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Guidelines for ADAI Small Grants Proposals
Revised 8/2016
Next deadline: Monday, October 16, 2017


The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) is a multidisciplinary research center at the University of Washington. Its mission is to advance research, policy, and practice in order to improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities affected by alcohol and drug use and abuse.

The goal of this RFA is to solicit and support short-term pilot studies and developmental research. Substance abuse research is interpreted broadly to include everything from basic studies of the pharmacology of drugs of abuse to studies of clinical treatment strategies, prevention, and social policy issues. Proposals from a wide array of disciplines are welcome, ranging from but not limited to Public Health, Medicine, Psychology, Psychiatry, Sociology, Anthropology, Information Science, Law, Economics, History, Social Justice, Gender and Racial Studies.

Funding decisions are based on scientific merit assessed by peer review, relevance of the question to the field, and potential for new insights into the problems of substance abuse. Priority is given to work that is likely to support a subsequent extramural grant application for research at the University of Washington.

Questions concerning the application process or relevance of a proposed research topic may be directed to the Institute at adai@u.washington.edu.


Individuals qualified to serve as Principal Investigators at the University of Washington are eligible to apply as P.I. on ADAI proposals. This may include faculty, including those with an acting appointment, as well as Research Scientists who are permitted by their school, department, or research center to serve independently as P.I. on federal grants.

Pre-doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows (if permitted by their department), may apply as P.I. with the support of a Mentor, who must be UW Faculty or a Research Scientist. Applications in this category should name the pre-doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow as Principal Investigator of the research project; the Mentor will be fiscally responsible for the award.

Individuals not affiliated with the University are not eligible to apply for funding.


A. The intent of the Institute is to provide initial funding of new projects, and it is expected that applicants will eventually seek outside grant support for continuation of their research programs. Therefore, low priority will be given to continuation of proposals.

B. Preferential consideration will be granted to projects involving new investigators (particularly junior faculty), and experienced investigators who are exploring new areas of research.

C. The scientific merit, significance, approach, level of innovation, and feasibility of the proposed research are the primary factors in evaluating an application. Only projects that may result in scientific publication will be considered for funding, and priority is given to work that is likely to support a subsequent extramural grant application at the University of Washington.

D. Two levels of funding are available. Faculty and Research Scientists may apply for funding up to $30,000. The funding limit for applications from mentored predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows is $20,000.

Applications with budgets in excess of these amounts will not be considered.

E. ADAI will not review more than one proposal by a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator during a single review period. Similarly, a faculty member or Research Scientist can serve as a mentor on only one application per review period.

Application Procedures

The deadline for receipt of applications is March 15 and Oct 15 at 5:00 pm, or the following Monday if these dates fall on a weekend. Deadlines are adhered to strictly.

Applications must be transmitted through the Department Chair and College Dean for their signatures of endorsement (for both Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators). Applications are not submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), therefore, an eGC1 form is not required. Animal Care Committee and Human Subjects Committee approval is not required prior to submission, but will be required if appropriate prior to award. Applications must have all required signatures on the cover page (in ink or electronic). Applications should be submitted as a PDF attachment to an email sent to: adai@uw.edu. The complete application, including appendices, must be submitted at the same time.

In preparing proposals, applicants should keep in mind that these are read by a faculty committee selected from the general area in which the proposal is made, but not all review committee members are specialists in the particular field of the proposal.

Resubmissions: When re-submitting a proposal, it is recommended that you attach a cover letter (no more than 3 pages), responding to previous reviewer comments, along with the revised grant proposal.  In the letter, briefly explain changes and point to sections of the proposal that are changed. It is helpful to highlight areas in the text of the proposal that have been revised (e.g. italics or bold font).

