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Spinal Cord Injury/Disease Research Program

About the Spinal Cord Injury/Disease Research Program (SCIDRP)

The Spinal Cord Injury/Disease Research Program (SCIDRP) is a state-wide Missouri funding program. Thus, even though the SCIDRP is administered by the UM System, all appropriate investigators within Missouri are eligible to apply. The SCIDRP provides one- or two-year Research Grants and Career Awards of up to $250,000 per year for research projects in Missouri that deal with (a) spinal cord injuries or (b) acquired/congenital diseases of the spinal cord (see “Previously Funded”). Investigators new to the field and experienced investigators in other fields who wish to test novel ideas in anticipation of applying for larger grants elsewhere are especially encouraged to apply.

The SCIDRP was established by the state legislature in 2001 to support research in Missouri that will advance scientific knowledge in the area of spinal cord injuries and congenital or acquired disease processes that affect the spinal cord. A major purpose of the grants is to encourage investigators to do exploratory research and test new ideas, with the expectation that the most promising will justify more substantial support from external funding agencies, either public or private. The projects supported in past years has ranged from basic research, such as basic biology of spinal cord injuries/diseases, to applied research, such as work on improving the treatment and mobility of persons suffering from such conditions, and important contributions to the field have been made.

This year the SCIDRP expects that several Research Grants and up to two Career Awards (see below) will be awarded to investigators who are employees or staff members of public or private educational, health care, voluntary health associations or research institutions located in Missouri. Based on the recommendation of the Advisory Board of the SCIDRP and approval by the University of Missouri Board of Curators, a maximum of up to $250,000 per year will be available for exceptional projects.

In accordance with sections 172.794.1 (5) and 172.790 (4) RSMo Cum. Supp. 2012, the research project, defined as, “any original investigation for the advancement of scientific knowledge in the area of spinal cord injuries and congenital or acquired disease processes”, must be conducted in Missouri.

The objectives of the SCIDRP for the grants are (1) to bring new investigators, and investigators who are experienced in other areas, into research on spinal cord injuries and spinal cord diseases, and (2) to enable investigators to test new ideas and then use the data to develop subsequent competitive applications for long term funding from other sources.  Individuals eligible to apply include, but are not limited to, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, engineers, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, and other types of health care workers (see “Previously Funded”).The SCIDRP funds proposals in a number of areas involving pathological conditions of the spinal cord:

  • studies of spinal cord injuries due to trauma that lead to paralysis, loss of sensation, spasticity, pain, etc.
  • research focusing on congenital or acquired spinal cord diseases, such as Friedreich's ataxia, multiple sclerosis (MS), poliomyelitis, ALS, SMA, spinal stenosis, cervical spondylosis, spina bifida, scoliosis, Cobb syndrome, spinal AVMs, tumors and others.

Such research may focus on disease mechanisms; imaging technology; pharmacological, surgical or gene therapy; physical, occupational or vocational rehabilitation; comorbidities (e.g. metabolic syndrome, sleep disorders); disease prevention; bioengineering solutions (e.g. BMI, biomaterials, etc.); and other scientific paradigms.

The SCIDRP has two funding mechanisms. (1) Research Grants: One- or two-year grants for up to $250,000 per year to investigate various aspects of spinal cord injuries and/or spinal cord diseases. For two-year grants, continuation of funding for a second year will depend on a submitted Progress Report of the accomplishments for the first year of support and the availability of funds. The SCIDRP is not intended to be a continuous source of funding. Investigators may reapply for these grants and be funded for up to four years, after which at least a one-year waiting period is necessary before researchers can reapply. During this one-year period, it is expected that an investigator will apply for funding from other sources, particularly external granting agencies. (2) Career Awards: Grants for up to five years at up to $250,000 per year for well-established investigators who have had extended and highly productive careers working in the areas of spinal cord injuries and/or spinal cord diseases. Continuation of funding for each year will depend on submitted yearly Progress Reports and the availability of funds. A longer project description is required for the Career Award than for Research Grants, and investigators may receive this award once in their careers. Within a given fiscal year, up to two Career Awards may be funded.

Budget items should be for the proposed research project only and not for non-research expenses, including but not limited to items such as graduate student tuition and fees. Costs for overhead (i.e. indirect costs) are not allowed, and the research projects are to be conducted in their entirety within Missouri. For successful proposals, applicants and appropriate fiscal officers will be required to sign a standard agreement/contract form with the SCIDRP that will outline the conditions pertaining to funding. For both Career Awards and multi-year Research Grants, yearly progress reports are due at least 30 days prior to the end of each year of funding. A final report due within 90 days after at the end of the project and a possible later follow-up report must be submitted to the SCIDRP. Investigators who have received SCIDRP funds may not be allowed to reapply at a later time if these reports are not submitted when requested.

The SCIDRP will accept proposals at any time of the year (i.e. no submission deadlines). Awards will be made following an expedited review, which normally takes about two to three months.

Previously Funded Researchers


Reviewed 2015-06-19

Reviewed 2015-07-02.