Feasibility pilot program

About

MHRN annually funds one or more small projects that provide pilot data for or assess the feasibility of future research. Pilot projects may include analyses of existing records data; for example, more complex analyses than are possible with MHRN’s routine descriptive analyses. These projects may also include new data collection that can be accomplished within a small budget.  

Approximately $40,000 in pilot funding is available in each budget year (July 1 – June 30.) There is no specific dollar amount per pilot. Pilot projects must be completed within the year they are funded.

Descriptions of funded pilots may be viewed in this link:

https://airtable.com/shrnwWsINtei54M3y

Submission and review timeline

We anticipate the following submission and review timeline for pilot projects to be conducted during Year 4 (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023):

  • March 2022 – First call for proposals
  • May 2022 – First consideration/decision by steering committee
  • July 2022 – Earliest “spending” date

Proposal submission process

Investigators are highly encouraged to consult early with Greg Simon (Gregory.E.Simon@kp.org) about the feasibility of the research question.

Pilot proposals should be approximately one page in length and should include:

  • Background
  • Research questions
  • Methods
  • Planned products
  • Sites involved
  • Budget needed

Detailed budget paperwork is not needed at the proposal stage, but it is necessary to provide a budget estimate, since the Steering Committee would approve up to that amount.

Proposals should be submitted to Greg Simon (Gregory.E.Simon@kp.org).

Review process

Proposals will be reviewed by the MHRN Steering Committee as they are submitted, i.e., first-come, first-served. The Steering Committee will discuss each proposal, may recommend revisions, and will vote on whether proposals should be approved for funding.

Funding process

KPWHRI will issue funds to sites involved in pilot projects by amending existing MHRN subcontracts or executing new subcontracts with institutions not previously involved. Pilot projects must be completed within the year they are funded; therefore, institutions must be willing to approve starting work prior to full execution of a subcontract.

Tips for successful start-up

Pilot awardees should make every effort to start work early enough to complete it within the year the funds are awarded. Following are some tips to avoid delays in start-up.

Ensure availability of key staff. Awardee teams should ensure that key staff (investigators, analysts, etc.) are available to complete the work within the timeline.

Prepare detailed budgets. While detailed budget paperwork is not needed at the proposal stage, awardee teams should be prepared to submit detailed budgets up to the approved amount as soon as possible after the pilot is approved for funding.

Approve pre-spending. Awardee institutions must be willing to approve pre-spending so that teams can start work prior to full execution of a new subcontract or subcontract amendment. For example, pilots awarded in Year 4 (July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023) must be completed by the end of June 2023. However, it’s unlikely that subcontracts could be fully executed any earlier than December 2022. Pilot teams will probably need to start work earlier than December.

Accept approved subcontract template. Institutions that are new to MHRN or HCSRN must accept the pre-negotiated HCSRN subcontract template. Negotiations will delay subcontract execution.

Obtain IRB approval. Awardee teams should begin the IRB review process as soon as possible after the pilot is approved for funding, especially if the pilot work is not covered by the existing MHRN infrastructure IRB approval.  Multi-site teams are highly encouraged to use established HCSRN inter-institutional agreements and ceding/relying processes.

Use standard data agreement template. Awardee institutions must accept one of the pre-negotiated HCSRN DUA templates. Negotiations will delay DUA execution. Awardee teams are highly encouraged to use the HCSRN reciprocal DUA template so that all sites can participate in analyses.