The Letter of Intent is a required component for funding from the MSCRF, which is $18 million for FY 2009. Governor O’Malley has designated stem cell research funding a priority through the BIO 2020 Initiative. During the second year of funding (FY 2008), the Commission received 127 Letters of Intent that translated to 122 applications. Filing a Letter of Intent does not obligate the company or researcher to submit an application, and it is intended to help the Commission plan for the necessary Scientific Peer Review after the applications are submitted. Of the Letters of Intent received:
55 were for RFA-MD-09-1 (Investigator-Initiated Research Grants) – These grants are designed for investigators with preliminary data supporting the grant application.
82 were for RFA-MD-09-2 (Exploratory Research Grants) – These grants are designed for investigators who are new to the stem cell field (young investigators and investigators from other fields).
50 were for RFA-MD-09-3 (Post-Doctoral Grants) – These grants are designed for post-doctorial fellows who wish to conduct basic and/or transitional research on all types of human stem cells in Maryland.
The Commission is also planning to issue an RFI for shared resources, which will seek information about what types of facilities or equipment are needed by researchers to enhance stem cell research in Maryland. The shared resources for which grants could be suggested include: facility renovation, expansion or upgrades; the purchase, installation and maintenance of equipment; or staff training. Organizations such as public and private, for-profit and non-profit, universities, colleges, research institutes, companies, medical centers and others will be encouraged to respond to this RFI.
Source: Maryland Stem Cell Research Center