Epi Project Competition Application
 [To receive updates and informative guidance for the competition, prospective competitors should send an email to epicompetition@shea-online.org to be added to the distribution list.]

The SHEA Research Committee is seeking bright and dedicated early investigators in the field of healthcare epidemiology research. The Epi Project Competition will award up to $20,000 in grants for winning proposals for research to develop pilot data that supports the conduct of a future larger scale research project, and the likelihood that a future project would attract additional funding support. Winning proposals are those that generate pilot data that can shape our understanding of transmission of healthcare-associated infections and identify the best prevention methods and implementation science.

Prospective investigators should make note of the following milestones:

  • Proposals Acceptance Period      December 17 through January 28
  • Proposal Submissions Due            January 28                         
  • Finalists Announced                       March 1
  • Epi Project Competition                April 25

Eligibility: Grant funding is available for early investigators with a MPH, PhD, PharmD, MD or similar degree, have completed their training, and are within 5 years of completion of training. This funding is awarded to applicants who submit proposals that demonstrate new and novel healthcare epidemiology pilot research that aligns with SHEA’s research priorities. Participants must be registered for and plan to attend the annual SHEA Spring Conference at the time of submission by the deadline for proposal submissions.

Funding:  Each year SHEA expects to fund up to $20,000 in Epi Project Competition grant awards. Projects are supported for one year.  Individual awards will not exceed $20,000 per year.  Judges have the option to award multiple grants to multiple winners of the competition if more than one novel proposal meets or exceeds the expectations of the competition, and the combined budgets fall within the $20,000 award limit. The grant is administered by SHEA with no indirect costs available to the grantee department/division.  Funds are generally not made available for the applicant’s salary or for major equipment purchases.

Review criteria:  The primary criterion for evaluation of applications is the likelihood that the studies proposed will generate pilot data answering an important question that supports the conduct of larger scale studies or applications for future funding relevant to preventing healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance.  Approaches that involve lab-based research projects, clinical research, social and behavioral questions, and problems in health policy are equally likely to be considered for funding.  In addition to scientific merit, we will also consider several other secondary criteria in making awards, including whether the research is likely to provide pilot data that may result in the submission of a later application for extramural research support, whether the project is highly relevant to the problems in epidemiology and whether support is likely to be valuable to the applicant in developing a career as an epidemiologist.  Most, but not all, awards typically go to faculty members who have not yet reached the rank of associate professor.  Proposals may involve lab-based microbial epidemiology projects, clinical epidemiology, testing of pilot interventions or health outcomes research.

A panel of reviewers will evaluate and score all proposals received by the deadline. Panel reviewers will score based on standard NIH criteria. Finalists for the competition will be announced approximately six weeks after the closing date of the submission deadline. Reviewers may select up to five finalists to advance to the live competition at SHEA Spring Conference. Finalists selected to advance to the competition will receive a $1,500 stipend to assist with conference registration and travel expenses. Finalists must deliver a 3-5 minute oral presentation, which will be scored by a secret panel of judges. Winner(s) will be selected and announced based on the combined proposal submissions and oral presentation scores. Although use of the SHEA Research Network is strongly encouraged, eligible proposals are no longer required to use of the Network for their studies.

Interactions with reviewers: Applicants may make use of resources and mentorship provided by the SHEA Research Committee.  Participants may submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) not to exceed 300 words, for the purpose of seeking consultation on the feasibility of the submitter’s full proposal and research methods development. Submitters should include in their LOI specific questions for reviewer feedback. LOIs must be submitted to epicompetition@shea-online.org for consideration by January 2, 2019.

The SHEA Research Committee will host and record a webinar designed to inform prospective applicants of the requirements of the program and to answer any questions about proposal and eligibility criteria. The webinar will be recorded and available for download in SHEA's LearningCE online education center. To speak with someone about this competition or the Research Scholar Award program, contact Lynne Batshon at lbatshon@shea-online.org. 

Application Procedure:  Final proposals in the form of a PDF or Word DOC file, and financial support information must be submitted to epicompetition@shea-online.org by a date to be determined each year. Eligible proposals must include the following information:

  1. Applicant biographical sketch: brief description of the investigator’s qualifications to accomplish the work.
  2. Mentor biographical sketch
  3. Project name
  4. Specific aims and hypothesis or hypotheses (limit to 1 page)
  5. Proposal Sections (limited to 5 pages total)
    •  Background and significance of the project
    • Description of research design, methods, analytic plan, and preliminary results (if any) not to exceed 750 words.
    • Brief description of the environment (including mentors) where work will be done
    •  Research plan for how the pilot data will be used for future projects
    • A budget estimating the costs to carry out the project. The budget must not exceed $20,000 with a brief justification of the line items included. Must not exceed 2 pages.

How are winners selected?

  • All applications will be reviewed for scientific merit by at least two reviewers with expertise in a proposed area of inquiry.  Review of applications will be evaluated based on alignment with SHEA’s Research Agenda, use of SHEA Research Network if applicable, independence of the investigator, project feasibility and the likelihood for funding of a future follow on project.  Applicants will be notified of the finalists by a date to be determined prior to the SHEA Spring Conference.
  • Reviewers will evaluate and score all proposals based on NIH criteria received by the deadline. Reviewers may select up to five finalists to advance to the live competition at SHEA Spring 2019.
  • Finalists selected to advance to the SHEA Spring 2019 competition will receive a $1,500 stipend to assist with conference registration and travel expenses.
  • Finalists must deliver a 3-5 minute oral presentation of their proposal at SHEA Spring 2019 which will be scored by an anonymous panel of judges.
  • Winner(s) will be selected and announced based on the combined proposal submissions and oral presentation scores.
  • Judges have the option of awarding multiple grants to multiple winners of the competition if more than one novel proposal meets or exceeds the expectations of the competition, and the combined budgets fall within the $20,000 award limit.
  • Although use of the SHEA Research Network is strongly encouraged, eligible proposals are not required to use the SRN for their studies.

To speak with someone about the Epi Project Competition contact Lynne Batshon at epicompetition@shea-online.org.