REMINDER: Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Updates from the Director


Tips for Writing Letters of Intent (LOIs)
When writing an LOI, consider it as a proposal that has been condensed into two pages.  Be sure to follow the sponsor's instructions, as they will specify what should be included in the letter as well as the required number of pages. If instructions are not provided, include the program goals and general outcomes. If including a funding request or budgetary information, remember, you must have institutional approval to include a request for a monetary amount or to commit institutional resources. If no budget is proposed, then there is no need to receive advance approval to submit through the Office of Sponsored Programs. Otherwise, treat it as a regular proposal which requires a line item budget, budget justification, Statement of Work, and Internal Approval Form. 

Keep the LOI straight and to the point. It should not exceed two pages if the sponsor did not specify a page limit. The purpose is to keep the LOI to a minimum while also engaging the reader’s interest and demonstrating a need and a solution for the problem. The LOI should establish that the proposed research or project is a good fit with the sponsor’s stated funding initiatives. Finally, the LOI should be on organizational letterhead and signed by the appropriate university officials. Again, if a budget is included or pledge of commitment of university resources, the LOI should be routed through Office of Sponsored Programs for approval and signatures following the normal proposal submission procedures:

Funding News and Notes: Recognition Issue
The dust has settled from fiscal year 2012 and reporting is complete. We've compiled a publication reflective of the funding successes achieved by faculty and staff for the prior fiscal year. This activity represents the collaborative efforts of a large percentage of our faculty working to stimulate curriculum development, instruction, and offer formative research opportunities to our students. For more statistics and to read about your accomplishments:

Searchable Funding Database Available: New Access Requirements
Our main searchable database provided by the Community of Science (COS) has recently undergone a major conversion.  Now called "ProQuest," this search engine offers some additional functionality, but also some additional challenges for JMU administratively.  Specifically, they have added an institutional log-on ID and Password that each user would need to access the system.  (Once the individual has access under this JMU institutional login, they can generate personalized searches, but they have to have the password as a 'JMU user.')  We are working with JMU Information Technology  to devise a way to make this logon and password available to JMU personnel via our web site in a secure manner; however, we don’t have that solution at this time.  Until that solution is found, anyone desiring access to ProQuest should contact our office ( or 8-6872) and we will provide you with the log-in information.

News Items  

NIH provides samples of Small and Exploratory/Developmental Research Grants (R21) on their NIAID site
To help investigators and institutions develop successful R21 grants, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has posted six sample exemplary funded R21 annotated applications and summary statements on their web page:

R21 grants provide investigators with funding to introduce novel scientific ideas, model systems, tools, agents, targets, and technologies that have the potential to substantially advance biomedical research.
Three reasons to pursue the R21:

  1. to encourage exploratory and even high-risk research
  2. to fund more mainstream applications with projects that are smaller than would be appropriate for an R01.
  3. to generate preliminary data for a future R01 (larger in scope)

If you're considering if the R21 grant is for you and a discussion of the funding mechanism's pros and cons, here are a few items to consider:

Compliance Corner  

Research Compliance Prepares to Comply With New Public Health Service (PHS) Rules on Conflict of Interest Regulations
The Institution is working towards revising its Financial Conflict of Interest policy No. 2203 to comply with the new PHS rules on conflict of interest by August 24, 2012. Agencies within the Public Health Service follow:

• Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
• Agency for Children and Families (ACF)
• Administration on Aging (AoA)
• Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
• Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
• Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
• Federal Occupational Health (FOH)
• Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
• Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
• Indian Health Service (HIS)
• National Institutes of Health (NIH)
• Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The Office of Research Compliance is partnering with the University to formalize procedural changes need to comply with the new regulations. Some of the significant changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Under the regulation through its implementation by the Institution, Investigators are required to disclose prior to submission for PHS funding and annually to the Office of Research Compliance a listing of Significant Financial Interests (and those of his/her spouse and dependent children) that (1) would reasonably appear to be affected by the research for which NIH funding is sought, and (2) in entities whose financial interests would reasonably appear to be affected by the research.
  • A new de minimis threshold ($5,000) is established for disclosure of significant financial interests (lowered from $10,000).
  • A new significant financial interest category – all travel regardless of dollar threshold that is related to the investigator’s institutional responsibilities that is reimbursed or sponsored by sources other than Federal, state, or local government agency, a U.S. Institution of higher education, an academic teaching hospital, a medical center, or a research institute that is affiliated with an Institution of higher education must be disclosed.
  • Disclosure of financial conflict of interest details by any investigator who transfers to JMU from another institution at which the investigator had a financial conflict of interest on a PHS sponsored award.
  • Required conflict of interest training prior to their engaging in PHS funded research, and thereafter every four years, or when an instance of non-compliance occurs, or when the Institution’s policy changes related to disclosure requirements.
  • For JMU sub recipients, in the absence of a sub-recipient having a PHS compliant policy, JMU policy must flow down its policy; however, disclosure need only relate to the specific award in question.
  • Failure of investigators to meet disclosure requirements or failure of Institutions to act timely on disclosures will require a retrospective review of the facts to determine if any research results were biased and, if so, what mitigation plan needs to be put in place.
  • Financial conflict of interests must be reported to the PHS awarding component and must include a description of the significant financial interests, nature of the financial conflict of interest, and details of the management plan. All reports to the agency must be updated annually through the Office of Research Compliance.

University’s Plan to Provide Financial Conflict of Interest Training
The PHS Conflict of Interest regulation requires that each investigator complete training prior to engaging in the research and subsequently every four years. The Office of Research Compliance has adapted the Conflict of Interest online training module offered by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) to meet the training requirement. As many of you are aware, JMU has entered into an agreement with the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program to provide training. CITI Program is utilized by Office of Research Compliance to ensure training is received by faculty, staff, and students engaged in a variety of regulated research activities. Individuals will receive an automatic notification upon completion of training and the program retains a log of all training documentation. Please see the following URL to review the instructions for the required training and select conflict of interest:
The FCOI training is available for Investigators to take now at the URL above.

NOTE: if you are actively engaged in a PHS project or are awaiting an award you MUST complete the FCOI training by August 24, 2012. Please note training must be completed by all project personnel prior to participating in a PHS funded project.

The Department of Health and Human Services has the new rule, FAQs and other relevant information posted at: