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Request for Proposals

COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund

After the research ramp-down began in March 2020, many Purdue researchers experienced delays, disruptions, or cancellations of research projects directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has been particularly severe for research projects that involved human subjects, field work, international travel, longitudinal studies, and other similar activities, with investigators losing opportunities to collect critical samples or data required to complete proposed work. These projects would benefit greatly from additional funding to offset new payroll costs and/or other pandemic-related expenses to restart the research and/or to complete the proposed work.

To address this challenge, the Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships (EVPRP) and the Provost have created the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund to make limited one-time funding available to Purdue principal investigators (PIs) who experienced the greatest negative impact on long-term research outcomes. The Fund combines resources from the EVPRP Bridge Program, the Provost Research Refresh Program, and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).

The portion of the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund from institutional funds—up to $650K—can be used to support any reasonable category of lost revenue associated with the COVID-19 pandemic except capital equipment. In contrast, as specified in the CRRSAA, the portion from HEERF—up to $1.5M—will be limited to lost revenue that can be directly attributed to lost compensation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

This Request for Proposals (RFP) outlines the criteria and process for PIs to submit competitive proposals for up to $25,000 from the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund. A proposal can request funds for any reasonable category of lost revenue, but preference will be given to lost compensation because of the larger amount of support available from the HEERF. To meet the HEERF guidelines, all funds awarded from the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund must be fully expended by April 30, 2022.

Eligibility Information

Any Purdue principal investigator (PI), including tenure-track, tenured, research, and clinical faculty members, with sponsored research and/or start-up funded research who experienced lost revenue attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic is eligible to apply. Research projects must have been active between March 15, 2020 and June 30, 2021. A PI can only receive one award from the Fund.

Proposal Preparation Instructions

Successful proposals must clearly and concisely document the significant impact of lost revenue directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic on both project-level and long-term research outcomes, including, but not limited to, an inability to meet project goals, aims, and deliverables; lost publication and engagement opportunities; significant delays in Ph.D. student graduation; and/or reduced competitiveness for future external funding. Strong preference will be given to requests that involved human subjects, field work, international travel, longitudinal studies, or other related activities. To meet the HEERF eligibility guidelines, successful proposals must also document the applicable revenue loss using data from Purdue’s COVID-19 Impact Application; communication with agency or industry sponsors; Purdue financial records; and/or other records of the loss.

Examples of Applicable COVID-19 Revenue Loss

Several examples of applicable COVID-19 revenue loss scenarios along with a justification of eligibility for HEERF are provided below to assist eligible researchers complete their proposal application.

Example 1: All human subject activity on an NIH-funded R01 research grant with an end date of July 31, 2021 was suspended from March 15, 2020 through July 30, 2020 until safety protocols and safe lab procedures would allow face-to-face interactions and human subject interviews to resume. During this time, the salary, fringe benefits, and fee remits of two graduate students were charged at their pre-COVID levels to the grant, and the graduate students focused on analyzing and reporting on previously collected data. Data from the human subject activities, at present, is incomplete and remains essential to the original specific research aims and deliverables of the grant. Although a No Cost Extension (NCE) was granted by the NIH program manager, insufficient funding remains in grant account to complete the final interviews, data collection, and analysis. The results of the last study are required to publish the work in a high-quality peer reviewed journal and to successfully compete for an NIH renewal. The request of salary, fringe benefits, and fee remits in the amount of $25,000 to support one 0.5 FTE graduate student for up to four months during the Fall and Spring 21-22 AY to complete the study is a HEERF eligible revenue loss that can be supported by the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund.

Example 2: A grant from the Geosciences directorate at NSF with an end date of July 31, 2021 required the collection of a final set of rock and regolith samples in Alaska during the months of June and July 2020, followed by the use of the Argonne beamline to characterize the samples to complete the proposed work. During this time, the salary, fringe benefits and fee remits of one post doc and one graduate student where charged at their pre-COVID levels to the grant, and the researchers focused on analyzing and reporting on previously collected data. The travel restrictions due to COVID-19 prevented the collection of samples in 2020, and the beamline scheduling is delayed because of the extended closure during 2020. The NSF program manager approved a NCE and the final set of samples were collected during summer 2021 using the NSF grant funding. The graduate student completed her Ph.D. research using previously collected samples and data analysis during the COVID-19 research ramp down and graduated in May 2021. Insufficient funds remain to support the postdoc to perform the measurements at the beamline and analyze the data needed to meet the goals of the funded project, publish the work, and renew the grant. The request of salary and fringe benefits in the amount of $20,250 for one postdoc for up to three months to complete the work is a HEERF eligible revenue loss. The request of $4,000 to support Purdue core facility and community cluster use is not a HEERF eligible revenue loss, but can be supported using Purdue’s institutional funding. Therefore, this award will be funded using both HEERF and institutional components of the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund.

