Accelerator Award Full Proposal RFA (old 2019-04-24)

Updated: April 10, 2019

Key Dates for 2019:
Applications to the CBC’s Accelerator Award program are invited usually twice a year (spring and fall submission rounds). Please note that the online proposal submission closes at 5:00 PM on the final day listed for each submission round.

Application Round LOI Online Submission LOI Presentations at CBCAN Full Proposal Online Submission Funding Decisions Anticipated Start Date
Round 3 Jan. 14-18, 2019
Part I: March 28, 2019
Part II: April 16, 2019
May 13-24, 2019 July 26, 2019 Nov. 1, 2019
Round 4 Aug. 5-16, 2019 Part I: Oct. 31, 2019
Part II: Nov. 21, 2019
Dec. 9-20, 2019 Feb. 22, 2020 June 1, 2020



The Accelerator Award program will be a key component of the CBC’s Phase 2 strategy. New in 2018, Accelerator Awards intend to support research leading to the development of therapeutics at the early stages of translation. The award is intended to enable the initial steps toward potential commercialization of intriguing basic research discoveries with significant translational potential. Applicants for Accelerator Awards should present a compelling hypothesis about the therapeutic potential of the system/entity to be studied, and propose a research plan that addresses one or more key components of the hypothesis and can generate robust data to advance the program.

Accelerator Awards offer up to $100,000 for one year. Quarterly progress reports will be required and funds will be distributed in tranches based on progress towards pre-specified milestones. Awardees may be invited to apply for an additional award of $150,000 for a second year if adequate progress is made towards milestones during the first year.

In addition to providing financial support, Accelerator Awards will support investigators by providing mentoring by various experts from industry and the universities. Those seeking Accelerator Awards will receive frequent feedback, beginning with the Letter of Intent submission and continuing into performance of approved projects.

Unlike other CBC awards (and NIH grants), Accelerator Awards will be made only to support early-stage translational research. The multipart application process is initiated with the submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) and will require well-thought-out and clear, detailed explanations of translational potential, and the proposed work must explicitly address questions pertaining to translation. Applicants with promising LOIs will be required to present their projects at a CBC Accelerator Network (CBCAN) meeting and address/incorporate feedback into the final proposal.

Accelerator LOIs and proposals will be evaluated by the Accelerator Review Board (ARB), composed of representatives from the Pharmaceutical industry, the Universities’ Technology Transfer Offices, and mentors identified from the CBC and its member institutions. The Board will approve projects based on significance, translational potential, marketability of the proposed product, preliminary data, and the soundness of the proposed milestones to discharge key elements of risk.


  • Applicants must be tenured or tenure-track faculty with research programs at Northwestern University, The University of Chicago, and/or University of Illinois at Chicago. Faculty with full time appointments on the clinical track at each of the institutions are also eligible to apply. Applicants must have their own designated laboratory space. Individuals who carry faculty appointments with parenthetical rank, are not eligible for tenure, and do not have their own laboratory space are not eligible to apply.
  • Although collaborative proposals are encouraged there is no specific requirement for cross-institutional collaboration.
  • Applicants may have created a company to pursue translation of their innovation, but there is no expectation or requirement for so doing. The CBC encourages applications prior to or without company formation.
  • Multiple applications can be submitted from each institution.
  • There is no expectation that Accelerator Awards will be distributed evenly among the CBC institutions.
  • Proposals should show both innovation and scientific merit.
  • The project should be focused on the development of a therapeutic or associated diagnostic or biomarker, built around a compelling hypothesis and focus on gathering data that advances the hypothesis and discharges key translational risks.
  • Research teams should not already be funded for the same (or closely related) specific aims and/or milestones.
  • Research projects described in Accelerator applications cannot be under review at other funding institutions/agencies to support the same (or closely related) specific aims and/or milestones.
  • A PI may participate in only one application per round.
  • Ongoing and active participation in the CBCAN program is a requirement for Accelerator Award recipients.


  • Grants can range up to $100,000 for use over 1 year. Awarded projects that have met proposed milestones during the first year may be invited to apply for $150,000 for one additional year. Please note that the three CBC institutions have waived all indirect costs.
  • Accelerator Awards are one-time awards, with no expectation of continuation or renewal by the CBC.


I. Full Proposal Preparation

Full proposals MUST be prepared according to the guidelines listed below. All pages and documents listed below should be assembled into a SINGLE PDF document in the order listed. Portfolios will NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Name the PDF file with “accelerator_PROPOSAL” followed by the last name of the PI designated as contact person (e.g. accelerator_PROPOSAL_smith.pdf).

