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Call for Proposals for the TEPHINET Measure the “National Baseline” — Time to Outbreak Detection
May 14, 2015

Start Date: February 9th, 2015 End Date: February 20th, 2015 What Is It? The Training Programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET), in collaboration with the Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF), is announcing its second opportunity to submit mini grant proposals for a study to measure the time required for detection and control of infectious disease outbreaks. Up to five mini grants will be awarded, with a maximum of one submission allowed per country. Resident advisors and program coordinators are encouraged to work with FETP residents and graduates to develop a proposal that will feature contributions from multiple participants. Background Information The development of modern air travel creates the possibility for infectious diseases to spread from one side of the world to another in approximately 24 hours. In order to combat the rapid spread of newly emerging pathogens as well as endemic disease, the public health community must leverage digital communications technology to find outbreaks faster and reduce their potential for pandemic spread. Improvements in disease surveillance and communications, particularly the development of event-based surveillance systems such as ProMED-mail, HealthMap, and the Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN), can help to detect early signs of outbreaks and reduce the time to detection of outbreaks. In 2010, Chan et al. published the first study aimed at measuring the time elapsed between the start of an infectious disease outbreak and its detection by the public and relevant health authorities. Chan et al. used the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Disease Outbreak News (DON) to assemble a database of outbreaks that occurred worldwide between 1996 and 2009, supplementing that information with data from the ProMED-mail, HealthMap, and GPHIN surveillance systems. The study found that the median time between outbreak start and outbreak discovery decreased from 29.5 days in 1996 to 13.5 days in 2009, while the median time between outbreak discovery and public communication about the outbreak decreased from 40 days to 19 days over the same time period. While trends and results varied across WHO regions and the study had several limitations, it was an important step in measuring the world’s ability to detect outbreaks faster. Chan et al. only focused on “diseases of international importance” and thus relied on a dataset that included few or no data points for many countries around the world. What are the Objectives? In order to develop a more detailed assessment of how the public health community is progressing towards faster outbreak detection, this award provides an opportunity for each member country in the TEPHINET community to conduct a similar retrospective study to assess their progress in detecting outbreaks early. Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETPs) are well-positioned to reproduce similar study methods and apply them to their own country for several reasons, including: increased access to local media sources and government data; greater knowledge of local languages; increased access to local, regional, and national data on outbreaks; more experience for FETP trainees on event-based surveillance tools; establishment of country methods for baseline measurements to reduce time to detection; and contribution towards country progress in implementing the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR). Who Can Apply? All FETP residents and graduates are eligible to submit a proposal. However, principle investigators must include a letter of support from the FETP Program Director or Resident Advisor demonstrating their support for the project and willingness to provide assistance as needed. Trainees submitting proposals are encouraged to include the FETP Resident Advisor as a co-Principal Investigator. We encourage proposals to include multiple FETP trainees as the workload may exceed what is reasonable for one person. How to Apply? • You must create an account at www.tephinet.org and be logged in to access the application forms. • In addition to the letter of support from the FETP Program Director or Resident Advisor, all FETP contributors to the study will be asked to complete two brief online training modules focused on innovative disease surveillance systems. • Please limit the Letter of Intent to no more than 2 pages, single-spaced. • Letters of Intent should be submitted online (at: http://www.tephinet.org/content/innovations-surveillnace-national-baseline-mini-grant-opportunity-letters-intent-second-roun) by Friday, February 20, 2015. • Programs selected to submit a full proposal will be notified by Friday February 27, 2015. • Final proposals from invited authors must be submitted online (at: http://www.tephinet.org/content/innovations-surveillnace-national-baseline-mini-grant-opportunity-letters-intent-second-roun) by Friday, March 27, 2015. • Final proposals should be no more than 10 pages, single-spaced, plus appendices. • Proposals should designate a principal investigator and list all team members. • Awarded recipients will be announced by Monday, April 6, 2015. • Applicants will be required to submit a proposed budget, detailing expected expenditures related to the project. • Funds may be used at the discretion of the FETP in support of the study. • Projects will last approximately 12 months and all work should be completed within this timeframe. • For further assistance please see our guide below on how to develop a migrant proposal. Notes • Up to five awards will be given (a country program will receive no more than one award). • Further information will be made available once funds are awarded. • There may be opportunity for results to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. • Applicants should strive to make aggregate data used in the study available for review by the TEPHINET community. • Please note that we will only accept letters of intent and proposals in English. • If you have any questions about how to submit the application online, please email Anika Vinze, avinze@tephinet.org. What Does the Award Include? • It is anticipated that total budgets will fall in the range of USD 3000-6000. • An additional stipend for travel will be awarded for one representative per mini grant award team to attend the TEPHINET Global Conference in June 2015, where awardees will have the opportunity to meet with colleagues from other FETPs who pilot-tested the study methodology. • This meeting will provide awardees the opportunity to learn from other programs who have undertaken a similar analysis. How to Develop a Mini Grant Proposal? The proposal should be created according to the following objectives: - Conduct a national baseline assessment of the time to disease detection - Apply scientific and background information to key elements of the mini grant proposal You need to develop a plan or protocol as a guide for the study. The format and content of mini proposals vary widely, but the list below describes the standard information usually included in a proposal: • Problem identification and definition—conduct a literature search for background information and current research in order to identify a problem requiring study; include details about issues related to the problem (magnitude, causes, areas, populations, solutions, unanswered questions) • Justification—explain why the study deserves attention and funding, taking into account the timeliness of the problem, its relation to the organization’s ongoing activities, and its broader implications • Goals and objectives—include both the long-term public health goal (magnitude of impact) and the immediate, specific objectives of the study (personnel, activities, lessons learned, etc.) • Study questions or hypotheses—include a formal, explicit statement of the study question(s) to be investigated or the study hypothesis/es to be tested • Study design—follow the minimum requirements for the data date range, data systems, and outbreak milestones • Methods—provide a thorough description of the methodology for collecting data, including database assembly from both official reports and more informal systems, and exclusion criteria • Analysis plan—address data preparation (tabulation, editing/cleaning data) and data analysis (time elapsed, hazard ratio, review of Chan et al. manuscript) issues • Plans for interpretation—describe considerations for the study’s generalizability, limitations, and potential contributions • Plans to report study findings—indicate what reports and other means of disseminating research findings are planned, and address questions about what data will be used, when the results will be written, who will write the results, and who will receive the findings • Work schedule/timeline—outline the steps and their sequence in the entire study process, including a corresponding calendar for the amount of time each step will require • Appendices to the proposal—give special attention to the organization and presentation of documents are not placed in the text of the proposal (e.g., CV of principle investigators, sample of data collection instrument, informed consent form, information on institutional affiliation, letters of endorsement, etc.) Notes · For more information go to the  "Proposal Guidelines Baseline" · Also go to the immigrant letter example available here What is the Timeline? o February 20, 2015 - Letters of intent are due to TEPHINET Project manager (all applications must be submitted via www.tephinet.org) o February 27, 2015 – Selected authors invited to submit a complete mini grant application o March 27, 2015 – Final proposals are due (all applications must be submitted via www.tephinet.org) o April 6, 2015 – Letters of acceptance are sent to those selected. o April 10, 2015 – Awardees receive contracts for review and signature. o April 20, 2015 – Projects begin. o August 17, 2015 – First interim progress report due to TEPHINET Project Manager. o January 18, 2016 – Second interim progress report due to TEPHINET Project Manager. o April 18, 2016 – Final report due to TEPHINET Project Manager. Good Luck!