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Submission Guidelines for Pilot and Voucher Proposals

The University of Southern California and Buck Institute Nathan Shock Center is accepting applications for Pilot Research Projects and Vouchers for Core Services in the biology of aging on a rolling basis.

  • Core Vouchers are available for a single assay/technology service.
  • Pilot Projects extend larger support and typically utilize multiple assays or core services.
  • Mini-sabbaticals provide opportunities to visit in-person and learn technologies hands-on and establish collaborations with faculty experts.

Applicants should visit for a list of available assays, technologies, and services.

If substantial optimization is required prior to the start of the project, this should be considered by the applicant prior to proposal submission.

Prior consultation with core directors is required.

Applications from outside the University of Southern California and the Buck Institute are strongly encouraged.

Junior faculty members are particularly encouraged to apply for Pilot Projects. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows cannot serve as Principal Investigators for pilot projects but may receive vouchers for core services with the support of a faculty sponsor.

Please submit a Letter of Intent prior to submitting a full application. Once your Letter of Intent is reviewed you will be notified if you are invited to move forward.

Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Submit a Proposal

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    Letters of Intent

    In a brief description of the project, please tell us the following (1 page maximum):

    • whether you are applying for a pilot project (>$10,000 – complex sets of experiments) a core voucher (<$10,000 for assistance with one technology), or mini-sabbatical (travel support to visit USC or the Buck to work with a faculty member and receive hands-on training);
    • The scientific foundation of your proposal that is supported through the scientific literature and/or preliminary data
    • what core/faculty from which you require assistance
    • why/how this project will accelerate your geroscience research
    • where you are in your career/field

    Following the submission of an LOI, applicants will be invited for a conversation with the relevant Core Leader(s).

    Full Applications

    Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis.

    1. Proposal Face Page (1-page maximum)
    Please provide the following information:

    • Proposal title
    • PI/PIs — name, degree, position, department/unit
    • Other Key personnel — name, degree, position, department/unit
    • Proposal Abstract (30 lines maximum)

    You may use the provided proposal face page signed by an official at applicant’s institution, or use NIH PHS 398 Face Page signed by an official at applicant’s institution.

    2. Proposal Approach (3-page maximum)

    • Specific aims (Hypothesis, Endpoints)
    • Research project: Brief intro and preliminary data
    • Research proposal
    • Impact/significance to field

    3. Biosketches

    4. References
    (1 page maximum of relevant bibliographic references)

    5. Budget and justification, submitted in NIH format

    Funding Decisions will be announced by June 1, 2022.