Frequently Asked Questions: Mentored Research Awards

Get answers to frequently-asked questions about the Mentored Research Awards.

Below are a list of questions from prospective applicants to our Mentored Research Award program. If you have a question that is not addressed below, please email us at


Q: For applicants who are currently postdoctoral fellows, is the "Scholastic Performance" section of the biosketch necessary?

A: The "Scholastic Performance" section is not required.

Q: Are the references expected to be in the same one-page research summary or a separate page?

A: References should be uploaded as a separate file. They are not part of the one-page overview.

Q: Who reviews the applications for the Mentored Research Awards?

A: Reviews of preliminary applications are conducted by members of Advance-CTR Professional Development Core's Steering Committee, which is comprised of senior faculty across Brown, Brown School of Public Health, URI, and the hospital affiliates (Lifespan, Care New England, Providence VA). Review of full proposals are conducted by the same committee; however, if a proposal's content area is not within the expertise of the committee, then external reviewers with the appropriate expertise will be involved.

Q: Is the selection committee looking for people with prior translational research experience, or is that tended to be viewed as the purpose of the award?

A: The only requirement is that the applicant has prior academic research experience. If an applicant does not have prior translational research experience, it is expected the applicant will opt for a more rigorous training program as part of the award (e.g., Master's of CTR). The committee looks at applicants on the whole along with the proposed research project to make their selections.

Q: Do you have any successful applications that prospective applicants are allowed to view?

A: Yes. You can find examples of successful preliminary applications on our Application Resources page. 

Q: How many mentors are typically included on a training team?

A: This depends on the investigator and the proposed project. The mentors on the team should make sense to what is being proposed. Of the three MRA scholars currently funded, one has a single mentor, one has two mentors, and one has three mentors.

Q: Is it okay to include an additional letter in my preliminary application from my mentors stating their support for the application, or alternatively to give a brief proposal about my training plan?

A: There is an opportunity to upload Additional Files in UFunds. Since letters of support and training plans are not required until the invited full proposal stage, it cannot be guaranteed that reviewers will appreciate the additional materials or consider them when scoring the preliminary application. You may consider having the mentor indicate support within the personal statement of the biosketch. You may also consider alluding to your training plan in the personal statement of your biosketch.

Q: In the sample Letter of Intent I have from last year, the role of the research mentors is included in the research strategy. Given the shorter format of this year's preliminary application, is it best to keep this separate?

A: It is up to the applicant to determine how to best utilize the one-page space available. This page is meant to be an overview of the research aims, significance, and strategy. Please note that biosketches are also required and should be customized to the application; the mentor's personal statement in the biosketch could be an appropriate place to include information about his/her role.

Q: What is considered too ambitious in terms of a research plan?

A: Reviewers will be assessing for feasibility based on the allotted performance period, funds available, and the background of the investigator as well as mentor(s). It is up to the applicant, with support from mentors, to determine what a feasible research plan would be.

Q: To confirm: Letters of support from the department chair and mentor are not required for the pre-application, correct?

A: That is correct. Letters are not required until full proposal submission unless an applicant is a postdoctoral fellow or resident physician.

Q: How important is it that the mentor(s) are from a different department in order to create a trans-disciplinary proposal and application?

A: The mentor does not need to be from a different department. Please note that a team of mentors is allowed, but only a primary mentor is required and must be named at the time of the preliminary application submission. The mentors selected will be evaluated to make sure they make sense for the project and the applicant.

Q: Is it expected that mentors be more senior faculty rather than junior faculty?

A: Mentors are expected to be at the Associate Professor or Professor rank (or equivalent) unless there is good reason to have an Assistant Professor (or equivalent) as a mentor (e.g., unique expertise in relevant methodology or research technique). Ultimately, the reviewers will look at the mentoring team on the whole to ensure it makes sense for both the proposed research and the applicant.

Q: I noticed on the RFA that the preliminary application requires a one-page overview. Is this a single-sided or double-sided document?

A: The overview should be a one-page, single-sided document.

