Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition South Caucasus Fellowship Program for FETP and GLLP Trainees and Graduates: Full Proposal Instructions

TEPHINET is pleased to announce the call for full proposals for the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition South Caucasus Fellowship Program (APDC SCFP) and invites applications on disease surveillance in the region. The program’s objectives are to bridge epidemiology and laboratory disciplines, provide “learning by doing” opportunity to FETP and GLLP trainees and recent graduates, and foster collaboration and strong, sustainable networks among FETPs, GLLPs, regional centers for disease control, and ministries of health.

Small grants will be awarded for non-research projects focused on the surveillance, epidemiology, and laboratory testing of acute febrile illnesses (AFI), viral hepatitis, liver disease, and other pathogens/diseases of interest in the region.

Small grants awarded under this program will be up to US $10,000 for an 8-month project and funded through the generous support of Abbott. Awards are contingent upon receipt of donor funding; this announcement does not guarantee awards for proposals submitted.

Who can apply?

  • Current Fellows or recent graduates (who have graduated during the past five years from 2023) from the South Caucasus FETP Advanced, Eastern Europe and South Caucasus FETP Intermediate, FETP Frontline, Global Laboratory Leadership Programme  (GLLP). Eligible countries include Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Armenia, and Ukraine.
  • Regional FETPs and the GLLP are encouraged to collaborate on applications if feasible.
  • Applicants with a current/active TEPHINET award are not eligible to apply.
  • The applicant must be the Principal Investigator (PI).
  • Applicants should preferably identify an in-country subject matter expert (SME) at their ministry of health, academic institution, or public-private partnership who will serve as their in-country mentor for the duration of the grant-funded project. Important: In-country mentors are expected to demonstrate time commitment in the form of monthly meeting attendance, input, and review of Grantee reports during the project’s cycle. Applicants should bear this in mind as they select their in-country mentor. Applicants that do not identify an in-country mentor will not be considered. A long-distance mentor will also be identified and assigned by Abbott.

When to apply?

The application period closes at 11:59 pm Atlanta/Eastern Standard Time, October 20th, 2023. Applicants must submit their full proposals before this deadline; late submissions will not be considered.

How to apply?

  • Full proposals should be submitted via our online application form.
  • You must be logged into the TEPHINET website with your TEPHINET account to access the application form.                 
  • If you do not already have a TEPHINET account, then you must first create a new account.
  • If you have an existing TEPHINET account but have forgotten the password, you can recover your password.           
  • If you have any questions or have difficulties submitting the application online, please email the Small Grants Program at

Applicants whose proposals are selected for the grant awards are expected to be notified by December 2023 and will receive instructions at that time on how to proceed with their project. 

Criteria for non-research project proposals

  • The project scope must be non-research or exempt human subjects research as defined by Task Force for Global Health guidance and US Federal Guidelines. While proposals may involve the collection and analysis of information about human subjects such as biospecimens or records from human subjects, the primary objective should not be human subject research (e.g. clinical trials).
  • The scope must be feasible to accomplish in an 8-month period (January-August 2024).
  • Awardees and their host institutions must be amenable to a Material Transfer Agreement with Abbott to facilitate biobanking and specimen shipments to Abbott or its APDC partner site (National Center for Disease Control and Public Health in Georgia, NCDC) if specimen testing is required for the project is not feasible in the Awardee’s host institution. 

Full Proposal Document

Your full proposal must be in English and limited to 5 pages of single-spaced text in 12-point font with normal (1-inch) margins. Proposed projects must be one of the following topic areas, with a focus on surveillance, biospecimen collection, and laboratory testing:

  1. Acute febrile illnesses (AFI)
  2. Pandemic-potential respiratory viruses/disease
  3. Viral hepatitis and liver disease
  4. Hemorrhagic fevers (for example, hantavirus, borreliosis)
  5. Zoonotic diseases (for example, brucellosis, rabies and echinococcosis)

The proposal should include the following sections:

  • Project title
  • Abstract (250 words or less)
  • Background and significance
  • Preliminary investigations (if applicable)
  • Problem identification and definition
  • Justification
  • Goals and objectives (state goals in terms of public health purpose of the project)
  • Design and methods (include: investigation design, study population, case definitions, details of diagnostic and discovery testing procedures, procedures related to data and/or specimen collection and data and/or specimen quality assurance, information on collaborating partners, etc.)
  • Interpretation and analysis plan (include: description of data collected; key table shells that show data organization; plans for tabulation, coding, and cleaning data; how will data be analyzed; etc.)
  • Reporting/dissemination plan for findings (include: description of planned reports; how findings will be disseminated and to whom; how you will communicate findings to partners; etc.)
  • Additional sections that will not be counted towards the 5-page limit:
    • Literature cited (start from new page; not counted in the 5-page limit)
    • Detailed budget along with justification narrative that covers a period not exceeding 10 months (not counted in the 5-page limit; use January 2023 as expected starting month; see template “Budgetthat has been made available separately). See also Budget and Timeline section below.
    • Detailed project timeline (not counted in the 5-page limit; see template “Timeline” that has been made available separately)

Budget and Timeline

Please provide a detailed budget for how the funds will be used and a detailed timeline for your project (see templates “Budget” and “Timeline” made available separately). All guidelines pertaining to allowable expenses on federal grants will be applicable for these awards. Please note that funding will not be provided for: Principal Investigator/applicant stipends, books, computers, subscriptions or graduate student support and tuition remission.

