Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Awards

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for a new RFA for collaborative pilot projects to explore innovative, interdisciplinary approaches for addressing key challenges in the biology of neurodegenerative diseases. Awards are $150,000 in total costs per pair, and successful pilots will be eligible to apply for additional four-year project development grants. Collaborative Pairs teams will benefit from the support and resources of the CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network.

Opportunity

The CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network has three key goals: 

(1) To make fundamental advances toward understanding neurodegeneration;

(2) To bring new ideas and talent to the field of neurodegeneration; and 

(3) To encourage and experiment with a new interdisciplinary, collaborative, and open science research model involving scientists, clinicians, and engineers.

We launched the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NDCN) in 2018 with two grant mechanisms: the Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award and the CZI Collaborative Science Awards. These awards currently fund 17 early career investigators and nine collaborative teams to work on questions related to fundamental science underlying neurodegenerative disease.

We are now pleased to invite applications to join the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network through a new Request for Applications (RFA) and grant program: the CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Awards. 

CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network

The Neurodegeneration Challenge Network model is built on the vision that progress in solving neurodegenerative diseases will come from bringing new people into the neurodegeneration field from diverse disciplines and expertise; building interdisciplinary collaborations; empowering the broader scientific community with robust tools and platforms; and creating a culture of open science. Scientifically, we aspire to motivate the collective field to shift the approach to neurodegenerative diseases to a framework, where these diseases — currently addressed largely as distinct diseases and problems — are considered more holistically as a class of disorders with common features, mechanisms, and solutions. The NDCN Collaborative Pairs RFA extends on this vision. 

Building on the NDCN Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award and the Collaborative Science Awards that launched the Challenge Network, the Collaborative Pairs awards will also prioritize bringing new investigators and early career scientists into the field, with an emphasis on recruiting scientists from fields outside the core of neurodegeneration, and will target work that address neurodegenerative diseases in a novel, innovative, interdisciplinary, and disease cross-cutting way. A key goal for the NDCN Collaborative Pairs opportunity is to provide a funding structure that will encourage and support bold, risk-taking, and potentially transformative ideas and science.

Overview of the Two-Phase RFA Process

To meet the goals of catalyzing new interdisciplinary collaborations and inspiring innovative science, the Collaborative Pairs RFA is structured as a two-phased funding opportunity.

  • In the first phase, we are recruiting applications from teams of two investigators and their labs for 18-month pilot awards ($150,000 total costs/collaboration) to pursue new projects related to understanding the molecular, cell biological, and physiological underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease. 
  • The purpose of the pilot project award is to give the collaborating teams the freedom to explore new, out-of-the-box, potentially transformative ideas. We are looking for teams and proposals that are addressing a critical problem in neurodegeneration in an innovative, bold way.
  • Successful pilot projects from Phase 1 pilot phase will be eligible for application and evaluation for an extended grant award of $400,000 total costs/year/pair for four years ($1.6 million total), for a total of $1.75 million over five-and-a-half years for the entirety of the project (Phase 1 and Phase 2).
  • The Collaborative Pairs RFA aims to develop new teams. Collaborative Pairs cannot have previously received joint grant funding together. Applicants will be asked to describe the value of the collaboration and what unique perspective this pairing brings to the proposal.
  • We will be looking for collaborations that bring together complementary approaches and expertise. In particular, we strongly encourage applications from collaborations involving clinicians, as well as pairs that bring together researchers from different fields, for instance: connecting experimental biologists and computational biologists, or bridging between different disciplines such as immunology, cell biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, stem cell biology, and bioengineering.
  • The scope of these collaborations should focus on foundational and mechanistic science (as opposed to translational and clinical work). However, successful projects should be grounded in human biology and disease pathology, with the longer-term goal of opening new directions for other translational and clinical efforts.
  • While this is not explicitly a tool/technology-focused RFA, we encourage applications with a tool and technology focus. As part of the collective work of the Challenge Network, our funded investigators are contributing to the development, validation, and dissemination of robust, reliable, and scalable experimental and analytical tools for the broader neurodegeneration community. 
  • Applications are strongly encouraged from investigators new to the field of neurodegeneration, and, in particular, researchers with relevant interdisciplinary training and experience in disciplines outside of neurodegeneration who bring new technology, resources, or frameworks to the field. Previous work in neurodegeneration is not a prerequisite.
  • Each Collaborative Pair must include at least one early- or mid-career investigator, and at least half of the awards will be specifically reserved for Collaborative Pairs that include at least one early-career investigator. See application instructions and eligibility criteria for more details and definitions of early- and mid-career.
  • We aspire to create a diverse community in the Challenge Network and strongly encourage applications from women, underrepresented minorities, and diverse groups worldwide. See application instructions and eligibility criteria for specific details on eligibility.
  • We anticipate awarding up to 30 Collaborative Pilot Awards in Phase 1, and awarding up to 30% of the eligible Phase 1 pilot projects awards for Phase 2 extended grant awards. Final determination of awards and numbers will depend on the quality of the applications received, at CZI’s sole discretion.

Scientific Scope

Examples of potential areas within the scope of the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network include, but are not limited to:

  • Exploring disease mechanisms that cut across neurodegenerative diseases and that may point to common avenues for intervention. We define neurodegenerative diseases broadly, from degenerative developmental conditions in children to diseases more commonly associated with aging;
  • Probing disease mechanisms in human cells, tissues, and models; foundational studies that rigorously bridge between model systems approaches and human biology and disease pathology;
  • Testing causal hypotheses for how core cellular mechanisms such as metabolism, proteostasis, RNA processing, and protein trafficking contribute to neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Defining the contribution of non-neuronal influences on neurodegeneration, including potential influences of the innate and adaptive immune systems, vasculature, and the gut and microbiome;
  • Developing improved animal models that more closely mimic human disease progression and physiology;
  • Explaining the relative susceptibility of different cell populations in different neurodegenerative diseases; and
  • Building a foundational understanding of disease progression, risk, and the influence of aging over the lifespan, including mechanistic approaches as well as longitudinal descriptive studies.

Collaboration and Open Science

The CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network is an approach to address the scientific challenges of neurodegenerative diseases and an experiment in collaborative science. As part of the selection process, we will be looking for investigators and groups who will enthusiastically contribute to and benefit from a highly collaborative, dynamic, and interdisciplinary approach. 

  • Investigators in the Challenge Network will have the opportunity to learn from, collaborate with, and interact with the community of investigators and groups within the Network, as well as with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative scientists and software engineers. Investigators and members of their labs will participate in regular investigator meetings; meetings for students, postdocs, and staff; as well as mentorship and training opportunities. 
  • CZI’s mission is at the interface of technology and science. Working in collaboration with and guided by Challenge Network investigators, we aim to develop technology-based tools and approaches to support and accelerate the broader field of neurodegeneration.
  • Clinical partners in these collaborative projects will play important roles as mentors to help the collective work of the Challenge Network stay closely aligned to the clinical contexts of these disorders and to the needs of patients. 
  • CZI supports open science values and principles. To accelerate scientific discovery, collaboration, and rapid dissemination, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of research results and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. 

