Technology Access Grants (TAGs)

FY2013 TAGs application deadlines: August 31, November 30, March 8 and May 31.
(All applications should be sent to thuy.nguyen@tufts.edu no later than 5 pm on the date of the deadline.)

Purpose:

To fund pilot experiments that allow Tufts faculty members to develop new experimental approaches to address a specific scientific question by using instrumentation available in a Tufts core facility or another lab in a novel way. The goal is to support the creation of new expertise at Tufts, through significant expansion and dissemination of existing technologies and technological expertise, while encouraging scientists to share their specialized technologies.

Background:

The cost of reagents and the time commitment required may be barriers to the incorporation of new techniques and technologies into ongoing research projects. With limited funds and pressure to publish, an investigator might not want to take the risk of relinquishing an older method to develop a new technique even if the new method would ultimately generate data of higher quality in terms of depth, breadth or quantitation. In many cases, these new technologies are available within the Tufts community, but are not readily accessible.  For example, such new technologies could be developed in collaboration with a core facility.


Example:

  1. An investigator has imagined a new way of analyzing protein structure by using an instrument available in another lab or core facility and would like to test his/her novel idea. If successful, the investigator will continue to use the technique in his/her own lab and teach the technique to others.

  2. An investigator has read about a novel use of deep sequencing technologies and would like to try to apply that approach to his/her research project. If successful, the investigator will teach the technique to others.

  3. An investigator will travel to another research facility to learn a new technique that s/he would be prepared to teach to other research groups.

  4. An investigator has performed whole genome DNA methylation analysis and microarray analysis at a Tufts core facility. However, there is no existing capability at Tufts to perform the computational analysis required to compare these two analyses. If the needed computational analysis would be useful to multiple labs, a TAGs award could provide funding to an investigator to develop this analytical capacity in collaboration with a core facility. This expertise would then be made available to future users of the core.

Mechanism: 

Technology Access Grants (TAGs) would cover the cost of reagents, instrument use and core staff labor (if appropriate) to allow an investigator to use an experimental system that s/he can ultimately adopt to advance research in ways that would not otherwise be possible. Awards will range from $500 to $2,000.


Criteria for Selection: 

  1. Highest priority will be given to proposals that introduce new technology into the university and for which successful application will lead to the broader dissemination and future use of the technology by multiple research groups.

  2. Priority will also be given to proposals that bring technology from one campus of the University to another, if multiple labs will benefit from learning or sharing the technology. For instance, a TAGs award would allow a scientist on campus A to learn a technique developed or perfected by a scientist on campus B and then share that expertise with other scientists on campus A.

  3. Priority will be given to new technologies or novel applications of an existing technology that would allow new questions to be addressed or would be more efficient or rigorous than currently used technologies or would generate data of higher quality.

  4. For technologies that already exist at Tufts but have not been widely used, the expectation is that researchers learning such technologies from other Tufts labs will incorporate these new methods into their own labs and become sources of advice and expertise for other labs.

Proposals that would not fit the guidelines:

  1. Scientist A proposes to collaborate with Scientist B, who has developed a specialized technology. The work would be done in the lab of Scientist B. Scientist A would not become expert in the technology and would not implement the technology in his/her own lab.

  2. An investigator who has never made use of the genome sequencing capabilities of the Tufts Nucleic Acid and Protein Core Facility seeks funds to prepare DNA for analysis by existing technologies.

  3. An investigator proposes to go to another university to learn a specialized method for use in his/her lab but has no plan to instruct other Tufts investigators in the use of the technique.

  4. An investigator proposes to use a technology in a core or another laboratory to investigate molecule X. The only modifications in technique that would be needed would be those necessary to study molecule X and X is not studied in other labs. In other words, there would be no widely applicable technical advance.


Process of Application:

  1. The investigator should draft a two-part application for submission, consisting of a project narrative and a detailed budget. The narrative should describe the current and proposed techniques and the supplies needed, and should include a clear statement of the perceived advantages over currently available techniques. The narrative part of the proposal is limited to 1,000 words and should be in Microsoft Word or PDF format. The second part should be a detailed budget listing the material/service costs related to the proposal.

  2. One of the line items for the detailed budget may be the cost of using a core facility/lab at Tufts. Personnel from the laboratory/facility/core providing the technique should estimate the cost of supplies and the labor required. This cost should be included in the detailed budget and will be one of the criteria for determining the amount of the award.

  3. If the proposal involves two labs rather than a lab and a core facility, a statement is needed explaining whether the two labs are current or recent collaborators or creating a new collaboration. Labor costs of the applicant lab(s) are not allowable expenses.

  4. The applicant must propose a plan to provide intellectual and technical support to other Tufts investigators interested in the use of the technique or technology.

  5. The finalized two-part application should be sent to thuy.nguyen@tufts.edu no later than 5 pm on the date of the deadline.

Selection Process:

A panel of investigators and core/facility leaders will decide whether to fund applications according to the criteria described above. If a project is approved for funding, an award notice will be sent to the applicant indicating that the project has been approved and stating the amount of the award. At that time, a modified budget may be requested, but will be reviewed by the selection panel. Applicants whose proposals are not funded will receive feedback to help them design future proposals.

Funding Cycles:

There will be a new funding cycle every four months. Each funding cycle will have a maximum amount of $6,000 available to distribute among the awardees. Announcements of application due dates will be made no less than four weeks before the deadline. Awards will be announced no later than four weeks after the due date.

Assessing Impact:

The recipient laboratory must agree to provide an impact statement that indicates how the award affected their ongoing research. Publications, presentations, grant applications and awards resulting from the TAGs award should be reported. Importantly, ways that the technology has been shared with the Tufts community, or a plan to disseminate the technology to other users should be reported. These reports are due six months post-award; the Vice Provost for Research’s Office will contact you regarding the details needed for your impact statement.

Please submit all applications and questions to Thuy Nguyen at thuy.nguyen@tufts.edu or phone (617) 636-2725 with any immediate concerns.

Recent Awardees:


Quantum Efficiency Testing for Thermophotovoltaics and Beyond

Nicole Pfiester Latham, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering


Generation of MicroRNA-mRNA Interaction Maps

Dr. John Iacomini, Pathology, School of Medicine


New Strategy for Facile Purification of Peptides

Dr.Vittorio Montanari, Dr. Vijay M.K. Murthy, Michael Berne, Dr. Krishna Kumar

Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences
Molecular Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine


Establishment of a High Throughput Membrane Potential Assay for Cross Disciplinary Use in Drug Discovery

Dr. Sami F. Noujaim & Dr. Alan Kopin, Medicine, School of Medicine


Dancing the Reproductive Tango: Characterizing Female Genes that Mediate Postmating Sexual Interactions

Dr. Sara Lewis & Dr. Erik Dopman, Biology, School of Arts and Sciences


Determining Kinetic Parameters of Necrostatin/RIP1 Interaction Using Biacore

Dr. Alexei Degterev, Biochemistry, School of Medicine


RNAi Screening Using Pooled shRNA Libraries with Next Gen Sequencing

Dr. Brent Cochran, Molecular Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine


Establishing NMR-based Metabolomics at Tufts:
Application to Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

Dr. Amy Yee & Dr. James Baleja, Biochemistry, School of Medicine


Using A New Micro-Punching Machine to Generate a Cartilage Matrix Scaffold to Study the Interaction of Matrix And Seeded Chrondrocytes

Dr. Li Zeng, Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Medicine