Q&A for JI Faculty

Proposal Preparation

How often does the JI call for proposals?

Requests for Letters of Intent (LOI) are generally issued in January of each year, with full-proposal invitations following in the late winter and award announcements typically made in mid-summer.

How does the JI review Letters of Intent (LOI)?

Leadership from both Michigan Medicine and Peking University Health Science Center reviews all LOIs, ranking submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Novelty of the research idea and approach that capitalizes on a dynamic collaboration
  • Qualifications and experience of the principal investigators from both institutions
  • Potential for future extramural funding
  • Proximity to clinical relevance

If an LOI receives sufficient interest to warrant further consideration from both institutions, the study team will receive an invitation to submit a full proposal.

Where can I find full-proposal templates?

The following templates and policies are available to help with your full proposal development:

  • Face page template
  • Budget template
  • Intellectual Collaboration, Authorship and Data Sharing Policy
  • Joint SOP for IRB Review

The budget template has $16,000 allocated for travel over the two-year project period ($8k, per institution per year). Is this allocation mandatory?

The $16,000 budget for travel is highly recommended ($4000 per person, 2 members/ year for a total of 2 years). At the minimum, $8,000 should be included in your budget to accommodate travel to the annual JI symposium, which alternates locations between Beijing and Ann Arbor. 

Is cost-sharing mandatory?

For faculty from Michigan Medicine, cost sharing is highly recommended but not required. For faculty from other health science schools (i.e., dental, public health, nursing), University of Michigan Office of Research (UMOR) has offered to cost-share 50% of the total award from Michigan, with the remaining 50% from the department. 

Can equipment be included in the budget?

Yes, with justification provided. However, if there is an approved equipment purchased under the JI grant, it is the principal investigator and his/her home department’s responsibility to follow University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guide 520.1 to ensure proper acquisition, management and disposal of equipment.

How much can I budget for personnel expenses?

The Joint Institute has a maximum of 50% of total budget/ award to be allocated on personnel efforts. The 50% is inclusive of salary and fringe. Using JI funds for scholarships and tuition is prohibited.

How does the JI review full proposals?

The Joint Institute has a parallel review process led by each institution’s scientific review committees. PKUHSC’s Research Office, in consultation with President Qimin Zhan and Vice President Ning Zhang, leads a half-day study session reviewing all full proposals. At Michigan Medicine, Dr. Rodica Busui, Associate Chair for Clinical Research at the University of Michigan, leads the scientific review processes within the Scientific Review Committee (SRC), in which all full proposals are reviewed in-depth based on the NIH 9-point rating scale designed to encourage reliable scoring of applications’ overall impact on areas of scientific significance, investigators’ strengths, innovation, approach, and environment. Funding decisions are made based on interests from both PKUHSC and Michigan Medicine.

 

Compliance

I am a faculty at Michigan Medicine and the JI project that I am working on with my collaborators at PKUHSC utilizes a biorepository which is already IRB-approved. Can I skip the IRB submission?

No. At the minimum, an amendment needs to be submitted in eResearch adding Joint Institute as a funding source with a copy of full proposal uploaded for IRBMED’s review and approval.

I am a faculty at Michigan Medicine and we are not recruiting human subjects in the U.S. I already receive IRB approval from my end while my partner at PKUHSC is still waiting for their IRB approval. Can we start working on the project at Michigan?

No. Both sides will need to have regulatory approvals prior to project initiation. For more information, please refer to the Joint SOP for IRB Review.

What is Joint Institute’s policy on Data Usage Agreement (DUA) and Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)?

Study teams at Michigan Medicine and PKUHSC should follow each institution’s regulatory requirements in respect to data and material transfer. For instance, at Michigan Medicine, if limited data sets are transmitted outside of U-M covered entities, a DUA should be pursued as with other research projects; likewise, if samples are being transferred from U-M to PKU, our institutional requirements should be followed to establish pertinent material transfer agreements (MTA). In other words, getting funded through the JI does not create any exception to these compliance requirements. Please refer here for or more information regarding agreement types and take appropriate actions as applicable.

The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) is asking the PKUHSC team to obtain an approval for collecting, exporting, and sharing human genetic resources. What does this mean?

The Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China has a written policy regulating the collection, sale, export and export of human genetic samples. The PKUHSC team should start the application process as soon as possible to avoid any delay in study initiation.

Finance

How does the Joint Institute office manage our post-award compliance after funding release?

The JI office will be in communication with each project team’s principal investigator and post-award manager to ensure everything is on track from the financial perspective. Each quarter, the PI and post-award manager will receive a Quarterly Financial Report; if there are any discrepancies, please contact the JI office immediately for remediation.

We received award notification a few months ago, but we are still waiting for IRB approvals from both sides. Is this going to take away from our two-year project period?

No. The two-year project period starts when the year-one funding is released, which is always after regulatory approvals.

Can we reallocate budget during the project period?

For any budget allocations that are “cross-category” (i.e., moving budget from salary to laboratory supplies), a justification needs to be submitted, reviewed, and approved by the JI leadership prior to implementation.

We are asked to provide a departmental Shortcode prior to funding release. Why?

The JI office is committed to providing support and guidance during the project period. However, for unapproved expenses or account deficits that are failed to resolve, the departmental shortcode may be charged against to ensure good financial stewardship.

Who should we add as Concur approver?

For JI related expense reports, please add Dr. Amy Huang (uniqname: yanhuang) as your Concur approver in addition to your regular departmental approval requirements.

Travel

I plan to travel to China to meet with my collaborator in person. How do I get started?

You will need to submit the JI Travel Request Form at least 60 days prior to departure for Dr. Joseph Kolars’ approval. For symposium travels to Beijing, China, a travel request form is not required as it is an expected travel arrangement under the JI award.

I have never been to China, and I need to get my visa process started. Any recommendation?

Global REACH office recommends Perry International to help with visa processing.