 1-year (with six-month extensions permitted upon request, with justification). A progress report is required after one year.
  • Any research involving human subjects, including human data, or animal vertebrate, including animal data, will require approval from IRB or IACUC before research can be funded.
  • There is an IP obligation associated with these grants. For more details about this obligation, please contact Case Cortese in the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships.

Download details of this award as a PDF below.