Request for Proposals:
Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio

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Pilot Projects on Searching for Vaccine Antigens Against Infectious and Noninfectious Diseases

Request for Proposals Release Date: July 1, 2015
Issued by: Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio
Application Due Date: September 1, 2015
Earliest Anticipated Project Start Date: January 1, 2016

Funding Mechanisms

The Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio will provide funding support for two pilot projects for the duration of one year. Funding support up to $50,000 can be requested. The number of proposals submitted by one Principal Investigator (P.I.) is limited to one (1). The Lead P.I. will be required to submit a biannual and a final report at the end of the funding period.

* If you have received prior Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio and/or SAVE funding, you must wait at least 2 cycles before submitting another proposal.

The goal of this announcement is to promote collaborative research efforts in the development of vaccines in San Antonio by supporting pilot projects focusing on the identification of vaccine antigens.

The Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio is a virtual research center through a joint venture by four premier academic/research institutions in San Antonio: UT Health San Antonio, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), The Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed), and The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). There are many ongoing vaccine-related research activities/programs in these institutions. Each institution has developed unique expertise in vaccine research and development. The overall goal of Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio is to promote vaccine research by fostering collaboration among investigators from the participating institutions. The current notice is an announcement from Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio for supporting pilot projects focusing on the discovery of vaccine antigens.

Eligibility Requirements
This RFP is limited to researchers associated within the four San Antonio Vaccine Development Center partner institutions (UT Health San Antonio, UTSA, SwRI, and Texas Biomedical). Applications are welcomed from full-time tenure track faculty members at UT Health San Antonio or UTSA or full-time employees from SwRI or Texas Biomed. Preference will be given to collaborative projects involving two or more Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio partner institutions, but this is not a requirement.

Research Objectives
The proposed projects must contribute to the discovery of vaccine antigens in the form of molecules, complexes or organisms. Research projects on development of know-how or technical platforms for advancing vaccine antigen discovery or specific disease model-based identification of vaccine candidates are all acceptable.

Application Requirements
A simplified NIH R01 format is required. Applications must include the following criteria in the below order. Applications missing any of the below items will not be reviewed.

  • Cover page including a 400 word executive summary (Use Attachment A)
  • PI’s biosketch (2 page maximum for each key personnel)
  • Itemized budget page with a one page justification from each institution. Please note a minimum of at least 1% effort must be documented by each PI and Co-PI as per institutional requirements
  • Research Strategy: Specific Aim(s) page, Significance, Preliminary Data & Research
  • Approach (5 page maximum)
  • Animal and human subject justification following NIH requirements
  • Literature citation
  • Supporting materials including letters of support and/or collaboration


All applications must be sent via email as a single PDF file (including all application requirements) to the Please include re: VDCoSA Grant Application in the subject line. All applications must list a point of contact (POC) which includes a name, telephone number, email address, and the institution the POC is associated with. All accepted applications will be reviewed using the criteria listed below.

Please note: Successfully awarded applications will have to be routed and approved by the respective Office of Sponsored Programs or Institutional Contracts Office.

Budget Considerations

Awards will be up to $50,000 for a grant performance period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016. Roll over to the next fiscal year is not allowable and project extensions are not allowable. Funding that is not spent or encumbered by each organization’s funding timeline requirements will automatically revert back to the originating office.

An itemized budget and budget justification (no more than 1 page total) must be submitted providing details for all proposed expenditures for each institution. Please note a minimum of at least 1% effort must be documented by each PI and Co-PI as per institutional requirements.

Provide a one-page budget justification for each institution. The budget justification must address each budget line item that contains a proposed cost. Each budget justification must convey an integrated understanding of the types of resources (labor, materials, other) necessary to complete the proposed effort. The proposed budget for each institution must conform to that institution’s requirements for internally funded research or grant activity.


Describe the labor types and levels of effort being proposed. The PIs from each institution must be identified by name; other labor can be characterized by labor category or type and level of effort. Since each institution may use the term “level of effort” differently, define the basis for level of effort as presented in the justification. If faculty summer salary is proposed, identify that separately from the regular labor proposed.


Describe the type, amount, and estimated cost of allowable purchased materials, services, or travel for the proposed effort.

Proposal Evaluation

An ad-hoc scientific review committee will be appointed by the scientific co-directors to evaluate each proposal using the following criteria:

  • Significance
    Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the discovery of vaccine antigens? If the aims of the project are achieved, how likely will the targeted vaccine antigens be discovered? Are the data to be obtained sufficient for supporting applications for national funding?
  • Investigator(s)
    Are the principal investigators, collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? Do they have appropriate experience and training for carrying out vaccine research or have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments in vaccine research? Do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project?
  • Innovation
    Does the proposed research challenge current approaches for vaccine antigen discovery? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to vaccine antigen discovery? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?
  • Approach
    Are the overall strategies, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? In addition, human subject and animal usage should be addressed per NIH standard?
  • Environment
    Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the investigators have sufficient time and efforts committed to the project?

Funding recommendations will be based on scientific merits and priority areas of the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio and will be made by the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio scientific committee. Funding decisions will be announced on the designated website.

All applications must be submitted by the designated deadline (September 1, 2015) –  Late submissions will not be considered.

For Inquiries

Inquiries and discussion of plans for responding to this announcement can be made to the corresponding scientific co-directors based on applicants’ home institutions:

For applicants from UT Health San Antonio:
Guangming Zhong, M.D., Ph.D.
Phone: (210) 567-1169
Fax: (210) 567-0293

For applicants from UTSA:
Bernard Arulanandam, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Phone: (210) 458-5492
Fax: (210) 458-5523

For applicants from SwRI:
Michael MacNaughton, Ph.D., PE
Phone: (210) 522-5162
Fax: (210) 522-3649

For applicants from Texas Biomed:
Jean L. Patterson, Ph.D.
Phone: (210) 258-9431
Fax: (210) 670-3329

For additional questions, please contact Cheryl Negrete (


July 1, 2015 – Grant Request for Proposals (RFP) Announced
September 1, 2015 – Applications Due via Email:
January 1, 2016 – Earliest Grant Performance Period Begins (Funds Available)
December 31, 2016 – Grant Ends



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