Frequently Asked Questions

What are the focus areas of Gillings Innovation Labs?

This round, we encourage proposals for cross-department, interdisciplinary implementation science projects that will position the Gillings School for national and global leadership. Gillings Innovation Labs should endeavor to expedite solutions to public health challenges through effective implementation and dissemination of interventions in high-impact settings. For more information, see “What is Implementation Science?” (PDF) and this related journal article (PDF).

Projects that benefit North Carolina, either directly or indirectly, are encouraged.  Projects comprised of team members from other Gillings departments, UNC-Chapel Hill schools, and external partners, are also highly encouraged.

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Will you award projects evenly across the focus areas or across departments at the Gillings School of Global Public Health?

No. We award GILs based on the merits of the application and the degree to which the GIL proposal fits the criteria of addressing high impact public health problems in an innovative, scalable fashion. In view of the breadth of excellence at the School, we anticipate receiving strong proposals from all departments. Descriptions of currently funded GILs may be found here.

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How many dollars are available each year for GILs?

Available funds for each round depend on many factors, including external factors such as the performance of investment and endowment funds. The total pool for Round 6 is $600,000, with each funded proposal able to be funded up to $150,000.

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Are the GILs just for research and practice, or will the School fund a ‘teaching’ GIL?

This year, we are encouraging applications for innovative GILs that address research and implementation projects. We plan to launch a separate initiative later to support projects relating to innovative teaching methods and 21st century learning.

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Why does the principal investigator or co-principal investigator need to be a faculty member at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health?

The Gillings gift was given to recognize and to extend the School’s leadership in several areas. Having the principal investigator or co-Principal Investigator from the School assures that the School will benefit and that School faculty will play an important role in the project. At the same time, we believe in the multiplicative power of interdisciplinary collaboration. We encourage our faculty to look for partners outside the School, in other areas of the University, and well beyond to other universities, nonprofit organizations/NGOs, governments, and businesses.

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Does the GIL have to be interdisciplinary?

With this round’s emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches in implementation science, it is unlikely that a single-discipline proposal would be competitive for funding.

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What are GIL opportunities for students?

The guidelines encourage the principal investigators to involve Gillings students in their GIL proposals, and student involvement in GILs is an important metric for success of the overall program. We encourage students to make sure their professors are aware of their interest in participating in a GIL. Students from other schools in the University may be involved as necessary to bring together the best talent for the project.

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Why are these called ‘labs’ and not ‘teams’ or ‘projects’?

The emphasis is on collective ideas and solutions, not on the process.

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What is the source of funding for these GILs?

The GIL program is funded by a generous personal gift from Dennis Gillings and Joan Gillings, the founding donors. Other donors have indicated interest in funding the program or specific innovation labs. The School is excited about this demonstration of interest, and we will pursue those partnerships that fit the program’s mission the closest and which support the mission of the School.

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Who reviews the proposals?

The School’s Research Council, with selected additional experts as needed, will review all Short Proposals and Full Proposals. In addition, the dean, department chairs, and relevant associate deans will review Full Proposals. While a number of reviewers are selected based on their specific expertise in the subject-matter and methods represented in specific proposals, others are chosen for their broad public health expertise or their involvement in related interdisciplinary public health challenges.

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How is it possible to prioritize both North Carolina and global public health? Does my proposal have to address both?

   

Because many global health projects also have the potential to benefit North Carolina, and vice versa, proposals must include a global and local innovation. Alternatively, a convincing case may be made that a project done in one setting (global or local) will have relevance in the other.

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What types of involvement from other groups should we seek?

We encourage partnerships with organizations such as NGOs where that makes sense. Dissemination matters, and partnerships are helpful in building and sustaining successful public health projects.

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Is there a preference for retaining GIL funding within the School?

There is no requirement that a specific proportion GIL funding must remain within the School. However, an important focus is on School leadership to achieve the intended GIL outcome. The principal investigator (PI) or co-PI must be a faculty member in Gillings SPH.

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Is equipment an allowable cost?

In general, costs directly related to conducting the proposed work are allowed. Costs for infrastructure or other activities that are spread beyond the efforts of the Innovation Lab are generally are not allowed. Equipment that is crucial to the conduct of the project and directly related to achieving project aims may be requested. Equipment that is useful more generally in the conduct of project activities but is not specific to the project or will be used across several projects, may not be allowed. If you have questions about a particular piece of equipment, please contact accelerate@unc.edu. Regardless, as with all project costs, equipment items must be very well-justified in the proposal, and the cost of the equipment relative to other project costs should be carefully considered.

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Does the award pay for food (beverages, snacks) for all-day meetings?

All costs must be very carefully justified, and must be directly related to the conduct of the GIL effort; therefore “food” may or may not be an appropriate project cost. If such an item were approved, it would likely be as part of an unusual, one-time (or rare) event such as convening a group of external advisers, community collaborators, organizational leaders associated with intervention sites, etc. Food for meetings of project members, study investigators, etc. participating in activities inherent in running a project (e.g. research or planning meetings) would be much less likely to be considered appropriate. Any such expenditures must conform to UNC policies.

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What are reporting requirements for awarded GILs?

GIL Principal Investigators are required to submit a final report within 60 days of the end of the project period. For projects longer than 12 months, an annual report will be required on the anniversary of the project start date. Details of project reporting, publication acknowledgment, provision of deliverables, and other engagement requirements will be contained in the award documentation.

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