AAA Fellows Grant Award Program

This Fellows Grant Award Program (FGAP) is intended to support proposals submitted to national or international funding agencies that were scored, and generally well-received, but did not receive funding.  It is assumed that most of these proposals will have been NIH in nature, but proposals to the NSF, other federal agencies, and international granting organizations also qualify.  The program will provide short-term funding for either established or young investigators who have submitted a peer-reviewed grant application to a major funding sponsor within the last 15 months and received a full review but were not funded. All investigators must be AAA members in good standing. Up to three grants will be awarded annually in amounts not to exceed $25,000.  Each grant will be awarded for a period of one year, without opportunity for a no cost extension.  The FGAP will provide up to 30 awards of $25,000 each over 10 years.  

The establishment of the FGAP will provide positive traction for the AAA in a number of areas:

1) Following the organization’s Strategic Plan, this program speaks to fostering the best science undertaken by members and strongly to the AAA’s continuing commitment to science.
2) The FGAP applicant will gain not only a “grant review” by Fellows, but mentorship from some of the best scientists in their area, a benefit to both the applicant and the AAA.
3) Establishment of the FGAP can serve as a recruiting tool to enhance the desirability for membership.
4) This program provides additional focus for the Fellows Circle and is expected to improve philanthropy to the Fellows Circle which can be used for other AAA programs identified by the Fellows Circle.

New FGAP applications will be solicited through a general announcement to the membership on September 1 of each year.  Submission deadline for the FGAP proposal will be determined by the announcement of the award to the membership.

The form of the application will follow and address the five bullet points below under “Review Criteria.”

The Fellows Circle will appoint a Task Force of five members for a 2-year term.  The Task Force will review the application abstracts and assign reviewers from the Fellows Circle.  If sufficient expertise for a given proposal does not fall within the Fellows Circle, then reviewers who are established investigators from the general membership will be assigned based on their scientific expertise and geographic location (for international applicants). Each grant will be reviewed by three (3) reviewers and reviewers will be asked to review no more than four (4) grants per award cycle.

Staff will inform reviewers of their assignments and the reviewers will accept or decline the assignments based on whether any one or more of the following conflicts exist: 
Collaborated with, published with, or otherwise had a relationship with the applicant that would influence scoring, in the last three years
Participated in a review panel that considered the original unfunded application but only if he or she wrote the review.
Is employed by the same institution as grant applicant or under active consideration for a faculty position at that institution
Have a competitive interest that might bias the reviewer’s evaluation for or against that application or significantly impair the reviewer’s objectivity
Have had a long standing difference or disagreement with the applicant that is known to the professional community and could be perceived as affecting the reviewer’s objectivity
Stand to benefit in any way from the funding of the application

The following eligibility requirements will be confirmed for each applicant in an administrative review by AAA staff. Only applications that meet all of the eligibility requirements will be eligible for review and consideration.
To be eligible for the FGAP, an applicant must: 
Have been a US or international member of the AAA in good standing at the time of submission, and for two years prior to submission, and retain membership during the period of the Award. 
Have submitted a peer-reviewed grant application to a major funding sponsor within the last 15 months and received a full review.
o If scored and reviewer comments are available, they must be submitted.
o If no score or reviewer comments are available, the applicant must provide a letter from the funding source indicating that the grant application was reviewed but not chosen for funding. In addition, if no reviewer comments are available, a copy of the complete initial grant application should be submitted. (Note:  For international members whose grant applications and reviewer comments or funding agency decision letters are not in English, these must be translated to English by the applicant.)
Not exceed $50,000 USD (or equivalent) in direct costs in total funding support from other sources. Applicants must disclose extramural support from all public and private sources, including government and industry, as well as remaining start-up funds, if any.
Not have previously received (as an investigator) an FGAP. Resubmission to the FGAP will not be permitted unless the application is to support a research project that is different from any previous FGAP proposal.
Not be a AAA Board Member, FGAP Awards Task Force member, or a member of the Fellows Circle

The review of the FGAP will not be based on the original proposal or its perceived strength as the proposal was already evaluated and deemed strong.  Rather, review will consider: 
A brief description (up to three pages) provided by the applicant indicating how reviewer comments (if provided) will be addressed 
How these limited funds will be used to address the issues raised in the review
Rationale for the use of the FGAP funds and how they will impact the research and strengthen the resubmission of the grant
How the outcome will progress the research and impact the research proposal 
How and when the revised or new proposal will be resubmitted to a major funding source, and which funding source
The Reviewer will evaluate the application and assign a score from 1.0 for the most meritorious to 5.0 for the least meritorious with increments of 0.5 units.  The score should reflect an overall evaluation of the Application Comments. 

For each application, the Reviewer will provide written comments that address the following:
Brief summary of the initial reviewer’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the grant
Brief assessment of the plans of the applicant to address the initial reviewers’ critiques 
o If new experiments are proposed, are they well-designed and scientifically well-justified? 
o Are the methods appropriate and within the expertise of the applicant? 
o Is the proposed research reasonable for the time period of the funding?
o Is the approach for the proposal reasonable and the budget appropriate for the amount of the award? 
o If this award is granted, will it strengthen the overall grant and significantly increase the likelihood of future funding?
Assessment of whether the planned use for the FGA is justified, such as to provide salary support for the PI or other personnel during the period required for resubmission, perform new experiments, receive additional training or generate new data required for a resubmission.
An overall summary and recommendation that notes the rationale for the score, the strengths and weaknesses of the FGAP application (not the original application), the appropriateness of the investigator’s plans for FGAP funds, and opinion on whether or not this application should be funded.    

For consideration of international applicants, a designated international reviewer will be asked to provide a written summary that includes:
Information on the major funding source to which the original grant was submitted 
o What type of organization is this and what type of research grants do they provide? Is this a widely recognized funding source?
o Describe the initial review process. If the grant was scored, what level score did it receive within the scoring range? If it was not scored, how was the grant received by the reviewer? Did the applicant adequately address the comments from the reviewer?
Provide any additional feedback to the FGAP Task Force regarding the funding source and the critique of this application. 

Reviewers will access applications and submit scores and comments online. 
All recipients of an award will be required to present the results of their research at the annual meeting at Experimental Biology the year following receipt of the Award.

For the two years following the award, AAA staff will request information from the awardee about:
Whether the full grant proposal was funded
Awarding agency
Amount of award (direct costs only)
Publications that derived from the research that was funded by the FGAP.  Full citations to these articles should be provided.