P&F: Discovery Grant




Covers diabetes and/or obesity-related pilot studies that utilize the High-Throughput Screening (HTS) Facility, BioVU, Mass Spectrometry Research Centers, or other new technologies available through VU/VUMC Core Facilities.


Submission deadline: Closed for 2024




An individual must be a member of the Vanderbilt or Meharry faculty (Instructor or above) and must fit within NIH Guidelines for eligibility. This support is targeted to any investigator, new or established, proposing to utilize the VICB High-Throughput Screening Facility, BioVU, Mass Spectrometry Research Centers, or other new technologies available through VU/VUMC Core Facilities to launch new research programs in drug, gene, or biomarker discovery related to diabetes, obesity, or the complications thereof. The grants are intended to provide support for studies that allow an investigator to develop preliminary data sufficient to prepare an application for independent research support through conventional granting mechanisms. This grant mechanism is intended to support one year of research, up to $50,000 per year. 


Examples of research eligible for Discovery Grant funding:

  • A study to develop a high-throughput screen, or executing an already developed but unfunded screen, for small molecules active at a target relevant to diabetes or obesity or complications thereof.
  • A study to utilize BioVU to identify genes relevant to the development of diabetes, obesity, or complications thereof.
  • A study proposing to utilize mass spectrometry to identify biomarkers for diabetes, obesity, or complications thereof in either patients or animal models




The application should be submitted on the NIH form PHS 398 and requires the following components:

  • Face page
  • Abstract
  • Key personnel
  • Biosketch(es)
  • Resources
  • Research description (5 page limit)
  • Literature cited                                                                         
  • Letter of collaboration from the director of the Shared Resource to be used (VICB High-Throughput Screening facility, BioVU, Mass Spectrometry Research Center, or other VU/VUMC Core Facility)
  • Other letter(s) of collaboration, as needed
  • Cover letter which includes the names, institutions, and email addresses of two internal reviewers and two external reviewers who are not members of your department or collaborators

Note: No budget pages are needed until an award is made. It is NOT necessary for the application to go through the Office of Research prior to submission.

The application must be assembled into a single PDF document that contains all grant materials and letters of collaboration. Research track faculty MUST include a letter from his/her/their laboratory director or departmental chair describing how this award will serve in developing an independent research program and external research funding.






Proposed studies should present a testable hypothesis and clearly delineate the question being asked, detail procedures to be followed, and discuss how the data will be analyzed and lead to future studies. This proposal is focused on stimulating use of novel discovery resources at Vanderbilt for advancement of knowledge in diabetes and obesity. Successful applications must therefore be focused upon discovery science predominantly dependent upon novel use of the VICB High-Throughput Screening facility, BioVU, or Mass Spectrometry Research Cores. Preliminary data using these resources is not required, but the work should be at a stage where it can begin when funding starts.

Grants may receive both internal and external review. Emphasis is placed on how the research might lead to new research ideas or research funding. For junior investigators, additional considerations include how this award will impact your career and the potential of the applicant to compete for independent research funding in the future.

Funded investigators will be asked to prepare a yearly progress report and participate in the VDRC Seminar Series and Diabetes Day Program.




Persons considering submitting a proposal and not certain of eligibility or persons with questions about Discovery grants should contact Dr. Sheila Collins (sheila.collins@vumc.org). For questions about the grant submission process, please contact Jessica Kimber (615-875-6072 or jessica.kimber@vumc.org).