Letter of Intent Requirement:
1. Prospective applicants should submit a letter of intent (LOI) for the purposes of defining the applicant’s eligibility and their institution’s material support of their potential success in obtaining future federal funding. The LOI must stipulate that the applicant is an optometrist, a full time faculty member at the assistant or associate professor level, and a Fellow of the AAO. Applicants with a faculty appointment contingent on receiving this award or who are not at the assistant or associate level at the time of application are ineligible.
Download the required letter of intent form.
2. If there are exceptions to the requirements described above, these should be defined, and a case should be made in the Letter of Intent why the respective eligibility requirement should be waived.
3. A senior academic administrator with institutional signing authority should provide a letter of support verifying the university’s commitment to the applicant including the availability of matching funds and protected time for research of at least six calendar months.
4. In a given application cycle, an applicant can only submit one letter of intent and upon eligibility approval, one proposal. Additional LOIs or proposals from the same applicant (PI) per funding cycle will not be considered.
5. After review of submitted LOIs, a notice will be sent to the applicants inviting those selected to submit a full proposal.
Full Proposal Requirements:
1. The grant proposal should follow the standard NIH format with the following modifications as outlined below. Instructions and forms can be found at the following web site: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html.
Applications should be in Arial 11 font with half-inch margins and be single spaced.
2. In general the following items should be included in the proposal:
a. Cover Letter
b. Title Page with Approval from Institutional Signing Official
c. Table of Contents
d. Detailed Budget and Justification for All Years
*budget must include a statement that describes the importance of the investment to optometry and optometric practice.
e. Biosketch(es) in NIH format
f. Resources and Environment
g. Scientific Abstract
h. Specific Aims, Growth Potential*, and Scientific Impact (2 pages)
i. Significance and Innovation (1 page)
j. Career Development Plan with Timeline, including Time-Specific Goals (2 pages)
k. Research Plan (6 pages)
l. Literature Cited
m. Human Subjects (inclusion of women, children, etc.), if applicable
n. Animal Care and Use, if applicable
o. Biohazards, if applicable
p. Letters of Support from Collaborators
q. Applicant’s Highest Impact and/or Relevant Paper Published or In Press
r. *Response to: “How will funding of this proposal make you more competitive for extramural funding 3-5 years from now?”
Review Process: The AAO Research Committee and external reviewers with topical expertise, as needed, provide a scientific merit review. All applicants will receive a detailed summary statement. Following scientific review, the Programs Approval Committee (PAC) selects recipients based on merit and programmatic goals. Results are provided to the Foundation Board for final decisions on funding.
Review Criteria: The overall scores are based on: significance, investigator qualifications, innovation/novelty, approach and environment, with consideration for potential for growth and future major extramural funding. A 1-9 NIH priority score scale will be utilized. Projects must be in line with the purpose of the award and have relevance to optometry. While mentorship is not required, it is encouraged. In areas where the applicant is expanding or developing their skill set, the inclusion of a senior collaborator or advisors to assist them would be an asset and strengthen their research team.
Resubmission: One resubmission (two submissions total) will be allowed. An LOI is required for a resubmission application. One additional page, “Introduction to Revised Application,” will be required in the resubmission. The applicant must submit the first summary statement with the resubmitted application.
In accepting a Career Development Award, recipients agree to:
- comply with all programmatic requests and to notify AAOF of changes in faculty or project status
- submit an abstract to the Academy Scientific Program in the year of application submission/review and all years of funding.
- plan to attend the full Annual Meeting and the AAOF Celebration Luncheon in the application submission/review and all years of funding.
- consider submitting a manuscript from the funded research to Optometry and Vision Science
- acknowledge the AAOF in written and oral presentations
Grants Management: Awards will not be made unless appropriate human subjects and/or animal care and usage approvals are in place. Annual progress reports are required, with a summary of goals achieved, detailed timeline for accomplishments for year two, and a detailed report on funds expended. No more than $12,500 can be carried forward to any successive year. No-cost extensions will not be granted.
Materials must be emailed to Helen Viksnins, Senior Director, Program at HelenV@aaoptom.org.