Example 3: A faculty member that conducts bionutrition research was using start-up funds to support an IRB-approved clinical study with registered participants that was intended to provide preliminary data that would enhance the competitiveness of a planned NIH proposal submission. The start-up funds were being used to support one graduate student and all of the associated participant and laboratory costs to run the study in Purdue’s Clinical Research Center. The bionutrition study was postponed until COVID-19 restrictions on engaging human subject participants were lifted. During the restrictions, the faculty member continued to charge the pre-COVID salary, fringe benefits, and fee remits of the graduate student to her start-up account even though the required experiments and analysis were suspended. The request of salary, fringe benefits, and fee remits in the amount of $25,000 to support one 0.5 FTE graduate student for up to four months during the Fall and Spring 21-22 AY to complete the study is a HEERF eligible revenue loss that can be supported by the COVID-19 Research Disruption Fund.

Proposal Guidelines

To facilitate the review process, all applications must complete each section, in the order specified below, within the maximum word count. Noncompliant applications will be returned without review.

Cover Page (1 page)

  • Date Submitted
  • PI Name and PU ID
  • Email Address
  • College, if applicable
  • School/Department/Other Research Unit
  • Total COVID-19 Disruption Funding Requested
    • HEERF Eligible Amount
    • Non-HEERF Eligible Amount

Eligible Research Project #1

The following sections should be repeated for each eligible research project in the application.

Project Information and Funding Request (1 page)

  • Project Sponsor or Purdue Start-up
  • Project Title
  • Project Period, Start and End Date
  • No Cost Extension, Start and End Date, if applicable
  • Project Supplement, Start and End Date, if applicable
  • Total Project Funding Amount, including Supplemental Funding
  • Purdue Account Number
  • Total COVID-19 Disruption Funding Requested
    • HEERF Eligible Amount
    • Non-HEERF Eligible Amount

Project Summary and COVID-19 Impact Justification (see word limits for each section)

  • Project Abstract, as proposed (< 250 words)
  • Project Outcomes, e.g., Goals, Specific Aims, Deliverables, as proposed (< 250 words)
  • Project Outcomes Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic (< 500 words)

    Clearly and concisely explain how delays, disruptions, or cancellations directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on the project outcomes. Describe why it is not possible to close the gap created by the pandemic during the remainder of the project performance period.

  • Long-Term Outcomes Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic (< 250 words)

    Building on the discussion in the prior session, clearly and concisely explain how delays, disruptions, or cancellations directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic on this project will also have a significant negative impact on long-term research outcomes, researcher career success, or other related items.

  • Funding Request for Eligible COVID-19 Revenue Loss (< 250 words)

    Provide the specific funding request, e.g., line item detail for salary, fringes, fee remits and other budgetary lines, along with a clear and concise justification of why the lost revenue can be directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Describe how the awarded funds, which must be fully expended by April 30. 2022, will be used to close the gap or remedy the impact of the delay, disruption or cancellation.

    Note that a Sponsored Program Services (SPS)-created budget is not required with this submission. Supporting information and documents from Purdue’s COVID-19 Impact Application, communication with agency or industry sponsors, Purdue financial records and/or other related records of the loss will not be counted in the 250-word limit for this section.

NSF or NIH Style Biography (2 pages)

Current and Pending (no page limit)

  • Include all active internal and externally sponsored program awards with sponsoring unit, investigators, title, and amount.

Proposal Review Criteria

Successful applications must provide clear and compelling evidence that delays, disruptions, and cancellations directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in:

  • Gaps that cannot be closed with available project funds, including inability to complete major goals, aims, and/or deliverables on active project(s) and significant negative impacts on long-term research outcomes and career progression due to lost publications, delays in Ph.D. student graduation, competitiveness for future competitive external funding, etc.;
  • Well-documented evidence that PI efforts to close the gaps with available sources of support were insufficient to address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on project deliverables, long-term research outcomes and/or career progression; and
  • A well-justified plan to use funds that meet applicable COVID-19 revenue loss criteria to close the gap on project deliverables, long-term research outcomes, and career progression.

The proposals will be evaluated against the stated review criteria by a cross-cutting group of Purdue research and financial leaders. The review team may contact the applicants for additional information related to the funding request and applicability to COVID-19 revenue loss.

Proposal Deadline and Submission Process

Proposals submitted to this RFP will be evaluated for responsiveness to the technical and financial review criteria in three groups. The first group will include all applications received by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 1, 2021, the second group will include all applications received between September 2, 2021 and 11:59 p.m. ET on September 8, 2021, and the third group will include all applications received between September 9, 2021 and 11:59 p.m. ET on September 15, 2021. The review team will provide feedback on the status of the application within two weeks of the proposal review date.

Applications should be submitted by e-mailing a single PDF file to PurdueResearch@purdue.edu with the subject line: Last Name - Application: COVID-19 Disruption Fund. To assist with your proposal preparation, dedicated research administrators have been assigned to address detailed questions you may have regarding the applicability of COVID-19 revenue losses. Please send all inquiries and questions to the same e-mail address, and your inquiry will be answered within 48 hours after receipt.

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