FAM-NET Research Scholar Corps and Pilot Projects Request for Applications



Background

Emotional well-being, which includes life satisfaction, life purpose, and positive emotions, is a key public health target. Although health can influence well-being, only recently has there been attention on how overall well-being can influence health outcomes. Critical knowledge gaps exist in both understanding the research on the role of emotional well-being in health and in measuring well-being outcomes, which constrain valid and rigorous evaluation of intervention strategies. The interdependence of health and well-being within and among family members has not been well-characterized: the health and well-being of a patient affects family members, but the well-being of family members—especially informal caregivers or parents—can also directly affect the well-being of the patient. Moreover, these interrelated effects vary across the lifespan and different types of families, from child well-being within a parent/child family to older individuals’ well-being between spouses or among intergenerational relatives.

Opportunity

FAM-NET, a research network devoted to studying family well-being across the lifespan and supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1U24HD107562), seeks to develop and advance new ideas and scalable approaches to contribute to the measurement and foundational knowledge of family well-being. Encompassing a lifespan perspective, eligible topics under this opportunity will range from childhood quality of life through and including older adults’ well-being, with an emphasis on family-focused metrics and analytic strategies.


To kick off this effort, we are requesting applications for our Research Scholar Corps and proposals for Pilot Projects that address the measurement of well-being across the lifespan with an emphasis on family well-being and pediatric quality of life. Eligible applicants are encouraged to apply to one or both opportunities.


Applications will open in December 2021 and will be reviewed on a 2-month cycle until all available annual funds are awarded. We expect to award funds over 4 years, beginning in February 2022.


Research Scholar Corps

The goal of the Research Scholar Corps is to support and foster a scholar pipeline for research on family well-being measurement. The program is intended for trainees and junior faculty and will provide multidisciplinary mentoring and training over the course of one year. Successful applicants will join a network of like-minded researchers and will be trained in peer-mentoring skills to promote peer connections.


Applicants may apply as a mentor-mentee pair or may choose to be matched with a Network mentor. Mentors are senior-level investigators who will be selected based on their commitment to investing time to mentor, foster, and sustain junior investigators and trainees. Their mentorship may surpass traditional research involvement to include professional development and career planning. Scholar Corps members will also receive cross-mentor feedback at research-in-progress meetings.


Scholars will both access and contribute to the Network’s web-based resource repository. They will utilize resources available within the repository such as materials (e.g., datasets, instruments) and educational videos, from both FAM-NET and partner emotional well-being networks, to advance and facilitate their research. They may also use the repository platform and support resources to disseminate their own work (e.g., production assistance, pre-publication work-in-progress, publicity for advances/professional networking/social media).


Eligibility

Junior faculty/junior investigators (those within 8 years of starting a faculty appointment) and trainees, including graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and clinical fellows. Investigators must be affiliated with an institution that is able to accept NIH research funding.


Stipend

Scholars will receive a stipend of up to $4000 for a 12-month period to further their research and career development, including data collection or other data costs, analysis, research supplies, presentation materials, publication costs, books or online access to materials related to the area of research, and/or travel, and any other cost that facilitates a Scholar’s research. The goal of these awards is to enable scholars new to this field to pursue a specific aspect or angle of a project with this support.


Scoring criteria

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

1. Impact. The significance of the topic and the potential to advance the science of family well-being measurement.

2. Theme. The degree to which the topic of the proposal addresses a topic relevant to the research gaps outlined in the background section above.

3. Investigators. The qualifications of the research scholar and mentor (if applicable). The mentor’s role in advancing the training of scholars.

4. Methods. The suitability of the proposed methods to address the research question.

As the FAM-NET network is established, an additional criterion will be the extent to which applications demonstrate connections across either FAM-NET or the broader emotional well-being network of networks, or both, through collaboration and/or highlighted data sources. Applications with in-kind or cost match from home institutions may also be an additional criterion.


How to apply

Statement of Interest (up to two pages, single-spaced, 11-point font minimum) which contains the following information:

● Statement of the project’s overall objectives (1 paragraph)

● Description of the research plan and methodologies to be employed (up to 3 paragraphs)

● Description of the anticipated impact on the science of family well-being measurement or child quality of life (up to 3 paragraphs)

● Description of the mentor/mentorship plan (1 paragraph)


Elevator pitch: Record a brief (1 minute or less) audio self-introduction and summary of your research in non-academic language.


Biosketches: Submit an NIH biosketch or equivalent (5 page maximum for each investigator) for yourself and your mentor (if applying as a mentor-mentee pair)


Letter of recommendation: From your proposed mentor or an existing advisor/mentor (1 page limit).


Mentor description: A brief description (one paragraph) of what you are looking for in a mentor (if applying to be matched with a FAM-NET Scholar Corps mentor)


Pilot projects

The Pilot Projects program will provide seed funding for projects related to the measurement of family well-being across the lifespan, from childhood quality of life through and including older adults’ well-being, with an emphasis on family-focused metrics and analytic strategies. Pilot project funding will advance the science of measurement and will provide networking, training opportunities, and dissemination avenues for grantees.

