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Special Olympics Pilot Research

The UCI ICTS in conjunction with the Exercise Medicine & Sport Science Institute in partnership with the Special Olympics is pleased to announce a call for a Pilot Research Project focused on the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Program. This funding mechanism is aimed at promoting novel collaborations among at least two distinct UCI Schools and/or disciplines to further the mission of the Special Olympics. The UCI EMSSI will be offering two, 18 month awards in the amount of $25,000.

Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of ability or disability. Currently a preschool program has been developed to give the child athletes the opportunity to participate in athletic activities in the school environment. Young AthletesTM is a unique sport and play program developed by Special Olympics for children with intellectual disabilities (ID). The focus is on fun activities that are important to mental and physical growth.

Many children with ID also have physical challenges. Through Young Athletes, kids ages 2 to 7 enjoy games and activities that help them develop fundamental skills such as running, jumping, hopping, skipping, sliding, throwing and hand-eye coordination. As children improve strength and balance, they are more likely to become active and play with their peers, which helps with their cognitive development.


Eligible Projects

This call must have two Principal Investigators (PIs) from different disciplines at UCI.

PIs must be full time UCI faculty from any school or discipline; junior faculty are especially encouraged to apply, but established investigators pursuing novel research lines are also welcome.

Please note that before funds are actually released to awarded applications, all required approved IRB and/or IACUC documents must be in place.


Application Materials

  • Abstract

    A brief description of the research plan limited to 1 page with font no smaller than 11 points and 0.5 inch margins. Must include Specific Aims of the project
  • Biosketch of both PIs (new NIH format).
  • Research plan (5 pages max., plus references). Must include explanation of the following:
    • Why the project fits the definition of translational science
    • Detailed plan and timeline for future extramural fund application(s)
  • Home department letter of support, stating if there is an availability of matching funds.
  • Budget (itemized, 1 page maximum). Must clearly state the following:
    • Total budget for the project
    • Amount requested
    • Matching amount committed by Home Department (If available)
  • Budget Justification

    Funds cannot be used to support the PI’s salary, computer purchases, or travel. Other personnel salaries are allowable. *

*For junior faculty only (assistant professor or lower): naming senior faculty sponsor


Home Department Involvement

Investigators are encouraged to request that funding be matched, at least in part, with departmental funds. While applications without commitment of matching departmental funds remain eligible for funding (and indeed have been funded in the past), evidence of home department support, including matching funds, is one of the scoring criteria and may enhance the chances of a proposal to be funded.

For junior faculty (assistant professor or equivalent and lower): Before funds are released, a senior faculty mentor from the awardee's home department must agree to act as a sponsor (including general project supervision, participation in an initial milestone-setting meeting, and periodic progress report meetings).

Regulatory Approval: Please note that while having regulatory approval (IRB, IACUC) is not necessary at the time of submission, awarded funds will not be released, until such approval has been received.


Notification Emails for Receipt of Proposal

A notification email indicating the receipt of your protocol will be sent within 24 hours of submission. If you have not received an email, please contact Diana Vigil (949-824-1231).


Milestones and Monitoring

Before funds are released, a meeting between the awardee, the department sponsor, a department financial analyst, and ICTS staff will set specific milestones to gauge project progression. Continuation of support throughout the entire award period will be contingent upon meeting the project's goals in a timely manner.


Review Process

Review criteria will include:

  • Overall project scientific merit
  • Overall impact for Special Olympics organization
  • Translational nature of the project
  • Scientific environment
  • Project feasibility within the proposed time frame
  • Likelihood of generating extramural funding
  • Intrinsic scientific strength and innovation of the research plan
  • Significance and impact of the proposed research
  • Qualifications of the PI

For more information, please contact Diana Vigil at dvigil1@uci.edu
To apply, please use this www.icts.uci.edu/grants


Friday, September 25; 5:00pm