The NC State Comparative Medicine Institute’s (CMI) mission is to provide clinical and research opportunities to professional students, graduate students, clinical residents, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduates. The CMI fosters interactions between clinical and basic research groups within the university community by developing mechanisms that encourage and facilitate those collaborations. The CMI is composed of interdisciplinary teams of more than 170 faculty from 23 departments, representing 6 colleges and 4 universities. Each year, led by CMI Co-Directors Professor Jorge Piedrahita and Joshua Pierce, the CMI holds the “Think, Collaborate & Do” Ideation event.
This event invites faculty, graduate students and postdocs from all departments and colleges who have an interest in human and animal health to display a research summary poster that will allow them to make connections with potential collaborators they would not otherwise have met. They then form groups to come up with big, bold, new ideas that become research proposals for the Ideation Awards. They are given 4-6 weeks to write a joint proposal. All projects are interdisciplinary and require PIs from different disciplines as co-PIs. In 2022, the CMI had 115 faculty and students participate and funded 16 projects for a total of $221,000 dollars. CMI typically distributes approximately $175,000-225,000 each year through this program. With KIETS support, the CMI seeks to expand the number of projects funded.
The goals of this initiative are to encourage interdisciplinary collaborations among research groups, provide seed funding to develop preliminary data that can be used to obtain extramural funding, provide graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with the opportunity to develop their own projects and get experience in grant writing and project management, and incentivize the development of larger collaborative groups that can be competitive for NIH program projects (P01, P30 and P50 grants) and NSF Centers.
The 2023 speaker, Dr. Michael Lairmore, the former Dean of the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, addressed how to effectively put together NIH P grants (multi-PI grants with over $5,000,000 in total costs) and led a breakout discussion section for interested PIs. KIETS support is leveraged with funding from the CMI, Data Sciences Academy, Genetic and Genomics Academy, Office of University Interdisciplinary Research, Provost Office, Office of Research Innovation, Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, College of Engineering, College of Sciences, College of Textiles and College of Agriculture and Life Science.