I. Key Dates

Note: Appendices B and C of this RFA were updated 3/19/19 to provide more detailed information about application submission. 

RFA Announcement: February 20, 2019
Required Letter of Intent submission: March 11, 2019 (5 pm ET)
Deadline for submission of proposals: April 24, 2019 (5 pm ET)
Announcement of new awards for 2019: June 2019
Anticipated funding start date: July 2019

PDF of this RFA (3/27/19 version)
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II. Overview and Goals

The Harvard Medical School Foundry supports research infrastructure and technology development by providing central coordination, funding, and administrative resources for research core facilities, technology platforms, and technology development projects. An important goal of the Foundry is to support programs that will positively impact HMS Quad-based research and that have strategic importance to HMS programs.

Requests for applications for Foundry funding are anticipated to be issued at least annually. Four categories of proposals will be considered:

  • To develop new technologies (that could potentially be placed in a core facility in the future)
  • To renew or expand existing HMS or HMS-supported core facilities
  • To establish new core facilities/technology platforms
  • To fund short-term planning projects during which work will be done to develop detailed proposals that would be submitted to the Foundry in future application cycles.

III. Program Details and Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for Foundry funding, applicants must be: (i) faculty members who hold a primary appointment at Harvard Medical School as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor in an HMS Quad department (Quad A1 and Quad B2); or (ii) Directors of HMS Quad-funded core facilities. There is no departmental limit on the number of proposals that can be submitted.

A one page Letter of Intent (due March 11, 2019) is required for all applications. These letters will help us plan the application review process and identify overlapping projects early. They will also help to identify potential collaborations with existing HMS core facilities.  Foundry proposals will be due on April 24, 2019.

Proposals can request funding to cover equipment purchases and/or operating costs for core facilities and new technology development projects. Funds will be awarded for the purchase of shared instruments, salary support, service contracts, and other costs associated with the development of new technology or the operation of a research core facility. Support for operating expenses can be requested for a maximum three-year period. Some proposals for new shared resources or services might be smaller in scale, e.g., to test the feasibility of a new idea over a shorter period of time rather than to develop a full core/technology platform at the outset.

Applicants proposing new shared resources or services are encouraged to work with existing HMS research core facilities and Core Directors when possible. Information about current HMS research cores can be found on the HMS Cores website (https://corefacilities.hms.harvard.edu). In many cases, it might be more efficient to add proposed new instruments or services to existing HMS research core facilities, under the management of experienced Core Directors, than to establish a new core facility to provide access to the new technology or method.

Applications will require a description of likely users of proposed instruments and services. The review committee would like a sense of the community that will be served by each proposed resource, but numbers of potential users will be only one of several factors used to prioritize proposals for funding.  The strategic importance to HMS Quad research and the feasibility of the proposed program will also be evaluated.

Some ideas might require additional study or development before full-length Foundry proposals are written. Requests can be made to fund short-term (maximum one year) planning projects to develop detailed proposals that can be submitted to the Foundry in future application cycles. Planning project requests can be made for partial salary support for faculty, staff, or trainees, relevant travel expenses, and/or funding to organize a small workshop. Applicants for planning projects should submit a Letter of Intent that includes detailed budget information. Planning project requests do not require submission of full-length proposals.

Applications that include additional support from other sources are encouraged. Sources of additional support could be funding from grants, HMS departments, or affiliate institutions. Space allocations from departments or affiliate institutions are considered a type of support.

This opportunity may be used as a mechanism to gain institutional support for a 2019 NIH S10 Shared Instrumentation Grant submission. The intention to submit a 2019 S10 proposal should be indicated in the Letter of Intent so that the program can plan to prepare an appropriate letter of support with a commitment of funds in time for completion and submission of the S10 proposal by the NIH deadline. Funds would be made available for such S10 proposals that are selected for funding by the NIH.