RFA Application Process

Details of the Application and Review process are provided below. Please read these instructions and eligibility requirements carefully, even if you have applied to other CZI funding opportunity previously, as requirements vary between RFAs and opportunities.

Eligibility
  • Collaborations should include two principal investigators (PIs). There will be opportunities to work across collaborative projects, but each collaboration will be limited to two PIs. 
  • Both PIs must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree.
  • Both PIs must have an academic appointment and be in an independent faculty position or equivalent at an accredited college, university, medical school, or other research facility.
  • Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign non-profit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments; and eligible agencies of the federal government.
  • The Collaborative Pairs RFA is aimed at motivating new collaborations. While it is permissible for applicants to have worked together, the pair cannot have received joint funding for either this or any other project.
  • At least one of the applicants must be an early-career investigator or a mid-career investigator in an independent faculty position. Independence is typically demonstrated by a full-time faculty appointment, a tenure-track position, allocated space, a start-up package, and institutional commitment as defined or verified in a letter from a department chair or equivalent.
    • In the context of this RFA, we are defining early-career investigators as individuals who have been in their faculty role for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between January 2014 and January 2020. 
    • A mid-career investigator is defined as in their faculty role for more than six years but not more than 10 years at the time of application, i.e. have started a first independent position between January 2010 and January 2014. 
    • CZI will make exceptions to these criteria in cases of institutionally approved career breaks, e.g. family or medical leave, etc. (If you believe this applies to you, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com).
  • The two PIs in the pair will complete the online application together in the application portal, but one PI should be designated as the Primary Applicant who will be responsible for submitting the application in the application portal. Funds will be awarded directly to each PI’s institution, if selected for funding. 
  • Collaboration members may be from the same or different institutions.
  • Applications are strongly encouraged from investigators new to the field of neurodegeneration, and, in particular, applications from researchers with relevant interdisciplinary training and experience in disciplines outside of neurodegeneration who bring new technology, resources, or frameworks to the field.
  • There may be more than one application from each institution. However, each eligible investigator may only apply to one or be part of one Collaborative Pairs application.
  • Each investigator may apply as part of one team for both this RFA and the CZI Single-Cell Analysis of Inflammation RFA (application period open from 9/17/19 to 11/19/19), provided that the team members and scope of work for both applications are non-overlapping.
  • Applications should be inclusive and are strongly encouraged from women and underrepresented minorities. 
  • All grants will be made in compliance with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) program. For additional information regarding OFAC sanctions, please refer to the US Treasury Department’s resources.
  • Facebook employees, including employees of any subsidiary Facebook entities, are not permitted to apply for this grant.
  • CZI reserves the sole right to decide if an applicant and applicant organization meet the eligibility requirements.

For questions about eligibility or the application process, please contact us in advance of the proposal deadline at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. Deadline extensions will not be granted. Please reference the NDCN Collaborative Pairs RFA in your email.

Application Requirements

Budget for Pilot Phase 

$150,000 total costs per collaboration for 18 months (including no more than 15% indirect costs). The pilot phase application does not require a detailed budget.

Awards will be 18 months in duration with a project start date of no earlier than June 1, 2020. Actual start date may vary. The evaluation for Phase 2 grant award selection will occur around 12 months into the pilot phase. Funded pilot project teams will receive more instructions on Phase 2 evaluation and selection processes, including key dates, criteria, and other logistics, after pilot phase funding decisions are made.

Application Specifics

All applications must be completed and submitted through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s online grants management portal (https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com/). It is recommended that applicants familiarize themselves this portal well in advance of any deadlines. Detailed application instructions are available below in the Detailed Application Instructions section, as well as in the grants management portal.

Key Dates
October 10, 2019
Application portal opens
January 14, 2020
Applications due by 5 pm PT
April 2020
Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
June 1, 2020
Earliest start date of award period (subject to change)
Detailed Application Instructions
  • The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative uses SurveyMonkey Apply (SMApply) as its grants management portal. All applications must be submitted through this portal (https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com). SMApply is configured to work best using the Google Chrome browser. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with this portal well in advance of any deadlines. Deadline extensions will not be granted.
  • One application should be submitted per collaborative pair. However, funds will be awarded directly to each PI’s institution, if selected for funding.
  • The application must be prepared in the grants portal by both principal investigators together in the collaborative pair, so please designate one principal investigator (PI) as the primary applicant (“owner” in the portal), who should then invite the other PI to be a “collaborator” in the portal. The primary applicant is the PI in the pair who creates the application, invites the co-PI to be a “collaborator” on the application, and is responsible for submitting the application on behalf of the pair. It is expected that each PI will independently complete their designated applicant details, organization details, and biosketch tasks within the portal, and then collaborate to jointly complete the project details and project proposal tasks within the portal. Once all tasks are complete, the primary applicant will need to click submit on behalf of the pair. See instructions below on how to invite your co-PI (collaborator).
  • The application requires collaborating principal investigators (PIs) to both complete their own applicant details, organization details, and biosketch sections within the application portal. One PI should start the application in the portal (instructions below) and the second PI should be invited as a “collaborator” (instructions below). Note: the applicant designated as the primary applicant (and the “owner” of the application in the portal) will be the only one in the pair able to submit the application on behalf of the pair.

Inviting application collaborators:

Once an application has been created, complete the following steps to add your co-investigator:

  1. Click the Add Collaborator button on the left side of the page on the initial application screen to invite your co-investigator, OR from within an application task marked as “Collaborator only task” click the Add Collaborator button.
    1. Enter the email address of your co-investigator in the first line.
    2. By default the type of access should be set to “View & edit”. Do not change this option.
    3. Add an optional message notifying your co-investigator that they are invited to edit your application and should complete their portion.
    4. Click the green Send Invite button in the bottom right corner.
    5. To remove, resend invite, or change access, select the three dots next to the email address of the invited collaborator. Once a collaborator has registered and accepted, an option to change the primary applicant can be done by selecting “Make Owner.”

The application consists of the following sections (called tasks in the grants portal): Applicant Details Part I, Applicant Details Part 2, Organization Details, Biosketches, Project Details, and Project Proposal.

Collaborating investigators are both responsible for filling out all relevant application sections. Each principal investigator should complete the following sections independently: Applicant Details Part 1 and 2, Organization Details, and Biosketches. The Project Proposal and Project Details sections should be completed jointly by both PIs.

