New Investigator Award Application Instructions

AACP Resource

2020–2021 Application Deadlines

  • Letter of Intent Deadline: August 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
  • Application Deadline: October 5, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT

Table of Contents

General Program Overview

The New Investigator Award (NIA), sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), provides research start-up funding for the independent research programs of early-career pharmacy faculty. Each grant ranges from $7,500 up to $10,000 maximum (no overhead allowed) and will be awarded in March 2021. In addition, each award winner will receive a travel award from AACP for required travel to present their research findings at the 2022 AACP Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. 


Proposals from applicants who do not meet the individual eligibility criteria or who are, at the time of the application deadline, employed at institutions that do not meet the institutional eligibility criteria will not be reviewed.

  • Institutional Eligibility
    • Applications will only be accepted from applicants currently appointed at U.S. colleges and schools of pharmacy that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) at the Candidate or Accredited status. More information regarding accreditation status of institutions can be found on the ACPE website.
  • Individual Eligibility
    • Eligible applicants must have an earned terminal degree (Pharm.D., Ph.D. or equivalent);
    • At the time of application, an applicant must have a regular full-time faculty appointment at the assistant professor level at an eligible institution (see above);
    • An applicant's initial appointment to a full-time faculty position, whether at a previous or the current institution, must not be earlier than July 1, 2015; and
    • Applicants must not have received previous grant funding as a principal investigator on an AACP NIA or equivalent starter grant, on a professional (e.g., ACCP, ASHP, AAPS, PhRMA, etc.), organizational (e.g., American Heart Association, American Cancer Association, American Brain Tumor Association, etc.) or federal grant (e.g., NIH, NSF, AHRQ, DOD, CDC, etc.) once appointed to a faculty position. Previous funding from these types of sources while the applicant was still a student or postdoctoral trainee is acceptable.

AACP Individual Membership

An applicant for the NIA must be a current individual member of AACP to access the online submission portal. AACP individual membership application and renewal information is located on the AACP website.

Submission of a Letter of Intent

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required as part of the application process. The LOI is an online form used to gather demographic information and a 250 word abstract of the applicant’s proposed NIA research project that will enable the review committee to begin selecting qualified reviewers for each anticipated application. The LOI is to be completed through the online submission portal, which will open on Friday, August 7, 2020 at 9:00 AM EDT. The deadline will be Friday, August 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT. 

Submission of a Full Application

The NIA Application Form is to be completed according to the instructions below. The full application, consisting of all six (6) pages of the NIA Application Form and the Research Narrative as described below, must be uploaded as a single PDF document through the online submission portal by the deadline on October 5, 2020, 5:00 PM EDT. An application cannot be uploaded on to the submission portal until the applicant’s LOI has been reviewed and accepted by AACP staff in early September 2020. AACP staff will notify eligible applicants when full applications will be accepted in the submission portal. A proposal that is determined to be incomplete or does not meet the guidelines described below will be returned without review.

Required Signatures

The following persons are required to sign the NIA application/proposal with the acknowledgement that they have read and reviewed the proposal before submission:

  • The applicant/principal investigator (PI);
  • The applicant’s mentor (see below for more information); and
  • The applicant’s CEO dean.

As of 2019: Electronic signatures will now be accepted in addition to original signatures. If original signatures are collected, please scan the Title Page with the required signatures to include in the application. The applicant’s college or school may safe-keep the original signature page.

Guidelines for Selecting a Mentor

The applicant is required to enlist a research mentor with whom to discuss the proposed project and preview the application. The mentor does not have to be faculty member at the applicant’s institution; however, the mentor must have sufficient time and scientific expertise in the proposed research topic in order to advise the applicant during the application period and as needed during the award period. The mentor’s signature is required on the Title Page, and a letter of support form the mentor is encouraged.

