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Posted By Lori Snyder



2020 Application Period Now Closed


The Center for Smart Use of Technology to Assess Real-world Outcomes (C-STAR) will fund four projects per year. Each project may receive up to $25,000 in direct costs that must be expended within 12-months of study start date. Awardees will also receive mentorship from top leaders in engineering, clinical, outcomes and implementation science research. Sabbatical opportunities are available, but require an additional application (email cstarsabbatical@sralab.org for more information).

The mission of C-STAR is to leverage the collective experience of our clinicians, scientists, engineers, and patients to support the development of novel pilot studies that explore the smart use of technology to assess human performance in laboratory, clinical, or community settings. We are looking for projects with the potential for significant clinical impact that will likely lead to successful grant applications to NIH and other national funding agencies.

Eligibility and Submissions


Clinicians and researchers with innovative ideas for the use of technology in rehabilitation research. Applicants must be affiliated with US-based institutions and eligible to receive NIH funding as Principle Investigators. Preference is given to clinical and basic scientists who are in the early stages of their independent career in rehabilitation research.  Postdoctoral fellows who are still in his/her mentor's laboratory are not eligible. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must be affiliated with US-based institutions and eligible to receive NIH funding.

Submission period: August 7, 2020 - October 1, 2020
Applications due: October 1, 2020

Earliest pilot project start date: January 3, 2021 *pending submission approval and completion of all post award documentation

Application Instructions


Interested applicants must submit the following as a single document to the NITROCompetitions site of Northwestern University.


Click here or on the link below to start application process for Shirley Ryan Abilitylab's Center for Smart Use of Technology to Assess Real-World Outcomes Pilot Study Funding.

First time users will need to sign up at the login page. All Northwestern University (NU) affiliates will log in with their NetID. 

The contents of the single uploaded document for application must include:

1. Cover sheet that includes:

  • A descriptive project title
  • Key personnel with their title, position and institution
  • Total budget amount requested
  • The population(s) you wish to study
  • The location(s) the study assessments will occur. Identify which apply: (a) Lab/scientific research or teaching (b)  Clinic –medical or rehabilitation services (inpatient or outpatient)  (c) Community – the natural environment (home, work or recreation)
  • Disclose any other submissions for this pilot project. If this is the only submission, include the statement, “This pilot project has not been submitted elsewhere.”

2. Study aims or goals (1-page max)

3. Research plan (3-pages max)

  • Introduction (background information, significance and implications of the project)
  • Methods
  • Outcomes measured
  • Project timeline for completing the proposed project, preparing and submitting a manuscript to an appropriate professional journal, and preparing and submitting a competitive grant application by or shortly after the end of the award period

4. Budget and justification (2-page max)

  • Please use PHS 398 Form Page 4: Detailed Budget for Initial Budget Period in MS Word Version (1 page) found in the Instructions and Form Files for PHS 398. Use ONE continuation pages as needed for the budget justification.
  • Facilities and Administrative costs (indirect costs) - F&A costs are capped at 58.5% Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC).   Institutions with federally approved F&A rates below this cap must apply their federally approved F&A rate.  For institutions that do not have a federally negotiated F&A rate, a rate not to exceed 10% of MTDC may be applied.  A current copy of your F&A rate agreement will be required prior to award issuance.
    *SRAlab applicants will NOT be eligible for F&A costs.
  • Funds may not be requested for general office supplies, computers and laptops, travel, conferences, publication fees, entertainment of visitors, capital equipment, membership dues and fees, tuition or teaching activities.
  •  A Letter of Intent (LOI) signed by the authorized institutional official is required.

5. Literature Cited (not part of the 3-page limit)

6. NIH Biosketches of key personnel (optional)*

7. Letter(s) of Support (optional)

*Applicant’s NIH biosketch must be submitted separately to the NITROCompetitions site.

Application Review Criteria & Process


Each application will be reviewed by two to three reviewers with appropriate expertise. Applications will be scored on the 1-9 point NIH scale. Recommendations for funding will be based on: 1) quality of the research (scientific merit, innovation, and impact); 2) relevancy to the mission of the C-STAR; and 3) qualifications of the research team to lead the research effort toward securing extramural funding.

Please contact cstarpilotprojects@sralab.org with any questions or for more information.

CSTAR is funded by the National Institutes of Health (Grant #P2C HD101899) supported by NICHD and NINDS.

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