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How To Get Funding For A Flow Cytometer Or Cell Sorter

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How To Get Funding For A Flow Cytometer Or Cell Sorter

 

It's that time of year again. 

For those in the US, the NIH has released the S10 program announcement for 2014 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-14-073.html). 

This program is designed to help fund the acquisition of a single large piece of equipment - from $100,000-$600,000, to support the research at an institution or group of institutions.  

If you are considering preparing a SIG grant, here are some questions that you should remember as you pull the application together:
 
1. What is your biosafety plan? 

If  a cell sorter is on the list, make sure the grant has addressed the recommendations from the ISAC biosafety taskforce.  Review Schmid et al. (2007) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18770851) about cell sorting and for all grants, make sure to have a letter from the institutional biosafety officer.
 
2. Who are your major users?

The major users are the reason for submitting the grant in the first place.  Three users are needed with P01, R01, U01, R35, R37, DPI or DP2 level funding and can have a max of 8-10. While NIH allows up to 6 pages, the reviewers will appreciate fewer pages that are focused on the critical components.  Work with the major users so that they highlight what their research is, what the limitations of the current technology is and how the new instrument will enhance or speed up the research.  Don’t forget that for each accessory, list 3 users who need it – and they should spell out why they need the accessory.
 
3. What are you asking for?

Make sure of the capabilities of the instrument are you’re asking for, and that the Major users do as well.  Don't  foul they grant by having a Major user highlighting what the instrument can’t do (talking about sorting on an analytical instrument).  And don't use 'FACS' as a short cut for flow cytometry.  FACS is the BD trademark, but has crept into the modern lexicon.  When I see it I assume that they're too confused about the instruments to be taken seriously.
 
4. Do you have institutional support?

This is a critical part of the grant that often gets buried in Dean grant speak.  Historical support is good to highlight, but that doesn't guarantee future support.  Get a firm commitment for future support – be it service contract, a technician, space etc.  Better yet, get some of each. 
 
5. What is your facility's budget and administrative situation?

In preparing the administrative and budget sections, highlight the skills in the facility.  Which people can help with the new instrument?  What is the training program like?  How to deal with the data?  All these are questions that need concrete answers.  

With the budget, prepare a one year detailed budget for the integration of the new instrument, with a five year projected budget.  Show long-term thought on how the new instrument will integrate into the facility. 

 

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