Q: For the Preliminary Application, are reviewers looking for specifics about the mentorship and training plan, or is it meant to primarily outline the research project?

A: The Preliminary Application is intended to primarily outline the research project. In the invited full proposal, applicants will also submit a mentoring agreement with the letter of support from their mentor and have the ability to include more information about the training plan.

Q: The RFA indicates that seeking a Master's degree in Clinical Translational Research from Brown University is encouraged, but the yearly tuition support would not cover the full cost of this degree. What types of support are allowable or expected to cover the remaining cost of this educational program?

A: The nine-course Master's degree in Clinical Translational Research costs approximately $6,400 per course (this value will increase each year). Brown and URI faculty who receive this award are eligible for a one-third scholarship, which will defray a part of this cost. The remaining tuition would be covered within the $25,000 awarded per year, thus allowing some remaining funds for research-related expenses each year.

Q: Is there a cutoff on the maximum number of years a position can be held to still be considered junior faculty?

A: There is no cutoff for the number of years to be considered junior faculty. Any Brown University or URI faculty member with the appointment of Instructor, Investigator, or Assistant Professor (or equivalent) may apply.

Q: If I do not receive the Mentored Research Award, do I still have a chance to have a Pilot Project funded if I apply for both this year?

A: Yes, you would still be able to receive a Pilot Project. A PI can submit both a Mentored Research Award and a Pilot application, which will be reviewed and independently scored by separate review committees. Decisions regarding applications will be made independent of each other.

Q: Could you provide more information or links to websites about what constitutes Clinical and Translational Research?

A: The following NIH definitions apply for the purpose of this award:

  • Clinical research comprises studies and trials in human subjects as defined by NIH Regulations and Policies.

  • Translational research includes research that aims to convert basic research advances to practical applications in humans, and research aimed at the adoption of best practices in community healthcare.

Q: Would having a VA Career Development Award make me ineligible for this award?

A: An applicant with a prior or current VA Career Development Award would be considered ineligible for a Mentored Research Award.

Q: I have a Master’s degree and am not a clinician. Would I qualify for a Mentored Research Awards or are they intended for practitioners?

A: The Mentored Research Awards are not intended solely for practitioners; however, applicants must possess a health-professional or research doctoral degree to be eligible.

Q: If the award is to cover 75% of salary, would I be required to then have 75% of my time dedicated to research and therefore only 25% clinical?

A: Scholars must be able to commit at least 75% of full-time professional effort to research activities associated with the Mentored Research Awards.  

Q: I am a Brown Assistant Professor, but my practice is located outside of Rhode Island. Am I eligible for the award?

A: All Brown and URI faculty members are eligible for the award, regardless of where their practice is located.

Q: I'm an Assistant Professor at Brown Medical School.  Does this disqualify me?

A: Junior faculty at the Alpert Medical School are eligible for this award.

Q: My position is 50% research time and 50% clinical team at Brown and Bradley Hospital.  My terminal degree is a PhD that has been followed by fellowships to allow me to perform the duties of a clinical psychologist as well. My academic appointment is that of assistant professor (research) at this time. Am I eligible to apply for this award?

A: You are eligible to apply if you are able to commit to increasing your research time to 75%.

Q: In terms of mentors, what are the restrictions with regards to their departmental affiliation and seniority?

A: Mentors must be from an Advance-CTR affiliate institution/organization (Brown University, University of Rhode Island, Lifespan, Care New England, or the Providence VA Medical Center). There are no restrictions on departmental affiliation or seniority; however, the match must be logical and clearly aid the scholar as judged by the Mentored Research Award reviewers.

Q: I am a current recipient of a K-award (not prior).  Am I eligible for the CTR 2017 Award?

A: A current K-awardee is ineligible for a Mentored Research Award.

Q: Are physicians in a residency training program potential recipients of this award?

A: Only applicants with a junior faculty position of Instructor, Investigator, Assistant Professor or equivalent, as of July 1, 2018, are eligible for award.