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 AASM Foundation is committed to improving patient-centered for all patients with sleep disorders. To ensure that there is a continued advancement in effective diagnosis and care of patients with sleep disorders, the AASM Foundation provides research funding through the Strategic Research Award. This 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 projects which address research gaps in the behavioral and psychological treatment of chronic insomnia that were identified by the AASM Behavioral & Psychological Treatments for Insomnia Clinical Practice Guideline Task Force. Details for each research domain and related topic areas of interest are provided below. Only applications that fit into one or more of these research domains and topic areas will be considered.

The AASM Foundation will consider applications that address one of the following research domains related to behavioral and psychological treatment of chronic insomnia disorder:

  1. Comparisons between Behavioral and Psychological Treatments for Chronic Insomnia

There is a need for more head-to-head studies that compare different behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

  • Non-inferiority and other comparative effectiveness studies evaluating patient outcomes of behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia.
  • Studies that directly compare Brief Therapies for Insomnia (BTIs) to Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia (CBT-I), particularly among patients with complex comorbid conditions.
  • Studies that address superiority of one psychological or behavioral treatment for chronic insomnia over another based on direct comparisons.
  1. Benefits and Harms of Behavioral and Psychological Treatments for Chronic Insomnia

Adequate data on the benefits and harms of behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia are lacking. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

  • Studies on the risks of behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia, including daytime sleepiness and other potential side effects (e.g. cognitive effects and gait/balance issues) typically associated with pharmacotherapy for insomnia. Additionally, evaluation of methods to mitigate potential risks associated with treatment, such as using alternatives to sleep restriction therapy or using other methods to attenuate sleepiness.
  • Studies that evaluate the long-term benefits of single component behavioral and/or psychological treatments for chronic insomnia and examine follow-up treatments after the delivery of a single component therapy.
  • Studies of the potential benefits of cognitive therapy alone for chronic insomnia and understanding which patient groups are most likely to benefit from cognitive approaches.
  1. Patient-Centered Approaches to Behavioral and Psychological Treatments for Chronic Insomnia

Patient-centered approaches are needed to improve behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia and subsequent patient outcomes. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

  • Implementation studies that examine different delivery methods and settings for behavioral and psychological treatment for chronic insomnia, as well as delivery by different types of providers with a range of backgrounds/ professional experiences are needed.
  • Studies to develop and evaluate dissemination strategies for educating patients and providers about effective behavioral and psychological chronic insomnia approaches.
  • Studies that help determine patient uptake and preferences for the available treatments.

Note: Studies considered under this research domain should include patient-centered approaches and engaging key stakeholders in the design of intervention trials for behavioral and psychological insomnia approaches.

  1. Single Component Behavioral and Psychological Treatments for Chronic Insomnia

Understanding the effectiveness of single component behavioral and psychological treatment for chronic insomnia on patient outcomes is needed. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

  • Studies to determine optimal patient selection for Intensive Sleep Retraining (ISR) compared to other chronic insomnia therapies (e.g., CBT-I) with outcomes that balance cost/resource utilization for this approach.
  • Studies that test whether alternative forms of ISR implementation (e.g., utilizing self-monitoring devices at home) for chronic insomnia or variations of the therapy are efficacious.
  • Studies that explore mindfulness-based approaches and incorporate standard measures used to evaluate chronic insomnia treatments, such as sleep diaries, actigraphy and/or PSG.
  • Studies that explore brief mindfulness-based approaches for chronic insomnia to determine whether benefits are similar to longer mindfulness training approaches, and whether mindfulness-based concepts can be incorporated with other approaches (e.g., sleep restriction therapy and stimulus control) to enhance treatment benefits.
  1. Behavioral and Psychological Treatments for Chronic Insomnia for Special Populations and Subgroups across the Lifespan

There is limited data on behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia among patient subgroups and special populations across the lifespan. Research topics that fall under this research domain include:

  • Studies of the relative efficacy of behavioral and psychological treatments for chronic insomnia in patient subgroups, including those with early morning awakenings, different insomnia phenotypes, racial/ethnic minority groups, and patients with low health literacy or cognitive impairment, patients who require assistance with activities of daily living, patients living in institutional settings (e.g., nursing homes), patients across the lifespan (e.g. children, adolescents, and older adults) as well as the impact among different cultural groups.
  • Studies that improve our understanding of moderators and mediators of treatment response and methods to target CBT-I components based on patient presentation and chronic insomnia characteristics.

Across all research domains and topics listed above, applicants are encouraged to include functional outcomes such as daytime symptoms and daytime functional impairments associated with insomnia, as well as quality of life and other important sleep-related outcomes (e.g., hypnotic use), and include assessments of side effects associated with the psychological/behavioral therapies for chronic insomnia to obtain data on the direct harms associated with them in their proposal. Additionally, applicants are encouraged to use emerging technologies, such as objective sleep monitoring (e.g., PSG, actigraphy, consumer sleep technologies), to collect data on outcomes of behavioral and psychological treatments for insomnia.

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.
  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, adolescents 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.