The Linda Banov and Howard Stern DREAMS (Dysphagia REsearch and Education to IMprove Swallowing) Fund offers a pilot award of up to $60,000 for a maximum of 2 years to support projects targeting research and education in swallowing and dysphagia. The mission of this program is to:

  • Expand and enhance the state of patient care and treatment
  • Improve the quality of life for those living with dysphagia
  • Prevent dysphagia with aging and its associated conditions and diseases
  • Educate the public and benefit patients, families and caregivers

Proposals may target any aspect of swallowing and dysphagia, including research, education, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of those suffering with swallowing difficulties.

  • Normal aging research as it relates to swallowing and dysphagia risk factors
  • Imaging in preclinical and affected patients
  • Transitional care for individuals with dysphagia
  • Public Health
  • Patient and/or caregiver education
  • Treatments (pharmacological, behavioral or technological interventions)

Applicant Eligibility

  • All investigators with a primary faculty appointment in UW are eligible.
  • All scientist track/research staff with PI status eligibility and an independent research program separate from their mentor are eligible.
  • All investigators must be eligible to submit an R01 as a PI at the start of the grant period.
  • Applications are welcomed from basic, clinical, health services, and translational investigators.
  • A second year of funding is possible with demonstrated productivity. Subsequent funding needs to be carefully justified and will be considered as a competing renewal application.  Support for a second year is not allowed if the applicant has received external funding for the same research/project.

Application Requirements

Proposals should consist of the following (in order):

  • Specific Aims and Research plan (5 page max)
  • References cited
  • Budget (use the linked template)
  • Budget justification
  • NIH-style Biographical sketch for all PIs and Co-Is (5 page max for each)
  • Project milestones and future funding plans (1 page max with a Gantt chart describing the timeline to external proposal submission)
  • Letter from PI’s Dean, Chair or Division Chief confirming protected time for PI to conduct the research, and provision of matching/support funds, if applicable

Application Deadlines

Letter of Intent:

  • A Letter of Intent indicating the focus of your project is due by 5:00pm (CST) on November 1, 2021. You may apply without a Letter of Intent; however, we will use the Letter of Intent to aid us in identifying appropriate reviewers ahead of time.

Full Applications:

  • Applications must be submitted as a single PDF file within the DOM DREAMS Fund Application by 5:00pm (CST) on November 12, 2021.

Proposals will be reviewed by the DOM Study Section Sub-Committee and funding recommendations will be provided to the DOM Research Oversight Committee for funding approval.

Review of Applications

Applications will be reviewed by the DOM Study Section Sub-Committee which consists of representatives from the different divisions within the DOM. Therefore, grants should be written for a general scientific audience. Review criteria will include:

  • Quality and feasibility of the research
  • Research expertise or potential of the applicant(s)
  • Potential for external funding
  • Impact, significance and innovation
  • Presence of matching funds from other sources (applicant, division, SMPH, etc.)

Funding recommendations go to the DOM Research Oversight Committee for final approval.  Applicants will be notified of funding determinations by December 17, 2021.

Conditions of Award

Funds will not be released until documentation of IACUC or IRB approval has been provided, if applicable.

Funds are to be expended during the approved budget period. Requests for a budget extension are to be made to the DOM Research Oversight Committee and sent to 60 days prior to the end budget period. Extension requests must provide progress on the research to date, an explanation of the research to be completed, and a justification for why the extension is necessary.

All resultant publications and presentations should acknowledge funding from the DOM.

All resultant applications to external funding agencies must be routed through the University of Wisconsin, Department of Medicine. This is necessary to ensure that indirect costs are directed back to the DOM to support the department’s research initiatives and activities.

Post-Award Requirements

Once a grant is awarded, the responsibilities of successful applicants include acknowledgment of DOM support in any publications emanating from the supported project, as well as progress reports and reporting of successful and independent grant applications resulting from the work supported by the DOM DREAMS Fund Program.

  • All awardees are asked to acknowledge DOM support in all scientific posters, presentations and publications using the specific language listed below:
    • Direct DOM Funding Support: "This research was supported by The Linda Banov and Howard Stern DREAMS Fund sponsored by the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”
  • Awardees may be invited to present a seminar at the weekly Grand Rounds lecture series or other appropriate venue.
  • Awardees must present results of this work in poster or talk formats at the DOM Annual Research Day event.
  • A final progress report is due 30 days after the close of the project period. The 1–2-page report will contain a synopsis of scientific progress, a list of resulting collaborations, publications, and grants, and a description of the relationship of the project to DOM. Failure to do so will disqualify PI from all future DOM funding mechanisms.

More About the Linda Banov and Howard Stern DREAMS Fund

Howard S. Stern was an MIT-trained chemical engineer and the co-founder, director and Chairman of E-Z-EM, a US manufacturer of contrast agents for gastrointestinal radiology such as barium formulations. Mr. Stern licensed from WARF the rights to the first patented invention of Dr. JoAnne Robbins and her team in the University of Wisconsin/VA Swallowing Laboratory. He served as a critical mentor to Dr. Robbins throughout her career until he passed away in 2005.

At that time, his wife of 40 years, Linda Banov, continued as a mentor, encouraging Dr. Robbins' on-going professional productivity and direction. Mr. Stern was a champion of translational research in swallowing and dysphagia, emphasizing the importance of bench-to-bedside efforts and technology transfer from academic laboratories to industry partners in order to commercialize new technologies for the benefit of patients.

Contact Details

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