Review and Selection Process

The NIA Review Committee consists of the following individuals:

  • Council of Sections Immediate Past Chair (committee chair)
  • Council of Sections Chair
  • Council of Sections Chair Elect
  • Administrative Services Immediate Past Chair
  • Biological Sciences Immediate Past Chair
  • Chemistry Immediate Past Chair
  • Continuing Professional Development Immediate Past Chair
  • Experiential Education Immediate Past Chair
  • Library and Information Science Immediate Past Chair
  • Pharmaceutics Immediate Past Chair
  • Pharmacy Practice Immediate Past Chair
  • Social and Administrative Sciences Immediate Past Chair

Review of NIA proposals is conducted in two phases:

  • In Phase 1, proposals are sorted by disciplinary section and reviewed by peers from within that section. More information to assist the applicant in choosing a section to which a proposal should be submitted can be found below. During this phase, attention will be given to the appropriateness of the objectives and methods to ensure that expectations are within the scope of the project and achievable within the one-year timeline of the NIA.
  • In Phase 2, top scoring proposals from across all of the sections are compared to each other using scores and reviewer comments from Phase 1. Final funding recommendations are made based on the overall scientific merit, with additional consideration given to the contribution of the proposed research to the applicant's career and alignment of the proposal with the strategic goals and mission of AACP. 

Announcement of Awards

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of awards by January 2021. Selected new investigators will receive an award agreement that must be signed and returned to AACP before funds are disbursed.

Conditions for Accepting the AACP NIA

In order to accept the AACP NIA, the recipient must agree the following conditions:

  1. The recipient will use the funds solely for the purposes that are stipulated in the original research application and are approved by AACP. None of the money awarded by the NIA can be used for any disallowed project costs such as the principal investigator’s salary or indirect costs. Research should begin promptly after the award is received. Unexpended funds must be returned at the end of the award period.
  2. The recipient will electronically submit an interim progress report at the end of six (6) months (by September 15, 2021) and a final report at the end of funding period (no later than May 1, 2022). The final report will include the research findings as well as a financial statement as to how the grant was expended.    
  3. The recipient will present his or her final research findings from the NIA project as the primary presenting author at the 2022 AACP Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas. An additional travel award will be disbursed by AACP to defray travel expenses.
  4. The recipient will acknowledge funding support from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy in any publication, poster, or published abstract generated from the NIA project. Electronic copies of those publications, abstracts and posters should be submitted to AACP for record keeping.
  5. AACP must be notified when additional extramural funding is received within this funding period for the same project with overlapping research aims and budget.
  6. All NIA-funded research must be performed following all federal, state and institutional guidelines established for Responsible Conduct of Research.

No-Cost Extensions

Request for a no-cost extension beyond the project end date must be made by e-mail to at least one month prior to its termination date. Requests will be carefully reviewed and determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Termination of the Award

Circumstances may arise necessitating the termination of the project prior to completion by either the institution or the investigator. This may be arranged at any time by agreement between the individual, the institution, and AACP. Termination will be made with the understanding that all unexpended funds will be returned to AACP, and that any unpaid balance of the award will be cancelled.

Return of Unused Funds

Awarded funds that are not used are to be returned to AACP.

Guidelines and Specifications for Preparing 2020–2021 NIA Applications

The NIA application package consists of a the NIA Application Form available on the AACP website, the Research Narrative and appropriate supporting documents. The application package may be prepared at any time; however, completed applications may not be submitted through the online submission portal until the LOI has been accepted by AACP in early September. Specific instructions regarding the preparation of each component of the application package can be found below.

Choosing a Disciplinary Section

Applications will be peer reviewed by reviewers appointed by the AACP section immediate past chairs. The applicant must designate a section in the LOI to assist the NIA Review Committee in identifying appropriate peer reviewers. It is critical that applicants designate the appropriate section based on the nature of the proposed research in order to receive a fair and complete review. The following is offered as a guide for you to select the appropriate section:

