Brain and Behavior Seed Grant Program FY 2016

The 2015 BBI seed grant competition was an amazing success.  Overall, 13 seed grant proposals were submitted and 5 were funded.

The following teams were awarded seed funding:

Drs. Anderson (Hearing and Speech, BSOS, NACS), Goupell (Hearing and Speech, BSOS, NACS), and MacLeod (Biology, CMNS, NACS): Understanding the effect of age and duration of deafness on speech recognition in Cochlear Implant users ($75,000)

Drs. DeShong (Chemistry & Biochemistry, CMNS), Glasper (Psychology, BSOS, NACS), Herberholz (Psychology, BSOS, NACS), and Madison (Psychology, BSOS): A novel use of catanioinic vesicles to modulate nervous system function and behavior ($81,425)

Drs. Kanold (Biology, CMNS, ISR, NACS, and ENGR), Duraiswami (Computer Science, CMNS), Gumerov (UMIACS, CMNS), and Losert (Physics, CMNS and IREAP): Development of an ultra-fast 2 photon microscope by beam multiplexing: GRID Imaging ($100,000)

Dr. Sheri Parks (American Studies, ARHU): Investigating the Maryland Way ($26,970)

Drs. Singer (Biology, CMNS, NACS), Han (Mechanical Engineering, ENGR), and Quinlan (Biology, CMNS, NACS): The retina as a novel biomarker for schizophrenia ($75,000)

Drs. Waks (Electrical and Computer Engineering and IREAP, ENGR and CMNS), Shapiro (Bioengineering and ISR, ENGR), Araneda (Biology, CMNS, NACS), and Herberholz (Psychology, BSOS, NACS): Wireless Measurement of Neuronal Currents Using Spin-Torque Nano-Oscillators ($79,015)

All funded teams will be provided support for proposal development throughout the grant period and are expected to submit at least ONE proposal to an external sponsor within 18 months of the start of their seed funding.  



The mission of the Brain and Behavior Initiative (BBI) at the University of Maryland (UMD) is to generate novel tools and revolutionize multidisciplinary approaches to understand complex behaviors produced by the nervous system.

The purpose of this call for proposals is to foster collaborations and enable generation of pilot data to promote multi-year, multi-million dollar proposal submissions that pursue innovative collaborative work at the interface of engineering, computation and physical sciences, neuroscience, cognitive science, and humanities.

Guidelines for proposals

Eligibility: All proposals must be multidisciplinary with at least two Principal Investigators (PI), both of whom are tenured, tenure-track, or research faculty at UMD. Individual investigators may submit multiple proposals but can participate as a PI on only one awarded proposal. Outside collaborations (e.g., UMB, NIH, etc.) are allowed, but no money will be awarded to support non-UMD investigators.

Topics: Proposals must target one of the central themes of the BBI:  1) Neural Circuits, Learning & Plasticity, Motor Control; 2) Sensation, Perception, Communication; 3) Mental Health.

Submission process and deadlines

All documents submitted must be Arial, 11pt; single spaced; ½” margins.

Proposals should not exceed 4 pages and must include:

1. Description of the project. Include specific subsections for Significance, Innovation and Approach (no more than 2 pages). Strive to make the impact of the proposed work clear to individuals both within and outside of your discipline.

In addition, proposals must contain at least one paragraph on each of the following (no more than 2 pages for this section):

2. Describe specifically how the work fits one of the central themes of the BBI:  1) Neural Circuits, Learning & Plasticity, Motor Control; 2) Sensation, Perception, Communication; 3) Mental Health.

3. Describe the necessity of the collaboration to achieve your goals, what each individual brings to the collaborative effort, and the history of collaboration between the PIs (if any).

4. Describe the specific target (funding mechanism and submission date) for a forthcoming “big idea” proposal to an external funding agency. The proposal must describe how the BBI seed grant will enable the submission of your externally funded proposal.

Additional required materials

• Biosketch (4 page max in any format) for each of the Principal Investigators.

• An itemized budget and written budget justification.

--We ask that you keep budgets to approximately $25,000 per PI. Although there is some flexibility in the total amount awarded per seed grant, larger budgets must be well justified, and conservative budgeting is strongly encouraged.

--Allowable Expenses: For example: Research supplies; purchase or rental of equipment for new research; salary support for a temporary position (1 year or less) for technicians, research associates (post-docs) and/or graduate students, and service charges for campus facilities.

--Unallowable Expenses: Salaries for PIs, conference travel, administrative support, general telephone services and postage, alterations or renovations of laboratory space, purchase of laboratory or office furniture, purchase of periodicals and books, and dues and memberships in scientific societies.

To submit a proposal

Merge all documents into a single .pdf titled Last Name_BBISeed_Dec2016.pdf. Submit this document via email as an attachment to Dr. Beth Brittan-Powell: with the subject line of the mail: BBI Dec2016 SEED GRANT PROPOSAL.

Proposal Submission Date: TBA

Selection Notification Date: TBA

Contact for Questions: Beth Brittan-Powell

Selection criteria

BBI Seed Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. The selection of finalists will be made based on the relevance and potential impact of the research on the related BBI themes, the necessity of the collaboration to achieve the goals of the proposal, and the likelihood of funding from external sources. Proof of IRB or IACUC approval of proposed work will be required to release awards to successful grantees.

Conditions of the award

Awardees are expected to attend BBI seminars and be active in BBI community activities.

Awards are for one year and are cost reimbursable. Funds must be spent within the year time frame.  The final scientific and financial report must include accounting that demonstrates how the seed funds enabled the research. No-cost extensions will not be considered.

The success of the BBI depends on the success of the awarded seed grants; therefore, awardees will:

• Have the support of the BBI Grants Development Specialist throughout the award period as the teams develop, write, and revise their “big idea” proposal. Big idea proposals are expected to be submitted to external funding agencies within 18 months of receiving the seed funding.

• Provide a scientific progress report and a summary of expenses to the BBI Steering Committee 6 and 9 months after award and meet with the BBI Steering Committee to discuss the status of the “big idea” proposal development. Progress reports will also be sent to the Provost, VPR, and Deans. The BBI Steering Committee reserves the right to cut off seed funding to projects that show little to no progress at the 6 and 9 month reviews.

• Present results of the seed funding at the annual BBI meeting and provide a final scientific and financial report to the BBI Steering Committee 13 months after receiving the award.

• Provide information on the outcomes of the seed funding (e.g., grant funds, publications, conferences) annually and/or as requested by the BBI Steering Committee.

Eligibility for the next round of seed funding is contingent upon successful completion of the conditions above, including submission of a proposal for external funding.