Issue Date: October 19,  2020
Letter of Intent Due Date: November 30, 2020 by 11:59 pm CT
Invitations to Submit Full Application Due Date: By January 31, 2021
Application Due Date: March 5, 2021 by 11:59 pm CT
Award Selection Notification: By July 31, 2021
Period of Performance: Category I: 1-3 years
Category II: 1-2 years
Amount of Award: Category I: Up to $250,000
Category II: Up to $100,000

The Strategic Research Award is investigator-initiated and supports high-impact research projects aimed at addressing gaps in knowledge that impact the ability to provide optimal, patient-centered, cost-effective diagnosis and care for patients with sleep disorders.

This is a focused request for applications (RFA) open to topic areas related to the following American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) Strategic Plan goals: Public Awareness, Technology Innovation and Advocacy to Improve Patient Care. Topic areas that address the AASM Strategic Plan goals must advance the field of sleep medicine and population sleep health. Details and examples for each of these specific research domains and topic areas of interest are provided below. Only applications that fit into one of these research domains will be considered.

The AASM Foundation will consider applications that address one of the following research domains related to the AASM Strategic Plan goals:

  1. Public Awareness – Promote greater public recognition that sleep is essential to health

Research projects that increase evidence to support that sleep is essential to health and raise understanding among other provider groups about the importance of addressing sleep/sleep disorders in practice would help build greater overall awareness about sleep health. The AASM Foundation has identified the following research domains that would be relevant to this strategic goal:

  • Population Sleep Health
  • Physician Burnout
  • Sleep Disorders in Special Populations
  1. Technology Innovation – Positively influence the impact of technology on patients and the sleep team

Research on emerging technologies and their impact on the sleep field, and understanding how additional information from current sleep medicine procedures can be utilized to personalize patient care, would help strengthen knowledge on how best to harness new technology, and the data from it, to provide high quality patient-centered care. The AASM Foundation has identified the following research domains that would be relevant to this strategic goal:

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
  • Consumer Sleep Technology
  1. Advocacy to Improve Patient Care – Positively influence clinical practice for providers and their patients

Research that can be shared with payers and government decision-makers to increase recognition of the value of services provided by sleep physicians and the sleep team and that can provide evidence-based support for various sleep medicine advocacy initiatives, such as decreasing the administrative burdens related to OSA care, would be valuable in moving the sleep field forward. The AASM Foundation has identified the following research domains that would be relevant to this strategic goal:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Hypersomnias
  • Health Policy
  • Sleep Scoring

The AASM Foundation compiled a list of hot topics that fall under each of the research domains above as examples of what would be considered responsive to this RFA. Applicants are encouraged to review the following list before drafting a letter of intent:

2021 Strategic Research Award: AASM Strategic Plan Goals Hot Topics

The Strategic Research Award program is organized into two categories to allow flexibility and a range of funding opportunities to potential applicants:

  • Category I is for those applicants seeking funding for projects up to $250,000 and covers a project period of up to three years.
  • Category II is for those applicants seeking funding for projects up to $100,000 and covers a project period of up to two years.

The funds can be used for research expenses such as salary support (commensurate with current stipends or salaries), supplies, participant costs and institutional overhead. There are no restrictions on the distribution of expenses, however, indirect costs are capped at 8%. The award is a contract between the AASM Foundation and the awardee’s institution.

  • The applicant must possess a master’s level degree or higher.
  • The applicant must have access to the necessary resources (including the proposed patient population), facilities, and other resources needed to perform the proposed work.
  • We encourage applicants to be members of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
  • Applicants outside the US are eligible to apply; however, payment of award funds must be accepted by the institution in US dollars.
  • Applicants who are the Principal Investigator on a currently-funded AASM Foundation Strategic Research Award are not eligible to apply. Individuals who are listed as key personnel on an active AASM Foundation award, but are not the Principal Investigator, are also eligible to apply.
    Note: In all cases, the applicant must clearly demonstrate the lack of overlap between the funded AASM Foundation project and the proposed work and demonstrate that the individual’s budgeted and actual percent time/effort involved in the two awards are appropriate and non-overlapping.

