Pilot Studies Program

The overall goal of the Pilot Studies Program is to provide seed funding for highly innovative translational and clinical research that addresses translational research questions, and provides insights generalizable to other projects.Translational and clinical research that moves new discoveries along the translational continuum to humans and the community is strongly encouraged. Clinical and community based research, practice-based research, and health services research proposals are also encouraged. Priority will be given to multidisciplinary research teams, and to proposals with a substantial component of or impact on population health. Click here to view information about past awardees and their projects.The Pilot Program currently offers four different categories of funding. To apply for any category of award, please scroll down to the Request for Applications below.

Investigator-initiated Pilot Studies for Faculty

The primary goal of support provided in the Faculty category is to provide the groundwork for faculty to obtain subsequent funding. In addition, there is an expectation that the support provided by the CTSI will result in academic productivity in publication of the research. A maximum of $50,000 will be awarded for a period of one year.

Investigator-initiated Pilot Studies for Trainees

The primary goal of support provided in the Trainee category is for the trainee to obtain the most prestigious fellowship possible following the award, and subsequently to become an independent investigator. The latter is a longer-term goal that strengthens and complements the strategic goals of the University and Medical Center. A maximum of $25,000 will be awarded for a period of one year.

UNYTE Translational Research Network Grants

The primary goal of the UNYTE Translational Research Network award category is to stimulate new inter-institutional collaborations in health research. Investigators are encouraged to develop an innovative, team-based approach to a problem in health research that reflects the particular strengths of UNYTE members and their institutions. Learn more about the UNYTE Translational Research Network here. A maximum of $50,000 will be awarded for a period of one year.

Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods Awards

The primary goal of the Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods award category is to stimulate the development of novel biostatistical and epidemiologic methods that help overcome specifically identified limitations and significantly enhance the validity and accuracy, scope or speed of clinical or translational research. A maximum of $35,000 will be awarded for a 1 year period. Strong proposals spanning two years will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Important Dates

  • December 7, 2015 at 5 p.m. - Initial abstracts of proposals must be received. Please note that the submission system will reject proposals submitted after 5 p.m.
  • January 15, 2016 - Applicants will be notified if they are invited to submit full proposals.
  • March 7, 2016 - Full proposals will be due.
  • April 15, 2016 - Notfications of award will be made for Faculty, Trainee, and UNYTE categories.
  • May 16, 2016 - Notifications of award will be made for the Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods category.
  • July 1, 2016 - The anticipated start date.

Request for Applications

Eligible Clinical Trials

The NIH institute funding the CTSI (the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, or NCATS), can only provide direct support for clinical trials through the end of Phase IIA; therefore Phase IIB clinical trials or those of subsequent phases are not eligible for the CTSI pilot project program.  NCATS defines Phase II clinical trials as those that are designed to test drugs for efficacy (or effectiveness) and side effects in a limited number of patients. Phase IIA trials provide data for exposure-response in patients, while Phase IIB trials provide data for dose-ranging in patients.

Review Priorities

Priorities for awarding pilot funding are listed below. Multidisciplinary research will be given priority.

  • Faculty Category - Proposals with the best potential to receive subsequent R01 or other grant funding will receive the highest priority for funding.
  • Trainee Category - Proposals that are the most likely to be competitive for subsequent funding through the NIH’s Fellowship or K mechanism will receive the highest priority for funding.
  • UNYTE Category - In addition to review priorities for the Faculty Category, proposals that involve substantive and collaborative participation of faculty and facilities from the UR and at least one other UNYTE member institution will receive the highest priority for funding.
  • Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods Category -Review priorities are: (1) quality of the proposed science; (2) potential impact on clinical and translational science, including how the proposed methodology will help to solve a real issue in an important area; and (3) potential to lead to or facilitate new funding.  A less important, but possibly relevant priority is (4) interdisciplinary collaboration between investigators and trainees in different disciplines, to foster cross-bridging training and interaction.

Review Process

The one-page abstracts in the Faculty, Trainee, and UNYTE categories are reviewed and scored by the CTSI review committee, a faculty committee. After a face-to-face review meeting, approximately 1/4 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 CTSI review committee and other selected ad hoc experts which subject the proposals to rigorous scientific review. Following the review process and a formal study section-style discussion and scoring meeting, funding recommendations are made to the CTSI Operations Committee for funding of the most meritorious projects.

The Novel Biostatistical and Epidemiologic Methods one-page abstracts are subjected to a preliminary review followed by a recommendation of which proposals should be solicited for full proposals.  The full proposals are then reviewed by researchers associated with another CTSA through a “swap” program, and funding recommendations are made to the CTSI Operations Committee for funding of the most meritorious 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.