Policy for Pilot Studies Conducted in the Center for Structural Biology

The Center for Structural Biology (CSB) has University of Florida institutional funds, available through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Medicine, and the McKnight Brain Institute (MBI) for Center operations devoted to the support of a limited number of pilot studies proposed by investigators from the University of Florida. These funds cover the cost of instrument time plus any associated costs (e.g. RF probes, solvents, anesthetic gases, etc.) and, in certain circumstances, the cost of CSB staff assistance with the project. The intent of this support is to help investigators develop external funding for projects, i.e. the expectation is that a pilot study will lead to a grant submission.

A pilot study is defined as any project requiring CSB facilities and/or CSB staff effort to determine its scientific feasibility. The study should be of limited scope and have well defined objectives. Ordinarily, a pilot study would not exceed six months in duration. Pilot studies may take two forms: (1) a study requiring access to an instrument only, or (2) a study that requires instrument time and a commitment of CSB staff to conduct experiments. Please note that there is a very limited availability of CSB staff effort to participate in new pilot studies.

A short proposal is required for the initiation of a pilot study. This proposal should be in the form outlined below and submitted to the CSB Main Office, LG-181 in the University of Florida Brain Institute (hardcopy and disk copy). It is imperative that investigators wishing to submit a proposal contact the appropriate CSB staff (see below) before proceeding. This allows the CSB staff to check a proposal for feasibility and a suitable availability of resources. Once these are ascertained, the investigator should then submit the completed proposal to the CSB Main Office for full review by the appropriate Users Committee.

Reviews occur during the quarterly meetings of the Users Committees. The proposer is invited to attend the meeting in order to answer any questions that arise. Subsequent to discussions, the Committee will approve, approve subject to changes, or disapprove a proposal by secret ballot. Comments on the proposal will be returned to the investigator by the CSB staff as soon as possible after the meeting. If the proposal has been accepted, the comments will include a description of the projectís schedule and all CSB commitments. Please note that final approval of pilot studies may require approval by the institutional funding unit (e.g. CLAS) and that pilot studies will not be commenced until the CSB has received copies of all necessary permissions, e.g. approval to use animals.

Proposals must be received by the CSB no later than two weeks prior to a Users Committee meeting. Please contact the relevant CSB staff for meeting times and venues.

A pilot study proposal should be approximately two pages and must include the following elements:

  1. Abstract
  2. Significance
  3. Design and methods
    1. specific aims
    2. instrument time requirements
    3. additional equipment requirements (RF coils, anesthetics, etc.)
    4. data analysis requirements
    5. CSB staff requirements (if any)
  4. Schedule to obtain all necessary permissions, e.g. animal use approval
  5. Plan for grant submission
    1. funding agency and program
    2. application deadline
    3. relationship of expected results to grant application

At the conclusion of a pilot study an investigator must submit a progress report to the relevant Users Committee. On the basis of this report an investigator may seek to extend the pilot study. As before, the approval decision will rest with the Committee.

In any publications arising from a pilot study, please acknowledge the financial assistance of the Center for Structural Biology and the University of Florida Brain Institute.

Contact Information:

FacilityTelephoneE-mailCSB Main Office Mailing Address
4.7T NMR:
Xeve S. Silver
(352)392-1028 xeve@ufbi.ufl.edu MBI-UF LG-177,
Health Science Center
University of Florida,
Gainesville, FL 32611
600 MHz NMR:
Dan Plant
Optical Microscopy:
Tim Vaught
David Parks