Call for Investigator-Initiated Collaborative Grants in Cell Manufacturing
Submission Deadline: January 2nd, 2018

The Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing announces the 2018-2019 research grant program. This funding mechanism is intended to stimulate new, collaborative research in cell manufacturing and to encourage scientists and engineers from diverse fields to come together, ask important questions, and solve important and transformative problems related to the challenge of cell manufacturing. Please refer to the MC3M website at http://www.cellmanufacturing.gatech.edu/ for information about the Marcus Center and its mission and vision. 

Each proposal must have a minimum of one investigator from Georgia Tech.  Additional co-investigators from either Georgia Tech or other institutes are welcome. Multi-investigator proposals demonstrating convergence of multiple expertise will be favored. Please note that in case of investigators outside of Georgia Tech, a sub-contract can be issued or usage/service fee based model can be used. All funds originate at Georgia Tech and as such the PI must be associated with Georgia Tech. Please be aware that other institutions might charge overhead which will reduce overall grant amount - there are reciprocal relationships with UGA and Emory which generally avoid overhead charge, and is dealt on a case by case basis. Accommodations at other institutions could be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, but are not guaranteed. 

This funding mechanism is intended to fund projects at earlier stages of development. However, projects that already have a proof of concept system and want to develop further for scale-up or translation will also be considered. 

All budgets for proposals should have thorough justification; projects with heavy experimental material and supplies requirements should not exceed $100,000 per year (for up to two years); computationally focused projects should request a lesser amount per year. Equipment costs will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but are generally discouraged. There is no indirect cost associated with this at GT, except for potential overhead on sub-contracted amounts charged by other institutions (see above). A total of 3 grants are expected to be awarded.

Proposals can be for one year or two years with appropriate justification for the proposed project duration.  All projects must provide detailed milestones and an aggressive but realistic timeline to achieve those milestones. All projects will be reviewed every 6 months by the Marcus Center executive committee to ensure adherence to timeline and performance. Awardees are expected to provide a written progress report every 6 months that will be part of the Center’s report to the Foundation. Feedback will be provided to non-performing projects, which may be terminated after allowing time to correct deficiencies. 

As part of the awards agreement, ALL projects must include funding acknowledgement in any publications (journal, posters, presentations) using the following language: “This research was supported by funds from The Marcus Foundation, The Georgia Research Alliance, and the Georgia Tech Foundation through their support of the Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing (MC3M) at Georgia Tech.”


Topics
Proposals should be in response to the following topics: 

  1. Development of novel sensors for real time measurement of cell properties, including but not limited to flexible electronics based or miniature wireless sensors that can be incorporated into bioreactors or other common cell manufacturing platforms (e.g. hyperstacks) for in-line, continuous monitoring of culture conditions (pH, glucose, lactate, temperature) AND next generation cell attributes (e.g. cell function, metabolites, secreted proteins). Sensor integration into bioreactors and performance validation under cell culture conditions must be outlined in the research plan. 
  2. Development of novel technologies for cryopreservation and/or live cell transportation across the country or even internationally. Appropriate considerations of culture condition monitoring during transit, fail safe mechanisms of temperature and culture environment control, etc. must be considered.
  3. Development of algorithms and data analytic methods for assessment of MULTI ‘omics or other characterization data and identification of critical quality attributes (CQAs) or biomarkers for cell therapeutics. Both linear and non-linear predictive models as well as big data driven solutions and machine learning concepts can be proposed. Proposals can leverage real data from current Marcus Center projects. 

Deadline

The deadline for submission of proposals is Monday, January 2, 2018, 9:00 AM Eastern Time. Awards will be announced by January 13, 2018 with a funding start date of January 15, 2018.

Submission & Questions

Technical questions regarding the proposal may be addressed to Andrea Soyland at andrea.soyland@ibb.gatech.edu.Technical questions regarding the appropriateness of a proposal topic or its direction may be addressed to Krish Roy at krish.roy@gatech.edu or Carolyn Yeago at carolyn.yeago@ibb.gatech.edu 

Proposals should be emailed as a single PDF document as per instructions below, to the following email: andrea.soyland@ibb.gatech.edu . Please also cc krish.roy@gatech.edu and carolyn.yeago@ibb.gatech.edu

General Guidelines

ELIGIBILITY

  • All faculty members with primary appointments at Georgia Tech are eligible to apply as PI.  Co-PIs and collaborators can be from any other institution(s). Please keep in mind that sub-contracts may be subject to F&A charges by the partner institutions. (There are reciprocal relationships with UGA and Emory which generally avoid overhead charge, and is dealt on a case-by-case basis. Accommodations at other institutions could be negotiated on a case-by-case basis, but are not guaranteed.)
  • Proposals from investigators who are new to the cell manufacturing field and/or those addressing new questions or taking new approaches are encouraged.

 

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

  • Applications are for up to a maximum of two years of funding subject to six month reviews as stated above. 
  • Funds may be used for Ph.D. student/postdoc support, animal studies, supplies, and limited travel as related to the conduct of the research. Tuition can be charged if needed. Faculty salary and fringe is also appropriate when justified. Funds may not be used to pay any costs associated with institutional overhead at GT.
  • Applicants are reminded that these are NOT seed grants intended to promote the acquisition of extramural funding, but milestone-driven R&D projects intended to build new tools and methods to enable better cell manufacturing. Subsequent extramural funding can be pursued at the discretion of the investigators when appropriate. 
  • Application does not have to be hypothesis-driven; design-driven applications are encouraged as well. 
  • Projects may be renewed for a 3rd year of funding, under limited circumstances, based on results and progress. 
  • All proposals are limited to a maximum of 5 pages of research description (excluding bibliography). The description must say what critical unmet need in cell manufacturing is being addressed and what cells are being used/investigated. Any adult-derived therapeutic cells are appropriate to use but preference will be given to Mesenchymal progenitor cells from bone marrow, cord tissue, perinatal tissues or adipose tissues; immune cells e.g. therapeutic T cells or B cells, hematopoietic stem cells, iPS cells. Preference will be given to using human cells although proof of concept using animal cells and models are welcome. 
  • In addition to these five pages, a one-page milestone and deliverable chart in six-month increments is required.  Please use Arial 11 point font, 1 inch margins. 
  • Applications should also include a 2-year budget (divided into six-month segments in Year 1 and Year 2 and with clearly separated categories for personnel and M&S) with justification. Budgets are in addition to the 5-page research section. 
  • An NIH format biosketch or a short CV (not to exceed 4 pages) for all investigators (see specific instructions section below) must be included.
  • Awardees are expected to provide a written progress report every 6 months that will be part of the Center’s report to the Foundation.
  • As part of the awards agreement ALL projects must include funding acknowledgement in any publications (journal, posters, presentations) using the following language – “This research was supported by funds from the Marcus Foundation, The Georgia Research Alliance, and the Georgia Tech Foundation through their support of the Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing (MC3M) at Georgia Tech”.

 

DETAILED FORMATTING INSTRUCTION

  1. All Applications must include (as a single PDF document):
    i.     Title of Project
    ii.    Applicant Name(s), Titles, Email Addresses
    iii.    Department, Institution
    iv.    Requested Award Amount (Direct Costs)
  2. Cover page with the following information:
  3. An abstract (no more than 250 words)
  4. 5 page Research section as described above
  5. 1 page Milestone/Deliverables chart as described above
  6. Biosketches of all key personnel as detailed above
  7. Budget with justification. (Funds may be used for data collection and analysis, research lab supplies, and faculty/student/postdoc/technical support that are directly related to the conduct of the research. Salary support for hospital medical/nursing staff, or administrative support is not appropriate.)
  8. A statement on Human Subjects Protection, as outlined in the PHS 398 instructions (if applicable).
  9. The following items (provided within 60 days from notice of award (if relevant): IRB approval letter, Approved IBC protocol, IACUC approval. Any additional relevant certifications (CITI, etc.)