Applications must be received by 5:00pm CT on April 11, 2022

The Rural Drug Addiction Research (RDAR) Center is pleased to announce an opportunity for pilot funding that is open to all disciplines through an NIH/NIGMS grant. Applicants must be full-time faculty in the University of Nebraska system who are eligible for NIH funding. There are no disciplinary, department, or college restrictions on applicants. Successful applicants must link their proposal to a part of the RDAR Center's mission, strategies, and/or the focus areas described in detail below. Cross-department and/or institutional collaboration is highly encouraged.

The RDAR Center's mission is to advance our understanding of causes, impacts, and interventions related to drug addiction and substance use/misuse. The Center’s scientific and creative activities operate at a range of scales: from synapse to society. Interdisciplinary and data-centric by design, the Center links pre-clinical studies to field-based behavioral, neural, social, clinical, and translational research and dissemination. Towards its mission, the RDAR Center has a number of notable strategies including:

  1. Developing several custom cellphone, tablet, and simulation-based technologies through its Longitudinal Networks Core (LNC) Facility (see and for details). These new technologies can rapidly capture fine-grained contextualized data about dynamic social networks, the interactions taking place within them, and forecast the evolution of individuals’ attitudes and behaviors under social influences over time.

  1. Using peer referral to recruit and interview persons who use drugs to be study participants, as part of the Center's Regional Rural Health Cohort (RHC) Study. Longitudinal data on attitudes, behaviors, and social networks related to drug use is being collected from RHC members over time through interviews and cellphone-based technologies.

  1. Supporting basic inquiry on potential behavioral, social, and/or biological factors contributing to or protecting against drug use, misuse, and addiction. Research and creative activities in this area should consider the unique or critical factors that affect rural populations in Nebraska and the Great Plains.

The goal of the RDAR Center Pilot Program is to provide support to emerging scholars to conduct promising research and creative activities that advance the Center’s mission. Successful applicants may receive up to $50,000 in direct costs for two-year projects. Budget requests are limited to $25,000 in direct costs per year. One-year pilot projects of $25,000 are allowed. Pilot project recipients will also receive access to resources of the Center for professional development and project support.

Relevant Focus Areas of Research

  • Exploring contemporary and historical narratives of community and cultural experiences related to drug use and addiction. This area may include the creative representation of voices and experiences;
  • Examining the basic science of addiction that could inform future research with Nebraska populations;
  • Extending the capability of LNC Facility technologies or advancing its data-analytic capacity;
  • Employing LNC Facility technologies and/or secondary data from the Nebraska Annual Social Indicators Survey in addiction-related research;
  • Extracting scientific knowledge from longitudinal and social network data collected from the RHC Study;
  • Understanding of addiction prevention or intervention with a focus on hard-to-reach, underrepresented minority, and/or rural populations.

For questions on whether your proposal idea fits the mission or strategies of the Center, contact Devan Crawford at

Application Submission Process

Full applications should use standard NIH formatting requirements (½ inch margins, Arial size 11-point font). The full application should be submitted as a PDF file and sent by email to Applications must be received by 5:00pm CT on April 11, 2022. Late applications will not be accepted.

The application must include the following sections:

  1. NIH Biosketch for key personnel (
    a) Include a personal statement related to your vision for Center involvement
  2. A mini-R03 style proposal including:
    a) NIH Face Page (available at
    b) Project Summary (limited to 30 lines of text or less)
    c) Specific Aims (1 page)
    d) Research or Creative Activities Plan (5 pages; the following headers must be included)
    Significance, Innovation, Approach, Environment, Broader Impacts (related to the Center's mission)
    e) References (not part of the page limit)
  3. Budget Justification and Detailed Budget (use attached budget template)
  4. Protection of Human Subjects (if applicable)
  5. Inclusion of Women & Minorities and Inclusion of Children (if applicable)
  6. Vertebrate Animals (if applicable)
Application Review:

Two to three reviewers will be assigned to an application. The reviewers will use the NIH review criteria (Significance, Investigator(s), Innovation, Approach, Environment), modified as appropriate for this Pilot Grant Program. Additional information on the NIH review criteria can be found at the following website: The Overall Impact score will also include consideration of topic foci, relevance to the RDAR Center mission and strategies, inclusion of other IDeA institutions and COBRE facilities, the potential for understanding drug addiction and factors, and broader impacts. Based on these reviews, the Leadership Team will make recommendations for funding by May 1, 2022. Applicants will be notified by email at this time. These recommendations will be forwarded to the Center’s External Advisory Committee (EAC) for review after all regulatory approvals are obtained.

Special Considerations, Institutional Approvals, and Reporting

Budget Restrictions:

Faculty effort can be supported for up to 0.5 person months. There must be a strong rationale why this work cannot be done within the existing faculty apportionment for research, scholarship, or creative activities. Student/post-doctoral stipend is not allowed but student/doctoral salary/wages are permissible. Wages for technical personnel are permissible. Equipment (>$5,000 per item) is not allowed. Renovation and/or honorariums are not allowed. Travel is limited to proposal-related tasks only (e.g., no conference travel). Travel to locations outside of the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada is not allowed. Provided all regulatory approvals (IRB, IACUC, EAC, NIGMS) have been obtained, funding will likely be made available to your institution on July 1, 2022.

Indirect Costs (F&A):

Current pilot funds are being contributed by partner institutions and units, rather than NIH, and these institutionally designated awards do not include indirect costs.

Clinical Trials:

If your project meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial, check “Yes” when answering the clinical trial question on the NIH face page. See for more information.

Regulatory Approvals:

If your project includes human subjects or vertebrate animals, your institutional IRB or IACUC (respectively) approval is required before funds can be released. Protocols must be submitted to IRB for approval within 30 days of notification of funding and final approval sent to the RDAR Center within 90 days.

Additional Requirements:

Pilot project grant recipients must participate in Center Enhancement and Programmatic Activities. Second year funding is contingent upon favorable review by the RDAR Center Leadership Team concerning project progress; participation in Center activities; scientific integrity; rigor of project; potential for Center synergy; and potential for successful external funding. Pilot recipients will be required to provide project updates, twice annually, during the RDAR Center Business Meetings which occur each month. Pilot recipients must submit written annual progress reports [standard NIH - RPPR Sec 6 A-H,].

Eligibility and Eligible Institutions:

Current full-time faculty at a participating institution are eligible to apply. Participating institutions include the University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and University of Nebraska at Omaha. Individuals must be eligible to apply for NIH funds. Individuals not currently receiving funds from another RDAR Center mechanism are eligible to apply. Members of the Internal Mentoring and Advisory Committee (IMAC) cannot receive pilot grant funds.