Aerial view of the MUSC campus.

College of Medicine Enhancement of Team Science (COMETS)

Purpose: To restore federally funded research programs by active mid-career and senior investigators by supporting a newly established research team with 2 years of funding.

Target Faculty: Active mid-career and senior COM faculty with a strong history of funding, publications, a record of MUSC service, and primary appointment in COM, who have not been successful in obtaining RO1, or equivalent support in the past 18 to 24 months. College of Medicine faculty only.*

LOI announced late summer with Letters of Intent due early fall. LOI to include (One PDF): Due date September 15th.

  • The COM team members names, credentials, rank, and department/division
  • The general area of research that the two grants will be centered around
  • The significance and innovation of the two grant proposals that will result from the COMETS grant
  • Existing preliminary data and new data that will be developed from the COMETS grant to support new R01 applications and joint team publications
  • A statement that the chair(s) supports the COMETS application and/or is copied on the letter. (two page limit)
  • Additional information here.
  • Note: LOI review feedback not provided at this stage

Applications By Invitation Only:

  • Invitation for applications announced with due date; Application for selected teams by invitation only; Reviewed and awarded early winter.
  • Note: Applicants provided review feedback
  • Team selection: A team consisting of two faculty members in the same or different departments.
  • Outcome: Submission of two competitive NIH R01 proposals, or equivalent, one from each PI, in two years; and two publications.
  • Program evaluation: Annual review by the College of Medicine Dean to determine if funding and research goals are on target.

Program Outline

  • Funding: $150K/year
  • Duration: 2 years
  • One award per year
  • Scientific Focus: basic, translational, or clinical research. Priority given to research in MUSC and MUSC Health strategic areas.
  • Up to $20,000 per year per PI may be used for PI salary support

Application Review & Oversight

  • A panel of funded senior MUSC investigators and one external reviewer, selected by the Dean, will review full applications.
  • The review panel will make recommendations, to the Dean and the Senior Associate Dean for Research, regarding the significance and innovation of the research programs, and the ability of the team to compete for extramural funds.
  • The Dean will make the final funding decision.
  • Decisions about continuation of funding will occur every 6 months based on meeting or exceeding specific milestones. The initial review team, the Dean, Senior Associate Dean, and Department Chair(s) will participate in these reviews.


Progress Report & Review at 6 Months of Funding

  • First paper submitted or final draft
  • Status of second paper; in outline form
  • Co-publication(s) by both PIs submitted within 4 to 5 months
  • Progress on First grant application (aims, preliminary data, etc.)

Progress Report & Review at 12 Months of Funding

  • Second paper in final draft form or submitted
  • First grant submitted
  • Second grant in progress (aims, preliminary data, etc.)

Progress Report & Review at 18 Months of Funding

  • Review of first grant critique
  • Status of Second grant
  • Review of publications

Factors Considered in Application Review

  • Publication history
  • Grant history
  • Team strength
  • Program innovation, significance, and translational impact
  • Alignment with MUSC Health and College of Medicine strategic goals

 Notes:  Non-COM faculty encouraged to review the Blue Sky Program. Timelines and due dates subject to change. Please contact Mary McConnell for current cycle information.

Programming Quick Reference:

Bridge Funding - April 15th; August 15th; December 15th

High Impact Research Publications - April 15th; August 15th; December 15th

K-R Clinician Scientist Bridge Funding - December 15th

COMETS - September 15th

Translational Team Science - March 1st

COM-PPG - July 15th

Notes:   Program announcements are made in the Dean’s weekly newsletter sent via email to all COM employees.

If due date falls on a weekend the following Monday is the due date. All dates subject to change.