  • Principal Investigator 1 (PI #1): The primary applicant is responsible for submitting the application on the team’s behalf and completing their individual tasks in addition to the collaborative project details and proposal.
  • Principal Investigator 2 (PI #2): Collaborating PI is responsible for completing their individual tasks in addition to the collaborative project details and proposal.
  • Applicant Details Part 1 (PI #1 & PI #2): Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. Information about the co-Principal Investigator should be entered in the “Principal Investigator #2 (PI #2)” sections.
    • Name and email: auto filled; to edit your name or email, please do so in your account information by clicking your name in the upper right corner and clicking My Account in the dropdown menu.
    • Organization, title/position, department or equivalent, degrees, early-career (faculty 0-6 years) or mid-career (faculty 7-10 years).
      • In the context of this RFA, we are defining early-career investigator as someone who has been in their faculty role for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between January 2014 and January 2020.
      • A mid-career investigator is defined as in their faculty role for more than six years but not more than 10 years at the time of application, i.e. have started a first independent position between January 2010 and January 2014.
    • Short narrative biography of the applicant (maximum of 100 words).
    • Significant Contributions: List any of the following sources for up to three of the most significant contributions made by each of the applicant PIs to their field: publications/preprints (with PubMed or bioRxiv links), GitHub repository links, Protocols.io submissions, data repositories, and/or similar documentation. Each listed contribution need not be related to the application proposal.
  • Applicant Details Part 2 (PI #1 & #2): Complete all required fields in this task. Please note demographic information will not be used as a basis for review.
    • ORCID iD (required): Enter in format XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. ORCID iDs are unique, digital identifiers that distinguish individual investigators and unambiguously connect their contributions to science over time and across changes of name, location, and institutional affiliation. ORCID iDs will be used to streamline reporting in our applications and grant reports to reduce the burden on grantees. For more information, please visit https://orcid.org/register. (Please contact us at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com if you wish to opt out).
    • Highest degree (required) and year granted (optional).
    • Additional degrees and year granted (up to three) (optional).
    • Gender (optional).
    • Race/Ethnicity (optional).
    • Professional References: Provide names and contact information for three professional references who can speak to your approach to collaboration and science. References do not need to provide letters at the time of submission. References may be contacted by CZI directly during application review. Please notify your references that you have provided their name/contact information to CZI for this program.
      • For each reference: Enter name, email, organization, phone number, and your relationship to the reference.
  • Organization Details (PI #1 & PI #2): Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. The information entered should be for the organization of the applicable PI.
    • Organization:
      • Name: Auto filled from Applicant Details.
      • Address, City, State/Province, and Country.
      • Type of organization (drop down menu: academic/non-profit, industry/company, government, other).
      • Tax ID: Enter your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service in the 9-digit format (XX-XXXXXXX; 10 characters total). Foreign organizations or others who do not have an EIN should enter 44-4444444.
    • Organizational/Administrative Contact: List the name and contact information of the administrative contact to discuss additional information needed, if selected for award.
      • First name, Last name, Title/Position, Email
    • Signing Official: List the name and contact information for the person authorized to sign on behalf of your organization.
      • First name, Last name, Title/Position, Email
    • Press Contact / Public Relations Official: List the name and contact information for the person to discuss press releases and media.
      • First name, Last name, Title/Position, Email
    • Institutional Approval Form: Upload as a single PDF. This form should be printed, reviewed, and signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of your organization, agreeing to the stated institutional and investigator requirements and commitments on data, resource sharing and publication policies, as well as endorsing/verifying your application materials. This field is not designed to support encrypted documents or digital signatures; please sign, scan and upload this form as a PDF. 
  • Biosketches (PI #1 & PI #2): Upload the biosketch in PDF format for each PI in their respective tasks. Maximum of five pages per biosketch; NIH format or similar.
  • Project Details: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required.For this RFA, we are looking for teams and proposals that aim to address a critical problem in neurodegeneration in an innovative, bold way. The goal of the pilot projects is to catalyze new collaborative teams and motivate these teams to pursue their most exciting, transformative, and potentially risky ideas. We encourage applicants to consider these RFA goals when writing their proposals and answering the questions below.
    • Project Title: Auto filled; limited to 75 characters, including spaces. If you need to edit your project title, navigate to your application summary page, click on the three dots to the right of the application title (next to the Preview link) and select Rename from the dropdown menu.
    • Project Purpose: Summarize your research project; limited to one sentence; maximum of 255 characters, including spaces.
    • Abstract/Project Summary: Describe your collaborative project in brief (Limited to 250 words).
    • Collaborative Pairs Team
      • Collaboration: Describe the proposed collaboration and the roles of each of the collaborating investigators/labs. Include what motivates this collaborative pairing and what makes this team the right one to achieve the project goals (Limited to 250 words).
      • Professional Relationship: Describe in what capacity you previously worked together (Limited to 250 words).
      • Have you received joint funding for previous collaborative work? If so, please provide relevant details (Funding award, dates, funding amount).
    • Scientific Question/Impact: Describe the question your proposed project is aiming to address. Include in your response why this work is important and what impact it could have towards addressing challenges in the neurodegeneration field. How do you see this work as standing out from other efforts in the field? (Limited to 250 words).
    • Risk: What do you view as the riskiest parts of this project? Consider both conceptual and operational risks of the project. How you are planning to address these risks in your work? (Limited to 250 words).
    • Statement on Diversity and Equity: Describe how your proposal and team seek to promote diversity and equity in this project. Examples can include your approach to diversity/equity on your team; diversity in the context of your scientific approach, for instance, engagement with diverse cohorts/populations; or a focus on diseases that are prevalent or overrepresented among underserved global populations (Limited to 250 words).
  • Project Proposal: Upload your project proposal as a single PDF; font must be 11 points or larger and margins must be at least one-half inch (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. Include the following sections:
    • Proposal Body: (1,000 words maximum) Summary of the project, which should include three parts:
      • I. Scientific Goals: Define the scientific question or problem that the team aims to explore. Clarify the rationale for why it requires an interdisciplinary approach, has been historically difficult to address, and how the team is poised to clarify it.
      • II. Pilot Project Goals: Describe what your team hopes to accomplish during the pilot project period and how this lays the foundation for the potential longer-term project.
      • III. Tools & Resources: Provide a summary of the tools, technology, and other resources that your team may be bringing to this pilot project, aims to develop as a part of the project, and/or hopes to gain from collaborations in the Challenge Network. This list should highlight resources you can share with other projects and those that you feel you would benefit from having access to.
    • Figures​ (optional): There is no requirement for preliminary data. This RFA is intended to stimulate new collaborations and scientific directions. If you would like to provide figures of any kind, limit to one page, inclusive of legends.
    • References​ Cited in your proposal (no word/page limit).