  • Administrative Services: Administrative Effectiveness and Efficiency, Admission Practices, Student Development, Alumni and Community Relations, Novel Approaches to Organizational Leadership and Development, Policy, Governance, Analysis, Human Resources, Budget/Finance, Student Administration, Institutional and Community Relations
  • Biological Sciences: Animal Model Pharmacodynamics, Biotechnology/Molecular Biology, Pharmacology/Toxicology, Pharmacogenomics, Proteomics
  • Chemistry: Medicinal/Pharmaceutical/Analytical/Natural Products Chemistry, SAR Studies
  • Continuing Professional Development: Active Learning Strategies, Innovative CPD Programs
  • Experiential Education: Standardized Assessment, IPPE/APPE, Simulation
  • Library and Information Science: Search Strategies for Scholarly Endeavors, Engaging Students in Library Resources
  • Pharmaceutics: Theoretical or Animal Pharmacokinetics, Biopharmaceutics, Drug Delivery/Formulation
  • Pharmacy Practice: Clinical Pharmacy, Clinical Pharmacokinetics, Clinical Drug Evaluation, Human Pharmacodynamics
  • Social and Administrative Sciences: Health Services Research, Human Social/Behavioral Studies, Pharmacoeconomics

If you are unsure of which Section to select in your LOI, please contact for assistance. During initial review of LOIs, section immediate past chairs may elect to move an application to a different section if it is determined that the scope of the proposal falls outside of the expertise of the originally selected section. If you believe you selected the incorrect section in your LOI, please contact immediately to make arrangements for your applicant to be moved to another section; please do not select a different section in your application without contacting before submitting your application, or your application may not be reviewed in a timely manner.

Preparing the Application Form

Complete the NIA Application Form according to the specifications below. Application packages with incomplete or missing information will be returned without review.

Title Page

The Project Title is limited to 85 characters including spaces. The Research Project Period cannot begin before March 1, 2021 or extend past February 28, 2022. Consult the section titled “Choosing a Disciplinary Section” above for guidance to assure your application is reviewed appropriately. Scanned original signatures or electronic signatures of the three persons listed are required. 

Abstract Page

Format the abstract to cover following sections:

  • Specific Aims
  • Approach and Methods
  • Expected Results
  • Significance

All abstract text must be a minimum of 11 point font size and fit within the space provided on the NIA Application Form. An abstract that exceeds the space allotted or contains text that does not meet the specified formatting requirements will cause an application to be returned without review.

Budget Page

The NIA is designed to provide start-up money for new investigators to obtain enough data to apply for additional extramural funding from government and non-government sources. A budget ranging from $7,500 up to a maximum of $10,000 may be requested for the completion of the proposed research. Award money may not be used for indirect or overhead costs that are commonly allowed by government research grants and contracts. Award money may also not be used for the applicant’s, collaborator’s or other professional’s/consultant’s salary, either as salary offset or as a summer salary. Grant money may be used, however, to pay the salary of student or technical trainees, but must be justified in the application.

Biographical Sketch

The NIA biographical sketch consists of the following sections:

  • The applicant's education;
  • The applicant's professional and teaching experience;
  • The applicant's previous relevant publications; and
  • The applicant's additional previous experiences relevant to the application.

All biographical sketch text must be a minimum of 11 point font size. Do not exceed the space provided in the NIA Application Form for the requested information. Applicants must not include an NIH biosketch as a supporting document.

Preparing the Research Narrative

In preparing the Research Narrative, applicants are encouraged to view the evaluation criteria that will be used to score applications in phase 1 of review.