If you disagree with reviewer criticism, and your response is not to change a part of the proposal, be sure to explain why you are not making the suggested change.


a) Title of the project.

b) Applicant's name, title, department, address, email, and signature, along with those of a Co-Investigator (if there is one). If this is a mentored award for a pre-doctoral student or postdoctoral fellow, the mentor's name, title, department and signature should also be provided. Include e-mail and regular mailing addresses for PI and Co-I as well.

c) Statement describing applicant:

  • New Investigator, appointed to UW within the last 3 years
  • Established Investigator, initiating a new line of drug or alcohol research
  • Postdoctoral fellow or predoctoral student (mentor must complete section B-7 below)

d) Date of the application.

e) Calendar dates of period for which support is requested. Funds are usually allocated for one year, but no-cost extensions may be requested.

f) Statement as to whether applicaton is new or a resubmission.

g) Total amount requested.

h) Signatures and UW address (including UW Box number) of Department Chair and College Dean (of P.I., Co-I. and Mentor)


The body of the application should include the sections outlined below, and must meet formatting specifications in font size (at least Arial 11 or Times Roman 12 pt); lines per inch (6); and margin width (0.75 or larger). These format specifications apply to all sections except the Biosketch and Appendices. Overly small print and margins are a barrier to adequate review; applications not meeting these format requirements may be returned and would need to be resubmitted during the following cycle.

A. An abstract (not to exceed 300 words) describing the proposed research project; include a statement about the clinical importance of the work, if appropriate.

B. A concise research plan, following the guidelines outlined below. THIS SECTION MUST BE LIMITED TO SIX SINGLE-SPACED OR TEN DOUBLE-SPACED PAGES. PROPOSALS EXCEEDING THESE LIMITS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Page limits for the Research Plan refer to items 1 through 6 only. The Mentor's Statement, and sections C through E are not included in the page limits.

l. Introduction:

a. Objective: State the overall objective or long-term goal of the proposed research.
b. Background: Review the most significant previous work and describe the current status of research, including your own, in this field.
c. Rationale: Present concisely the justification for your approach to the problem, if it is not obvious from the preceding material. When you are choosing one of several possible approaches, note briefly why the others have been rejected.

2. Specific aims: List your specific objectives for the total period of requested support.

3. Method of procedure: Give details of your research plan, including a description of the experiments or other work you propose to do; the methods, species of animals (where appropriate), and techniques you plan to use; the data you expect to obtain; and the means by which you plan to analyze or interpret the data to attain your objectives. A timetable for completion of the main steps of the project should be provided. Include, if appropriate, a discussion of pitfalls you might encounter, and the limitations of the procedures you propose to use.

4. Significance: Discuss the potential importance of the proposed work and any novel ideas or contributions in terms of alcoholism and/or drug abuse which it offers. Provide an explicit description of how the results will be used to obtain future extramural funding and/or how the proposed studies will advance the career of the applicant.

5. Special facilities to be used: Describe the facilities that you will use for this project including laboratories, clinical resources, and animal quarters. List major items of equipment available for this work.

6. Collaborative arrangements: If the proposed project requires collaboration with other institutions, community organizations, or any group whose cooperation is essential, describe this collaboration and provide letters in support of this collaboration.

7. Mentor's Statement (for applications from predoctoral students or postdoctoral fellows): The mentor should provide: 1) a letter of evaluation of the applicant (including an assessment of the candidate's professional aspirations and potential); 2) a description of the training plan (including course work, TA responsibilities, ethics training, mentoring plan); 3) an NIH-style biosketch of the mentor including Research Support section. The body of the proposal should largely be written by the trainee with minimal editorial input from the mentor. NOTE: this section is not included in the page limits noted in item B above.

C. List previous grants received from the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute (title, dates, amounts). If final reports have not been submitted for these, provide a final report. Be sure that all grants or publications resulting from previous ADAI funding are listed on your final report or on an addendum to it; the results of previous ADAI research will be an important factor in funding decisions.

If the project you are proposing is partially supported by other sources, please specify source and amount of support.

D. A detailed budget and budget justification must be provided. Use budget categories designated by the U.W. Financial Accounting System. Where normal increases in salaries are anticipated, the required amounts must be included in estimates. Include applicable fringe benefits.

The budget should show all persons, paid or unpaid, who will carry out the research. The function of these persons should be explained in the justification. Also itemize and/or justify major cost items.

