In an exciting effort to continue to provide funding opportunities to the liver research community, AASLD Foundation is adding two new grant mechanisms to its already robust offerings of Research and Career Development Awards.
“Our primary goal is to fund as many meritorious grants as we can, to provide grant mechanisms that serve all of our AASLD constituency, and continually reassess our portfolio and come up novel award mechanisms where we identify unmet needs,” said Meena B. Bansal, MD, who is Chair of the AASLD Foundation Research Awards Committee.
As a recipient of an AASLD Foundation Research and Career Development Award herself, Dr. Bansal is particularly excited about the opportunities AASLD Foundation offers to AASLD members and to the liver research community as a whole.
“The receipt of the award for me was much more than the money; it was the vote of confidence and the support with the whole society behind me that gave me confidence in my career path as a physician scientist,” she said. “The money is critical, but it’s more than just the money that’s the purpose of these awards. It’s an investment that begets other investment. If the AASLD Foundation is behind you, others want to get behind you.”
Most of AASLD Foundation grants in the past have supported the research of junior investigators. However, Dr. Bansal noted that after surveys looking at the research needs of AASLD members were conducted, two new funding mechanisms have been added to the suite of grants offered.
The first is the new AASLD Foundation Bridge Award, which is available to researchers with a faculty appointment through the associate professor level and will support investigators who have recently submitted an NIH R or other federally-funded equivalent award and have received competitive scores on their proposal, but were not funded.
“The Bridge Award is for those investigators who have very compelling and competitive applications, but they just missed and with a little bit of additional effort and preliminary data can address the concerns of the reviewers, but they need funding to do that,” said Dr. Bansal.
The second new award, the Pilot Research Award, is also available to those through the associate professor level and is designed to support highly innovative research ideas that have a clear potential to produce high-impact results, but have little or no preliminary data to successfully compete for funding from other source.
“Say you have a fantastic novel idea, but you have no preliminary data. You just need a little bit of seed money to investigate that really high risk, but high yield idea to get some preliminary data so then you can compete for a larger award,” she explained.
Both awards are currently accepting proposals through December 1. To learn more, visit www.aasldfnd.org/awards.
“Without research we will not have advances. So, the Foundation and its awards committee are critical in ensuring that those great ideas get funded and can ultimately impact our patients with liver disease in positive way. We are certainly also in a time where government funding for research as a whole, and of course liver research as well, is diminishing, so it’s an opportunity to ensure that research that is so critical continues to happen,” said Dr. Bansal.