IV. Application Information

Letter of Intent

Instructions for the required letters of intent are provided in Appendix A. Letters should be submitted as .pdf files by email to the Dean’s Initiatives Program (deansinitiatives@hms.harvard.edu). In the Subject Line of the submitting email, please type “Foundry LOI: [brief title for your proposal]”.  For example, “Foundry LOI: Zeiss confocal microscope,” “Foundry LOI: Image and Data Analysis Core,” or “Foundry LOI: Microscope facility planning project.”

Proposal

Instructions for Foundry Proposals are provided in Appendix B.  Note that Foundry funding can be requested for a maximum of three years of operational support. The budget template (see Appendix C) requires a five-year operating budget so that long term plans for support and sustainability of the program (e.g., support for service contracts, supplies, and personnel) beyond the term of Foundry funding are described in detail.

Applications submitted by existing HMS-supported research cores are required to provide additional supporting documentation that includes: 1) A letter of support for the request from the core’s steering or advisory committee (to be submitted with the application); 2) A summary of use of the core facility for FY18 and the first half of FY19; and 3) Core facility budgets for FY18 (actual) and FY19 (forecast). Templates for these user and budget reports and instructions for their return will be provided by the Office of Finance/Cores Working Group after submission of a letter of intent. The user and budget reports should be returned to the Office of Finance directly (instructions will be provided with the report templates) and should NOT be submitted via Apply Hub as part of the application .pdf file. 

Foundry proposals should be submitted via the Harvard Catalyst Apply Hub system at  https://apply.catalyst.harvard.edu/offering_cycles/198/application/new. Apply Hub requires login via Harvard Medical School eCommons username and password, or via Harvard Key (http://catalyst.harvard.edu/services/loginfaq.html). If you have not used Apply Hub before, you will be asked to register on a “My Account” page with your name and your email address. Questions about use of Apply Hub for submission of Foundry proposals should be referred to the Dean’s Initiatives Program (deansinitiatives@hms.harvard.edu).

V. Review Process and Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a committee comprised of HMS Faculty and HMS Core Directors. Proposals for renewal or expansion of existing research cores will be reviewed separately from proposals for new research cores and technology development projects. The foremost evaluation criterion during the review process will be how proposed projects will impact and benefit HMS Quad-based research.  More specific review criteria for the various categories of proposals include:

Proposals for renewal or expansion of existing HMS and HMS-supported research cores

  • Core facility steering committee support for the proposal
  • Community feedback, gathered by the Foundry, about operation of the core
  • Strategic importance of the proposal to HMS Quad research
  • Size of the community of users/potential users
  • Connection to additional funding opportunities/collaborations
  • Continuing need onsite at HMS vs. as an outsourced resource

Proposals for new research cores/technology platforms and technology development projects

  • Highly motivated HMS Quad faculty advocate
  • Strategic importance to HMS Quad research
  • Size of the community of potential users
  • Connection to additional funding opportunities/collaborations
  • Need onsite at HMS vs. as an outsourced resource

Contact Us

For more information about HMS Core Facilities, please visit: https://corefacilities.hms.harvard.edu/

Please direct questions about this RFA to Caroline Shamu (caroline_shamu@hms.harvard.edu), Andrea Chen (andrea_chen@hms.harvard.edu), or the Dean’s Initiatives Program (deansinitiatives@hms.harvard.edu).


1Faculty whose primary appointment rank is Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor and whose primary appointing department is a Basic or Social Science Department and whose primary job location is on Quad.

2Faculty whose primary appointment rank is Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor and whose primary appointing department is a Basic or Social Science Department and whose primary job location is off Quad.

3Note, you can locate specific equipment available in Longwood Medical Area cores at https://cores.catalyst.harvard.edu or by contacting the instrument vendor.

Appendices

  • Appendix A: Instructions for Letters of Intent

    Part I: Summary Information [approximately 1/4 page]

    Proposal Title

    Lead Applicant  [Last Name, First Name, Email, HMS Department, Institution]

    Co-Applicant(s) [Last Name, First Name, Email, HMS Department, Institution]

    Estimated Total Budget Request from the Foundry [Enter total dollar amount only]

    Proposed Budget Period for the Request (e.g., one-time instrument purchase, six month budget, one year budget, three year budget, etc.)

