IDeA Application Guidelines


  • Letter of Intent to apply due Monday November 15, 2021
  • Completed Application due Friday, December 17, 2021

New, Renewal, and Revised Proposals

To facilitate the preparation of future NIH-Research Enhancement Awards (R15) proposals, applications must be prepared following the instructions and format of NIH-AREA (R15) proposals.

Since there are multiple R15-AREA Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) with different eligibility criteria, applicants must use the appropriate R15 FOA number for the Institute/Program that matches their research objectives/plan.

For a list of available R15 FOAs see the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts

The application instructions must be carefully adhered to, except where they have been modified by the following Supplemental Instructions. Applications not following the guidelines will be returned without review.

I. New KY INBRE-IDeA applications from first time applicants should follow the instructions below.

II. Renewal and Resubmission Applications:

  • Renewal KY INBRE-IDeA applications (after the initial two years of KY INBRE support) should essentially be revised applications of the PIs previously submitted NIH R15 proposal, and should follow NIH guidelines for resubmissions, including a one-page introduction that addresses the NIH reviewers concerns and criticisms. Renewal or New applications from previously KY INBRE-funded PIs may only request one year of support. A copy of the NIH R15 review must be submitted with the proposal.
  • KY INBRE-IDeA applications from previously not funded (by KY INBRE) applicants: Resubmission of revised proposals should follow the NIH guidelines for resubmissions, and include a one-page introduction that addresses the previous KY INBRE reviewers concerns and criticisms, and indicates how the proposal has been revised. A copy of the KY INBRE review must be submitted with the proposal.
  • Completely new proposals from previously not funded (by KY INBRE) applicants should include a one-page introduction that briefly explains how the new proposal differs from the previously submitted application. The introduction should also indicate how the new proposal addresses any of the KY INBRE review committee’s generic concerns/criticisms (e.g., lack of publications, student involvement, facilities or resources, etc.) of the previously submitted proposal. To be considered a “new” proposal, there should be no overlap with previously submitted proposals.

If you need any clarification, please contact your institutional “Lead” faculty member, the KY INBRE PI (Dr. Martha Bickford) or PC (Dr. Bruce Mattingly) prior to submission of your proposal.

The KY INBRE supports several core facilities for KY INBRE researchers in Bioinformatics, Genomics, Electron Microscopy, and Applied Statistics. Researchers are encouraged to contact these facilities for assistance in developing research proposals (KY INBRE, NIH) as well as for technical assistance in conducting the research and/or preparing manuscripts for publications.


Applications should be prepared using NIH ASSIST or Workspace. Once completed, a pdf copy of the entire application should be saved and submitted to KY INBRE.

In addition to the completed application package, you must complete and submit the following PHS 398 forms:

Form Page 1: Face Page – Signed by the Institutional Official
Form Page 2: Summary, Relevance, Project/Performance Sites, Senior Key Personnel, etc

These forms may be found at: here

Further, if you plan to use human subjects, you must submit evidence of Human Subjects Education Certification (CITI Training Certificate).

Complete all mandatory forms in the R15 application package as well as the optional “Research and Related Budget” form.


Item 10 – CFDA number : leave blank; for TITLE: enter  "KY INBRE-Investigator Development Award"     Note: travel costs limited to $2500 per year

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH - The Biographical Sketch provides information used by reviewers in the assessment of each individual's qualifications for a specific role in the proposed project, as well as to evaluate the overall qualifications of the research team.  A biographical sketch is required for all key personnel, including mentors, collaborators, and consultants following the instructions below.  A  biographical sketch format page may be found at:

For the principal investigator only, provide information on his or her:  (a) previous or current experience in supervising students in research in the personal statement. The PI should also indicate which peer reviewed publications involved students under his/her supervision.

Facilities and Other Resources - In addition to the information requested on the Form, under "Other," provide the following information:

  • A profile of the students of the applicant institution/academic component and any information or estimate of the number who have obtained a baccalaureate degree and gone on to obtain an academic or professional doctoral degree in the health-related sciences during the last five years.
  • A description of the special characteristics of the institution/academic component that make it appropriate for an KY INBRE-IDeA grant, where the goals of the KY INBRE-IDeA program are to: (1) provide support for meritorious research; (2) strengthen the research environment of schools that have not been major recipients of NIH support; (3) expose available undergraduate and/or graduate students in such environments to research, and (4) enhance the probability of a successful NIH R15 application. Include a description of the likely impact of a KY INBRE-IDEA grant on the PD(s)/PI(s) and the research environment of the institution/academic component.
  • Although it is expected that the majority of the research will be directed by the applicant investigator and conducted at the grantee institution, limited use of special facilities or equipment at another institution is permitted.

For any proposed research sites other than the applicant institution, provide a brief description of the resources.

  • If relevant, a statement of institutional support for the proposed research project (e.g., equipment, laboratory space, release time, matching funds, etc.). At a minimum, PIs must receive 50% release-time from teaching for each semester (based upon a 12 credit hour teaching load) for the award duration.
  • A statement describing the nature of the collaboration, indicating the name and location of the senior faculty mentor and the specific facilities to be used.