Formatting and Required Components

  • The Research Narrative is limited to six (6) pages in length, including legible figures, tables, surveys, and references. The research narrative section must be single-spaced (no more than six lines of text within one vertical inch). Use a font that is no less than 11 point. All margins (top, bottom, left, right) must be one-inch. Headers and footers may be used for titles and page numbers.
  • The title page, abstract page, budget page, biographical sketch form, animal research approval letter, human subject research approval letter, and other supporting documentation are not included in the six (6) page narrative limit. 
  • Do not include reprints of any research articles with your application.
  • The Research Narrative must contain each of the following sections with appropriate headings:
    • Nature of Project: A brief description of the purpose and goals of the proposed work, including appropriate background material.
    • Specific Aims: A clear statement of the objective(s) of the proposal, including the central hypothesis and the aims in which to test the hypothesis.
    • Methods: The methods to be used for the study, including data analysis and interpretation; the indicators that will be used to measure the project’s success and analysis of results; and documentation of the adequacy of the research facilities to complete the proposed study.
    • Timeline for Completion of the Project: A maximum of one year. Proposals that require long-term patient enrollment are discouraged.
    • Contribution to Career: The relationship between the project and the applicant’s career objectives and the role of this project in relation to future funding efforts.
    • Significance of the Project: The ways in which the project will contribute to the advancement of new knowledge, the contribution that the project will make to the applicant’s program and or school, and the applicant’s plan for dissemination or publication of the research results.
    • Budget Justification: Justification for requested budget items, excluding minor supply expenses, should be in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate how funds will be used to support the proposed research project.
    • References: A list of the most relevant references related to the proposed project. 
  • Narratives that exceed the six (6) page limit or not formatted according to the specifications above will not be reviewed.


Resubmissions of unfunded NIA proposals are accepted if the applicant still meets the eligibility criteria listed above. Applicants must indicate in the LOI if the proposal is a resubmission. Resubmissions are allowed an additional one (1) page at the beginning of the Research Narrative labeled Introduction that specifically addresses previous reviewer comments. New applications must not contain an introduction, nor may resubmissions exceed the one (1) page limit for the introduction. Applications that utilize all or part of the introduction page for any purpose other than to address reviewer comments will not be reviewed.

Animal Research

Research involving animals must be subjected to review and written approval by the appropriate Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The research application must be submitted to the IACUC before the application deadline on October 2, 2020. A copy of the IACUC submission cover letter with the request for approval must be included as a supporting document in the NIA application, and the final IACUC approval letter must be sent to AACP immediately after approval is granted but no later than late January 2021. Email approval letters to No animal research application will be funded without prior written IACUC approval. Investigators who plan to use significant numbers of animals or potentially painful procedures are recommended to obtain IACUC approval before submission.

Human Subject Research

Research involving human subjects must receive written approval from the appropriate Institutional Review Board (IRB). The research protocol must be submitted to the IRB before the application deadline on October 5, 2020. A copy of the IRB submission cover letter with the request for approval must be included as a supporting document in the NIA application, and the final IRB approval letter must be sent to AACP immediately after approval is granted but no later than late January 2021. Email approval letters to No human subject research application will be funded without written IRB approval. Research involving human subjects must also abide by NIH policy regarding inclusion of women and minority group members in the study populations, unless there is a clear and compelling rationale and justification that their inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the research goals. This rationale and justification should be included in the research narrative. All investigators who plan on utilizing human subjects must abide by the NIH Policy and Guidelines on The Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research – Amended, November, 2017.

Supporting Documentation

This section must not be used to include any Research Narrative materials as a means to off-set the page requirement. Certain supporting documents may be required, depending on the nature of the project and/or PI. Allowed supporting documents include:

  • Letters of support from collaborators stating a willingness to assist in the proposed research (required for proposals that use collaborators to assist in any capacity in the proposed research; the applicant should also describe the collaborator’s role in the Research Narrative).
  • A letter of support from the proposed research mentor.
  • Copies of IRB/IACUC submission cover letters as described in the “Animal Research” and “Human Subject Research” sections above, if applicable (required for all proposals describing animal or human subject research)
  • Approval letters from appropriate institutional committees for research projects involving biohazards, such as radioactive materials or infectious organisms, if applicable.
  • An official university appointment letter demonstrating how the applicant’s salary is fully supported by the institution (required for all regular full-time clinical- or research-track faculty). 

Applications missing required documentation will be returned without review.

Submitting the Application Package

Merge the completed NIA Application Form, Research Narrative and any supporting documentation into a single PDF and upload the PDF document in the online submission portal. Multiple files are not accepted in the portal. Please be sure to check the final document attached in the submission portal to ensure it is complete and correct. AACP will not check for the presence, accuracy or compliance of uploaded applications prior to the submission deadline. Applications not in compliance with the above specifications will be returned without review.


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