IN-SPIRE Grant Program

In -SOD Pilot Research (IN-SPIRE) Projects

Deadline: yearly, October 1, 12PM EST

Eligibility: at least 2 faculty-level co-applicants (= or > .5FTE) from 2 different SOD depts/divisions

Budget/Grant period: 12 months ($10K award); 12-24 months ($30K award)

Application: See Below

Please submit completed application to Ms. Judith Pennington at


The University of Maryland School of Dentistry is pleased to announce the first round of IN-SPIRE Grant competition for 2019-2020 to provide starter funds for projects specifically focused on exploratory, collaborative, interdisciplinary research that involve faculty from a minimum of two departments/divisions in the Schools of Dentistry as co-principal investigators (co-PIs). The awards aim to enable cross disciplinary projects with preference given to collaborative projects that combine basic and clinical research as well as early stage investigators.

Award winners will be announced in October 2019. The anticipated funding start date is November 1, 2019.

A. UMB SOD IN-SPIRE Funding Opportunities


This Request for Proposals provides 12/24 months of funding for two types of grants: 12-month/$10K (up to 3 awards); and 12 to 24-month/$30K (up to 3 awards).

  • $10K Grant
    Aims to stimulate collaborations among faculty of different depts/divisions of the School of Dentistry on exploratory projects.
  • $30K Grant
    Aims to support new or existing collaborations between School of Dentistry faculty that have high potential for future non-SOD funding. A planned application for external funding to continue/further develop the project must be clearly articulated in the proposal and is a key deliverable of this award.

B. Eligibility

  • Any 2 faculty members at the level of Research Associate, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor from the UMB School of Dentistry are eligible to apply as co-principal investigators for an IN-SPIRE Grant.
  • Faculty on the Instructor track are also encouraged to apply provided that a letter from the chair indicates support for the project and that appropriate resources (e.g., space) and time will be made available for the applicant to perform the research.
  • Individual co-PIs may submit only one proposal in response to this Request for Proposals, but can serve as a non-PI collaborator on other proposals.
  • Undergraduates, graduate students, dental and dental hygiene students, residents and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to apply as principal investigators, but may be team members on a proposal.
  • Eligible submissions must include specific milestones, with clear outcome endpoints, and a realistic timeline for completion within the 12/24 months funding period.
  • IN-SPIRE awards are not meant to be considered supplements to existing grants. We will consider an application to be used in conjunction with an existing grant if it shows the IN-SPIRE project could successfully leverage a new award or renewal.
  • ·PIs with previously-funded IN-SPIRE awards may apply for another IN-SPIRE grant as a co-PI. However, the application will be evaluated rigorously based on the success of the previous grant period.
  • Research projects submitted to a previous IN-SPIRE call for proposals but not selected for an award may be re-submitted. An accompanying cover letter should note how the current proposal differs from the original submission and how the reviewers’ comments are addressed.

C. Regulatory Requirements/Approvals

  • Animal Studies
    All grants that involve animal studies must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to initiating any animal research activities. All other required institutional approvals (e.g. Biosafety registrations, Radiation Safety registration, etc.) must be obtained prior to initiating any research activities for which the certification/registration/approval is required. While advance approval by these bodies is not a prerequisite for submission of an INSPIRE application, award funds will not be released until all approvals have been obtained.
  • Human Subjects Research
    All grants with projects involving human subjects research must obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval as well as satisfy other institutional requirements (e.g. Biosafety registrations, CITI training and HIPAA certification of staff, Clinical Engineering clearance of devices, Radiation Safety registration, etc.) prior to the release of grant funds.
  • Conflicts of Interest
    At the time of application, before funds are awarded, and throughout the project period, it is the responsibility of the awardee and all members of the study team to report any financial or fiduciary interests that might appear to present a conflict of interest. These interests must be reported to the IN-SPIRE committee and the Conflict of Interest Officer, UMB Research Integrity Office. The presence of a conflict of interest does not disqualify investigators from receiving this award but will require the review and management of this conflict by the Conflict of Interest Officer. The failure of any member of the study team to disclose all outside interests could result in the termination of this award and the disallowance of all study costs.

    More information about the UMB Conflict of Interest Policy, including examples of what constitutes an outside interest, may be found at the website (

