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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: Neurodegeneration Challenge Network – Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project

Deadline: January 14, 2020

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Neurodegeneration Challenge Network has three key goals:

  • To make fundamental advances toward understanding neurodegeneration
  • To bring new ideas and talent to the field of neurodegeneration
  • To encourage and experiment with a new interdisciplinary, collaborative, and open science research model involving scientists, clinicians, and engineers

The Neurodegeneration Challenge Network model is built on the vision that progress in solving neurodegenerative diseases will come from bringing new people into the neurodegeneration field from diverse disciplines and expertise; building interdisciplinary collaborations; empowering the broader scientific community with robust tools and platforms; and creating a culture of open science. Scientifically, CZI aspires to motivate the collective field to shift the approach to neurodegenerative diseases to a framework, where these diseases — currently addressed largely as distinct diseases and problems — are considered more holistically as a class of disorders with common features, mechanisms, and solutions. The Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NDCN) Collaborative Pairs solicitation extends on this vision.

The Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project will support collaborative pilot projects to explore innovative, interdisciplinary approaches for addressing key challenges in the biology of neurodegenerative diseases. Collaborative Pairs awards will prioritize bringing new investigators and early career scientists into the field, with an emphasis on recruiting scientists from fields outside the core of neurodegeneration, and will target work that addresses neurodegenerative diseases in a novel, innovative, interdisciplinary, and disease cross-cutting way. A key goal for the NDCN Collaborative Pairs opportunity is to provide a funding structure that will encourage and support bold, risk-taking, and potentially transformative ideas and science. Collaborative Pairs is structured as a two-phased funding opportunity.

In the first phase, CZI seeks applications from teams of two investigators and their labs for 18-month pilot awards to pursue new projects related to understanding the molecular, cell biological, and physiological underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease. The purpose of the pilot project award is to give collaborating teams the freedom to explore new, out-of-the-box, potentially transformative ideas. Proposals should address a critical problem in neurodegeneration in an innovative, bold way. Successful pilot projects from Phase 1 pilot phase will be eligible for application and evaluation for an extended grant award for up to four years.

The Collaborative Pairs Project aims to develop new teams. Applicants will be asked to describe the value of the collaboration and what unique perspective this pairing brings to the proposal. CZI is looking for collaborations that bring together complementary approaches and expertise. In particular, applications from collaborations involving clinicians, as well as pairs that bring together researchers from different fields are encouraged. Collaborations should focus on foundational and mechanistic science (as opposed to translational and clinical work). However, successful projects should be grounded in human biology and disease pathology, with the longer-term goal of opening new directions for other translational and clinical efforts.

Amount: Up to 30 Phase 1 awards of $150,000 in total costs per pair will be awarded. Up to 30% of the eligible Phase 1 pilot projects awards will be awarded for a Phase 2 extended grant awards of $400,000 total costs/year/pair for four years ($1,600,000 million total). Successful projects may receive a total of $1,750,000 over five-and-a-half years for the entirety of the project (Phase 1 and Phase 2).

Eligibility: Each Collaborative Pair must include at least one early- or mid-career investigator, and at least half of the awards will be specifically reserved for Collaborative Pairs that include at least one early-career investigator. Collaborative Pairs cannot have previously received joint grant funding together. See application instructions and eligibility criteria for more details and definitions of early- and mid-career.

Link: https://chanzuckerberg.com/rfa/ndcn-collaborative-pairs/

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