SHEA is the host of the annual Epi Project Competition. This program is funded by the SHEA Education and Research Foundation to foster novel research projects in healthcare epidemiology. The purpose is to identify and support early investigator research initiatives in the field of healthcare epidemiology that align with SHEA's Research Agenda. A grant of up to $20,000 is awarded to the winner.

Eligibility: Grant funding is available for early investigators with a MPH, PhD or MD degree and within 5 years of completion of training. This funding is awarded to applicants who submit proposals that demonstrate new and novel healthcare epidemiology research that aligns with SHEA’s research priorities. Participants must be registered for and plan to attend the annual SHEA Spring Conference at the time of submission.

Funding: Each year SHEA expects to fund up to $20,000 in grant awards. Projects are supported for one year. Individual awards will not exceed $ $20,000 per year. Judges have the option to award multiple grants to multiple winners of the competition if more than one novel proposal meets or exceeds the expectations of the competition, and the combined budgets fall within the $20,000 award limit. The grant is administered by SHEA with no indirect costs available to the grantee department/division. Funds are generally not made available for the applicant’s salary or for major equipment purchases.

Review criteria: The primary criterion for evaluation of applications is the likelihood that the studies proposed will answer an important question relevant to preventing healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance. Approaches that involve lab based research projects, clinical research, social and behavioral questions, and problems in health policy are equally likely to be considered for funding. In addition to scientific merit, we will also consider several other secondary criteria in making awards, including whether the research is likely to provide pilot data that may result in the submission of a later application for extramural research support, whether the project is highly relevant to the problems in epidemiology and whether support is likely to be valuable to the applicant in developing a career as an epidemiologist. Most, but not all, awards typically go to faculty members who have not yet reached the rank of associate professor. Proposals may involve lab-based microbial epidemiology projects, clinical epidemiology, testing of pilot interventions or health outcomes research.

A panel of reviewers will evaluate and score all proposals received by the deadline. Finalists for the competition will be announced approximately six weeks after the closing date of the submission deadline. Reviewers may select up to four finalists to advance to the live competition at SHEA Spring Conference. Finalists selected to advance to the competition will receive a $1,500 stipend to assist with conference registration and travel expenses. Finalists must deliver a 3-5 minute oral presentation, which will be scored by a secret panel of judges. Winner(s) will be selected and announced based on the combined proposal submissions and oral presentation scores. Judges have the option of awarding multiple grants to multiple winners of the competition if more than one novel proposal meets or exceeds the expectations of the competition, and the combined budgets fall within the $20,000 award limit. Although use of the SHEA Research Network is strongly encouraged, eligible proposals are no longer required to use of the Network for their studies.

Interactions with reviewers: Successful applicants are eligible to make use of resources and mentorship provided by the SHEA Research Committee. Participants may submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) not to exceed 300 words, for the purpose of seeking consultation on the feasibility of the submitter’s full proposal and research methods development. Submitters should include in their LOI specific questions for reviewer feedback. LOIs must be submitted to epicompetition@shea-online.org for consideration by a date to be determined each year.

Application Procedure: Final proposals in the form of a PDF or Word DOC file, and financial support information must be submitted to epicompetition@shea-online.org by a date to be determined each year. Eligible proposals must include the following information:

  1. Project name
  2. Specific aims and hypothesis or hypotheses
  3. Background and significance of the project
  4. Description of research design, methods, analytic plan, and preliminary results (if any) not to exceed 750 words.
  5. Brief description of the environment (including mentors) where work will be done
  6. If using the SHEA Research Network, a brief description of how it will be used (this is optional; not required for the project)
  7. A budget estimating the costs to carry out the project. The budget must not exceed $20,000.
  8. Brief description of the investigator’s qualifications to accomplish the work 9. Attestation of independence by mentor/faculty advisor

All applications will be reviewed for scientific merit by at least two reviewers with expertise in a proposed area of inquiry. Review of applications will be evaluated based on alignment with SHEA’s Research Agenda, use of SHEA Research Network if applicable, independence of the investigator, project feasibility and the likelihood for funding of a future follow on project. Applicants will be notified of the finalists by a date to be determined prior to the SHEA Spring Conference.

Questions: regarding administration of the Epi Project Competition should be directed to Lynne Batshon. Visit the SHEA web site under the "Foundation" tab for more information about past finalists and winners.