To promote advances in translational research and precision medicine, the School of Medicine announces a pilot grant funding opportunity, entitled TRIUMPH (Translational Research Informing Useful and Meaningful Precision Health). The TRIUMPH initiative will have a major impact on the School of Medicine's research mission by promoting new collaborations and positioning our faculty to compete effectively for extramural grant funding.

See 2021 Award Recipients

This webpage provides extensive information about the TRIUMPH pilot grant program that will assist those applying for funding.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have questions or comments, please contact me ( or Ms. Deborah Taylor (

William P. Fay, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Research
Director, MU Institute for Clinical & Translational Science
J.W. & Lois Winifred Stafford Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Cardiovascular Research
Professor of Medicine and Medical Pharmacology & Physiology

Scientific objectives

The objectives of the TRIUMPH program are to promote advances in translational research (1) and precision medicine (also referred to as precision health, [2]).

(1)  McGartland Rubio, D. et al. Defining Translational Research: Implications for Training. Acad Med. 2010;85:470–475. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181ccd618

(2)  Ginsburg GS and Phillips KA.  Precision Medicine: From Science to Value. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:694–701. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2017.1624

An additional key aim of TRIUMPH is to promote the success of the NextGen Precision Health Institute (NGPHI). The NGPHI is a UM System initiative that will serve as a physical and intellectual hub to promote translational research and precision medicine on each of the UM System’s four campuses and across Missouri. Scheduled to open in October 2021, the NGPHI has 6 pillars of pursuit that underpin its overall mission, namely 1) Cancer, 2) Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders, 3) Neurosciences, 4) Basic and Emerging Research, 5) Health Care Delivery, and 6) Population Health. Richard J. Barohn, MD serves as the Executive Scientific Director of NGPHI.

Faculty eligibility criteria

All SOM faculty members are eligible to apply. Any proposal that falls within the broad continuum of translational research and precision medicine will be eligible for funding (see the full text of TRIUMPH funding opportunity announcement for additional details). Both wet and dry lab research projects are welcome. Basic science research proposals must demonstrate relevance to human health and clearly delineate the potential to inform future projects involving human subjects. Research projects that engage patients, communities, and special or underserved populations (e.g. rural, elderly) are strongly encouraged. Collaborating investigators from other MU colleges are welcome and encouraged. However, only faculty members whose primary appointment is in a SOM department are eligible to apply as PI. Multi-PI proposals are allowed. Co-investigators (Co-Is) can receive salary support if they are from the SOM or another MU college. Non-MU Co-Is may be included in projects, but they cannot receive salary or other financial support from this program - i.e. no subcontracts will be issued. Please see the full TRIUMPH RFP for additional important details.

Available funding

Maximum award size is $100,000 with a two-year duration of funding. We anticipate that most applicants will request $50,000 each year. Unequal annual budgets are allowed, if adequately justified, with a maximum of $75,000 in either year. Budgetary carry-over from year 01 to year 02 is discouraged, will require dean's office approval, and may be denied. No-cost extensions beyond the end of year 02 will not be allowed. Approximately 25 applications will receive full funding.

Deadlines for submitting letter of intent (LOI) and full application

Receipt of letter of intent (required): September 4, 2020

Receipt of full application: October 2, 2020

Anticipated start date of funded projects: December 1, 2020

Budgetary guidelines

Please see the complete TRIUMPH request for proposals (RFP) for details, including important information about faculty salary support.

How to submit a letter of intent

A letter of intent (LOI) is required of all applicants and must be submitted on or before September 4, 2020. The LOI consists of the proposal's title, PI(s), Co-I(s), and a brief description of the proposed research project (250 word maximum). The LOI is submitted electronically via REDCap. The main purpose of the LOI is to assist the Dean's Office with planning the review process – i.e. to help determine the number and scope of reviewers. All investigators submitting an LOI will be invited to submit a full proposal for the October 2, 2020 deadline.

Application format and required form pages

Proposals must follow the format, ordering, and page limits outlined in the Table below, which is similar to those used for NIH R03 (Small Grant Program) and R21 (Exploratory/Development Grant) proposals.

Table. Required elements, ordering, and page limits of proposals.

Section of Application Page Limits*
Application Cover Page (must use this form) 1
Project Summary/Abstract 30 lines of text
Specific Aims 1
Research Strategy (include Significance, Innovation, Approach sections) 6
Bibliography & References Cited 4
Biographical Sketches(following NIH format, required for PI or Co-Is) 5/Investigator
Budget 1
Budget Justification 1
Support Letters from department chairs, Co-Is and other appropriate individuals 1 page/support letter

* Minimum font size 11 (suggest Arial); minimum page margin 0.5 inch.

The TRIUMPH Application Cover Page must be included as the first page of all proposals.

