Clinical & Translational Pilot Awards

Pilot investigator with subject

The overall goal of the Clinical and Translational Pilot Awards Program is to provide research support for preliminary and proof-of-concept studies critical to moving basic laboratory findings into clinical applications. High priorities of the program are to facilitate development of enabling technologies, new therapeutic, diagnostic, or outcomes assessment approaches, and novel cross-disciplinary collaborative programs. Pilot funding will be targeted at research proposals which demonstrate ability to be catalytic in terms of generating new programs, directions, and funding for clinically applied research and methodologies.

The Pilot Program will utilize a number of funding mechanisms to ensure flexibility in the ability to take advantage of new funding opportunities:

  • Faculty Awards ($50,000, 12 months) – This program will provide funding for faculty members to obtain new skills, develop technologies, generate critical preliminary clinical data, test new collaborative approaches, and create new outcome assessments and biomedical informatics advances.
  • Trainee Awards ($25,000, 12 months) – These awards are similar in focus to the Faculty Awards, described above.
  • UNYTE Translational Research Network Awards ($50,000, 12 months) – UNYTE pilot awards facilitate collaboration within the CTSI-sponsored UNYTE Translational Research Network, which brings together research institutions in and around Upstate New York to share research resources and promote collaborative research. UNYTE grant proposals must feature a collaboration between a University of Rochester principal investigator and a co-principal investigator from at least one other member of UNYTE. Read more about UNYTE and its member institutions.
  • Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods Awards ($35,000, 1 to 2 years) – The goal of this category of awards is to stimulate the development of novel biostatistical and epidemiologic methods to help overcome specifically identified limitations that will significantly enhance the validity, accuracy, scope or speed of translational research. Abstracts for this award are due on September 15, 2014.

Click here to view past Pilot and Collaborative Studies Awardees.

Click here to view the current RFA. Abstracts are due on September 2, 1014. All applications require a signed attestation from the PI that the project is not funded through another mechanism. Click here for a template for the PI attestation.

If you have trouble accessing the submission system using the link in the RFA, please click here to apply.

Eligible Research
The NIH institute funding the CTSI (the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, or NCATS), can only support clinical trials through Phase 2a; therefore projects that involve Phase 2b clinical trials or higher are not eligible for the CTSI pilot project program. 

Review Priorities
Priorities for awarding pilot funding include: (1) generation of critical preliminary data for new clinical/translational grant applications; (2) stimulation of novel interdisciplinary interactions within the institution, the local community or with other institutions; (3) proof-of-concept studies for novel techniques or enabling technologies, diagnostic or treatment methods; (4) generation of compelling preliminary data for non-hypothesis driven research proposal applications; (5) generation of critical data essential for pivotal clinical trials; (6) new methodologies in clinical trial design, biostatistics, and bioinformatics; (7) new approaches to ethics in clinical research, or innovations in approaches to compliance and interaction with regulatory pathways; 8) projects which can take advantage of the community research infrastructure supported by the Center for Community Health or make use of  the Greater Rochester Practice-Based Research Network; (9) proposals that may result in new intellectual property with significant clinical impact; (10) improvement of research data and information sharing and dissemination within the local and broader research community, including information systems and web-based dissemination and access; (11) new clinical outcomes measurement methods and validation techniques; (12) interdisciplinary collaboration between investigators and trainees in different disciplines, to foster cross-bridging training and interaction; and (13) high impact health services or comparative-effectiveness research.

Review Process
In response to an annual RFA, applicants submit a 1-page abstract of the proposed pilot project. These are reviewed and scored by an 8-member standing faculty committee. After a face-to-face review meeting, approximately ¼ to 1/3 of the proposals are selected for solicitation of full proposals. Full proposals, which consist of 6-page grant applications in NIH format, are reviewed by the standing committee and ad hoc reviewers selected for their expertise in the scientific areas covered by the applications. The CTSI Operations Committee makes final decisions about funding.


NIH Funding Acknowledgement ** Important ** All publications resulting from the utilization of CTSI resources are required to credit the CTSI grant by including the NIH FUNDING ACKNOWLEDGEMENT and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.