The formatting and component requirements, including word and page limits indicated above, will be enforced by the review team. Any submitted materials that exceed the word and page limits or do not follow the requirements will not be considered during the application review process.

QUESTIONS?

For administrative and programmatic inquiries pertaining to this RFA, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. For technical assistance with SMApply, please contact support@smapply.io or while logged into SMApply, click on the information ”i” link in the upper right corner and submit a help request ticket.

Selection Process

CZI will evaluate all applications for scientific merit and will seek independent expert review of applications. Final decisions will be made by CZI staff in consultation with our scientific advisors. CZI does not provide feedback on decisions for unfunded projects. 

Selection of awardees will be based on:

  • The scientific quality, creativity and rigor of the proposed work. We are looking for innovative, bold, potentially transformative proposals;
  • Demonstration that the proposal addresses a critical question or bottleneck for neurodegenerative disease biology and that if successful, the outcomes of the work will have impact for understanding disease in humans;
  • The quality of the scientific team and the degree to which this collaboration leverages complementary strengths;
  • The potential of the work to open up new research directions and/or bring new approaches to critical problems across the neurodegeneration field; and
  • The potential of the Collaborative Pairs and their teams to contribute to the collaborative, open science goals of the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network.
Policies
  • Funds from this award are intended to support research activities. Grants are made to institutions on behalf of the named award recipients and reasonable flexibility on how these funds are utilized is allowed, provided that the funds are used to support research activities related to the project. A detailed budget is not required at the time of submission. Funded investigators will be asked to provide summary budgets at the time of award and during annual reporting.
  • For awarded projects, financial statements and progress reports will be due at the conclusion of each grant year. Specific deliverable requirements will be outlined in the award notification. Investigators of funded projects will be required to participate in regular investigator meetings, including annual investigator meetings in the Bay Area. Travel support for these meetings will be provided by CZI separately from the requested grant funds. 
  • Grantees may obtain funds for their research from other funding sources, provided that there is no conflict with meeting the terms of the CZI award. 
  • Unused research funds may be carried over to the following year and requests for no-cost extensions will be considered.
  • Ethical conduct: CZI advocates the highest standards for the ethical conduct of research. In addition to the requirements of their own countries, grantees should adopt procedures for the use of animals in research and for the ethical treatment of human subjects and tissue donors, including obtaining their written informed consent. CZI regards the policies of the National Institutes of Health as a strong model for such procedures.
  • Data, publication, and dissemination policies: To accelerate scientific discovery and collaboration, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of research results, including methods, data and reagents, and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. Under rare circumstances, exceptions to the above may be considered where there are specific situations that make meeting these goals impossible or counterproductive to the project.
    • Software code: CZI requires sharing of software code developed by its grantees to generally be made publicly available on GitHub (or a similar public service) under a permissive open source license (MIT, BSD 2-Clause, BSD 3-Clause, or Apache v2.0). All pre-existing and derivative code should be designed to be licensed under the most permissive license possible, given the licensing terms of the pre-existing code. All analysis packages must be released through the appropriate language-specific package manager (e.g., PyPi for Python, Bioconductor and CRAN for R) with documentation, example data, and interactive demos (e.g., Jupyter notebooks), and the use of Docker or similar container technologies to ensure portability and reproducibility. Software code supported by CZI should be archived for long-term digital preservation and citability, when applicable.
    • Content and data sharing: ​CZI is committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. Any datasets either curated or generated through the proposal should be made publicly available and easily accessible through an appropriate data repository, when applicable, under an Open Definition conformant license. Ideally, data sets would not include personally identifiable information, but if they do, consent to sharing the data should be obtained. Metadata, documentation, and intended use cases, as appropriate should be made available under an Open Definition conformant license, preferably CC0 or CC BY/CC BY SA for content that requires explicit attribution.
    • Publications: To encourage rapid dissemination of results, any publications related to this funded work must be submitted to a preprint server, such as bioRxiv, before the first submission to a journal. Experimental protocols should be made publicly available through a protocol sharing service, such as protocols.io. CZI requests that scientific publications, preprints, and presentations that result from this award acknowledge the project was supported by CZI funding.
    • Reagent sharing: Resources and reagents developed with this funding support should be available for rapid dissemination to the community, where possible in an accessible community repository, such as Addgene (for plasmids/DNA reagents/viruses) and Jackson Labs, etc. This requirement applies to cell lines, transgenic organisms, plasmids/clones, antibodies, and other reagents. 
    • Consent: All human tissues should be adequately and fully consented to permit full sharing of the resulting data and any resulting tools, in accordance with laws and regulatory requirements. Any desired exceptions to this policy must be identified at the time of application, and such requests may affect the application’s chance of success. We are aware that there may be circumstances where broad consent may be challenging, and in some cases consent may be subject to revocation; we encourage investigators to discuss these cases with CZI scientific staff.
    • Intellectual property rights: CZI does not require assignment of ownership to any data, published results, or any other intellectual property that results from the work funded by these grants, but will have the same rights generally granted to others in the permissive licenses described above. CZI supports and promotes policies that enable results and technologies to have the broadest reach and impact. To this end, all newly developed software should be made available through permissive open source licenses as described more fully above. Other technology and intellectual property rights (such as patents) should be made freely available for all academic and non-commercial use, and where intellectual property rights are commercialized, they should generally be subject to non-exclusive commercial licenses that enable broad availability and dissemination. 
  • Indirect costs are limited to up to 15% of direct costs. Indirect costs may not be assessed on capital equipment or subcontracts, but subcontractors may include up to 15% indirect costs of their direct costs.
  • International grantees must use all grant funds exclusively for activities conducted outside the United States of America. 
  • Applications selected through this process will be recommended for funding through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) or through the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation (CZF). 
Confidentiality

All submitted applications will be kept confidential, except (1) as necessary for our evaluation or to comply with any applicable laws; and (2) to the extent that the application is made public or available to others without a duty of confidentiality through no fault of CZI. Notwithstanding, successfully funded proposals may be made publicly available and/or shared with other grantees or collaborators. Unfunded proposals will remain confidential as provided herein; however, information, including brief summaries of the proposed projects, project metrics, and the types of organizations who have applied for funding, may be made publicly available in aggregate form. Application materials will not be returned to applicants.

RFA Contact

For administrative and programmatic inquiries, technical assistance, or other questions pertaining to this RFA, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com.

Key Dates
OCTOBER 10, 2019
Application portal opens
JANUARY 14, 2020
Applications due by 5:00 PM PT
APRIL 2020
Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
JUNE 1, 2020
Earliest start date of project (subject to change)

Award period and start date: Proposed projects should be 18 months in duration with a projected start date no earlier than June 1, 2020. Actual start date may vary.

