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Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Service

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Early Stage Investigators

This page is an overview of resources available to Early Stage Investigators (ESI) at the Minneapolis VA. Our program loosely follows the NIH definition of an ESI, "a new investigator who has completed his or her terminal research degree or medical residency - whichever date is later - within the past 10 years and has not yet competed successfully for a substantial [...] research grant." While many of the resources below may be limited to investigators by time since terminal training, other resources may be open to all persons who have not yet successfully attained a major grant such as a VA Merit (I01) or an NIH R01.

Peer & Mentor Resources | VA Resources | CVRE Resources | UMN Resources

Peer and Mentor Resources

If you are looking for feedback on your research, a chance to practice your presentations, an opportunity to connect with a senior researcher, or finding a way to network with your peers, the resources here may be helpful. Please note that the list here is focused on peer and mentor resources within the VA. Additional peer and mentoring resources may be listed in the UMN Resources section below.

Work-in-Progress Presentations: Want to get some feedback on your idea or on a draft specific aims page? To set up a Teams meeting with senior researchers in attendance, contact Hanna Bloomfield, ACOS or Joshua Nixon, Deputy ACOS.

Research Conference Series: Would you like to get some comments on a new research idea, or practice for a conference abstract presentation? The monthly Research Conference Series may be the right venue for you. To get scheduled into one of the monthly research conference slots for a 15-minute presentation, contact Hanna Bloomfield, ACOS or Joshua Nixon, Deputy ACOS.

CCDOR Lunchtime Seminar for Fellows/Junior Faculty: These occur the first Monday of the month at noon via Zoom. For more information, contact Mariah Branson.

Grant Review by Senior Investigators: To find a senior investigator willing to read and provide feedback on your proposal, contact Hanna Bloomfield, ACOS or Joshua Nixon, Deputy ACOS.

ESI Listserv: This is a private mailing list that serves as an open forum where you can connect with other early-stage investigators to ask questions, share ideas and tips, and otherwise bond with your peers. The research office does not monitor this forum. If you would like to be added to the group, contact Joshua Nixon, Deputy ACOS.

VA Resources

The resources here include those offered by the Research Service, CCDOR, and other areas within the Minneapolis VA. Note that some resources may not be available to all VA investigators.

Grant Writing Assistance: Research service may pay for you to get one-on-one grant editing assistance from Dr. Clemma Muller, an epidemiologist who has helped many of our investigators secure funding. For more information, see Grant Writing and Editing Assistance Program.

Statistical Services: Investigators affiliated with CCDOR or the Mental Health ICC may be eligible for statistical services support. Researchers not affiiated with these groups may be eligible to request support from the Research Service statistician. For more information, refer to the appropriate contact in the list below.

Medicine Subspecialty Research Faculty Development Fund: If you are a 0.8 or greater FTEE medicine subspecialist who has been on staff for at least 2 years and have an established academic development plan and protected time for research, you may be eligible for funding from this program. For more information, contact Steven Fu, CCDOR Director.

Study Coordinator Assistance: Assistance may be available after March 1, 2022 for start-up activities for funded studies. For more information, contact Aimee Hamel, Research Nurse Manager.

Access to VA Data: For non-CCDOR-affiliated investigators, we have limited resources for accessing the national VA corporate data warehouse. However, it’s worth talking to the Research biostatistician about your particular situation. To determine whether help may be available to you, contact Amy Gravely, Research Service biostatistician.

CVRE Resources

The resources here include those offered by the VA-affiliated non-profit corporation, CVRE. For more information, refer to the CVRE website.

CVRE Investigator Award Program: This program provides funding for pilot studies, equipment and supplies, training, grant writing assistance, external grant reviews, and travel and publication expenses. For more information see the CVRE Investigator Award Program application. For pilot studies, you will need to complete the CVRE Investigator Award Program Cover Form for Pilot Studies.

UMN Resources

The resources here include those offered by the University of Minnesota, the primary academic affiliate of the Minneapolis VA. For more information, refer to the UMN website.

University of Minnesota Medical School: There are many programs and resources available through the Medical School for VA investigators with faculty appointments. A good place to start is the CTSI Research Toolkit.

Proposal Preparation Program (PPP): The PPP is for early-career, assistant professor faculty members in the Medical School preparing their first K- or R-series NIH grant proposal or VA equivalent (Career Development Award [IK1/IK2], Merit review [I01]). It is a small (10-12 members), highly interactive, peer grant-writing group that meets 10 times over four months. For more information see the Proposal Preparation Program website.

Pre-K Discovery Scholars Program: Position yourself for NIH K awards with support from this two-year career development program for University of Minnesota junior faculty who are underrepresented in medicine. For more information see the Pre-K Discovery Scholars Program website.

KL2 Scholars Career Development Program: This is a three-year program for early-stage investigators that prepares you to be competitive when you apply for career development awards from either NIH or VA. For more information see the KL2 Scholars Career Development Program website.

UMN Medical School / University of Minnesota Foundation Start-up Funds: Available for investigators with an appointment at the Medical School at the Assistant Professor level. For more information, see the UMN Medical School Research & Equipment Grants website.