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AAS-Lundbeck Research Fellowship Application Information 2017 – 2018

OBJECTIVE

The American Autonomic Society and Lundbeck LLC have established post‐doctoral fellowships to encourage and support research training of individuals evaluating clinical autonomic disorders or physiology. These fellowships will assist awardees in initiating careers in autonomic disorders while obtaining significant and impactful research results.

 

ELIGIBILITY INFORMATION

The applicant should intend to pursue a career in the treatment or study of autonomic disorders and have interest in additional training under the supervision of a sponsor or mentor prior to an independent career. Fellowship recipients should use this award to promote their long‐term goals in the field. Applicants must devote at least 75 percent (75%) of their effort to research or activities directly related to the proposed research. Both the applicant and the sponsor must be members of the American Autonomic Society at the time of application and for the duration of the Fellowship.
 
Applicants must have an MD, PhD, DO, or equivalent doctoral degree at the time of award activation. Applicants need to provide a letter from their current institution verifying graduation date. At the time of award activation, applicants cannot have more than five (5) years from their terminal degree or three (3) years post-residency/fellowship training.

 

SCIENCE FOCUS

The proposed research must be relevant to the goals and aims of the American Autonomic Society. Appropriate fields of study include epidemiological, outcomes research, and clinical investigations within the general area of autonomic disorders and autonomic physiology.

 

SPONSOR

Fellows must receive wise counsel and direction from a senior investigator interested in the conduct and progress of the research project and each fellow must have a qualified sponsor.
Each sponsor is limited to one application per funding cycle. If more than one applicant lists the same sponsor, all applications with that sponsor will be withdrawn. The sponsor should be a member of the American Autonomic Society at the time of application and for the duration of the award.

 

BUDGET ITEMS

The only allowable budget items are applicant salary, fringe benefits and indirect costs. The total of these budget items must equal no more than the $50,000 award amount. Although not a requirement, if indirect costs are requested the maximum allowable is $4,545 (10% of direct costs). Supplies and project costs are not allowable budget items. In addition, a travel stipend for attendance to the American autonomic society annual meeting during the year of the award, and the following year will be provided (maximum $2,500/year). The sponsoring institution may supplement salary, as allowable in the budget (clinical activities that fill the remaining percent effort are allowed), provided the salary is comparable to salary paid by the sponsoring institution to fellows of the same post‐graduate year as the applicant.

ANNUAL AWARD AMOUNT

USD $50,000 (inclusive of indirect costs). Stipend for travel to the annual AAS meeting is reimbursed separately (see below).

 

INSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT

The awardee will be expected to attend the American Autonomic Society Annual Meeting during the year of the award and in the year immediately following the award. A stipend of up to $2500 will be available for each meeting to cover travel expenses.

 

AWARD DURATION

One year

 

APPLICATION DUE DATE

Complete applications must be emailed to Dr. Wolfgang Singer (Singer.Wolfgang@mayo.edu) no later than FRIDAY, JANUARY 15th, 2017. No late submissions will be accepted and no exceptions will be made. Reference letters should also be submitted by this deadline.


 

REVIEW PROCESS

At least two (2) members of the American Autonomic Society Research Fellowship Subcommittee will review each application. Any contact between the reviewer and applicant is prohibited. Each reviewer is required to disclose any relationships that may prove a potential conflict of interest including monetary interest, institutional affiliation, and prior collaboration with the applicant. If there is a potential for bias, the reviewer will be recused from reviewing the application. The Subcommittee Chair will have final decision‐making authority concerning issues that may arise during the review process.

The review process is as follows:
Triage: Any application that is not complete per the application guidelines will be dismissed prior to the Subcommittee review process. Applicants that have begun an application will be notified two weeks prior to the deadline date if it is incomplete. Once uploaded, they will be visible to the applicant; it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that two (2) reference letters have been completed and submitted by the deadline. One of the letters must be from the Sponsor/Mentor. The American Autonomic Society must be in receipt of two (2) reference letters in order for the application to be complete and processed. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Review: Each application that passes through triage will be submitted to at least two (2) Subcommittee members for review. Applications will be scored via the criteria listed in the review criteria section below. The applications will then be subject to a subcommittee conference meeting. Reviewers will be privy to the scores of each application and defend their comments. Upon thorough review of each of the final applications, the applications accepted for fellowship will be determined by vote count. All applications will receive either a rejection or award acceptance letter.

REVIEW CRITERIA

When preparing your application please refer to the following review criteria and carefully address all of the following points. An individual applicant is not expected to fully meet each of these points. Strengths in one particular area will be weighed against potential weaknesses in another (i.e. inexperience of a mentor can be discounted by a particularly well thought‐out training plan, lack of publications for an applicant can be discounted by a clear plan for achieving an academic career, etc.).

Criterion 1 – Evaluation of the Applicant (one‐third of the overall score)
1. Does the applicant have potential for an academic/clinical career?
2. Are the applicant’s career and training plans clearly and convincingly described?
3. Do the investigator’s history and sponsor/referee assessments support the likelihood of success for the stated career plan?
4. Does the applicant have prior research experience and/or publications?
5. Is there a clear rationale supporting the applicant’s need for additional training?

Criterion 2 – Evaluation of the Sponsor, Training Plan and Environment (one‐third of the overall score)
1. Does either the mentor or a collaborator have published or demonstrated experience with all research methods necessary for the project?
2. Is there evidence that all tools necessary for success of the proposal are in place and available?
3. Does the mentor have the experience necessary to direct the applicant’s training (as evidenced by his/her track record of senior author publications, independent funding and success of prior trainees)?
4. Does the mentor have adequate current funding to support the research project?
5. Does the mentor provide a comprehensive training plan that will enhance the applicant’s ability to reach his/her career goals?

Criterion 3 – Evaluation of the Research Proposal (one‐third of the overall score)
1. Does the applicant clearly state the hypothesis to be tested in the proposal and the specific aims that will be used to address this hypothesis?
2. Significance: Does the proposed study address an important problem in autonomic physiology or pathophysiology? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods and technologies that drive this field?
3. Innovation/novelty: Is the project truly original or is it derivative from past studies or publications?
4. Feasibility: Do the background information and the preliminary data in the application justify the hypothesis? Do the preliminary data and the publication records of the applicant, mentor and/or collaborators demonstrate competence with all research methods used in the proposal? If these data are acknowledged clearly, applicants can present preliminary data generated by the sponsor or collaborators.
5. Approach: Is the conceptual framework, design, methods and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned and appropriate to the hypothesis and aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and discuss alternative tactics if problems arise?

ACTIVATION AND DURATION OF THE AWARDS

A full‐year fellowship is awarded for a period of not less than one year and starts July 1, 2017. AAS staff and the Fellowship Subcommittee Chair must approve activation dates other than July 1, 2017. A request for an alternative activation date must be made in a separate letter accompanying the application.

LOCATION OF THE FELLOWSHIPS

This is an international fellowship opportunity. All applicants will be considered by the same application criteria and all research will be regulated by the ethical standards and reporting responsibilities set forth below. All written and verbal correspondence must be in English. All funding will be paid in United States Dollars. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make all necessary arrangements for any fellowship, both with the institution where the research and/or training will occur and with his/her research mentor who will supervise the recipient’s activities. Such arrangements must be acknowledged by signature from an authorized official of the institution and from the research mentor.

ETHICAL STANDARDS

The American Autonomic Society requires: 1) that any research involving human subjects conform to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki of the World Medical Association (Clinical Research 1992 Dec; 40 (4): 653‐60) and Title 45, US Code of Federal Regulations, Part 46 Protection of Human Subjects, and 2) that any research involving animals will conform to the Guiding Principles in the Care and Use of Animals approved by the Council of the American Physiological Society. The sponsoring institution and the mentor must provide evidence that all investigations engaged in by the fellow are under the control of the institution and its investigational review board or other appropriate body. Documentation of regulatory approval must be provided prior to the release of fellowship funds.

REPORTS

The results of work carried out by a fellow must be made publically available through scientific channels according to the NIH Public Access Policy. All reports on work supported by the fellowship should acknowledge the American Autonomic Society’s support. An appropriate format for such acknowledgement may be: “This work was performed during Dr. Applicant’s tenure as the Lundbeck Fellow of the American Autonomic Society”. An electronic or paper reprint of each published article should be furnished to the American Autonomic Society.

In the year after the award, fellowship awardees will be required to present data from their research at the American Autonomic Society’s Annual Scientific Sessions. In addition, a one‐page abstract of the fellowship project must be submitted for distribution at this program.

A final financial report and a report summarizing research progress and accomplishments during the period of funding is to be submitted to the American Autonomic Society office no later than 6 months after completing the fellowship. Failure to submit these reports by this deadline will result in forfeiture of the remaining monies owed.

TRANSFERS

If the recipient of a fellowship leaves the site where he/she agreed to perform the fellowship, ceases work with the approved mentor, or ceases to continue the activities for which the award was made, the award will terminate unless alternate arrangements were approved in advance by AAS staff and the Chair of the Fellowship Subcommittee.

LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND VACATION

A leave of absence will be granted during the period of a full‐year fellowship with the prior approval of AAS staff, the Chair of the Fellowship Subcommittee, the mentor and the institution. Vacation for a full‐year fellow may be taken in accordance with the policy of the institution where the fellowship is being performed, but may not exceed 24 of the institution’s scheduled workdays per fellowship year.

NOTIFICATION

The Fellowship Subcommittee will review all applications and make award recommendations to the Board of Directors of the American Autonomic Society. Notification of approval of the award by the Board of Trustees will be sent by the first week of April 2016.

PAYMENTS

Unless otherwise specified, quarterly installments of the full‐year fellowship award will be mailed to the sponsoring institution. The final installment is contingent upon receipt of the documentation described in REPORTS.

Complete applications must be emailed to Singer.Wolfgang@mayo.edu no later than FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, 2017. Letters of reference may be emailed to Singer.Wolfgang@mayo.edu.

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Wolfgang Singer, Chair of the Science Committee, American Autonomic Society, Singer.Wolfgang@mayo.edu or (952) 469-5837.

All parts of the application, including all online fields and required attachments, must be completed and submitted as directed by the submission deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

The application includes completion of the following: title, applicant information, general information, references (includes reference letter templates), and keywords.

In order to submit an application all requested forms must be attached in a single combined PDF document. Below is a list of the required forms and description outline for proper completion. All text pages should be in no smaller than Arial or Times New Roman 11-point font with a minimum of 0.75” margins on all sides. Applications that use a font size or margins that are too small will be disqualified.

SECTION A

Section A1: Curriculum Vitae – 4 pages maximum
• Attach a biosketch in the NIH format

Section A2: Proposed Budget, Full Year Fellowship – 1 page maximum(not including the letter from the chair of the department)
• Provide salary, fringe and overhead costs
• Provide the correct information for the person and place checks should be mailed to at your institution
• Provide a letter from the sponsoring institution (or chair of the department) stating that they are willing to supplement the salary support of the fellow if the institutional equivalent salary for the PGY scale exceeds the AAS-Lundbeck grant award (this support may also come from the mentor, but must be documented).
• Obtain signature from financial officer

Section A3: Candidate Plan for Career Development – 1 page maximum
• Clearly describe your career plan. This should include background on your previous education and experiences, your current plans including (but not limited to) the submitted research project, and your future goals. Describe how each of these components will assist you in achieving an academic career that advances the clinical autonomic field
• Describe the feasibility of completing your proposed research within one year and how it fits into long-term research plans

Section A4: Description of Proposed Fellowship – 3 pages maximum + References
• Statement of hypothesis and specific aims
• Background information, including preliminary data. Limit the background section to information that would be necessary for an expert in the field of autonomic disorders to understand the rationale for the proposal. Briefly explain the applicant’s involvement in obtaining the preliminary data. With appropriate referencing, it is acceptable for the applicant to provide preliminary data generated by the sponsor or collaborator that was not necessarily the work of the applicant.
• Specific research plans, including proposed methods, data analysis, potential problems and alternative plans, and a timeline for the research.
• References are not counted within the three‐page limit, but applicants are encouraged to make references concise (no more than 1 page).

SECTION B ‐ Sponsor Statement


Sponsors should clearly address all of the following elements:
• Attach a biosketch in the NIH format – 4 pages maximum
• Agreement to act as the Primary Mentor for the duration of the Fellowship
• Agreement to ensure that the Applicant complies with the requirements for the Fellowship
• Statement that the Sponsor has the resources required to complete the proposed project.
• Statement of mentorship record
• Sponsor’s assessment of the applicant’s potential for a career as a researcher in autonomic sciences
• Statement of Sponsor’s current funding

SECTION C ‐ Letter of Reference – Non Sponsor

• A letter of reference on institutional letterhead from someone other than the mentor. 


 

ADVICE FROM THE REVIEW COMMITTEE:


Please pay attention to the following issues that commonly arise during peer review. Applications usually score poorly for one of the following reasons:
• Project is too broad or complex in scope and does not appear feasible over the one‐year time period of the proposal.
• Project or hypothesis does not appear feasible based on provided background literature or preliminary data.
• Project requires expertise beyond the scope of applicant or sponsors published skills and no documentation of an appropriate collaboration is provided.
• Sponsor statement does not clearly address training in the context of moving applicant toward a career in clinical autonomic research.
• Sponsor does not provide requested information on past trainees or does not address all components of the training plan.
• Candidate does not discuss all components of the candidate career development statement. Please take seriously the need to describe the detailed process of career development as it pertains to your goals. Do not just describe the skills that you hope to acquire over the next year.
• Candidate does not commit the required 75% effort to the research or the candidate has more than the allowed 5 years from their terminal degree or 3 years post-residency/fellowship training.