Requests for Applications: Emotional Well-being and Economic Burden-Related Pilot Studies

(RFA-EMOT-ECON-50P-22-001)



Who we are: The Emotional Well-being and Economic Burden (EMOT-ECON) Research Network is a new initiative that will support EMOT-ECON research, i.e., research that seeks to develop innovative conceptual frameworks and theories to advance the science on emotional well-being and economic burden of disease and test the strategies needed to reduce the impact of this burden.


Economic burden of disease: There are numerous economic consequences of having a disease. These may include the money patients have to spend when getting medical care and managing their illness, and the time they may be out of work and the lost income, even if temporary. These may lead to medical financial hardship, distress, burden or toxicity.


Emotional well-being: Overall positive state of one’s emotions, life satisfaction, sense of meaning and purpose, and ability to pursue self-defined goals.


EMOT-ECON is funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), the Office of Behavior and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) and the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) (U24AT011310). Principal Investigators are Maria Pisu, PhD, Professor, Division of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Michelle Martin, PhD, Professor, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center.


The EMOT-ECON network invites applications for pilot awards to provide project support for new or established investigators in the EMOT-ECON area of research. These pilot projects must involve primary data collection or secondary data analyses on EMOT-ECON research. Applications will be accepted in the following priority areas:

  • Ontology and measurement of emotional well-being (EWB) research to capture components of EWB in people with economic burden of disease. Examples of questions include, but are not limited to, identifying EWB components in people with economic burden of disease or financial hardship, or examining whether these components vary depending on when such burden or hardship occur across the lifespan.

  • Mechanistic research to identify mechanisms linking economic burden of disease to EWB. Examples of questions include, but are not limited to, examining whether emotion- or problem- focused coping in people with economic burden leads to lower stress which then leads to better EWB, or identifying mechanisms by which medical-related financial stress impacts EWB.

  • Prevention research to identify intervention strategies (e.g., stress-management, mind-body interventions, education, financial navigation interventions) that help individuals effectively cope with economic burden of disease and financial hardship and maintain or improve EWB. Examples of questions include but are not limited to, examining whether a stress management intervention (e.g., mindfulness meditation, yoga) in patients facing medical-related financial distress leads to better EWB, or whether providing information about costs of care or financial assistance leads to better EWB.

Applications that focus on economic burden or financial hardship broadly defined and not related to disease or focus on EWB only or economic burden of disease only, will be considered nonresponsive to this call.


RFA Guidelines and Terms of the Award

Funding Amount: $50,000 available* (2-3 grants may be funded)

Letter of Intent Due (EXTENDED): January 18, 2022, by 11:59 PM (CT)

Invited Applications Due: February 11, 2022, by 11:59 PM (CT)

Announcement of Recipients: April 4, 2022

Projected Start Date (estimated): May 2, 2022


*The EMOT-ECON pilot award funding mechanism offered through NCCIH grant # U24AT011310 does not fund indirect costs. All funds must go directly towards the research project.


Eligibility: Investigators may contact the Pilot Project Core leader to determine their eligibility and appropriateness of their project (see contact information below).


Eligible applicants must be:

  • At a U.S. institution that can receive NIH research grants;

  • Eligible to submit a grant to NIH; and,

  • Members of the EMOT-ECON network. To join at no cost, please complete a brief questionnaire at www.emot-econ.org.

Investigators at any stage of their career may apply.


Amount and Period of Support

1. Funding is available in the amount of up to $50,000 total. No indirect costs are allowed.

2. Funds can be used for one year.

3. Funds can be used for:

a. Regular faculty salaries

b. Salary and fringe benefits of staff members (including post-doctoral fellows, graduate students not supported by the graduate college/school)

c. Research costs (e.g., participant incentives)

d. Fees for database access

e. Contracts for research-related service (e.g., recruitment services, survey administration)

f. Small equipment costs

g. Publication costs

4. Funds cannot be used for:

a. Indirect/F&A costs

b. Travel

c. Graduate student tuition and stipends (if supported by the graduate college/school)

d. Large equipment purchases

e. Secretarial/administrative personnel

f. Honoraria and travel expenses for visiting lecturers

g. Per diem charges for hospital beds

h. Non-medical services to patients

i. Construction or building maintenance

j. Major alterations

k. Purchasing and binding of periodicals and books

l. Office and laboratory furniture

m. Office equipment

n. Rental of office or laboratory space


Willful misrepresentation of the budget or misuse of funds will result in loss of current and/or future eligibility.