Opportunity

The CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network has three key goals: 

(1) To make fundamental advances toward understanding neurodegeneration;

(2) To bring new ideas and talent to the field of neurodegeneration; and 

(3) To encourage and experiment with a new interdisciplinary, collaborative, and open science research model involving scientists, clinicians, and engineers.

We launched the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network (NDCN) in 2018 with two grant mechanisms: the Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award and the CZI Collaborative Science Awards. These awards currently fund 17 early career investigators and nine collaborative teams to work on questions related to fundamental science underlying neurodegenerative disease.

We are now pleased to invite applications to join the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network through a new Request for Applications (RFA) and grant program: the CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network Collaborative Pairs Pilot Project Awards. 

CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network

The Neurodegeneration Challenge Network model is built on the vision that progress in solving neurodegenerative diseases will come from bringing new people into the neurodegeneration field from diverse disciplines and expertise; building interdisciplinary collaborations; empowering the broader scientific community with robust tools and platforms; and creating a culture of open science. Scientifically, we aspire to motivate the collective field to shift the approach to neurodegenerative diseases to a framework, where these diseases — currently addressed largely as distinct diseases and problems — are considered more holistically as a class of disorders with common features, mechanisms, and solutions. The NDCN Collaborative Pairs RFA extends on this vision. 

Building on the NDCN Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Award and the Collaborative Science Awards that launched the Challenge Network, the Collaborative Pairs awards will also prioritize bringing new investigators and early career scientists into the field, with an emphasis on recruiting scientists from fields outside the core of neurodegeneration, and will target work that address neurodegenerative diseases in a novel, innovative, interdisciplinary, and disease cross-cutting way. A key goal for the NDCN Collaborative Pairs opportunity is to provide a funding structure that will encourage and support bold, risk-taking, and potentially transformative ideas and science.

Overview of the Two-Phase RFA Process

To meet the goals of catalyzing new interdisciplinary collaborations and inspiring innovative science, the Collaborative Pairs RFA is structured as a two-phased funding opportunity.

  • In the first phase, we are recruiting applications from teams of two investigators and their labs for 18-month pilot awards ($150,000 total costs/collaboration) to pursue new projects related to understanding the molecular, cell biological, and physiological underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease. 
  • The purpose of the pilot project award is to give the collaborating teams the freedom to explore new, out-of-the-box, potentially transformative ideas. We are looking for teams and proposals that are addressing a critical problem in neurodegeneration in an innovative, bold way.
  • Successful pilot projects from Phase 1 pilot phase will be eligible for application and evaluation for an extended grant award of $400,000 total costs/year/pair for four years ($1.6 million total), for a total of $1.75 million over five-and-a-half years for the entirety of the project (Phase 1 and Phase 2).
  • The Collaborative Pairs RFA aims to develop new teams. Collaborative Pairs cannot have previously received joint grant funding together. Applicants will be asked to describe the value of the collaboration and what unique perspective this pairing brings to the proposal.
  • We will be looking for collaborations that bring together complementary approaches and expertise. In particular, we strongly encourage applications from collaborations involving clinicians, as well as pairs that bring together researchers from different fields, for instance: connecting experimental biologists and computational biologists, or bridging between different disciplines such as immunology, cell biology, neuroscience, biochemistry, stem cell biology, and bioengineering.
  • The scope of these collaborations should focus on foundational and mechanistic science (as opposed to translational and clinical work). However, successful projects should be grounded in human biology and disease pathology, with the longer-term goal of opening new directions for other translational and clinical efforts.
  • While this is not explicitly a tool/technology-focused RFA, we encourage applications with a tool and technology focus. As part of the collective work of the Challenge Network, our funded investigators are contributing to the development, validation, and dissemination of robust, reliable, and scalable experimental and analytical tools for the broader neurodegeneration community. 
  • Applications are strongly encouraged from investigators new to the field of neurodegeneration, and, in particular, researchers with relevant interdisciplinary training and experience in disciplines outside of neurodegeneration who bring new technology, resources, or frameworks to the field. Previous work in neurodegeneration is not a prerequisite.
  • Each Collaborative Pair must include at least one early- or mid-career investigator, and at least half of the awards will be specifically reserved for Collaborative Pairs that include at least one early-career investigator. See application instructions and eligibility criteria for more details and definitions of early- and mid-career.
  • We aspire to create a diverse community in the Challenge Network and strongly encourage applications from women, underrepresented minorities, and diverse groups worldwide. See application instructions and eligibility criteria for specific details on eligibility.
  • We anticipate awarding up to 30 Collaborative Pilot Awards in Phase 1, and awarding up to 30% of the eligible Phase 1 pilot projects awards for Phase 2 extended grant awards. Final determination of awards and numbers will depend on the quality of the applications received, at CZI’s sole discretion.

Scientific Scope

Examples of potential areas within the scope of the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network include, but are not limited to:

  • Exploring disease mechanisms that cut across neurodegenerative diseases and that may point to common avenues for intervention. We define neurodegenerative diseases broadly, from degenerative developmental conditions in children to diseases more commonly associated with aging;
  • Probing disease mechanisms in human cells, tissues, and models; foundational studies that rigorously bridge between model systems approaches and human biology and disease pathology;
  • Testing causal hypotheses for how core cellular mechanisms such as metabolism, proteostasis, RNA processing, and protein trafficking contribute to neurodegenerative diseases;
  • Defining the contribution of non-neuronal influences on neurodegeneration, including potential influences of the innate and adaptive immune systems, vasculature, and the gut and microbiome;
  • Developing improved animal models that more closely mimic human disease progression and physiology;
  • Explaining the relative susceptibility of different cell populations in different neurodegenerative diseases; and
  • Building a foundational understanding of disease progression, risk, and the influence of aging over the lifespan, including mechanistic approaches as well as longitudinal descriptive studies.

Collaboration and Open Science

The CZI Neurodegeneration Challenge Network is an approach to address the scientific challenges of neurodegenerative diseases and an experiment in collaborative science. As part of the selection process, we will be looking for investigators and groups who will enthusiastically contribute to and benefit from a highly collaborative, dynamic, and interdisciplinary approach. 

  • Investigators in the Challenge Network will have the opportunity to learn from, collaborate with, and interact with the community of investigators and groups within the Network, as well as with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative scientists and software engineers. Investigators and members of their labs will participate in regular investigator meetings; meetings for students, postdocs, and staff; as well as mentorship and training opportunities. 
  • CZI’s mission is at the interface of technology and science. Working in collaboration with and guided by Challenge Network investigators, we aim to develop technology-based tools and approaches to support and accelerate the broader field of neurodegeneration.
  • Clinical partners in these collaborative projects will play important roles as mentors to help the collective work of the Challenge Network stay closely aligned to the clinical contexts of these disorders and to the needs of patients. 
  • CZI supports open science values and principles. To accelerate scientific discovery, collaboration, and rapid dissemination, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of research results and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. 