D. Funding Restrictions

  • All grants
    • Allowable expenses: Research supplies, core services
    • Unallowable Expenses: salary support, travel and publication costs, administrative support, alterations or renovations of laboratory space, purchase of lab or office furniture, purchase of desktop or laptop computers, printers, copiers or scanners for personal use, purchase of periodicals or books, phone services and professional societies membership dues.
  • $30K grant only
    • Allowable expenses: New equipment or equipment rental; costs should be no more than 20% of the total budget
  • $10K grant only
    • Unallowable Expenses: Purchase or rental of equipment
  • Requests must be no more than $10,000 (1 yr) or $30,000 (12 to 24 months) in direct costs.
  • Indirect costs are not allowed for either type of grant.
  • Budget requests must be realistic and well-justified in the budget justification for the $30K award. No budget justification is required for the $10K grant.
  • Cost extensions may be approved on a case-by-case basis with strong justification for use of remaining funds at the end of the award period.
  • Where applicable, necessary regulatory approvals (e.g., IACUC, IRB) must be obtained prior to disbursement of funds.
  • All funded projects will be required to submit a yearly written progress report to the IN-SPIRE committee due within 30 days of the end of the award.
  • For $30K awards, an intermediate progress report is required 30 days before the end of year 1 of the grant, i.e. October 1. Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner can have significant implications for the project and may result in termination of funding .
  • Funds will be disbursed in one installment ($10K grant), or two installments ($30K grant), with the second installment contingent upon submission of a satisfactory progress report before the end of year 1.



Prepare each of the following sections and submit by e-mail to Ms. Judy Pennington at

  • Presentation and Formatting
    • Font should be either Arial or Times New Roman and no smaller than 11 points.
    • Margins should be at least 0.5 inches on all sides.
    • The name of the co-PIs should appear in the top right-hand corner of each page.
    • Line numbers (continuous) should appear on the right-hand side of each page.

A. Cover Letter (limited to 1 page)

Should include:

  • Title of IN-SPIRE Project
  • Whether application is for the $10K or $30K award and the length of the grant
  • Names, academic ranks, and appointments of the designated co-PIs
  • Describe respective roles of the co-PIs
  • Names of other key collaborators
  • Signature of co-PIs
  • Signatures of department chair/division head indicating support for submission

B. Abstract (limited to 20 lines of text)

The abstract is not included in the page limits of the Research Plan . The abstract should not contain proprietary confidential information .

The abstract should include:

  • A brief background of the project
  • The significance of the proposed research
  • The unique features, new collaborations, and innovation of the project
  • The methodology (action steps) to be used
  • Expected results

C. Research plan

  • The research plan must be no longer than 2 ($10K award) or 4 ($30K award) single-spaced page (including figures)
  • For both types of grant, the research plan should be comparable to an extended version of the specific aims section of an NIH grant application.

The research plan should accomplish the following: (not in any particular order)

  • orient the reviewers to understand the scientific basis for the project
  • highlight novel collaborations and highly innovative aspects of the project
  • identify hypotheses to be tested
  • indicate how the research will advance the field
  • succinctly describe methodology to convince reviewers of feasibility and validity
  • identify specific milestones highlighting goals to be attained
  • provide a 12/24-month timeline of the project, presented as a chart, or a short paragraph
  • identify anticipated problems and possible solutions, where applicable

D. Comprehensive budget/Detailed budget justification ($30K award only, 2 page maximum, not included in the page limits)

  • A comprehensive budget and budget justification are required and should include categories such as supplies, equipment and any other expenses required to complete the study. Categories in amounts less than $1,000 do not have to be itemized
  • If animals are to be purchased, state the species, number to be used, and cost per animal
  • If a human cohort is used, please indicate the number of participants and how the funds will be used
  • The budget MUST include an explanation of other funding sources that will be used to cover costs required by the project but not covered by IN-SPIRE funds.
  • Download a budget template here.

E. Biographical sketch information

  • A biographical sketch in NIH-format for the co-PI(s) (5-page limit). Form and sample biosketch are at
  • Biosketches are not needed for support staff, though you may include a brief statement about the role of each support staff and their qualifications.
  • Full “Other support” pages from co-PI(s).

F. Reference list of up to 1 page (not included in the page limits). References are format-neutral, but must be discoverable on Pubmed and at a minimum indicate title, year, journal, issue and page numbers, and authors. For authors, please use et al after the 3rd author.

G. Regulatory Approvals (IRB and IACUC; state whether projects have been submitted for review or include the determination or approval letter).


Applications will be evaluated and scored using the following 6 criteria:

  1. Scientific impact, novelty, and merit, including experimental design
  2. Feasibility of project completion within a 12/24-month period
  3. Appropriateness of the budget and budget justification ($30K award)
  4. The creation or potential for creation of collaborations between investigators
  5. The creation or potential for creation of collaborative research opportunities for early stage investigators
  6. The plans for submitting a grant application for external funding (30K award only).

The review committee is composed of representatives evenly from clinical and research departments. A major aim of the committee will be to ensure that the distribution of grant funds is well-balanced between projects with a stronger clinical component vs. those with a stronger basic research component.

Note that although the committee expects every application to adhere to the guidelines, there may circumstances that strongly justify departing from the guidelines. If the applicants feel very strongly that they should be granted an ‘exception’ to the guidelines (e.g., a budget item, a SOD external co-PI), they should make the case in their cover letter. Every such request will be evaluated on its merit, for instance, a significantly increased probability of future funding associated with it.


All publications, abstracts, poster presentations, and grant applications resulting from research supported by the IN-SPIRE Program should cite the University of Maryland School of Dentistry as a contributing source of support. Please include the following citation:

“We acknowledge the support of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry IN-SPIRE grant program”