    Foundry Proposal Category [Renewal/expansion of existing HMS shared resource, New shared resource, Technology development project, or Planning project]

    Part II: Proposal Overview [approximately 3/4 page]

    Description of equipment or program

    Justification of need

     Address the potential impact and the strategic importance of the proposed piece of equipment, new service, or technology development project to HMS Quad research.

    Provide an estimate and description of the likely users for the first 5 years.

    Include a sentence or two indicating whether similar instruments or resources exist in local research institutions, including other Harvard Schools.

    If similar instruments or resources exist locally in the Longwood Medical Area or Greater Boston, please state briefly why they cannot support the needs of HMS Quad Faculty, e.g., due to:

                                  Inappropriate capabilities
                                  Insufficient capacity, or
                                  Lack of access for HMS Quad investigators

    Space

    Describe the space where the equipment/facility will be located. If space has not been identified for the proposed instrument or service, please state this explicitly.

    Describe briefly any special infrastructure needs.

    Brief budget summary/justification

    Please list the estimated total cost of the proposed equipment, facility, or planning project, including the amount requested from the Foundry and any other partial support.

    If partial support for the request has already been secured from another source (e.g., grant, HMS department, or affiliated institution), please list the source and amount of the additional funding. If additional funding is being sought but has not yet been secured, please state this explicitly; an update can be provided in the full-length proposal.

    Maximum request for Core Facilities/Platforms: 3-years of operational subsidy

    For planning projects only: a detailed budget, included on a separate page, is required [the budget page is described in Appendix C; only Year 1 budget information must be completed for planning projects.]

    References

    Please list any references cited on a separate page, and keep the length of the reference list to a maximum of one page.

    Submission information

    Each letter of intent should be submitted by email as a single .pdf file to the Dean’s Initiatives Program (deansinitiatives@hms.harvard.edu) by 5pm on March 11, 2019. In the Subject Line of the submitting email, please type “Foundry LOI: [brief title for your proposal]”.  For example, “Foundry LOI: Zeiss confocal microscope,” “Foundry LOI: Image and Data Analysis Core,” or “Foundry LOI: Microscope facility planning project.”

  • Appendix B: Instructions for Foundry Proposals

    Part I:  Summary Information

    Proposal Title

    Lead Applicant  [Last Name, First Name, Email, HMS Department, Institution]

    Co-Applicant(s) [Last Name, First Name, Email, HMS Department, Institution]

    Total Budget Request from the Foundry [Enter total dollar amount only]

    Proposed Budget Period for the Request (e.g., one-time instrument purchase, one year budget, two year budget, three year budget)

    Foundry Proposal Category [Renewal/expansion of existing HMS shared resource, New shared resource, Technology development project]

    Part II: Proposal

    Proposals are limited to four pages, but can be as short as two or three pages.

    Equipment and program description: A description of the equipment to be purchased or the program to be initiated, the scientific need being met, and the plan for management and use. Describe how training and access to the equipment/program will be managed, how use will be prioritized if scheduling conflicts arise, and whether access might be limited to only certain categories of users. Provide a list of current or planned steering or advisory committee members.

    Justification of need: Address the potential impact and the strategic importance to HMS Quad research. Indicate whether similar instruments or resources exist in local research institutions, including other Harvard Schools. If similar instruments or resources exist locally3, please describe why they cannot support the needs of HMS Quad Faculty, e.g., due to inappropriate capabilities, insufficient capacity, or lack of access for HMS Quad investigators. Provide an estimate and description of the likely users for the next 5 years. If a few laboratories will use 50% or more of the capacity of the instrument or service proposed, please provide a list of the major users (PI names and HMS Department, or institutional affiliation if not HMS).

    Space: Describe the space where the equipment/facility will be located and any special infrastructure needs. Please include a few sentences addressing whether renovations or modifications to existing lab spaces will be needed to accommodate proposed instrument(s) or staff. Even minor modifications to lab space should be mentioned (e.g., moving an electrical receptacle, adding an ethernet jack, modifying shelves over lab benches, and adding plumbing for vacuum or CO2).