RFA Application Process

Details of the Application and Review process are provided below. Please read these instructions and eligibility requirements carefully, even if you have applied to other CZI funding opportunity previously, as requirements vary between RFAs and opportunities.

Eligibility
  • Collaborations should include two principal investigators (PIs). There will be opportunities to work across collaborative projects, but each collaboration will be limited to two PIs. 
  • Both PIs must hold a PhD, MD, or equivalent degree.
  • Both PIs must have an academic appointment and be in an independent faculty position or equivalent at an accredited college, university, medical school, or other research facility.
  • Applications may be submitted by domestic and foreign non-profit organizations; public and private institutions, such as colleges, universities, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments; and eligible agencies of the federal government.
  • The Collaborative Pairs RFA is aimed at motivating new collaborations. While it is permissible for applicants to have worked together, the pair cannot have received joint funding for either this or any other project.
  • At least one of the applicants must be an early-career investigator or a mid-career investigator in an independent faculty position. Independence is typically demonstrated by a full-time faculty appointment, a tenure-track position, allocated space, a start-up package, and institutional commitment as defined or verified in a letter from a department chair or equivalent.
    • In the context of this RFA, we are defining early-career investigators as individuals who have been in their faculty role for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between January 2014 and January 2020. 
    • A mid-career investigator is defined as in their faculty role for more than six years but not more than 10 years at the time of application, i.e. have started a first independent position between January 2010 and January 2014. 
    • CZI will make exceptions to these criteria in cases of institutionally approved career breaks, e.g. family or medical leave, etc. (If you believe this applies to you, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com).
  • The two PIs in the pair will complete the online application together in the application portal, but one PI should be designated as the Primary Applicant who will be responsible for submitting the application in the application portal. Funds will be awarded directly to each PI’s institution, if selected for funding. 
  • Collaboration members may be from the same or different institutions.
  • Applications are strongly encouraged from investigators new to the field of neurodegeneration, and, in particular, applications from researchers with relevant interdisciplinary training and experience in disciplines outside of neurodegeneration who bring new technology, resources, or frameworks to the field.
  • There may be more than one application from each institution. However, each eligible investigator may only apply to one or be part of one Collaborative Pairs application.
  • Each investigator may apply as part of one team for both this RFA and the CZI Single-Cell Analysis of Inflammation RFA (application period open from 9/17/19 to 11/19/19), provided that the team members and scope of work for both applications are non-overlapping.
  • Applications should be inclusive and are strongly encouraged from women and underrepresented minorities. 
  • All grants will be made in compliance with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) program. For additional information regarding OFAC sanctions, please refer to the US Treasury Department’s resources.
  • Facebook employees, including employees of any subsidiary Facebook entities, are not permitted to apply for this grant.
  • CZI reserves the sole right to decide if an applicant and applicant organization meet the eligibility requirements.

For questions about eligibility or the application process, please contact us in advance of the proposal deadline at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. Deadline extensions will not be granted. Please reference the NDCN Collaborative Pairs RFA in your email.

Application Requirements

Budget for Pilot Phase 

$150,000 total costs per collaboration for 18 months (including no more than 15% indirect costs). The pilot phase application does not require a detailed budget.

Awards will be 18 months in duration with a project start date of no earlier than June 1, 2020. Actual start date may vary. The evaluation for Phase 2 grant award selection will occur around 12 months into the pilot phase. Funded pilot project teams will receive more instructions on Phase 2 evaluation and selection processes, including key dates, criteria, and other logistics, after pilot phase funding decisions are made.

Application Specifics

All applications must be completed and submitted through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s online grants management portal (https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com/). It is recommended that applicants familiarize themselves this portal well in advance of any deadlines. Detailed application instructions are available below in the Detailed Application Instructions section, as well as in the grants management portal.

Key Dates
October 10, 2019
Application portal opens
January 14, 2020
Applications due by 5 pm PT
April 2020
Earliest notification of decisions (subject to change)
June 1, 2020
Earliest start date of award period (subject to change)
Detailed Application Instructions
  • The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative uses SurveyMonkey Apply (SMApply) as its grants management portal. All applications must be submitted through this portal (https://apply.chanzuckerberg.com). SMApply is configured to work best using the Google Chrome browser. It is recommended that you familiarize yourself with this portal well in advance of any deadlines. Deadline extensions will not be granted.
  • One application should be submitted per collaborative pair. However, funds will be awarded directly to each PI’s institution, if selected for funding.
  • The application must be prepared in the grants portal by both principal investigators together in the collaborative pair, so please designate one principal investigator (PI) as the primary applicant (“owner” in the portal), who should then invite the other PI to be a “collaborator” in the portal. The primary applicant is the PI in the pair who creates the application, invites the co-PI to be a “collaborator” on the application, and is responsible for submitting the application on behalf of the pair. It is expected that each PI will independently complete their designated applicant details, organization details, and biosketch tasks within the portal, and then collaborate to jointly complete the project details and project proposal tasks within the portal. Once all tasks are complete, the primary applicant will need to click submit on behalf of the pair. See instructions below on how to invite your co-PI (collaborator).
  • The application requires collaborating principal investigators (PIs) to both complete their own applicant details, organization details, and biosketch sections within the application portal. One PI should start the application in the portal (instructions below) and the second PI should be invited as a “collaborator” (instructions below). Note: the applicant designated as the primary applicant (and the “owner” of the application in the portal) will be the only one in the pair able to submit the application on behalf of the pair.

Inviting application collaborators:

Once an application has been created, complete the following steps to add your co-investigator:

  1. Click the Add Collaborator button on the left side of the page on the initial application screen to invite your co-investigator, OR from within an application task marked as “Collaborator only task” click the Add Collaborator button.
    1. Enter the email address of your co-investigator in the first line.
    2. By default the type of access should be set to “View & edit”. Do not change this option.
    3. Add an optional message notifying your co-investigator that they are invited to edit your application and should complete their portion.
    4. Click the green Send Invite button in the bottom right corner.
    5. To remove, resend invite, or change access, select the three dots next to the email address of the invited collaborator. Once a collaborator has registered and accepted, an option to change the primary applicant can be done by selecting “Make Owner.”

The application consists of the following sections (called tasks in the grants portal): Applicant Details Part I, Applicant Details Part 2, Organization Details, Biosketches, Project Details, and Project Proposal.

Collaborating investigators are both responsible for filling out all relevant application sections. Each principal investigator should complete the following sections independently: Applicant Details Part 1 and 2, Organization Details, and Biosketches. The Project Proposal and Project Details sections should be completed jointly by both PIs.

