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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 faculty with a strong history of funding, publications, and a record of MUSC service who have not been successful in obtaining RO1, or equivalent support in the past 18 to 24 months.

Timeline: LOI announced in August with Letters of Intent due September 15. LOI to include:

  • The team members names, 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 is/are copied on the letter. (two page limit)

Applications By Invitation Only:

  • Invitation for applications in October; Application for selected teams due n November; Reviewed and awarded December/January.
  • 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.

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

 If you have questions please contact Mary McConnell.