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FOEDRC Pilot and Feasibility Project

The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) at the University of Iowa is pleased to announce another cycle of Pilot & Feasibility (P&F) Grants for studies related to diabetes and obesity.

Two types of awards are available this year and applicants are encouraged to identify the type of award most aligned with their research goals.

Catalyst Grant

Catalyst grants are intended to provide support for studies that allow an investigator to develop data sufficient to prepare a competitive application for independent research support through external granting mechanisms. Some examples of studies which are eligible for P&F funding are:

  • A study proposed by an early-stage investigator with a research interest in diabetes or obesity prior to securing independent grant support.
  • A study proposed by an established investigator with expertise in other areas and who wants to apply this expertise to address a question that is related to diabetes or obesity.
  • A study by an established investigator in diabetes or obesity who wants to pursue a question in a totally different area from his/her current research field.
  • A study proposed between clinical and basic investigators (new or established) to test a question of translational relevance to diabetes or obesity.

Catalyst Grants will award recipients up to $50,000 per year in direct costs; renewable for a second year, pending satisfactory progress.


The application must be assembled into a single PDF document that contains the following sections: Research Plan, Innovation and Relevance, References, Lay Summary, and Biosketch(es). The scientific description should consist of two discrete sections, not to exceed a combined total of two (2) pages:

1. Research Plan (1.5 pages): The research plan should consist of one or two clearly defined specific aims. Each of these should be described in sufficient detail that a reviewer can judge why the work is being done, how it is to be done, and how the data will be interpreted. Citations should emphasize the first two of these points. The work should be of a scope that can be accomplished in 1-2 years.

2. Innovation and Relevance (0.5 page): Describe how the work (if successful) is innovative and likely to lead to success in a national grant competition. Describe how this proposed work is relevant to the areas of diabetes and obesity.

Biosketch(es) should be attached for each participant in the project.

Seed Grant

The FOEDRC wants to encourage testing of innovative, high reward, early stage work. Seed grants of $5,000 or less are available for discrete, specific, new objectives. Objectives should be completed within 6 months of funding. Examples of work that might initiate a new project are:

  • Preliminary high throughput testing
  • Producing a genetically modified mouse
  • Sequencing required to initiate a project
  • Producing a gene transfer vector
  • Microscopic imaging to test feasibility of an approach
  • Collection of some clinical samples
  • Testing an idea with metabolomics

Seed Grants will award recipients up to $5,000 (with the possibility for an additional $5,000) in direct costs to test feasibility of new, innovative, research directions.


The application must be assembled into a single PDF document that contains the following sections: Proposal, Outcomes & Importance, References, and Biosketch(es). The scientific description should consist of two discrete sections not to exceed a combined total of one (1) page:

1.   Proposal: A description of what is proposed. Highlight how this is a new objective.

2.   Outcomes & Importance: Expected outcomes and why it is important.

Biosketch(es) should be attached for each participant in the project.

Note that seed grants are not designed to support ongoing projects. Therefore no salary support is allowed.


June 1, 2021: A letter of intent to apply should be sent to drcadmin@uiowa.edu. Letters of intent for Pilot and Feasibility Grants should include a project title, a brief description (1-3 sentences) of the planned project, the principle investigators, and the key collaborative investigators involved with the project. LOIs are used by the FOEDRC to plan to the review process and prevent conflicts of interest.
June 30, 2021: Final proposal is due by 5:00pm to drcadmin@uiowa.edu


All applicants must be a member of the University of Iowa faculty. Past recipients are ineligible for five years from the completion of their P&F funding (e.g.= 7 years from start of a 2 year P&F grant), and only applications in directions/areas distinct from their prior award will be considered. The exception is that seed grants do not preclude a subsequent catalyst award in the same area in any time frame, provided strong progress has been made. FOEDRC faculty recruits are also not eligible during the period of their receipt of FOEDRC start-up support. P&F support is usually intended for early-stage faculty investigators, for investigators from other fields intending to bring their research expertise to a diabetes-relevant research area, for investigators currently working in the diabetes area whose proposed research would constitute a significantly new direction, and for clinical and basic researchers who propose a joint research project. 

The PDF should be submitted electronically to drcadmin@uiowa.edu by 5:00 PM on June 30, 2021. Note that it is NOT necessary for the application to go through the Office of Sponsored Research prior to submission.



Proposed P&F studies should present a testable hypothesis and clearly delineate the question being asked, detail procedures to be followed, and discuss how the data will be analyzed and lead to future studies.

Grants receive an internal review. Emphasis is placed on how the research might lead to new research ideas or research funding. For junior investigators, additional considerations include how this award will impact their career and the potential of the applicant to compete for independent research funding in the future. Research track faculty MUST include a letter from his/her laboratory director or departmental chair describing how this award will serve in developing an independent research program and external research funding.

Successful applicants will be asked to meet with Kathleen Barbee to propose an annual budget. The Catalyst Grant mechanism is renewable for a second year** (see below). Salary for the P.I. cannot be included in the budget.

**Funded Catalyst Grant investigators will be asked to prepare a yearly progress report and present at the FOEDRC/OREI Frontiers in Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolism Seminar Series. These will serve as one criteria in determining whether the grant will be renewed. There is a two year limit on each funding mechanism and funding ceases if the project is successfully converted into an externally funded program. P&F cannot be used for bridge funding; they must represent a new initiative.