Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board

Research Program Overview

The Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board (the Board) was established by the enactment of House Bill No. 158 during the regular session of the 1994 General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  The bill established the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Trust (the Trust).  Funds from the Trust are allocated by the Board to fund spinal cord and head injury research undertaken at the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.  The Board will allocate these research funds to the universities in such a way as to increase the understanding, facilitate treatment and eventual reversal of the sequelae resulting from spinal cord and head injury trauma. Research proposals that focus on both the acute and chronic phases of spinal cord/brain trauma will be considered.

Priority for funding will be given to the areas listed below: 

1. In vivo and in vitro studies on naturally occurring phenomena that may promote neuronal growth, encourage the formation of synapses, enhance the production of myelin, restore conduction capabilities, or may otherwise lead toward restoring compromised circuitry in the injured spinal cord or brain.

2. Evaluation of the efficacy of pharmacological agents or other interventions that protect against secondary neuronal injury, improve function in chronic spinal cord and brain injury or that provide insight into the mechanisms causing such damage.

3. Biological characterization of spinal cord/head injury in well-defined animal models and in the human spinal cord/brain, specifically documenting the neuronal systems that are most vulnerable to the functional losses that occur as a result.

4. Development of new and more sensitive approaches for evaluating recovery after injury.

5. Studies that clearly demonstrate direct application to preventing functional neurologic decline, enhancing regeneration, or restoring function following spinal cord/brain injury.

Funding from the Trust will be focused within the following themes:

1. Funding new researchers who demonstrate promise and who have a supportive environment for their work.

2. Funding established and productive researchers who propose to apply their prior work to spinal cord/head injury research, or to higher level animal models.

3. Funding to enable researchers with novel ideas to test their ideas and develop pilot data for seeking larger awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding sources.

4. Funding collaborative research between investigators from the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.


Three-year awards with a maximum funding level of $100,000 per year (direct plus indirect costs).  Indirect costs cannot exceed 10%.  No inflationary increase will be provided in years two and three of the grant period.  The Principal Investigator (PI) must be a full-time faculty member at either the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville at the time of the receipt date of the application, (August 1, 2021), to be considered for funding. 


Grants applications are to be submitted following the guidelines provided herein.  Applications that do not adhere to these guidelines will be returned to applicants.

  • Submit an electronic file of your application in pdf file format. This single electronic file should include everything that you wish to have reviewed; i.e., your application, letters of collaboration, CVs, and reprints.
  • Use your last name as the file name.
  • Your electronic file should not be larger than 10 megs in order to be sure that it will clear your university email size requirements.

   Gail D. Anderson PhD
   Director of Scientific Review, KSCHIRT 

The receipt date for applications is 5:00 PM PST, August 1, 2021.  Applicants will be notified of the results of the review in late December 2021 with contracts initiated prior to January 31, 2022. 


All applications are given preliminary review by the Chair, KSCHRT Board of Directors and, if consistent with the goals of the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board, are distributed to expert members of the Trust Study Section for review.  Study Section members convene to evaluate the applications, applying criteria described below.  Based on this review, rating recommendations are made to the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Board which decides final approval/disapproval for funding. 

Following Board action, notification is sent to applicants; feedback to the applicants may be provided in the form of unedited reviewers’ comments at the discretion of the Board. Contracts are negotiated by the Director of Scientific Review (acting for the Board), the principal investigator and the host institution; the latter is the formal contracting agent. 


Proposals are evaluated on two (2) major criteria: Scientific Merit and Adherence to Research Priorities of the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board. 

Scientific Merit: This portion of the review follows the NIH Study Section format and includes the following criteria: 

1. Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive this field?

2. Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design (including composition of any study population), methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

3. Innovation: Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or methods? Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing paradigms or develop new methods or technologies?

4. Investigator: Is the PI appropriately trained and well suited to carry out the proposed studies?Are the proposed studies appropriate to the experience level of the PI and other researchers (if any)? If the PI is new to the field of spinal cord/head injury research, have appropriate collaborative and/or mentoring arrangements been planned?

5. Environment: Does the PI’s scientific environment contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of the unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support? Are subjects/patients available where relevant?

6. Adherence to the Research Priorities of the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board.


The responsibilities of recipients of research funding are clearly detailed in the contract signed by the Board, by the principal investigator and by the contracting institution. Of particular importance to note prior to application: 

1. Research contracts are signed for a three (3) year period with renewal in years 2 and 3 dependent upon fulfillment of contract terms.

2. Grantees must provide the following reports using Board specified formats to the Board:

  • A) an annual Progress Report and a Financial Statement for the Past Funding Year (to be filled out by your Contract Officer) due on March 1 in years 2023 and 2024;
  • B) a Final Progress Report due March 1, 2025 following the termination of the research contract;
  • C) a Final Financial Statement (completed by your Contract Officer) due March 1, 2025 following termination of the research contract.

3. The PI is expected to share with the board PDF copies of all publications that emerge as a result of the funded research, during and after the period of the contract.

4. The board expects grantees to acknowledge the source of funding (“The Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust”) in all such publications and presentations.


1. Funding of the PI’s salary is discouraged except in rare cases.

2. Requests to purchase major items of equipment are discouraged.  (Such funding may be allowed if the equipment reflects the change in research direction embodied in the proposal.)

3. Indirect costs (i.e., administrative fees of the host institution) are limited to 10% of direct costs (i.e., salaries, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, animals, supplies, etc.).  Total costs (direct plus indirect) cannot exceed the maximum allowable award ($100,000 per year).


