Student-Initiated Research Projects Program

Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)

2022 FOA Links

  • Bioinformatics Pilot Project Program (BIPP)

  • Developmental Research Project Program (DRP)

  • Student-Initiated Research Project Program (SIRP)


Click here to submit Letter of Intent

The South Carolina IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) and the SC INBRE Bioinformatics Core solicits applications for the Student-initiated Research Project (SIRP) program. This program is designed to enrich the academic experience of students and to better prepare future generations of researchers, investigators, and entrepreneurs throughout the SC INBRE network. SIRP applications must apply bioinformatics tools to biomedical research questions. The project should include acquisition and/or computational analyses of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and/or health data. The project must fit within the broad scientific focus areas of SC INBRE: Biochemistry/Cell and Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Bio/Biomedical Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, Neuroscience.

Up to five new SIRP awards will be made throughout the state. SIRP awards support bioinformatics training for undergraduate or graduate students.

Important Dates

  • Release Date: January 25, 2021

  • NEW this year – Deadline for Letter of Intent: March 4, 2022, 5 pm ET

  • Deadline for submission: April 4, 2022, 5 pm ET

  • Period of performance: Sept 1, 2022 through Aug 31, 2023

Award amounts and number of anticipated awards

Up to five awards of $3,000 each will be awarded

Utilization of Core Facilities

If core facility support is required, projects should propose to work with one of the following INBRE-supported facilities:

    • Computational, Data Storage and Analysis Facility at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Homayoun Valafar, Director (Email, 803-777-2404).

    • NMR facility at Claflin University, Dr. Muthukrishna Raja, Director (Email, 803-535-5536)

    • Microarray Facility at the University of South Carolina, Dr. Diego Altomare, Lab Manager (Email, 803-777-6682)

    • Proteogenomics Core Facility at the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Jeremy Barth, Director (Email, 843-792-9984)

    • Instrumentation Resource Facility at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. Bob Price, Director (Email, 803-733-3392)

If utilizing the services of a core facility, applicants must work with facility directors to plan the proposed experiments. A letter of support from the chosen facility’s Director, or a quote if using a commercial facility, must be included in the proposal.

If the technical services required by the project cannot be provided by any of the listed facilities, or the project is based upon existing collaborations that involve the use of other resources, it is acceptable to use other service providers, in or outside South Carolina, but a justification must be provided.


SIRP proposals are solicited from currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students at institutions of higher education in the SC INBRE network who have not previously held a SIRP award.

**Only one proposal per funding period will be accepted from any student. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Although more than one application can be submitted per lab per funding period, the projects submitted by students with the same faculty mentor must be distinct projects. Two students working as a team on the same project under the same mentor can apply together for a single SIRP award although the award amount will remain the same.

Proposal Preparation Instructions

The application package can be downloaded from the SC INBRE website ( in a fillable, pdf format. All forms must be completed according to the published guidelines found on the SC INBRE website. Each package includes the following:

  • Face Page: This page must be filled out in its entirety

  • Project Summary/Performance site/Key personnel: Fill out all components.

  • Biographical Sketch of PI (student applicant) (NIH-format)

  • Biographical Sketch of Faculty Mentor (NIH format)

  • Budget Page: Enter total costs; cannot exceed $3,000

  • Budget Justification:

    • Allowable costs include personnel; supplies; travel; equipment; and other costs as allowed on NIH research project grant budgets. Indirect costs are not allowed.

  • Project Description (3 pages): Proposals must be prepared with 0.5” margins all around, using Arial (or similar sans serif font; font size no smaller than 11pt) and subdivided into sections indicated below (page limits are noted):

    • Background

    • Research questions/hypothesis

    • Project goals/objectives

    • Project impact/significance

    • Project design/research plan

    • Timeline for completing project

    • Anticipated results

    • Plan to disseminate results

    • Literature cited: one page (not included in page limit)

  • Mentoring plan for student applicant (Mentor-collaboration form, up to 3 pages). Explain how the mentor will work with the applicant to develop the students’ research and intellectual skills and help them mature as scientists. Make sure to include opportunities for training in lab safety and responsible conduct of research in the plans for student training

  • Human Subjects. Projects involving human subjects must already have IRB approval at the time of DRP proposal application. This includes projects that are deemed to be exempt by their institutions. Human subject research must complete the appropriate required forms (add link to John’s forms). Applications with human subjects that do not have prior IRB approval will not be reviewed. If research involves human subjects, discuss the use of human subjects as required in NIH grant applications. Provide PHS Inclusion Enrollment report, a certificate of training in HS research for the PI, and a letter of IRB approval for the project. No activities involving human subjects can be initiated without appropriate IRB approval of the protocol.

  • Vertebrate Animals (1 page). If the project involves vertebrate animals, provide the following: 1) a description of procedures; 2) justification for model used; 3) address minimization of pain and distress; and 4) method of euthanasia according to NIH guidelines (see for additional information). Research involving vertebrate animals must be approved by the IACUC before work on the project can begin. Note: Submit your animal protocol for approval while you are preparing your SIRP application.

  • Biosafety (if applicable). Discuss the biosafety aspects of the proposed work and, if necessary, file for approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee as you prepare your proposal to SC INBRE. If there are no biohazards, please state so.


Applications will be reviewed by the SC INBRE Administrative Core personnel to determine responsiveness to the FOA, eligibility of the applicant, completeness of the application, and information regarding human subjects and vertebrate animals. Applications deemed incomplete, ineligible, or not responsive will be returned to the applicants.

All proposals that meet the eligibility requirements and guidelines will be independently evaluated by SC INBRE’s Scientific Review Committee. A competitive proposal will describe a focused set of experiments that require bioinformatics methods of data analysis and will provide the applicant with training in bioinformatics tools and approaches. Reviewers will apply the following review criteria:

    • Scientific merit of the proposed project; the project must be related to Biomedical Science

    • Clarity of explanation

    • Overall strength of collaboration between mentor and applicant

    • Qualifications of project personnel

    • Quality of proposed training plans for students

Final decisions on funding will be made by the SC INBRE External Advisory Committee and NIGMS.

Awards and Reporting Requirements

All applicants will receive a notice of award/declination and copies of the reviewers’ comments via email. Award recipients are required to provide the SC INBRE Administrative Core with project data for evaluation and reporting purposes, as follows:

  1. SIRP award recipients are expected to present their results at the annual SC INBRE Scientific Symposium.

  2. A comprehensive final report is due 30 days after the end date of the award.

  3. All publications, resulting even in part from work supported by SC INBRE, must acknowledge SC INBRE support and a PMCID must be obtained for each publication in a timely fashion. PMCID information must be provided to the SC INBRE administrative staff as soon as available.

  4. SIRP award recipients (both mentor and student) are expected to obtain an NIH Commons ID if funded.

After the expiration date of each award, SC INBRE will continue to contact awardees for outcome-related data such as post-baccalaureate educational plans and job placement.

Application Submission Instructions and Contact Information

Letters of Intent to submit a SIRP application must be submitted as a pdf file to the link by 5 pm ET on March 4, 2022. Letters should include the title and short description of the project and is limited to 4 sentences total.

Completed SIRP applications, including required signatures on the Face page, must be submitted as a single pdf file no later than 5 pm on the deadline by email to John Clarkson.

If you have any questions relating to this FOA, please contact John Clarkson, email.