Huffines Institute Grant Mentorship Programs


The Huffines Institute’s underlying philosophy is to help mentor and facilitate external fund development of its Affiliate members so that they can further support their research programs and students, as opposed to giving multiple small seed grants that may not result in further fund development.  The following programs are meant to begin our efforts toward facilitating fund development for our Scientist/Research Affiliates and in the first year will be delivered by Academic Research Funding Strategies, LLC (ARFS), a local company spun out of Texas A&M University. 


(click on the links below  for description/application procedures):


1) Coffee Consultations – This program offers one time, informal one-on-one consultations with faculty or faculty groups regarding their research agendas, future funding directions at the federal agencies, specific research development strategies, and potential partnerships and collaborations to enhance competitiveness.  These Coffee Consultations can be scheduled by emailing the Huffines Institute.

2) Mid-Career Boost – This program will work individually with mid-career faculty to help them identify new funding sources and avenues to support their research.  This will include multiple meetings to discuss their research interests, identification of potential funding sources and programs, and analysis of potential solicitations and strategizing on how the faculty might best compete for those specific funding opportunities (e.g., by developing collaborations or emphasizing a particular aspect of their research that fits the solicitation).  Acceptance into this program requires a commitment from the Investigator of at least one application to a major funding source within a year of the meetings.  Email the Huffines Institute if you are interested in participating in this program.

 (This program is currently closed until March 2013) 3) External Funding Commitment Program – This program is for Affiliates who do not currently have major external funding but are willing to commit to multiple proposal development and submissions (and accountability for such) over an 18 month time period.  This program will provide individual proposal development assistance for three Affiliates throughout the process as they each develop four proposals to NIH or NSF (two new proposals, and two revisions) during the 18 month period.  During this program, ARFS will work one-on-one with the PIs to help them analyze the solicitation, generate an outline, and develop multiple drafts. ARFS will edit each draft and provide feedback regarding clarity, responsiveness to review criteria, and persuasiveness of the proposal.  Further, with the input of the Affiliate, at least one appropriate External Reviewer that has had NIH IRG experience will be recruited to consult in the preparation of the proposals.

How faculty members are chosen for the external funding commitment program:

Each March, there will be a call for applications for the program.  Only three faculty members per call will be accepted into the program.  Application materials will consist of a cover letter, Specific Aims pages for two separate grants, and the Investigator’s NIH-format biosketch (these materials should all be in one pdf document and submitted electronically to the Huffines Institute).  An application committee composed of the Huffines Director, a representative from ARFS, a representative of the Office of Sponsored Research Programs, and one of the current Huffines Scholars will consider the application materials with a target date of April 1 to name accepted faculty in this program.  Once accepted, the faculty members commit to four submissions over an 18-month period.  Funding of any of the applications completes the commitment for the program (e.g. get the first application funded and the faculty member is not obligated to submit additional grants). 

***Faculty interested in submitting Competitive Renewals for currently funded grants are encouraged to fund their own grant development program from their indirect cost returns.  These faculty should contact the Director of the Huffines Institute for help in setting up their development programs.

Cost recovery provisions = For first year of any funded proposal resulting from this program, IDCs would be directed to Huffines in following amounts:

      From PI = 10% (of returned IDC)

      From Dept. = 10% (of returned IDC)

      From College = 10% (of returned IDC)

(on a typical, $250,000/year NIH grant with current IDC rates, these % returns would total ≈ $5000.)

Example Timeline

Below you will find an example timeline for April acceptance into Commitment Program (for NIH proposal assuming standard funding cycle dates):

March – Investigators apply for acceptance into the mentorship program

April 1 – Accepted Investigators for program announced (3 taken/year)

June 1 – Investigators begin work with ARFS consulting on Grant 1

Sept. 1 – Final draft of Grant 1 out to external peer review

Oct. 1 – Grant 1 Proposal into NIH

Oct. 15 – Grant 2 begins with ARFS

Jan. 1 – Grant 2 ready for external peer review

Feb. 5 – Grant 2 submitted

Feb. 15 / March 1 – Grant 1 review/score (decision on resubmit made in consultation with ARFS)

March 15 – If necessary Grant 1 back to ARFS

June 1 – Grant 1 out to peer review

June 15/July 1 – Grant 2 review/score (decision on resubmit)

July 1 – Grant 1 resubmit to NIH

July 15 – If necessary, Grant 2 back to ARFS

Oct. 1 – Grant 2 out to peer review

Nov. 5 – Grant 2 resubmit to NIH