Proposed projects may take any form, as long as they advance the science of measuring family well-being—including pilot studies, both qualitative and quantitative, using primary or secondary data or both; literature reviews (scoping, systematic, etc.); conceptual, methodological, or applications-focused. Disciplinary focus can be broad, ranging from anthropology to epidemiology, and transdisciplinary work is encouraged. Projects need not encompass the full lifespan but could focus on one (or a limited number of) specific age groups.


Eligibility

Faculty and trainee investigators at any stage (including graduate students) affiliated with an institution that is able to accept NIH research funding.


Funding

Awards of up to $10,000 per project will be considered. Projects must be completed in 12 months (with no-cost extension available for an additional 6 months).

Funds may be used for all costs directly associated with completion of the research project, including applicant and research staff (if proposed) salaries and fringe benefits, project-related research costs (e.g., participant incentives, survey recruitment and administration, printing), database access, small equipment, travel (for data collection and/or conference attendance), conference registration, and publication fees.


Funds cannot be used for tuition, large equipment, administrative support, honoraria, any care-related patient services, and typical indirect costs, including construction/building maintenance, furniture and office equipment, rental of office or laboratory space.

Scoring criteria


Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

1. Impact. The significance of the topic and the potential to advance the science of family well-being measurement.

2. Theme. The degree to which the topic of the proposal addresses a topic relevant to the research gaps outlined in the background section above.

3. Investigators. The qualifications of the investigator(s)

4. Methods. The appropriateness and methodological rigor of the scientific plan.

5. Likelihood of leading to subsequent project. The likelihood that the pilot project will lead to a larger project in the field (i.e., that it is a “pilot” for future work).


As the FAM-NET network is established, an additional criterion will be the extent to which applications demonstrate connections across either FAM-NET or the broader emotional well-being network of networks, or both, through collaboration and/or highlighted data sources. Applications with in-kind or cost match from home institution may also be an additional criterion.


How to apply

Project Description (up to two pages, single-spaced, 11-point font minimum) which contains the following information:

● Statement of the project’s overall objectives (1 paragraph)

● Description of the research plan and methodologies to be employed (up to 3 paragraphs)

● Description of the anticipated impact on the science of family well-being measurement or child quality of life (up to 3 paragraphs)


Proposed Project Budget and Budget Justification: Budget requests should not exceed $10,000 in direct costs. Note: budgets are NOT required for applications for the Research Scholar Corps, though a final expenditure report will be submitted to ensure that funds are spent according to award guidelines.

The budget and justification should contain the following information (up to one page, 11-point font minimum):

● Table describing expense categories and budgeted amounts

● A budget justification clearly describing the specific items to be funded by the grant.

Biosketches: Submit an NIH biosketch or equivalent (5 page maximum for each investigator) for the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators (if included)


On-line application portal to be announced-- please email contact@fam-net.org to be added to the mailing list.


Timeline

December 6th: Information Sessions Via Zoom - FAM-NET team will review the funding opportunities and address questions. Please register here.

December 7th: Open for Applications –on-line application portal tba; please email

contact@fam-net.org to be added to the mailing list.


Every 2 months: Proposal review






Interm Report: Zoom retreat for grantees to present their progress to the FAM-NET Executive Committee and other grantees. Timing to be announced; progress will differ across awardees depending on date of award.

End of Projects: Structured project summary and recorded video presentation to FAM-NET required 30 days after the conclusion of the award period. The final video will be posted on our website.


Frequently asked questions

How many pilot grants will be awarded through this opportunity?

Up to 4 awards through June 2022. Additional funding will be available in subsequent years of the network.


How many Research Scholar Corps applicants will be accepted into the Corps?

Up to 7 through June 2022. Additional applicants will be accepted in subsequent years of the Network.


Can I apply to both the Research Scholar Corps and the pilot program grant?

Yes, eligible applicants are welcome to apply for both Corps membership and pilot funding or one. Please note that all investigators are eligible for the pilot funding, but only junior faculty, junior investigators, and trainees are eligible to apply to be part of the Research Scholar Corps (see eligibility criteria).


Can I submit more than one application for a pilot grant?

No, you may submit only one application for pilot grant funding per cycle (June-May). Research Scholars can only be awarded once, though may apply for pilot grants simultaneously or in a different cycle.


Can I apply for a pilot grant if I have previously received one?

Yes, prior grantees remain eligible for future awards although projects must be distinct.


Can I apply for a Research Scholar award if I have previously received one?

No, Scholars are not eligible for additional Scholar funding.


Will feedback be provided on my application?

No, unfortunately, we are unable to provide feedback on applications.

Do I need IRB approval for the submission of my proposal?


No, but IRB approval must be received before starting human subjects research

Whom should I contact with additional questions?


We will host a Zoom call to review the funding opportunities and address questions. The call will be held Monday, December 6th at 12:00-1:00 EST. Please register here to join the call.