    Include a few sentences addressing other infrastructure needs for the proposed instrument(s), including IT requirements and any regulatory/safety issues.  With regard to IT, if special file servers, databases or software programs will be required to support the use of the proposed instrument, please consult the HMS IT Department as you prepare your proposal, and include as part of your budget any costs that might arise relevant to purchasing new file servers, new software, or use of high performance computing clusters.

    Budget Summary and Justification:  Please provide a brief summary of the total budget requested from the Foundry, including a description of relevant additional support from other sources such as grants, HMS departments, or affiliate institutions. If requesting funds for operating expenses for a new service, core facility, or development project, please describe plans for long term support and sustainability of the program after initial Foundry funding ends. For all applications, please describe previous or concurrent requests to other funding sources for the same equipment or program.

    The budget page is described in Appendix C and will be submitted as a supporting document that is not included in the page limit. However, a budget justification, in NIH-format, should be provided in the text of the proposal to describe the items listed in the budget template. Note that Foundry budget requests can be for a maximum of three years of operational support. The budget template requires a five-year budget proposal so that plans for long term support and sustainability of the program (e.g., support for service contracts, supplies, and personnel) beyond the term of initial Foundry funding are described in detail. If it is anticipated that School funding might be required in years four or five to sustain the core or platform, please indicate this in the “Subsidies and Anticipated Income” section of the budget template and budget justification.

    Part III: Additional Documents (not included in page limit)

    All of these additional documents should be saved in .pdf format and combined with the Proposal document (described in Part II) into a single .pdf file for submission via ApplyHub.

    References

    Budget page [see Appendix C]

    Equipment Quotes (if funding for research instrumentation is requested)

    Additional document required for proposals to renew or expand existing HMS or HMS-supported core facilities:

    • Letter of support for the request from the core’s steering or advisory committee

    Part IV: FY18 and FY19 User and Budget Reports (not included in proposal page limit)

    Required for applications to renew or expand existing HMS or HMS-supported core facilities

    Templates for these reports will be provided by the Office of Finance/Cores Working Group after submission of a letter of intent. The FY18 and FY19 user and budget reports should be returned to the Office of Finance directly (instructions will be provided with the report templates) and should NOT be submitted via Apply Hub as part of the application .pdf file.

    • Summary of use of the core facility for FY18 and the first half of FY19
    • Core facility budgets for FY18 (actual) and FY19 (forecast) 

    Submission information

    The Proposal (described in Part II of this Appendix) and Additional Documents (described in Part III) should be saved in .pdf format and combined into a single .pdf file for submission via the Harvard Catalyst Apply Hub system by 5pm on April 24, 2019. The link to the Apply Hub application form is https://apply.catalyst.harvard.edu/offering_cycles/198/application/new. Apply Hub requires login via Harvard Medical School eCommons username and password, or via Harvard Key (http://catalyst.harvard.edu/services/loginfaq.html). If you have not used Apply Hub before, you will be asked to register on a “My Account” page with your name and your email address.  Questions about use of Apply Hub for submission of Foundry proposals should be referred to the Dean’s Initiatives Program (deansinitiatives@hms.harvard.edu).

  • Appendix C: Budget Page Template

    The budget page template will be provided as a separate Excel file to all applicants that submit a letter of intent. If you are concerned about dissemination of detailed salary information for existing employees, feel free to provide only the Personnel information requested in the first three columns of the template (Name, Role on Project, % Effort) AND the Personnel budget subtotal information in your budget page.

    For applicants submitting planning project requests or who would like a copy of the budget template before submitting their letter of intent, please feel free to request the budget template any time from Caroline Shamu (caroline_shamu@hms.harvard.edu).

    The completed budget page should be saved as a .pdf and added to the full proposal .pdf file along with the other supporting documents before submission via ApplyHub.

    Please refer all budget questions to Caroline Shamu.