Howard T. Blane Director’s Award for the Development of Innovative Research in the Addictions (BDAA)

RIA provides funds to support pilot projects through the Howard T. Blane Director’s Award for the Development of Innovative Research in the Addictions (BDAA). Funds are awarded on the advice and recommendation of the Research Development Committee, as approved by the RIA director.

Howard T. Blane

Former RIA director Howard T. Blane, PhD

About this award:


The purpose of this award is to assist RIA scientists and collaborating UB faculty outside of RIA in their pursuit of external funding. Budgets, excluding the cost of RIA computer services, should not exceed $25,000, and the duration of the award is one year. Requests in excess of this amount require a one-page letter to the director and the chair of the BDAA committee that explicitly addresses the nature of the grant application that would be expected to be developed and the necessity of the pilot to the successful submission of the grant. In addition, such proposals must be discussed with the director. Given the limited financial resources, requests for pilot funds in excess of the stated amount can only be granted if there is a clear and convincing case that the future grant application has a reasonable expectation of success.


All RIA scientists, doctoral-level research associates and doctoral-level UB faculty are eligible for BDAA award funds. Projects submitted by RIA early career scientists should be sponsored by a senior RIA scientist who will accept responsibility for oversight of the conduct of the research. Priority considerations for applications from RIA scientists will be given as follows:

  1. New doctoral-level trainees or research associates
  2. Early career scientists
  3. Established scientists

Doctoral-level UB faculty from outside of RIA who are collaborating with RIA scientists are also are eligible for BDAA award funds as Co-Principal Investigator or Co-I on a proposal.

Format for Proposal

The format for BDAA proposals is:

  1. Proposal Title and Project Period. Specific start and end dates (not to exceed a one-year period) should be provided.
  2. Budget. A budget meeting must be scheduled through the RIA Grants office. The line-item budget should include an account of funds requested along with a budget justification. No support for scientist or faculty salary should be included. In-kind contributions should be identified. Travel will not be allowed. The budget must be reviewed and pre-approved by the RIA Grants Office, and the RIA “Howard T. Blane Director’s Award for the Development of Innovative Research in the Addictions Program Proposal Review” form (available from the RIA Grants Office) must be completed prior to submission to the RDC. BDAA awards are made using a line-item budget, and re-budgeting is not permitted.
  3. Rationale and Potential Contribution to the Field. Include a brief explanation as to how this proposed pilot project will improve the potential success of a future grant submission to outside funding sources. Limited to two pages.
  4. Specific Aims. Limited to one page.
  5. Methodology and Feasibility. Limited to four pages.
  6. Biosketch. The principal investigator on the BDAA proposal should include an NIH-style biosketch relevant to the proposed project.

Note: The Rationale and Potential Contribution to the Field, Specific Aims, and Methodology and Feasibility sections together should not exceed 7 pages.


Individuals intending to request BDAA funds should notify the RDC chair and the RIA Grants Office of their plans as soon as possible. The current chair is Dr. John Welte. Four copies of the proposal should be submitted to the RDC chair, one copy to the director's office and one copy to the RIA Grants Office. The RDC seeks to review proposals and submit its recommendation to the director within 2-3 weeks following receipt of the proposal. Advance notification of BDAA submissions is very important for maintaining this flexible and rapid review process.

Review Criteria

Criteria used in evaluating proposals are:

  1. The priority category of the individual applying (pertains only to applicants within RIA; see #1 above).
  2. How the BDAA project will improve the potential success of a future grant submission to outside funding agencies. The major purpose of the BDAA award is to encourage pilot projects that may lead to a new research program eligible for external (government or private) funding for research awards. For applicants internal to RIA, the BDAA award may be used to support pilot research for research, training or career awards. For UB faculty external to RIA, the BDAA award is not intended to provide pilot data for training or career awards.
  3. The integrity of the research design. The proposal will be evaluated scientifically on the following dimensions:
    1. Feasibility
    2. Rationale
    3. Methodology and Data Analytic Plan
    4. Scientific merit
    5. Potential contribution to the field
  4. The nature of the collaboration with RIA scientists (pertains only to UB faculty applicants from outside of RIA). Development and execution of the proposed pilot project should involve the substantial participation of one or more RIA scientists. Also, a description of plans for a subsequent application for external (e.g., NIH) funding should reflect a substantial role and correspondent level of effort and UB credit for the RIA collaborator(s).

External Review

The RDC anticipates receiving proposals that are outside the expertise of its members. If a minimum of two members cannot adequately review a proposal, the committee will solicit one or more reviews from individuals deemed competent in the proposed area. External reviewers will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence in the area, their availability and their willingness to act expeditiously.


The RDC will provide a recommendation to the RIA director, and a final decision on the application communicated in writing to the applicant. In cases were the application is approved, the RIA Grants Office will be notified in writing.

IACUC and/or IRB approval is not necessary prior to submitting a BDAA application. However, an award account cannot be established (or expenditures made) without IACUC and/or IRB approval. The maximum award period for any single project will be one year from the establishment of the account.

Once awarded and IRB/IACUC approval is received, a new project kick-off meeting will be scheduled through the RIA Grants Office. All purchases on the BDAA account must be processed through the RIA Business Office. Unexpended funds will be returned to the BDAA account at the end of the project period.