Incubator Program

The Incubator Program supports “super-pilot projects,” two years in duration, that are intended to accelerate innovative scientific discovery in the life sciences and public health, leading to new independently-funded research programs. Each award is funded at a maximum level of $125,000 per year for each of two years. Faculty from all UR schools are eligible to apply.

New in 2013: The URMC Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) and the University of Rochester Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) have joined forces to solicit applications for the Incubator Program. While the SAC and CTSI awards differ somewhat in terms of program emphasis, the solicitation and review process will be coordinated to a significant extent. Two awards are anticipated: one funded institutionally through the SAC, and the other funded principally through the CTSI’s NIH grant.

CTSI Program Emphasis

CTSI Incubator projects may be thought of as “program project” pilot studies. Like traditional program project grants, CTSI Incubator projects will consist of two or more individual pilot projects, led by collaborating investigators and linked by a scientific or clinical theme. The goal of the program is to identify research collaborations at the institution with tremendous potential to catalyze breakthrough treatments, diagnostic techniques, or quantum leaps in community health, accelerating scientific progress and leading to programmatic levels of extramural funding. A CTSI project officer will link funded investigators to CTSI and other resources throughout the duration of the research project.

SAC Program Emphasis

SAC Incubator projects will foster the establishment of extramurally-funded, nationally-recognized centers of excellence in biomedical research with the potential to generate new strategic directions for the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the University.  Funded projects will be innovative, multi-investigator projects with the potential to give new life to the overall scientific portfolio of the UR and keep the institution in the forefront of today’s fast-paced and competitive scientific landscape. Each SAC Incubator proposal must involve a team of 3 or more co-principal investigators. A multi-PI leadership plan is required.

Solicitation and Review Process

Phase 1: Applicants submit two-page abstracts summarizing their proposals. The SAC, the CTSI Incubator Coordinating Committee and other selected experts will evaluate, score and discuss all preliminary applications.

Phase 2: Applicants with the most meritorious proposals will be invited for an in-person, oral presentation to the combined committees.

Phase 3: A subset of applicants will be invited to submit full proposals to either the SAC Incubator Program or the CTSI Incubator Program. Full applications invited for SAC Incubator awards will be reviewed by the SAC and ad hoc reviewers. Following the review process and a formal study section-style discussion and scoring meeting, the SAC will choose the most meritorious program for funding. Applicants invited to submit full applications for CTSI Incubator awards will be invited to work with selected experts from the CTSI to determine how CTSI and other resources can be best deployed to advance the proposed projects. The CTSI Coordination Committee and ad hoc experts will engage in a formal study section-style discussion and scoring meeting, and funding recommendations will go to the CTSI Executive Committee for final approval.

Important Dates

  • October 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM – Initial abstracts of proposals must be received.  Please note that the submission system will reject proposals submitted after 5:00 PM. 
  • Mid-November - Applicants will be notified if they are invited to make oral presentations to the combined committees.
  • Mid-December - Oral presentations
  • Late December - Applicants will be notified if they are invited to submit full proposals.
  • February 24 at 5:00 PM - Final applications will be due.
  • April – Notification of award will be made.
  • July 1, 2014 – Anticipated project start date.  Note: All animal and human subject protocols must be approved prior to the start date.. No funds will be released until these approvals have been documented.

Click here to access the RFA

Click here to access the funding attestation template

Click here to view Incubator Program Awardees and Projects


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.