Purchase of scientific equipment costing more than $2000 for the proposed study may be supported by this award if adequately justified. Items costing less than $2000 should be included in the supplies category per a recent University change, while those items above $2000 should be listed under equipment. To provide additional flexibility to the investigator, the duration of the award may be extended to 24 months (without an increase in budget) if justified by the project.

Expenses related to travel to conduct the project at a remote site (e.g. mileage, parking) may be included. Other reasonable travel expenses for a project conducted at a remote site may be requested; these should be fully explained in the Budget Justification section.

Salary including associated benefits for P.I. and Co-Investigators may be requested, up to a combined limit of 25% of the total amount requested for the grant, or up to $7500 (including salary and benefits) if the total amount requested is less than $30,000. Salary requests must be included in the Budget Justification. This limit does not apply to predoctoral students or postdoctoral fellows who are PIs on mentored projects. Visiting faculty salaries and secretarial salaries cannot be covered.

Expenses for publishing fees or conference attendance are not allowed.

E. A Biosketch in NIH- or NSF-style including the Research Support section for all major professional personnel including the mentor, if applicable, should be included in the application.

NIH biosketch template and instructions: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm
NSF biosketch template: http://adai.uw.edu/grants/nsf_biosketch_template.pdf
NSF Biosketch Guidelines: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf15001/gpg_2.jsp#IIC2f

Appendices may be included with applications, however reviewers have the option to examine them; the review will be based primarily on the contents of the application itself so as to be fair to all applicants.

Biographic data sheets (biosketches) and Appendices are excluded from formatting requirements specified above regarding font size and margin width.


A separate memo naming suggested reviewers should be submitted along with the Small Grant application. The memo should include the PI's name, the proposal title, and the name, affiliations, phone number, and email of two to four UW faculty or Research Scientists who would be able to provide a thorough and objective review of the proposal. Do not name faculty who are also applying for an ADAI grant award. The review committee is not obliged to select from this list.

Additionally, the names of any UW faculty or scientists who should not review the proposal (e.g., due to conflict of interest) must be listed. This would include supervisors and current or previous collaborators (research and/or teaching).

Maximum of one page. Attach this memo as a separate document titled “[PI Name] Reviewer Memo” and email it along with the application to adai@uw.edu


Review procedures and criteria are similar to those used by NIH committees. The primary review criteria include scientific merit, significance, approach, innovation, investigator(s), and feasibility. At an initial review meeting, each proposal receives a detailed review by at least two members of the Small Grants Review Committee and a careful discussion of scientific merit by the full committee, which then scores the grant's overall merit. Written comments and documentation of the committee's discussions are presented to a Final Review Committee, which selects the top grants for funding. Anonymous comments from the reviewers are returned to the investigators to provide constructive feedback, which is often used to improve a non-funded grant for future re-submission. Investigators will be notified of Review Committee results by mail 8-10 weeks after the deadline.


Funded projects involving either human subjects or animals must obtain approval from the appropriate committee before a budget can be established. ADAI does not require approval before considering a proposal. For procedural information, consult the websites for Human Subjects or Animal Care. ADAI follows NIH guidlines in requiring that “key personnel” receive training in the conduct of human subjects research; this training is available in person or web-based from the Human Subjects Division.


Projects may be funded for a maximum of 24 months. The Principal Investigator is responsible for the proper administration of funds. Each award will be given an account number by Grant and Contract Accounting. (In the case of a mentored award, the predoctoral student or postdoctoral fellow is Principal Investigator of the research project, and the mentor is fiscally responsible for the awarded funds). Funds may not be transferred between projects. Grant and Contract Accounting will transmit budget reports on the award accounts to the Principal Investigators and their departments. ADAI will not assume fiscal responsibility for over-expended budgets.

If publication results, directly or indirectly, from award allocations, it should carry an acknowledgement of the source of such support as the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. Please send relevant reprints to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.


A Final Report is required within 90 days of completion of projects funded by ADAI Small Grants. Download the report template here:


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Updated 3/7/2017 · Privacy · Terms · http://adai.washington.edu/grants/smgr_guidelines.htm