  • Principal Investigator 1 (PI #1): The primary applicant is responsible for submitting the application on the team’s behalf and completing their individual tasks in addition to the collaborative project details and proposal.
  • Principal Investigator 2 (PI #2): Collaborating PI is responsible for completing their individual tasks in addition to the collaborative project details and proposal.
  • Applicant Details Part 1 (PI #1 & PI #2): Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. Information about the co-Principal Investigator should be entered in the “Principal Investigator #2 (PI #2)” sections.
    • Name and email: auto filled; to edit your name or email, please do so in your account information by clicking your name in the upper right corner and clicking My Account in the dropdown menu.
    • Organization, title/position, department or equivalent, degrees, early-career (faculty 0-6 years) or mid-career (faculty 7-10 years).
      • In the context of this RFA, we are defining early-career investigator as someone who has been in their faculty role for zero to six years at the time of application, i.e. have started their first independent position between January 2014 and January 2020.
      • A mid-career investigator is defined as in their faculty role for more than six years but not more than 10 years at the time of application, i.e. have started a first independent position between January 2010 and January 2014.
    • Short narrative biography of the applicant (maximum of 100 words).
    • Significant Contributions: List any of the following sources for up to three of the most significant contributions made by each of the applicant PIs to their field: publications/preprints (with PubMed or bioRxiv links), GitHub repository links, Protocols.io submissions, data repositories, and/or similar documentation. Each listed contribution need not be related to the application proposal.
  • Applicant Details Part 2 (PI #1 & #2): Complete all required fields in this task. Please note demographic information will not be used as a basis for review.
    • ORCID iD (required): Enter in format XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX. ORCID iDs are unique, digital identifiers that distinguish individual investigators and unambiguously connect their contributions to science over time and across changes of name, location, and institutional affiliation. ORCID iDs will be used to streamline reporting in our applications and grant reports to reduce the burden on grantees. For more information, please visit https://orcid.org/register. (Please contact us at sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com if you wish to opt out).
    • Highest degree (required) and year granted (optional).
    • Additional degrees and year granted (up to three) (optional).
    • Gender (optional).
    • Race/Ethnicity (optional).
    • Professional References: Provide names and contact information for three professional references who can speak to your approach to collaboration and science. References do not need to provide letters at the time of submission. References may be contacted by CZI directly during application review. Please notify your references that you have provided their name/contact information to CZI for this program.
      • For each reference: Enter name, email, organization, phone number, and your relationship to the reference.
  • Organization Details (PI #1 & PI #2): Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required. The information entered should be for the organization of the applicable PI.
    • Organization:
      • Name: Auto filled from Applicant Details.
      • Address, City, State/Province, and Country.
      • Type of organization (drop down menu: academic/non-profit, industry/company, government, other).
      • Tax ID: Enter your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as assigned by the Internal Revenue Service in the 9-digit format (XX-XXXXXXX; 10 characters total). Foreign organizations or others who do not have an EIN should enter 44-4444444.
    • Organizational/Administrative Contact: List the name and contact information of the administrative contact to discuss additional information needed, if selected for award.
      • First name, Last name, Title/Position, Email
    • Signing Official: List the name and contact information for the person authorized to sign on behalf of your organization.
      • First name, Last name, Title/Position, Email
    • Press Contact / Public Relations Official: List the name and contact information for the person to discuss press releases and media.
      • First name, Last name, Title/Position, Email
    • Institutional Approval Form: Upload as a single PDF. This form should be printed, reviewed, and signed by a person authorized to sign on behalf of your organization, agreeing to the stated institutional and investigator requirements and commitments on data, resource sharing and publication policies, as well as endorsing/verifying your application materials. This field is not designed to support encrypted documents or digital signatures; please sign, scan and upload this form as a PDF. 
  • Biosketches (PI #1 & PI #2): Upload the biosketch in PDF format for each PI in their respective tasks. Maximum of five pages per biosketch; NIH format or similar.
  • Project Details: Complete all fields in this task; all fields are required.For this RFA, we are looking for teams and proposals that aim to address a critical problem in neurodegeneration in an innovative, bold way. The goal of the pilot projects is to catalyze new collaborative teams and motivate these teams to pursue their most exciting, transformative, and potentially risky ideas. We encourage applicants to consider these RFA goals when writing their proposals and answering the questions below.
    • Project Title: Auto filled; limited to 75 characters, including spaces. If you need to edit your project title, navigate to your application summary page, click on the three dots to the right of the application title (next to the Preview link) and select Rename from the dropdown menu.
    • Project Purpose: Summarize your research project; limited to one sentence; maximum of 255 characters, including spaces.
    • Abstract/Project Summary: Describe your collaborative project in brief (Limited to 250 words).
    • Collaborative Pairs Team
      • Collaboration: Describe the proposed collaboration and the roles of each of the collaborating investigators/labs. Include what motivates this collaborative pairing and what makes this team the right one to achieve the project goals (Limited to 250 words).
      • Professional Relationship: Describe in what capacity you previously worked together (Limited to 250 words).
      • Have you received joint funding for previous collaborative work? If so, please provide relevant details (Funding award, dates, funding amount).
    • Scientific Question/Impact: Describe the question your proposed project is aiming to address. Include in your response why this work is important and what impact it could have towards addressing challenges in the neurodegeneration field. How do you see this work as standing out from other efforts in the field? (Limited to 250 words).
    • Risk: What do you view as the riskiest parts of this project? Consider both conceptual and operational risks of the project. How you are planning to address these risks in your work? (Limited to 250 words).
    • Statement on Diversity and Equity: Describe how your proposal and team seek to promote diversity and equity in this project. Examples can include your approach to diversity/equity on your team; diversity in the context of your scientific approach, for instance, engagement with diverse cohorts/populations; or a focus on diseases that are prevalent or overrepresented among underserved global populations (Limited to 250 words).
  • Project Proposal: Upload your project proposal as a single PDF; font must be 11 points or larger and margins must be at least one-half inch (top, bottom, left, and right) for all pages. Include the following sections:
    • Proposal Body: (1,000 words maximum) Summary of the project, which should include three parts:
      • I. Scientific Goals: Define the scientific question or problem that the team aims to explore. Clarify the rationale for why it requires an interdisciplinary approach, has been historically difficult to address, and how the team is poised to clarify it.
      • II. Pilot Project Goals: Describe what your team hopes to accomplish during the pilot project period and how this lays the foundation for the potential longer-term project.
      • III. Tools & Resources: Provide a summary of the tools, technology, and other resources that your team may be bringing to this pilot project, aims to develop as a part of the project, and/or hopes to gain from collaborations in the Challenge Network. This list should highlight resources you can share with other projects and those that you feel you would benefit from having access to.
    • Figures​ (optional): There is no requirement for preliminary data. This RFA is intended to stimulate new collaborations and scientific directions. If you would like to provide figures of any kind, limit to one page, inclusive of legends.
    • References​ Cited in your proposal (no word/page limit).