All proposals must include the biosketches of the PI(s) and all Co-Is. Biosketches must follow the NIH format. Instructions regarding how to complete an NIH biosketch, a blank biosketch template, and a sample NIH biosketch can be found below. If a PI or Co-I does not have an eRA Commons User Name, it is not necessary to obtain one for the purposes of a TRIUMPH proposal submission – i.e. this field of the biosketch can be left blank. If a SOM PI or Co-I needs assistance in using My Bibliography to provide a URL to a full list of the PI's/Co-I's published work, please contact Martha Brendel, SOM lead grant writer.  Non-SOM Co-I's should seek assistance from grant writers in their college.

It is important for applicants to propose an amount of work that can be accomplished within a two year period and with the amount of funding provided by TRIUMPH. Applicants that cram an amount of work typically proposed in an NIH R01 proposal into a TRIUMPH application will find that their proposal is not reviewed favorably by the review panel. Scientific teams must also attest on the cover page and convey in the research strategy section that they possess the resources, personnel, and expertise necessary to accomplish the proposed scientific objectives.

Support letters

The PI's and Co-I's department chairs must provide support letters attesting that faculty members will receive the requested protected research time if the award is funded. Maximum length of the Chair’s support letter is one page. Each Co-I's may provide a support letter, the maximum length of which is one page. Additional support pages may be included, if necessary, but should be kept to a minimum to facilitate the review process. For example, an application proposing to use the MU DNA Core to perform sequencing does not need to provide a support letter from the DNA Core Director, though use of the DNA Core must be described in sufficient detail in the Research Strategy, Budget, and Budget Justification sections.

Examples of successful NIH grant proposals with formats similar to that of TRIUMPH

The format of TRIUMPH proposals is similar to those of NIH R03 and R21 applications. Examples of successfully funded R03 submissions can be found at: Example #1 and Example #2. Examples of successfully funded R03 and R21 submissions can be found here.

How to submit full application

Proposals must include all of the elements listed in the table found in the "Application format and required form pages" link. All elements of the application must be assembled into a single PDF file, which must be submitted electronically via REDCap.

Information that Dean's Office will require from the PI before issuing an award

After completion of the review process, contact PIs of highly scored proposals will be notified of the need to provide a description of Other Support available to all faculty members of the scientific team, to ensure there is no scientific and budgetary overlap with the TRIUMPH proposal. In addition, the contact PI will be required to provide confirmation that all appropriate institutional approvals (e.g. ACUC, IRB, BioSafety Committee) have been obtained. The Dean's Office will not release funding to the team until after this information is provided.

Scientific review criteria and process

Any proposal that falls within the broad continuum of translational research and precision medicine will be considered responsive to the TRIUMPH program, including both wet and dry lab research. Basic science research proposals must clearly delineate relevance to human health and the potential to inform future projects involving human subjects. Research projects that engage patients, communities, and special or underserved populations (e.g. rural, elderly) are strongly encouraged. All proposals will be reviewed by at least two reviewers.

Major criteria used to score applications will include:

  1. Significance
  2. Investigator(s)
  3. Innovation
  4. Approach
  5. Environment

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has issued a useful statement on common grant writing mistakes that adversely affect scoring of proposals. All TRIUMPH applicants will receive written critiques of their proposals. Reviewers will primarily be MU faculty members, though some external reviewers may be recruited. An NIH-style scoring system will be used).

TRIUMPH Announcement at Town Hall

Application Checklist

  • Submit letter of intent (required from all applicants)
  • In full proposal, be sure to:
    • Include all required elements
      • Cover page
      • Project Summary/Abstract
      • Specific Aims page
      • Research Strategy section
      • Bibliography
      • Biographical sketches of PI(s) and all Co-Is
      • Budget
      • Budget Justification
      • Support letters
    • Adhere to page limits and formatting specifications (i.e. font size, page margins)
    • Propose a scope of work that can be completed in 2 years with the funds provided
    • Follow all budgetary requirements, as specified in the TRIUMPH funding opportunity announcement (FOA)
    • Use NIH-format biosketches for PI(s) and all Co-Is
    • Include one-page support letters from departmental chair(s) confirming that PI(s) and Co-Is will receive the protected research time they request if the award is funded.
    • Include one-page support letters from Co-Is and other relevant individuals (e.g. a collaborator at another institution who will provide a key reagent)
    • Submit the entire application as a single PDF file
    • Be prepared for funding by initiating necessary approval processes as soon as possible
      • While institutional approvals (e.g. ACUC, IRB, BioSafety Committee) are not required at the time of proposal submission, they are required before funding will be released.  Obtaining these approvals takes time.  Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to initiate these processes as soon as possible.  Significant delays in obtaining institutional approvals that are due to inaction by the applicants could result in forfeiture or down-sizing of the award.