Additional Requirements

In addition to the full proposal document, the following materials are also required for your submission to be considered complete:

  • A one-page summary of your proposal (not to exceed one page of single-spaced text in 12-point font with normal margins) with the following sections:
    • Project title
    • Project leader (the applicant) and collaborators or significant participants
    • Source of local support (e.g., the divisions/departments within the Ministry of Health that are supporting the project)
    • The pathogen discovery activity/activities (i.e., description of your project)
    • Goal and main objectives (stated as public health purpose of the project)
    • Details of diagnostic and discovery testing procedures
    • Data and human subject involvement (describe the type and source of data collected)
    • Reporting (i.e., what do you expect to report and to whom)
  • Your latest curriculum vitae (CV).
  • A narrative description of your current position (to be submitted as a separate document).
  • NIH-type biographical sketches for significant participants (see template “Biosketch” made available separately).
  • The abstract page(s) from any ongoing funded and pending project proposals that the PI (i.e., applicant) is undertaking.
  • Letter of support from in-country mentor and mentor CV. The letter must include clear information on the following: 
    • Why your mentor believes you are well suited for the APDC Fellowship (for instance, specific examples that demonstrate your experience, skillset and qualifications, and relevance to this fellowship opportunity).
    • How this fellowship, in their view, will benefit you, your program, and the public health systems in your country. 
    • How they, as your in-country mentor, will plan to support you and your project in the event that you are selected for the award.
  • Letter of support from MOH, NPHI, academic institution, APDC (NCDC/Georgia) site, and/or other institution that will collaborate with applicant on their project. The letter from the institution(s) must include clear information on: 
    • Their permission, if applicable, that confirms your ability to apply for this fellowship and their collaboration with you on your project.
    • How they will collaborate with you (for example, will they provide resources, what type of resources will they provide).
    • Any other institution capabilities and/or areas of support that they will provide and are relevant to your project. 
  • Evidence that you have applied for IRB (HRPP) approval at the same time as submitting your full proposal (e.g., documentation of HRPP # for pending review of the project). You do not need to submit evidence that you have received local IRB approval – at this time, you’re only required to submit evidence that you have applied for local IRB approval. If your full proposal is selected for a grant award, then you will be required to provide evidence that you have received local IRB approval before you can receive the grant award – note that approval must be received by January 2024 to ensure prompt project start.

Important Considerations

Data Use Agreements

Prior to submitting the full proposal, applicants must verify that the data they plan to collect are indeed feasible to collect and are permitted to be included in the proposed analyses (e.g., test results, risk factors, etc.).

Specimens export

Where feasible, collaboration with facilities in neighboring countries may be considered. If a project involves biospecimens or biospecimen banks and the applicant is located in a country without an APDC site, applicants must demonstrate that their host institution and/or collaborating institution(s) have the necessary permissions, approvals and capability to store and export specimens under safe and appropriate shipping conditions to a testing site in a neighboring country or region. The applicant must also demonstrate willingness to sign a material transfer agreement with Abbott and/or NCDC to facilitate specimen testing.

Overall Evaluation Criteria

Since your proposals will be reviewed by international reviewers, please describe any system, data source, abbreviation, etc. that may not be familiar to those outside your own country.

Your proposals should be succinct and written in English. Proposals will be subject to both administrative and scientific review. The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals for funding consideration:

  • Completeness of application (application form, full proposal, supporting documents)
  • Significance of the problem being addressed
  • Scientific rigor and quality
  • Feasibility of project starting on time and being completed in the indicated timeframe (not to exceed 8 months)
  • Probability that the work will yield important information and will have a public health impact
  • Qualifications of the Principal Investigator (i.e., the applicant) and collaborators
  • Indication of a strong mentoring system: in-country subject matter expert/mentor in relevant subject area from either your local FETP, GLLP, local Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, APDC site, school of public health, and/or other relevant institutions (Note: If selected, you will also be paired with a long-distance mentor to support your project)
  • Use of new or innovative methodologies or technologies


Small grant awardees are strongly encouraged to publish their findings in scholarly peer‐reviewed journals and present their research at professional gatherings (e.g., meetings, conferences, seminars, etc.). At the completion of the project, it’s recommended that a draft manuscript is submitted to TEPHINET and Abbott for further consideration. Any abstracts, publications, papers, and presentations resulting from project activities must cite contributing source(s) of funding and/or technical support received through this award (information available from your point of contact at TEPHINET). Please notify TEPHINET when you publish or present your work.