The RDAR Center is dedicated to understanding the causes and impacts of rural drug addiction and its related challenges and harms. The RDAR Center’s long-term research mission is to better understand and mitigate rural drug addiction and its personal and social harms by linking pre-clinical studies to field-based behavioral, neural, social, and clinical research. Center-sponsored projects will range from the microscopic world of the synapse in human biology to the social and geographical environments in which drug use interventions take place, exploring rural drug addiction from synapse to society.


The Rural Drug Addiction Research (RDAR) Center is pleased to announce an opportunity for pilot funding that is open to all disciplines through an NIH/NIGMS grant. Applicants must be full-time faculty in the University of Nebraska system who are eligible for NIH funding. There are no disciplinary, department, or college restrictions on applicants. Successful applicants must link their proposal to a part of the RDAR Center's mission, strategies, and/or the focus areas described in detail below. Cross-institutional collaboration is highly encouraged.


The RDAR Center's mission is to advance our understanding of causes, impacts, and interventions related to rural drug addiction. The Center's scientific and creative activities operate at a range of scales: from biological synapse to society. Interdisciplinary and data-centric by design, the Center links pre-clinical studies to field-based behavioral, neural, social, clinical, and translational research and dissemination. Towards its mission, the RDAR Center has a number of notable strategies including:


  1. Developing several custom cellphone, tablet, and simulation-based technologies through its Longitudinal Networks Core (LNC) Facility (see http://www.odin-software.com and http://snapt-software.com for details). These new technologies can rapidly capture fine-grained contextualized data about dynamic social networks, the interactions taking place within them, and forecast the evolution of individuals' attitudes and behaviors under social influences over time.

  1. Using peer referral to recruit and interview persons who use drugs to be study participants, as part of the Center's Rural Health Cohort (RHC) Study. Longitudinal data on attitudes, behaviors, and social networks related to drug use is being collected from RHC members over time through interviews and cellphone-based technologies.

  1. Supporting basic science research on potential behavioral, social, and biological processes underlying drug use, misuse, and addiction. Research in this area considers the unique or critical factors that impact rural populations in Nebraska and the Great Plains.

The goal of the RDAR Center Pilot Program is to provide support to emerging scholars to conduct promising research and creative activities that advance the Center's mission. Successful applicants may receive up to $50,000 in direct costs for two-year projects. Budget requests are limited to $25,000 in direct costs per year, and one-year pilot projects of $25,000 are allowed. Pilot project recipients will also receive access to resources of the Center for professional development and project support.


***If you are interested in referencing past RDAR Center Pilot RFAs, please see here.***


Relevant Focus Areas of Research:

Fiscal Year 2021-2022 preference areas have been identified to be:

  • Exploring contemporary and historical narratives of community and cultural experiences related to rural drug use and addiction. This area may include the creative representation of voices and experiences;
  • Examining the basic science of addiction that could inform future research with rural populations;
  • Extending the capability of LNC Facility technologies or advancing its data-analytic capacity;
  • Employing LNC Facility technologies in addiction-related research;
  • Extracting scientific knowledge from longitudinal and social network data collected from the RHC Study;
  • Contributing to the understanding of drug addiction prevention or intervention with a focus on rural approaches;
  • Contributing to the understanding of addiction-related treatment access, underrepresented minority and/or rural populations, and/or new tools or technologies useful in addiction recovery.

For questions on whether your work qualifies for Center support, contact Devan Crawford, dcrawford3@unl.edu. A PDF file with the following instructions can be downloaded here.




How to Apply

Step 1

  • Application Submission (Deadline: April 12, 2021, by 5:00pm CDT)
  • Application Review

If Recommended, Step 2

  • Application Recommendations Forwarded to EAC (Notifications Sent: May 1, 2021)



  • Application Submission Process

    Full applications should use standard NIH formatting requirements (½ inch margins, Arial size 11-point font). The full application should be submitted as a PDF file and sent by email to dcrawford3@unl.edu. Applications must be received by 5:00pm CDT on April 12, 2021. Late applications will not be accepted.

    The application must include the following sections:

    1. NIH Biosketch (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/forms/biosketch.htm)
      a) Include a personal statement related to your vision for center involvement
    2. A mini-R03 style proposal including:
      a) NIH Face Page (available at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html)
      b) Project Summary (limited to 30 lines of text or less)
      c) Specific Aims (1 page)
      d) Research (Creative Activities) Plan (5 pages; include the following headers)
      Significance, Innovation, Approach, Environment, Broader Impacts (related to the Center’s mission)
      e) References (not part of the page limit)
    3. Budget (use attached budget template)
    4. Budget Justification
    5. Protection of Human Subjects (if applicable)
    6. Inclusion of Women & Minorities and Inclusion of Children (if applicable)
    7. Vertebrate Animals (if applicable)
    Application Review:

    Two to three reviewers will be assigned to an application. The reviewers will use NIH review criteria (Significance, Investigator(s), Innovation, Approach, Environment), modified as appropriate for this Pilot Grant Program. The Overall Score will also include considerations, including topic foci, relevance to the RDAR Center mission, inclusion of other IDeA institutions and COBRE facilities, the potential for impacting addiction and related harms, and broader impacts. Based on these reviews, the Leadership Team will make recommendations for funding by May 1st. Applicants will be notified by email at this time. These recommendations will be forwarded to the External Advisory Committee (EAC) for review after all regulatory approvals are obtained.




    Special Considerations, Institutional Approvals, and Reporting

    Budget Restrictions:

    Faculty effort and salary support are not allowed. Student/post-doctoral stipend is not allowed but student/doctoral salary/wages are permissible. Wages for technical personnel are permissible. Equipment (>$5,000 per item) is not allowed. Renovation and/or honorariums are not allowed. Travel is limited to proposal-related tasks only (e.g., no conference travel). Travel to locations outside of the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada is not allowed. Provided all regulatory approvals (IRB, IACUC, EAC, NIGMS) have been obtained, funding will likely be made available to your institution on July 1, 2021.

    Indirect Costs (F&A):

    Current pilot funds are being contributed by partner institutions, rather than NIH, and these institutionally designated awards will not include indirect costs.

    Clinical Trials:

    If your project meets the NIH definition of a clinical trial, you must check “Yes” when answering the clinical trial question on the NIH face page. See https://grants.nih.gov/policy/clinical-trials.htm for additional information.

    Regulatory Approvals:

    If your project includes human subjects or vertebrate animals, your institutional IRB or IACUC (respectively) approval is required before funds can be released. Protocols must be submitted to IRB for approval within 30 days of notification of funding and final approval sent to the RDAR Center within 90 days.

    Additional Requirements:

    Pilot project grant recipients must participate in Center Enhancement and Programmatic Activities. Second year funding is contingent upon favorable review by the RDAR Center Leadership Team concerning project progress; participation in Center activities; scientific integrity; rigor of project; potential for Center synergy; and potential for successful external funding. Pilot recipients will be required to provide project updates, twice annually, during RDAR Center Business Meetings which occur each month. Pilot recipients must submit written annual progress reports [standard NIH - RPPR Sec 6 A-H]

    Eligibility and Eligible Institutions:

    Current full-time faculty at a participating institution are eligible to apply. Participating institutions include the University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and University of Nebraska at Omaha. Individuals must be eligible to apply for NIH funds. Individuals not currently receiving funds from another RDAR Center mechanism are eligible to apply. Members of the Internal Mentoring and Advisory Committee (IMAC) cannot receive pilot grant funds.