Tufts Medical Center / Tufts University COVID-19 Seed Funding Program

Program Description and Request for Applications

The Tufts Medical Center/Tufts University COVID-19 Seed Funding Program – Phase 2 Awards are intended to move innovative research relevant to the multifactorial aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the next stage. Phase 2  Awards will focus on  transdisciplinary research that addresses the complex ways the pandemic has revealed a number of inequities across society. We are seeking projects that promise to change the course of the COVID-19 and/or future pandemics and promote healing in our communities.  Projects can range from the basic sciences and translational medicine, to the role of health literacy, and the dissemination of scientific knowledge.  Awards of up to $50,000 will be made.

Priority will be given to the following:

  • Projects that make equity and/or social impact a central focus of the inquiry and/or outcome
  • Teams that leverage the diverse expertise and research capacity of Tufts Medical Center  and Tufts University, and of their faculty and staff (as well as researchers from the Wellforce partner hospitals)

Eligibility Criteria: The lead Principal Investigator on the application must be an employee of Tufts Medical Center or Tufts University. Research teams may include collaborators from Tufts Medical Center’s Wellforce partner hospitals and/or community-based not-for-profit organizations, preferably in Tufts University’s host communities of Boston, Grafton, Medford, or Somerville. Past COVID-19 Rapid Response Seed Funding recipients are welcome to re-apply to obtain funding for a new research project, but projects previously supported through this program will not be considered for additional funding.

Award Information: Applicants may request up to $50,000 per project. For collaborative projects involving investigators from Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University, funds may be allocated across the two sites in accordance with the project needs. Selected projects will be supported for a period of 12 months.

Application Review and Criteria: Applications will be reviewed for scientific and technical merit by a committee of Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University representatives using the following criteria:

  • Significance – Is there potential for impact through development of new knowledge and/or improving clinical practice (prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and/or care delivery) and well-being? Projects focused on outcomes of diverse populations, particularly those traditionally marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented are encouraged.
  • Investigative team – Does the team possess the knowledge, skills and qualifications to carry out the proposed research?
  • Approach – Are the experimental design and methodologies of sufficient rigor to address the specific aims and accomplish the objectives of the proposed research?
  • Environment – Is there availability and adequacy of resources, facilities, samples, and/or patient population to support the proposed research and feasibility of completing it within the award period in the current environment?
  • Feasibility – Is completion of the proposed research within the award period feasible in the current environment?
  • Continuation plan – Is there a clear articulation of a practical and credible post-completion plan to ensure enduring impact and sustained financial support (if necessary) of the proposed line of research?
  • Overall impact – Is there likelihood for the proposed research to positively impact prevention, clinical care, diagnosis, and practice as well as other meaningful metrics in the immediate future?

Funding Decisions:

Funding decisions will be made based on the outcome of a standard peer-review process according to the above review criteria.

Special consideration will be given to projects led by research teams that demonstrate an intentional commitment to and propose actionable research aimed at advancing health equity, and improving health outcomes of traditionally marginalized, underserved, and underrepresented populations. In addition, applications that take a collaborative approach from teams that include diverse members from Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University will be given special considerations. The number of grants to be awarded will depend on the volume of meritorious proposals received and their individual budget requirements.

Award recipients will be able to begin project implementation and access resources as early as February 2021 upon receipt of all applicable regulatory approvals and training certificates. Please note that all award recipients who need IRB approval must apply by March 2, 2021.

Application Process: The program has a one-step application process. Applicants are required to use program-specific project description and budget templates available here. Completed forms and any accompanying materials must be submitted by January 15, 2021 at https://collaborate.tuftsctsi.org/redcap/surveys/index.php?s=JHTWD3RHRM

Application Components:

  • Project description, including an overview of the study rationale, aims, hypothesis, approach, timeline, feasibility and next steps (maximum five pages, excluding references)
  • Budget and budget justification, including a detailed breakdown of funds to be requested and  any in-kind contributions provided by the applicant’s department and/or division (required for each collaborating site)
  • Curriculum Vitae or NSF/NIH-format biographical sketch (maximum five pages per each key personnel)
  • Letter(s) of Support (optional)

Key Dates:

Applications due: January 15, 2021

Award announcement: February 2021

Anticipated start date: February/March 2021

Contact Information: Questions may be directed to COVID19Research@tufts.edu.