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College of Medicine Enhancement of Team Science (COMETS)

Purpose: To expand federally funded research programs by active mid-career and senior investigators by supporting a newly established research team with 2 years of funding.

Target Faculty: Active mid-career and senior faculty with a strong history of funding, publications, and a record of MUSC service who have not been successful in obtaining RO1, or equivalent support in the past 18-24 months.

Letter of Intent:

  • LOI announced in August and due in September.  Include the following:
    1. The team members names, rank, department/division, and biosketch
    2. The general area of  research that the two grants will be centered around
    3. The significance and innovation of the two grant proposals that will result from the COMETS grant
    4. Existing preliminary data and new data that will be developed from the COMETS grant to support new R01 applications and joint team publications
    5. A statement that the chair(s) supports the COMETS application and is/are copied on the letter
    6. Two page limit in one PDF

Committee selects team to submit full applications in October. Reviewed and awarded December/January.

  • Team profile:  A team consisting of two faculty members in the same or different departments.
  • Outcome: Submission of two competitive NIH R01 proposals, or equivalent, one from each PI, in two years; and two publications.
  • Program evaluation:  Annually by the College of Medicine Dean to determine funding and research goals are being met.

By Invitation Only - Application: (Page limit: 6 pages in one PDF) Components:

  • Specific Aims
  • Significance and Innovation
  • Approach
  • Facilities
  • Clinical or public health relevance and relation to strategic mission
  • Team science justification and multiple PI plan
  • Six-month and 1-year milestones for publications and grant submissions
  • Additional components:
    • NIH biosketches
    • Two recent summary statements
    • Budget (NIH page 4 and 5, initial year and total budget period)*
    • Budget justification
    • Letter of support from chair(s)
    • Names and contact information for 3-5 intramural or extramural reviewersProgram Outline:
  • Funding:  $150K/year
  • Duration: 2 years
  • One award per year
  • Scientific Focus: basic, translational, or clinical research. Priority given to research in MUSC and MUSC Health strategic areas.

Application Review and Oversight:

  • A panel of 3 funded senior MUSC investigators and one external reviewer, selected by the Dean, will review full applications. The review panel will make recommendations regarding the significance and innovation of the research programs, and the ability of the team to effectively compete for extramural funds, to the Dean and the Senior Associate Dean for Research. The Dean will make the final funding decision for each application. Decisions about continuation of funding will occur every 6 months by the Dean/Senior Associate Dean based on meeting or exceeding specific milestones. The initial review team will participate in these reviews.


Progress Report and review at 6 months of funding:

  • 1st paper submitted or final draft
  • Status of second paper; in outline form
  • Co-publication(s) by both PIs submitted within 4-5 months
  • Progress on 1st grant application (aims, preliminary data, etc.)

Progress Report and review at 12 months of funding

  • Second paper in final draft form or submitted
  • 1st grant submitted
  • 2nd grant in progress (aims, preliminary data, etc.)

Progress Report and review at 18 Months of funding

  • Review of first grant critique
  • Status of 2nd grant
  • Review of publications

Factors considered in application review:

  • Publication history
  • Grant history
  • Team strength
  • Program innovation, significance, and translational impact
  • Alignment with MUSC Health and College of Medicine strategic goals

If you have questions please contact Mary McConnell at


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