Application Submission Process

Letter of Intent

Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

1. 1-page with title and description of the project, alignment with at least one of the priority areas, relevance to EMOT-ECON research, and names of investigators. LOIs should be single-spaced, with at least 0.5-inch margins, and should use 11- or 12-point Arial or Times fonts.

2. Please submit LOI by January 14, 2022 11:59 PM (CT) via email to mail@emot-econ.org. Subject line should read: “RFA-EMOT-ECON-50P-22-001 LOI – [PI Last Name]”

3. Approval of LOIs is based on relevance to EMOT-ECON research and is required to submit the main grant application. Applicants will be notified of approval or contacted for clarifications and possible revisions on a rolling basis and no later than January 21, 2022.


Invited main grant application

Invited applicants should submit the documents below in a single PDF file. Applications should be single-spaced, with at least 0.5-inch margins, and should use 11- or 12-point Arial or Times fonts.

  1. PHS 398 Face Page (signed by authorized institutional official)

  2. Blinded Lay Abstract. A 200 word abstract without the investigators’ names or institutional affiliation summarizing the pilot project and the relevance to EMOT-ECON and the alignment with at least one of the priority areas. Do not include the investigator(s) names(s) or affiliation in the text or page header.

  3. Research Proposal (2 pages only - please include: Specific Aims, Significance/Innovation, Preliminary Data if any, and a brief description of Methods)

  4. Planned Extramural Grant Application (one paragraph). Description and timeframe of specific NIH extramural grant proposals that will be submitted as a result of this seed funding. Include the specific NIH funding agency and expected submission due date.

  5. References (no page limit)

  6. Resources / Environment (1 page)

  7. Budget and budget justification (no page limit). Include description of expertise of investigators/mentors and research staff.

  8. NIH biographical sketch for PI and investigators (5-page limit each)


Main grant applications must be submitted by February 18, 2022 11:59 PM (CT) via email to mail@emot-econ.org. Subject line should read: “RFA-EMOT-ECON-50P-22-001 Submission – [PI Last Name]”


Application Evaluation Process

1. Each application will be assessed by a panel of cross-institutional peer reviewers.

2. Evaluation Process:

a. Applications that meet eligibility requirements will be reviewed using the following criteria: (1) relevance to EMOT-ECON research and alignment with at least one of the priority areas; (2) standard NIH review criteria (Overall Impact, Significance, Investigators, Innovation, Approach (e.g., study design and procedures, data management, and statistical analysis) and Environment and (3) probability of developing/strengthening a line of research and of future funding. The highest priority will be given to those requests that are deemed most promising to receive extramural funding.

b. Funding decisions will be made by EMOT-ECON PIs based on combined reviewer assessments and programmatic considerations, and in consultation with the EMOT-ECON NIH program officer. However, in some cases where the application may represent a conflict of interest or present some problem in its evaluation, the EMOT-ECON PIs will ask the reviewers for further assessment.

c. Evaluation is expected to be completed within two months of the application submission deadline.

3. If applicable, applications with fundable scores will be required to demonstrate human subjects research compliance to NIH standards prior to receiving funding.


Expectations of EMOT-ECON Pilot Recipients during the funding period

  1. PI agrees to prepare a grant application and at least one manuscript.

  2. A one-page progress report on the status of the EMOT-ECON funding must be submitted by the PI’s Authorized Business Official (ABO) to the EMOT-ECON Pilot Project Core Leader at 6 months past the funding date.

  3. A final progress report which includes summary of findings (one page), specific aims page of the planned grant application (one page), and budget reconciliation (up to one page), must be submitted by the PI’s ABO to the EMOT-ECON Pilot Project Core Leader at 12 months past the funding date.

  4. The PI agrees to meet bi-monthly with EMOT-ECON PIs to review progress.

  5. PI or other team member agrees to present findings at EMOT-ECON and NIH EWB steering committee meetings.

For questions, please email the Pilot Project Core Leader at mail@emot-econ.org.