Proposals not conforming to these guidelines will NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Section 1:

  • Page 1: Title Page
    • Download the proposal Title Page form FROM HERE (revised: April 10, 2019), fill out and append as page 1 of your proposal.
    • Complete all checkboxes by selecting either YES or NO and provide information when needed.

Section 2:

  • Pages 2-7: The body of the proposal is limited to 6 pages; append as pages 2 – 7 of your application. Include the following sections with the indicated titles and in the indicated order. Use at least size 11 font, 0.5 inch margins and standard letter paper size (8.5” x 11”).
    • One-paragraph lay-language summary of project (max. 150 words; append as page 2 of your proposal)
    • A separate, one-page discussion (append as page 3 of your proposal) of the basic research findings that are the basis of the hypothesis and project, including:
      • Its significance
      • The compelling data that suggests clinical/translational potential
      • Does this research have the potential to change or modify current paradigms?
    • A separate, three-page discussion (append as pages 4 – 6 of your proposal) of the translational potential of the project, describing:
      • The diagnostic, biomarker or therapeutic you have in mind and its significance
      • The patient population that will benefit from your discovery
      • The clinical or therapeutic need, i.e. the marketability
      • How the proposed therapeutic differs from existing ones and/or benefits patients in a new way. Expound on the key differentiation between the proposed therapeutic and products that are in the development pipeline or already commercialized. If your proposal focuses on Immunology, Oncology or Neuroscience, please refer to the competitive pipeline information provided to you by AbbVie and Clarivate Analytics
      • The experiments you intend to do and how they will address key translational risks (see Appendix for relevant examples). Describe where you intend to get your key data and expound on the criteria for measuring success of the proposed project
      • The translational goal(s) for your Accelerator project and proposed quarterly milestones (ensure that these are adequately quantitative for demonstrating progress)
      • Describe interactions with your Technology Transfer Office and the status of your intellectual property for this project. Has a company been formed?
      • Has this project received any funding for translational work? If yes, please elaborate and indicate the relationship of this proposal to otherwise funded work.
    • A separate, one-page discussion (append as page 7 of your proposal) of how you plan to address the comments that were provided by the Accelerator Review Board members and the CBCAN audience.

Section 3:

  • Page 8: Relevant Cited Scientific References (not to exceed one page; please follow the NIH format)

Section 4:

  • Page 9 and beyond:
    • 2-page budget (if more than one PI, include a budget from each participating PI).
    • By special arrangement with the Research Administration Offices at the CBC universities, it is not necessary to obtain institutional endorsement of proposals before they are submitted to the CBC. However, the CBC may share proposals with Research Administrators during the review process, and the CBC will require institutional endorsements before any final funding decisions are made. The proposed research activities and budget requests must thus be within institutional guidelines in order for a proposal to be successful. (Note: PIs may claim up to 2% effort/salary relief. Graduate student tuition and tuition remission is not allowed on CBC awards. Award funds cannot be used for correlative studies associated with ongoing clinical trials.) All expenses from a single institution should be entered on a university-specific budget form (fillable PDF) downloadable from here: NU budget form, UChicago budget form, UIC budget form (printed and scanned pdf of the budget form is also acceptable). Travel expenses of $1000 per PI and publication expenses of $500 may be included. Additional continuation pages may be used as needed for Budget Justification.

Section 5:

  • Continue with consecutive page numbering:
    • Up-to-date NIH Biosketch (NEW FORMAT; not to exceed 5 pages) for the PI, including current and pending funding and relevant business experience.
    • Applications that are pending at national funding agencies can have no scientific overlap with this proposal. Program staff will review this information to determine eligibility.

Section 6:

  • Continue with consecutive page numbering:
    • Letters of Support
    • If a research project requires special expertise that is not substantially and readily apparent in the PIs’ biosketches, a letter confirming and describing consultation with a core director or colleague recognized in that field is recommended. Please note that the CBC is not allowed to fund researchers from non-CBC institutions, but will accept their letters of support. CBC funds can be used to pay for services provided by core facilities at non-CBC institutions.


II. Full Proposal Submission

Completed proposals MUST be submitted online. The Accelerator proposal submission site will open at 8:00 AM on the initial day in the stated range and will close at 5:00 PM on the final day in the stated range as indicated in the Key Dates section above. Clearly designate the contact person on the proposal. The contact person will be responsible for submitting the proposal.





If you have questions, please contact:

Jim Audia CBC Executive Director
Nancy Tyrrell Associate Director, Translational Activities

or contact the CBC Scientific Director on your campus:

NU: Richard Morimoto
UChicago: Lucy Godley
UIC: Luisa DiPietro