JHU Grand Challenge: Next-generation Innovations for Consumer Health and Empowerment (NICHE)

GSK Consumer Healthcare will invest $700,000 this year to seek applications from JHU faculty (including APL)  based on novel science, technologies, materials or processes that will lead to improved consumer health outcomes and that align with GSK’s consumer strategic needs - to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.


To search out novel science, technologies, materials or processes that will lead to improved consumer health outcomes and that align with GSK’s consumer strategic needs - to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

Purpose and Scope

GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. We research, manufacture and make available a broad range of medicines, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. Its Consumer Healthcare business develops and markets consumer-preferred and expert-recommended brands in oral health, pain relief, respiratory, nutrition/gastro-intestinal and skin health. Its vision for future is to transform the consumer healthcare experience and empower consumer self-care and has sought JHU as a partner in this effort.

The focus of this funding will be to support pilot projects that provide proof of concept of the feasibility of developing safe and effective non-prescription technologies that address one or more of the areas and topics listed under the section “Problem Statements” (pages 4-6 of the full RFA below). These approaches will build on solid scientific and mechanistic knowledge about the target indication as well as state-of-the-art and next generation technological tools. The scope of the program includes technology development and optimization at the benchtop or preclinical stage and providing a roadmap for ultimate use in humans.

Mechanisms of Support and Funds

InCMed, in partnership with GSK Consumer Healthcare, will fund 3-4 awards during this first cycle, for total funding up to $100,000 in direct costs. The duration of the award will be for one year. At the end of this year, depending on progress made and milestones met, promising projects may be considered for further funding, through a separate funding opportunity.

Eligibility Criteria

A stated goal of this funding opportunity is to foster collaborations between DOM faculty, APL scientists and student/trainee teams. The principal investigator will be a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, although representation by all three components is required for eligibility. InCMed can help facilitate the formation of the investigative groups and eligible investigators are encouraged to contact us prior to submission.

The proposed projects can cover any technological approach including but not limited to digital programs/applications, hand held technologies for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Pharmaceutical approaches that are eligible for over the counter (OTC) use will also be considered in scope. Research that is aimed at understanding fundamental mechanisms that provide the foundation for these technologies will also be considered. Research in silico, or using benchtop or preclinical models will be eligible. Human subject research will be out of scope as will prescription drugs or implantable devices.

Application and Submission Information

Content. Applications will consist of two documents:

I. Project Description (3-page maximum)

  • Project summary and how it answers the NICHE Challenge Brief
  • Scientific rationale, novelty and supporting evidence for the approach
  • Scope of work and deliverables
  • Background intellectual property (if applicable)
  • JHU Principal Investigator and investigator teams (including APL and students)
  • Project timelines

II. Milestones and Budget

The application should clearly state the expected outcome at the end of award period. Expected outcomes should provide the basis for follow on, commercialization work. In addition, an interim milestone at six months to assess progress of the project should be identified.

The budget should not exceed total direct costs of $100,000. Please use the excel spreadsheet provided for the budget template. Indirect costs should be included and calculated based on the nature and site of performance (The current indirect cost rates for commercial sponsors can be found at the following link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/research/resources/offices-policies/ora/handbook/appendixc.html) Proposals selected for funding by the InCMed selection committee will need to be subsequently submitted to COEUS for award set up.

Format: Arial 11 font or larger; double-spaced, one inch margins all around.

Due Date: April 7, 2019 at 5 p.m.

Proposals should be submitted electronically in a pdf file to:

Aimee Stone
Phone: 410 502 7173

Review and Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a panel appointed by InCMed in partnership with GSK Consumer Healthcare, with outside expertise brought in as necessary. Applications will be judged based on the strengths of the same criteria as the section headers in the application and we expect the selection process and notification to be completed by June 1 or earlier. Selected projects will put in place an Individual Project Agreement with GSK Consumer Healthcare that outlines IP and licensing rights, the general basis for which has been agreed to in a master agreement with the company and JHU (the investigators are encouraged to contact InCMed leadership for any questions in this regard).

Post-Funding Responsibilities and Expectations

Six months after funding, the principal investigator is expected to submit an interim progress report (one page maximum) and a final report at project completion. The report will discuss findings to date and anticipated follow up work after expiration of the grant.

For the full RFA, click here.