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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.
  • Timeline: LOI announced in August with Nominations/Letters of Intent due September.  LOI to include:
    1. The team members names, rank, and department/division
    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
  • Selection of teams to submit full applications October; Application for selected teams in November; Reviewed and awarded December/January.
  • Team selection:  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.

Program 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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