Applicants must adhere to these guidelines using the form supplied herein.  Applications that do not adhere to the appropriate format will be returned to applicants. 

I. Basic Information (page 1)

  • a. Title of research:  Provide a short, descriptive title.
  • b. Date of submittal: Indicate date of mailing to the Chair, KSCHIRT Board of Directors.
  • c. Principal Investigator: Give the name of the principal investigator, and his/her degree, title, host institution, address, phone number, FAX number and Email address.
  • d. Co-investigator: Indicate the name of co-investigator (if any), title and degree.
  • e. Fiscal officer: Give title, address, phone number and E mail address.
  • f. Contract officer: Person to whom contract should be sent, give title, address, phone number and E mail address.
  • g. Check payable to:  Payable to what entity?
  • h. Address for mailing payments: Person and address to which payment should be mailed.
  • i. Funds requested:  Stipulate the exact amount, to a maximum of $100,000 per year for up to three (3) years.
  • j. Official within host institution responsible for signing the grant application: Give title, address, phone number, E mail address, signature and date.

II. Budget (page 2)

Provide both the amount requested and justification of request:

  • a. PERSONNEL:  For each salary requested, indicate name, title, and percent of time on project, salary request, and fringe benefits request.  Even if funding to support the PI’s salary is not being requested, indicate the percent of the PI’s time to be devoted to the research activity for which funds are being requested from the Board.  Describe the role of each person listed, on page 2a.
  • b. EQUIPMENT: Equipment purchase is not encouraged: fully justify any proposed equipment purchase on page 2a.
  • c. TRAVEL:  Describe proposed use of travel funds.
  • d. ANIMALS AND SUPPLIES:  Itemize purchases over $100.
  • e. OTHER:  Itemize proposed expenses over $100.
  • f. TOTAL DIRECT EXPENSES (Total of 2a - 2e)
  • g. OVERHEAD (maximum allowable is 10% of amount at 2f)
  • h. TOTAL FUNDS REQUESTED (not to exceed $100,000)

Provide the requested dollar amounts in the following format:

Category Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Total:
Years 1-3

III. Other Support (page 3) Indicate response to questions regarding support for project sought elsewhere and relationship to projects being supported from other sources.

IV. Other (page 3) Indicate response to questions and attach relevant documentation. Note that if human subjects and/or vertebrate animals are to be used, appropriate internal university committee(s) approval of the protocols should be obtained prior to submission of the application. Approval is required by October 1, 2021. Please submit your applications early enough to your university committees to assure that approvals will be ready by this date. The title on the university approval letter must match the title of the KSCHIRT grant application. The application will not be reviewed without such approval.

V. Abstract (page 4) The target audience of the abstract is the Study Section. Define your terms and abbreviations, as well as aims and expected results (1/2 page).

VI. Relationship to priorities (also on page 4) of the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Board

Address all salient points described on page 1 of this Overview, with respect both to the areas of science that the Board emphasizes and to the priority themes.

VII. Narrative

In no case is the narrative (7a - 7e) to exceed 10 single-spaced pages excluding references.  Type-size and line spacing must not be smaller than in this text.  Margins must be at least ¾”, with at least a 1” top margin.

If this is an <strong, i.e., if it was submitted for review last year, include a statement which lists the points raised in the previous review and how you responded to each of them. This statement should not exceed 1 page in length and does not count against the 10-page limitation of the narrative (7a-7e).


If this is a Renewal of an ongoing Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury grant, include a statement which details the past progress. This statement should not exceed 1 page in length and does not count against the 10-page limitation of the narrative (7a-7e).

  • a. Aims: Enumerate the specific aims/objectives of the research; avoid vague generalities. What hypothesis will be tested?  What products will be developed?  etc. (1/2 - 1 page)
  • b. Rationale:  Describe both theory and prior and current research related to your proposal. How does your research fit into the larger picture and how is it timely?
    (1-3 pages)
  • c. Methods:  Describe both your (a) experimental design and (b) laboratory methods. As appropriate to your research, this may be done either in terms of each specific aim described in Section 7a or may be done for the overall project, ensuring in the later case that the methods of addressing each specific aim are clearly described.  Describe procedures and provide description of subjects to be studied. Be sure to indicate sample sizes, methods of statistical analysis and, in research with humans, procedures for subject selection.  Also, if relevant, address issues raised regarding assessment of recovery of function.
  • d.Timetable:  Tie the tasks described in Section 7c to an estimated timetable (1/2 page).
  • e. Facilities/Resources:  Describe the equipment and facilities available to you that will be used in this research. If Trust funds are being requested to purchase additional equipment, place the needed equipment in the context of that presently available to you.  Also describe, if appropriate, other research being done in your institution and colleagues that may provide support for your work.  (1/2 - 1 page)
  • f. References:  References are not included within the page limitation.

VIII. Curriculum Vitae

Submit curriculum vitae of the PI, all Co-investigators and Post-doctoral fellows, follow ing the NIH Biographical sketch format. ALL KSCHIRT CVS HAVE A 4 PAGE LIMITATION - LISTING OTHER SUPPORT AS D). Include federal (NIH, VA, etc.), private (PVA, etc.), foundations, corporate support, or other.  Give complete titles and grant numbers of all grants, as well as total funding, yearly funding, funding for the PI’s salary, and funding support periods.

IX. Publications

Enclose copies of a maximum of three publications representative of your work.


(Amended 04/2021)