Please note that the AASM Foundation will not fund ongoing projects that are currently funded by another awarding body, and the investigator or organization will be required to make a statement to this effect prior to execution of the contract. These awards are also not intended to supplement ongoing work, for example, for enrolling additional subjects into an ongoing trial.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required prior to submission of a full application. Applicants will then be notified whether they will be invited to submit a full application.  If the LOI is not approved, the applicant may not apply for the award.

The following criteria will be considered in determining whether the applicant will be invited to submit a full application for consideration:

  1. Responsiveness to the one of the strategic goals and research domains being requested as part of this RFA in alignment with the AASM Strategic Plan.
  2. Potential impact/significance and innovation of the planned research in advancing the field sleep medicine
  3. Feasibility of the planned research.
  4. Overall quality of the methods and analytic plan.
  5. Expertise and experience of the investigators and other key personnel conducting the planned research.
  6. Inclusion of individuals of all ages, including children and older adults, unless there are scientific or ethical reasons not to include them.

Please note that the information submitted in the LOI (e.g., category, key personnel, domain) is final and those invited to submit a full application will be bound by the content of their approved LOI unless a modification was specifically requested or approved by the AASM Foundation.

For individuals who submit a full application, an award review committee, appointed by the AASM Foundation Executive Committee, will evaluate and score all submitted applications. Factors that will be taken into consideration include:

  1. Significance: Strong scientific premise of planned research in addressing important problems or critical barriers needed to progress the sleep medicine field.
  2. Investigators: Experience, training, and ongoing record of accomplishments of the principle investigator(s) and key personnel.
  3. Innovation: Use of novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions that challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms.
  4. Approach: Strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, methodology, analyses, and benchmarks for success are well-reasoned and appropriate for the specific aims of the planned research.
  5. Environment: Institutional support, availability of equipment and other physical resources that contribute to the probability of success of the planned research.

Only materials submitted within the application will be used in the evaluation of applications. The AASM Foundation Executive Committee will submit funding recommendation to the AASM Foundation Board of Directors based on the Award Review Committee scores. The AASM Foundation Board of Directors will make the final funding decisions

Category I Awards:

Payment #1 – Upon execution of contract 50%
Payment #2 – At project midpoint after approval of Progress Report 40%
Payment #3 – Upon receipt and approval of Final Report 10%

Category II Awards:

Payment #1 – Upon execution of contract 90%
Payment #2 – Upon receipt and approval of Final Report 10%

If unique circumstances are explained in the budget justification of the applicant’s proposal, the Board of Directors will consider requests for an alternate payment schedule, with a maximum variance of 10%.

Note: Once awarded, reallocation of funds of <10% do not require approval.

The AASM Foundation Strategic Research Award supports high-impact research which will advance the diagnosis, treatment, and delivery of patient-centered care across the healthcare continuum for patients with sleep disorders. The AASM Foundation intends that the research funded by this award will lead to the publication of original research in peer-reviewed journals.

Applicants are expected to address the specific aims as described in the application. Major modification of the proposed aims requires AASM Foundation Board of Directors or Executive Committee approval.

The expected results and deliverables should be clearly stated in the application. The applicant must submit progress and final reports during the project period, describing project activities and results, as outlined below. Failure to meet the deliverables or submit progress or final reports may result in termination of project funding.

Progress Reports Every six months
Final Report Within 90 days of award completion

Outcomes evaluation is an essential component of this award. All proposals must identify the goals and appropriate outcomes measures of the research. The outcomes should align with the goals and objectives stated in the applicant’s proposal for this award.

If using human or animal subjects, the applicant will be responsible for obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and use Committee (IACUC) approval. The IRB or IACUC letter of approval for the specified project must be on file with the AASM Foundation office prior to the execution of the contract. No funds will be released for the project without receipt of written approval by an IRB or IACUC. Failure to obtain IRB or IACUC approval will result in retraction of the award.