The formatting and component requirements, including word and page limits indicated above, will be enforced by the review team. Any submitted materials that exceed the word and page limits or do not follow the requirements will not be considered during the application review process.

QUESTIONS?

For administrative and programmatic inquiries pertaining to this RFA, please contact sciencegrants@chanzuckerberg.com. For technical assistance with SMApply, please contact support@smapply.io or while logged into SMApply, click on the information ”i” link in the upper right corner and submit a help request ticket.

Selection Process

CZI will evaluate all applications for scientific merit and will seek independent expert review of applications. Final decisions will be made by CZI staff in consultation with our scientific advisors. CZI does not provide feedback on decisions for unfunded projects. 

Selection of awardees will be based on:

  • The scientific quality, creativity and rigor of the proposed work. We are looking for innovative, bold, potentially transformative proposals;
  • Demonstration that the proposal addresses a critical question or bottleneck for neurodegenerative disease biology and that if successful, the outcomes of the work will have impact for understanding disease in humans;
  • The quality of the scientific team and the degree to which this collaboration leverages complementary strengths;
  • The potential of the work to open up new research directions and/or bring new approaches to critical problems across the neurodegeneration field; and
  • The potential of the Collaborative Pairs and their teams to contribute to the collaborative, open science goals of the Neurodegeneration Challenge Network.
Policies
  • Funds from this award are intended to support research activities. Grants are made to institutions on behalf of the named award recipients and reasonable flexibility on how these funds are utilized is allowed, provided that the funds are used to support research activities related to the project. A detailed budget is not required at the time of submission. Funded investigators will be asked to provide summary budgets at the time of award and during annual reporting.
  • For awarded projects, financial statements and progress reports will be due at the conclusion of each grant year. Specific deliverable requirements will be outlined in the award notification. Investigators of funded projects will be required to participate in regular investigator meetings, including annual investigator meetings in the Bay Area. Travel support for these meetings will be provided by CZI separately from the requested grant funds. 
  • Grantees may obtain funds for their research from other funding sources, provided that there is no conflict with meeting the terms of the CZI award. 
  • Unused research funds may be carried over to the following year and requests for no-cost extensions will be considered.
  • Ethical conduct: CZI advocates the highest standards for the ethical conduct of research. In addition to the requirements of their own countries, grantees should adopt procedures for the use of animals in research and for the ethical treatment of human subjects and tissue donors, including obtaining their written informed consent. CZI regards the policies of the National Institutes of Health as a strong model for such procedures.
  • Data, publication, and dissemination policies: To accelerate scientific discovery and collaboration, CZI supports a consent, sharing, and publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of research results, including methods, data and reagents, and a policy for software development that maximizes accessibility, reuse, and shared development. Under rare circumstances, exceptions to the above may be considered where there are specific situations that make meeting these goals impossible or counterproductive to the project.
    • Software code: CZI requires sharing of software code developed by its grantees to generally be made publicly available on GitHub (or a similar public service) under a permissive open source license (MIT, BSD 2-Clause, BSD 3-Clause, or Apache v2.0). All pre-existing and derivative code should be designed to be licensed under the most permissive license possible, given the licensing terms of the pre-existing code. All analysis packages must be released through the appropriate language-specific package manager (e.g., PyPi for Python, Bioconductor and CRAN for R) with documentation, example data, and interactive demos (e.g., Jupyter notebooks), and the use of Docker or similar container technologies to ensure portability and reproducibility. Software code supported by CZI should be archived for long-term digital preservation and citability, when applicable.
    • Content and data sharing: ​CZI is committed to developing and using platforms that disseminate data openly and freely. Any datasets either curated or generated through the proposal should be made publicly available and easily accessible through an appropriate data repository, when applicable, under an Open Definition conformant license. Ideally, data sets would not include personally identifiable information, but if they do, consent to sharing the data should be obtained. Metadata, documentation, and intended use cases, as appropriate should be made available under an Open Definition conformant license, preferably CC0 or CC BY/CC BY SA for content that requires explicit attribution.
    • Publications: To encourage rapid dissemination of results, any publications related to this funded work must be submitted to a preprint server, such as bioRxiv, before the first submission to a journal. Experimental protocols should be made publicly available through a protocol sharing service, such as protocols.io. CZI requests that scientific publications, preprints, and presentations that result from this award acknowledge the project was supported by CZI funding.
    • Reagent sharing: Resources and reagents developed with this funding support should be available for rapid dissemination to the community, where possible in an accessible community repository, such as Addgene (for plasmids/DNA reagents/viruses) and Jackson Labs, etc. This requirement applies to cell lines, transgenic organisms, plasmids/clones, antibodies, and other reagents. 
    • Consent: All human tissues should be adequately and fully consented to permit full sharing of the resulting data and any resulting tools, in accordance with laws and regulatory requirements. Any desired exceptions to this policy must be identified at the time of application, and such requests may affect the application’s chance of success. We are aware that there may be circumstances where broad consent may be challenging, and in some cases consent may be subject to revocation; we encourage investigators to discuss these cases with CZI scientific staff.
    • Intellectual property rights: CZI does not require assignment of ownership to any data, published results, or any other intellectual property that results from the work funded by these grants, but will have the same rights generally granted to others in the permissive licenses described above. CZI supports and promotes policies that enable results and technologies to have the broadest reach and impact. To this end, all newly developed software should be made available through permissive open source licenses as described more fully above. Other technology and intellectual property rights (such as patents) should be made freely available for all academic and non-commercial use, and where intellectual property rights are commercialized, they should generally be subject to non-exclusive commercial licenses that enable broad availability and dissemination. 
  • Indirect costs are limited to up to 15% of direct costs. Indirect costs may not be assessed on capital equipment or subcontracts, but subcontractors may include up to 15% indirect costs of their direct costs.
  • International grantees must use all grant funds exclusively for activities conducted outside the United States of America. 
  • Applications selected through this process will be recommended for funding through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) or through the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation (CZF). 
Confidentiality

All submitted applications will be kept confidential, except (1) as necessary for our evaluation or to comply with any applicable laws; and (2) to the extent that the application is made public or available to others without a duty of confidentiality through no fault of CZI. Notwithstanding, successfully funded proposals may be made publicly available and/or shared with other grantees or collaborators. Unfunded proposals will remain confidential as provided herein; however, information, including brief summaries of the proposed projects, project metrics, and the types of organizations who have applied for funding, may be made publicly available in aggregate form. Application materials will not be returned to applicants.