RESEARCH STRATEGY (maximum 12 pages) Complete all sections: Significance, Innovation, and Approach. For new proposals, preliminary data should be included if available. For renewal proposals, a progress report should be included.

In addition, a timeline for the completion of the project as well as the submission of an NIH-R15 AREA  grant proposal must be included.

Letters of Support – Include a letter verifying institutional support (e.g., release time, matching funds, etc.), and a support letter from the identified mentor/collaborator.  As noted previously, it is expected that the collaborator/mentor will also be willing to provide input into the NIH proposal development process. In the case of the use of a core research facility, include a letter from the administrator of the facility indicating availability and agreement with the conditions stated in the research plan and budget. Finally, a statement from an NIH program officer indicating your research topic is potentially fundable by NIH.


KY INBRE-IDeA applications are reviewed by scientific review groups administered by the KY INBRE Developmental Research  Core, and are evaluated for scientific and technical merit according to the following R15 review criteria:


Overall Impact
Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to make an important scientific contribution to the research field(s) involved, to provide research opportunities to students, and to strengthen the research environment of the institution, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria
Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Does the project address an important problem or a barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field? If funded, will this award have a substantial effect on the school/academic component in terms of strengthening the research environment and exposing students to research?

Is there sufficient evidence that the research is potentially fundable by a specific NIH institute or center?


Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD(s)/PI(s), do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Do the PD(s)/PI(s) have suitable experience in supervising students in research? Does the investigator have a scientific mentor with the appropriate training and expertise to enhance the project?  Is the investigator committed to seeking NIH funding?  Will this work increase the investigator’s competitiveness in seeking NIH – R15 funding?

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed? 

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and statistical analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?

Does the application provide sufficient evidence that the project can stimulate the interests of students so that they consider a career in the biomedical or behavioral science?

If the project involves humans subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks and 2) the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?

Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed?

Is there evidence of strong institutional support?
Do the proposed experiments take advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements with either the University of Louisville or the University of Kentucky?

Is the applicant school/academic component suitable for an award in terms of strengthening the research environment?  Does the application demonstrate the likely availability of well-qualified students to participate in the research project?

Does the application describe how students will contribute to the proposed studies? Does the application provide sufficient evidence that students have in the past or are likely to pursue careers in the biomedical or behavioral sciences?

Further information about these considerations is available at: and


Funding for KY INBRE-IDeA grants is limited and grants are awarded on a competitive basis.  Funding decisions on individual applications will be based on the proposed research project's scientific merit, its relevance to NIH programs, and the likelihood that support of the project will ultimately result in a successful NIH R15 application. For renewal applications, research progress from previous KY INBRE funding, including publications and R15 submissions and reviews, will be a significant factor in determining funding priority.


Annual progress reports (PHS 2590) will be due to the KY INBRE-INBRE office no later than January 15th. For initial two-year awards, the second year of funding will be contingent upon satisfactory progress as determined from the progress report. For renewal applications, NIH R15 proposals and reviews will also be evaluated by the KY INBRE-IDeA Review Committee.

Copies of all submitted NIH proposals and reviews must be submitted to the KY INBRE office in a timely manner.


The completed application should be sent via e-mail as a single PDF file to Dr. Bruce Mattingly, KY INBRE Program Coordinator at

Required at proposal due date:

  • Letter/email from NIH Program Officer
  • Attendance at KY INBRE  R15 Grant writing Workshop
  • Official IRB/IACUC protocol approval  (if applicable)
  • Human Subjects Education Certification for those involved in the design and conduct of human subjects research (if applicable)
  • PHS FORMS E - Human Subjects and Clinical Trials Information Form (if applicable)
  • Support letter from Scientific Mentor, collaborators, and/or consultants
  • Support letters from any utilized KY INBRE Core Directors
  • Institutional review and approval with signed NIH 398 Face Page Institutional support letter from authorized institutional official (Chair, Dean, VPR, etc.) indicating 50% release time (based upon a 12-hour load) and other support.

Recommended proposal preparation steps:

  • Prepare draft Specific Aims page early ….  prior to attending the KY INBRE R15 Grant writing Workshop
  • Discuss project with institutional “Lead” Faculty representative, KY INBRE Program Director, or KY INBRE Program Coordinator well in advance of the application deadline
  • Contact NIH Program Officer at several NIH Institutes
  • Contact your Institutional Office of Sponsored Programs with proposal plans at least two months before proposal due date
  • Contact KY INBRE supported Applied Statistical Lab for design and statistical analysis assistance early in proposal development phase
  • Contact KY INBRE supported Genomics, Bioinformatics, or Electron Microscopy  Cores for design and technical assistance early in proposal development phase
  • Request draft proposal reviews from scientific mentor and KY INBRE Lead faculty at least three weeks prior to proposal due date
  • Submit IRB/IACUC protocol for institutional review at least two months before proposal due date (NIH will not provide our annual notice of award (NOA) until all protocol approvals are received!)