Informatics Voucher Program

Request for Funding Applications (RFA)

Overview

The Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Informatics Program seeks to support innovative and promising clinical and translational research projects that would benefit from informatics services through a new Informatics Voucher Program. Qualified projects include preliminary investigations or other small studies with clear objectives. Proposed projects must have an underlying research hypothesis and a defined plan and timeline for seeking future extramural funding for a follow-on study, publication of results in a peer-reviewed journal, and/or dissemination and implementation of findings through other relevant mechanisms. Tufts CTSI anticipates supporting three to four projects annually through the Voucher Program. The program is designed to benefit both new and established investigators and research teams with limited research funds. It prioritizes projects for which one of the major barriers to moving forward is informatics support. Eligible applicants include investigators working in any area of clinical and translational research. Proposals must designate a Principal Investigator (PI) with a primary appointment or position at a Tufts Medicine institution. Vouchers will provide up to 18 hours of qualifying, free informatics services per project. More information about informatics services can be found at the Tufts CTSI informatics webpage.

Request for Applications

Proposal Submission Support 

To accelerate the application process, we strongly encourage researchers interested in the Voucher Program to request a consultation with the informatics team prior to submitting an initial proposal. Consultations may be requested through the online service request form at the Tufts CTSI website.

Application Steps

Unless granted a Voucher Program Application Exemption from the Tufts CTSI Informatics Team by email, investigators must submit all required application information and accompanying materials using an online REDCap form. The Informatics Voucher Program submission form and application-specific templates are available here. Any information or documents required of investigators granted a Voucher Program Application Exemption will be communicated directly by the Informatics Team by email.

Application Requirements:

  • Project description (250 words or less)
  • Specific aims (½ page maximum)
  • Research strategy including: a description of the study rationale, the study analytic plan, and preliminary cohort discovery data relevant to proposed project (3 page maximum)
  • Study variables to be operationalized, including anticipated underlying clinical data, correlation rules among these data, and how they would be summarized (1 page maximum)
  • Description of informatics study support services needed (½ page maximum)
  • Chair/Chief Letter of Support/Commitment (2 pages maximum)
  • Research protocol, if available (optional)

Applicants will be contacted by a member of the informatics team within three business days of submitting their initial application to discuss the proposed project.

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Proposals must designate a PI with a primary appointment or position at a Tufts Medicine institution.
  2. No current extramural funding for the proposed project except for studies with very limited foundation or other non-profit funding.

Application Review Process and Selection Criteria

Scientific Review

Complete applications will be reviewed and rated using the 9-point rating scale (1=exceptional; 9 =poor). The review process will follow the NIH guidelines based on the following criteria:

  1. Relevance – ability to demonstrate a clear translational path and explicit relevance to improved health.
  2. Significance – quality and merit of the proposed research project.
  3. Innovation – potential for impact through development of novel solutions and processes.
  4. Investigator(s) – qualifications of the investigator/research team to carry out proposed research.
  5. Approach – scientific rigor of the proposed clinical or methodological design plan to meet proposed objectives and goals.
  6. Future Plans – clear articulation of next steps.
  7. Dissemination & Implementation – a plan for disseminating research results to relevant stakeholders to support future research or broader implementation.
  8. Open Science – demonstrated commitment to open science best practices.

Funding decision

Voucher awardees will be selected by the Informatics Leadership Team based on the proposal overall impact score and available resources. The program will prioritize projects for which the sole barrier to moving forward is funding for informatics support. New researchers will also be given priority.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their submission via email within three weeks of submitting final application documents including all revisions requested by the Tufts CTSI Informatics team.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure

All proposals will be deemed proprietary and confidential will be protected against any unauthorized use and any unauthorized or uncontrolled disclosure beyond Tufts CTSI and the Informatics Leadership Team.

Requirements Upon Proposal Selection

Institutional and Regulatory Approvals 

If a project involves human subjects as research participants, issuance of voucher will be contingent upon receipt of all necessary institutional approvals. If applicable, proof of exempt status determination must be provided.

Long-Term Outcomes Tracking

Voucher awarded are required to report study outcomes annually using an online tool for at least five (5) years after the in-kind support ends. Outcomes to be reported include, but are not limited to, professional presentations, published manuscripts, subsequent funding of applications and awards, research products and associated intellectual property protections, and activities to implement findings into clinical care or public health.

Citation Requirements 

All publications, projects, posters, patents, trademarks, or other tangible outcomes resulting from Tufts CTSI funding and services must cite Tufts CTSI and comply with the NIH Public Access Policy. Detailed guidelines for citations are available here.

Questions?

We are here to help. Please contact us at voucher@tuftsmedicine.org.