COBRE in Digestive and Liver Disease RFA

Request for Junior Investigator Award Applications

Key Dates

Letter of Intent Due: April 30, 2021

Invitation to Submit Full Application: May 3, 2021

Full Application Due: May 31, 2021

Earliest Award Start Date: July 1, 2021


The MUSC Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Digestive and Liver Disease (CDLD) is requesting applications for a Junior Investigator Award. The award provides approximately $150,000 in annual direct costs for up to three years, access to biostatisticians, and free use of the CDLD Core Resources. In addition, CDLD Junior Investigators are provided mentoring and career development support to ensure a smooth transition to independence and to secure R01 funding. Project leaders must annually contribute a minimum of 6 calendar months to the CDLD project.

The overarching objective of the CDLD is to enhance the research capacity and competitiveness of CDLD members and Junior Investigators by expanding available infrastructure, access to quality training, and opportunities to collaborate, thereby enabling outstanding basic research in digestive and liver disease.  It is also expected that the CDLD will facilitate collaboration and integration of our Junior Investigators with other members of the digestive and liver disease community, as the Junior Investigator transitions to independence.



Applicants must hold a tenure-track faculty appointment at the time the application is submitted and must meet the criteria of the junior investigator. A Junior Investigator is an individual who does not have and has not previously had an external, peer-reviewed Research Project Grant (RPG), Program Project Grant (PPG), or PPG subproject, or equivalent awards from either a Federal or non-Federal source that names that investigator as the PD/PI. Grants that name an individual as a co-investigator, collaborator, consultant, or to a position other than PD/PI or PD/PI on research grants that allow multiple PD(s)/PIs, do not disqualify that investigator from Junior Investigator status. Academic Research Enhancement Award grants, exploratory/pilot project grants (such as NIH R03 and R21 awards), mentored career development awards (such as NIH K01 and K08 awards) do not disqualify the investigator. Junior Investigators that are also K awardees can serve as COBRE Junior Investigators only during the last two years of the K award when the effort commitment is allowed to be reduced to six person-months per NIH policy. Investigators who have obtained significant support in the form of an RPG or PPG (e.g., NIH R01, K99/R00, or P01, NSF, or other Federal or non-Federal agency awards) would not be considered Junior Investigators. All Junior Investigators must submit an investigator-initiated RPG application by the end of two years of COBRE support and commit to contributing to all CDLD activities.


Application Process:

  • Part 1: Applicants should submit a letter of intent that includes an NIH Biosketch and Specific Aims Page that describes the goal of the project, summarized approach, and the expected use of CDLD Core Resources. The deadline for the letter of intent submission is April 30, 2021.
  • Part 2: After reviewing the letter of intent, successful applicants will be asked to submit a full application. The full application will follow the format and guidelines for an R21 application including compliance sections and a budget justification. The deadline for full application submission is May 31, 2021.

Application materials should be submitted to Caroline Westwater, Ph.D. ( Applications will be reviewed by the CDLD Executive Committee using NIH-style criteria and scoring processes and those deemed most competitive will be assessed by the CDLD External Advisory Committee. The applicant that 1) is perceived to have the highest likelihood of transitioning to NIH R01 funding within three years, 2) is most likely to benefit from CDLD core resources and mentoring, and 3) whose project most closely aligns with the CDLD goals, will be awarded a Junior Investigator position within the CDLD.


For additional information on the MUSC COBRE in Digestive and Liver Disease (MUSC CDLD), please visit the webpage.