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This is a one-year pilot award for junior faculty at smaller training programs with a mentoring component.

Award Amount: UP TO $35,000 (one-year award)
Award Period/Length of Award: July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022

Grant Overview

The ACG Institute for Clinical Research and Education and the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) are proud to support smaller programs pilot projects of up to $35,000 to encourage clinical research among junior faculty, to be funded from July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. Smaller Programs Clinical Research Awards (CRA) do not require previous work or preliminary data, and do not cover randomized controlled trials. This award supports junior faculty at smaller institutions and is only available to ACG members.

All applications must be submitted online. The grant site will open to submissions in early September 2020, and close on Friday, December 4, 2020, at 11:59pm (Eastern time).

The goal of the Smaller Programs Clinical Research Award is to make the promise of a research career more broadly available by targeting investigators at smaller training programs, and encouraging junior faculty to pursue a research career and to remain in academics at these institutions.

This grant is designed to support research that is principally focused on digestive or liver diseases. The patient population or disease target should be principally related to the gastrointestinal tract, liver, biliary system, pancreas, or neuroenteric science, including any translational, clinical, social science, or health services research studies that pertain to managing such patients or conditions. For example, a study about microbiota would be appropriate if it pertains to a digestive disease. In contrast, a study that is principally about HIV would likely not be appropriate unless it directly relates to how HIV affects digestive health. (For questions on study relevancy, contact the grant administrator at Since its inception in 1994, the ACG Institute has provided over $22 Million in funding for Clinical Research Awards to over 660 recipients.

A key mission of the ACG and its Institute for Clinical Research and Education is to fund innovative patient-oriented research awards. For the purposes of these awards, patient-oriented research is defined as:

  1. Research conducted with human subjects
  2. Research on new diagnostic and therapeutic interventions
  3. Research on material of human origin, such as tissues and specimens While research that explores mechanisms of human disease is highly encouraged, the research projects should be translational in nature; i.e., have direct applicability to clinical care.
    Note: Studies involving animals will not be considered unless the work cannot be done in humans.
The ACG Clinical Research Awards are a project of the ACG Institute and are supported by charitable contributions to the G.U.T. Fund.


Applicants must meet all the following criteria:

The following are not eligible for this award:

*Important! Please note that you must be an ACG member to apply for this grant. All member applications must be submitted by September 25, 2020 in order to be eligible for review at the October Credentials Committee meeting, which is the last opportunity to be approved for full membership prior to the grant application deadline. To Join ACG, click here. For questions on ACG membership, please email or call 301-263-9000.

**Qualifying Academic Institutions—those with 15 or fewer full-time academic Faculty—Full Time Employees (FTEs) in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Sections throughout the healthcare system (Pediatric programs with 7 or fewer FTEs within the Pediatric department may apply). All faculty within the system count, even if located at different hospitals (e.g., a potential applicant from an academic institution with six faculty at the VA and 10 at a university hospital would be ineligible for the program.) The academic institution is defined as an institution that includes all the sites listed in the ACGME application for the site’s fellowship program, or for sites without a fellowship program, all facilities where any faculty member in gastroenterology or hepatology works.

Preparing the Research Proposal

A complete application consists of two separate components:

  1. A single Adobe PDF document comprising (but not limited to) the following: research proposal (limited to 5 pages), budget, biosketches for principal investigators and others involved in the proposed research, other support details, IRB forms, COI statement (if applicable), and any letters of support from responsible investigator, or collaborators.
  2. Completion of required tasks via the online grant system: upload the completed research proposal PDF; provide confirmation of ACG membership; provide full contact information for all investigators; submit a 350-word abstract of the proposed research; indicate IRB approval status; list all investigators and any potential conflicts of interest. See “Submitting the Application” below for instructions and requirements.

Required elements for the full research proposal document (i.e., the PDF that will be uploaded to the online grant system):

A. FORMATTING—Format all pages with ½" margins and use a font no smaller than 11 point. All pages must include a page number in the left header. All pages must include the PI name and grant type in the right header, in the following format:

Last name, First name
Award Type

B. RE-SUBMISSIONS—The Committee requires applicants who have applied previously to provide additional information when resubmitting the application. For re-submissions, in addition to selecting “Yes” in the resubmission field of the online system, you must provide a cover letter responding to the reviewer’s critiques/outlining how you have updated your application. This should be included as the first section of your Research Proposal, as part of the PDF upload to the grant system. Limit to 2 pages.

C. RESEARCH PROPOSAL—Limit to 5 pages (excluding references). Outline the proposed research. This should include the following sections:

D. REFERENCES—Include a separate section for references. Be judicious in the use of references.

E. BUDGET AND JUSTIFICATION—Include a separate section for the budget (not included in the page limit). This should include a budget table listing each expense for the grant period, followed by a budget justification, a written explanation of each expense and how it supports the work of the proposal. Indicate how the funds will be allocated and justify each budget item, including facility fees if funds are requested for this purpose. The budget of $35,000 allows up to $30,000 in direct research costs. Additionally, ACG will provide up to $5,000 for support costs, which should be itemized and may include travel to work with the mentor (but no other travel), statistical consultation and secretarial support. Salary support will be provided for other personnel (research nurse, computer programmer) if adequately justified. Support will be provided for supplies and equipment. Costs not supported: major equipment acquisition; travel (other than mentoring-related travel described above) and manuscript preparation; indirect costs (i.e., university overhead); and salary support for principal investigators, co-investigators, and mentor.

F. INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD (IRB) STATUS—Include the IRB approval letter, or indicate if IRB approval is pending. If IRB approval is pending at the time of submission and the grant proposal is subsequently approved for funding, funds will not be released until the IRB approval letter is received by the ACG. If the proposal is requesting funds for reimbursement of human subjects, a copy of the IRB-approved consent form is required prior to funding as well.


H. BIOSKETCHES—Provide these for the principal investigator, mentor, and anyone critical to completion of the project. Use the NIH format and adhere to the NIH 5-page limit. (For sample format see the NIH webpage at

I. OTHER RESEARCH SUPPORT—List this information on separate pages. List the title, funding agency, total direct costs, dates, including expected dates of notification of pending applications for all current and pending funding for Principal Investigator, Mentor, and any co-investigators. (Use NIH format:

J. LETTERS OF SUPPORT—Provide a letter from the mentor about the candidate which also describes the mentoring plan and commitment to the academic development of the applicant. Provide letters from collaborators, such as those supplying patient referrals, or specialized expertise, if applicable. If you are a fellow-in-training, include a letter from your department that you will have a faculty/instructor appointment in July.

K. FACULTY ROSTER—Provide a current roster of academic FTEs in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology sections throughout the healthcare system of the principal investigator. See “qualifying academic institutions” above.

L. APPENDICES—May be included (if needed) for data collection forms. Do not use to expand Research Proposal.

Submitting the Application

All applications must be submitted online. The online grant application site will open in early September; a link to the site will be available at The submission deadline is Friday, December 4, 2020 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. This deadline will be strictly enforced, and no exceptions will be made.

Once you begin the online application process, you will be able to save your work and return to complete it until the submission deadline. As part of the online application process, applicants are required to provide information about others, such as institutional addresses and potential conflicts of interest for co-investigators, the responsible investigator, etc. We encourage applicants to gather all the necessary information early, and to not wait until the last minute.

The following tasks must be completed via the online grant system in order to successfully submit an application for grant consideration:

A. INDICATE PROPOSAL TITLE AND SELECT GRANT TYPE—The title should be concise and clearly reflect the proposed research. Select the “Smaller Programs Clinical Research Award” grant type. (Please note, the same project should not be submitted for multiple ACG grant types, and will not be considered if this occurs, i.e., do not submit the same proposal for the Smaller Programs Clinical Research Award and for the Clinical Research Award.)

B. ACG MEMBERSHIP VERIFICATION—You must provide your ACG member ID. To look up your member ID number, log into then click “My Contact Information” from the menu on the left. Member ID is listed below Date of Birth.

C. ADD INVESTIGATORS—List the PI, Co-Investigators, and Mentor. Enter their names, ACG member status (and year joined if available), titles, email address, role (PI, Co-investigator, Mentor), and institution names and addresses.

D. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR—Indicate agreement to abide by the grant requirements, if awarded grant funding. This must be signed by the Responsible Investigator if the PI is a fellow-in-training. The grant system will prompt you to select a responsible investigator, who will receive an email to complete this form.

E. INVESTIGATOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION—Provide PI’s position. Also state whether the PI is a trainee. Add the responsible investigator’s name, email, and state whether the principal investigator has an R01, P01, U01, VA Merit Award, or Hughes grant.

F. RESEARCH PROPOSAL ABSTRACT—Provide an abstract of no more than 350 words that summarizes the proposed research.

G. RE-SUBMISSIONS—For re-submissions, select “Yes” in the re-submission field of the online system.

H. IRB STATUS—Verify current IRB status.

I. RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL PDF UPLOAD—Format the file as required in the “Preparing the Research Proposal” section, including all required elements, and upload the file as directed. The file name should include the principal investigator’s first and last name.

J. CONFLICT OF INTEREST—A potential conflict of interest (COI) exists when research involves a device from which any investigator(s) or a company may benefit. It also exists when research involves a pharmaceutical agent that is not FDA-approved for any indication. A conflict of interest exists if any investigator holds or has submitted a patent on a device or pharmaceutical agent or is a major shareholder in a company involved in the research. If applicable, select “Yes” and include a detailed explanation within the grant system, including names of each investigator and their potential COIs.

Application Review Process

Immediately following the application submission period, all applications are reviewed and scored by the ACG Research Committee, following its standardized process. Each application is reviewed by 3 reviewers who will present on the grant at the Research Committee Grant Review meeting.

Reviewers consider the following when scoring applications: feasibility, scientific and clinical significance of the research proposal, as well as methods. In evaluating the merits of an application, the Committee will consider the following:

The same project should not be submitted for multiple grant types, and will not be considered if this occurs. If an individual submits more than one grant proposal, only one award can be made for a given Principal Investigator. If a given investigator submits both a pilot and a larger clinical research grant deemed worthy of funding, the larger grant will be funded.

Award Notification and Grant Requirements

Notification of Awards will be completed by April 1, 2021. Please do not contact ACG prior to this date to inquire about the status of your application.

Questions or Assistance

For any questions about grant requirements, please refer to the FAQs.

Prior grant application submitters must create a new login for the grant system each year, even if you have applied for an ACG grant previously.

Technical support questions about the online submission system: Contact CadmiumCD Technical Support using the Technical Support link on the upper right corner of the submission site’s screen, via email at, or via phone at (877) 426-6323.

For any questions not answered in the RFA or FAQs, or reporting questions, contact us via email at

Important Dates

September, 2020 Application submission period opens
September 25, 2020 ACG Membership application deadline (only for applications who are not ACG members—see the Eligibility Section for further details)
Friday, December 4, 2020 Application submission period closes (11:59 pm Eastern time)
By/before April 1, 2021 Award notifications are sent
July 1, 2021 Award period begins / disbursement check provided
December 31, 2022 Final report and financial statement are due