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Pilot and Collaborative Studies Program

  1. What's It All About?
  2. Who Is Responsible?
  3. Pilot Awards
  4. How Do I Apply?

Funding Opportunities for Pilot and Collaborative Studies

The Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science (GHUCCTS) is pleased to announce the availability of support for pilot and collaborative studies. The mission of GHUCCTS and the national Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) programs includes promotion of interdisciplinary research that will translate basic findings into clinical applications and clinical research findings into community use in order to improve human health.

*Due to an increase in applicants, submissions will no longer be accepted on a rolling-basis. All applications must be submitted by May 1, 2014 to be considered for funding*  

GHUCCTS plans to support the following three types of pilot studies:

Note: The below-referenced funding mechanisms require a 50% cost-share with the applying institution. Applicants are encouraged to consult with their institution’s cost-share policies, procedures, and associated approval process prior to application submission.

Investigator Initiated Pilot Project (IIPP): This mechanism may be utilized by individual investigators who are establishing new directions for their research, including laboratory scientists aspiring to move their research findings into clinical applications. See requirements below for novice investigators. IIPPs selected for funding after internal GHUCCTS review will be awarded up to $25,000 for one year. Applications requesting more modest support (i.e. less than $25,000) for ancillary requests (e.g. laboratory processing, participant compensation, etc) are welcome and we will try to expedite quickly.

Interdisciplinary Collaborative Pilot Project (ICPP): ICPPs represent a fundamental investment of GHUCCTS resources into a targeted direction of clinical translational research. Projects may originate from an individual investigator or from groups of investigators, and will be extensively vetted within the GHUCCTS Steering Committee for relevance to the GHUCCTS missions. Participation of investigators from at least 2 of the 5 GHUCCTS participating institutions is required. This mechanism will be considered for high risk/high yield types of projects requesting higher levels of support to further develop a novel and highly promising initial observation. ICPPs selected for funding after internal GHUCCTS review will be awarded up to $100,000 for one year.

Ancillary studies to ICPPs: These studies (IIPP or ICPP) could involve the same cohort of individuals used in ICPPs for additional testing, laboratory-based measurement, and/or pilot evaluation of intervention strategies. In addition to scientific merit, these study proposals will be evaluated for logistic compatibility with the parent ICPP. We plan to fund approximately 4-5 IIPPs/ancillary studies and 2-3 ICPPs each budget year of the 5-year CTSA grant. Applications will be evaluated based on traditional criteria (e.g., significance, approach, etc.) as well as the following considerations:

  • Use of an interdisciplinary approach. Projects will be required to bring together investigators from basic and clinical sciences, clinical and population sciences, and/or with expertise from different clinical/translational sciences. The project per se may be interdisciplinary either in its conceptualization and/or application.
  • Inclusion of investigators/collaborators from multiple participating institutions. Meaningful engagement of investigators from multiple GHUCCTS institutions (Georgetown University, Howard University, MedStar Health Research Institute and MedStar Health, DC Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory) will be a major evaluation criterion. GHUCCTS leadership will be available for consultation or guidance of project development in terms of engagement of investigators with relevant interests and expertise.
  • Addressing a health-relevant problem with potential to impact quality of life, morbidity, mortality, and/or public health. Given the location and missions of GHUCCTS, pilot projects that address health disparities and/or problems specific to under-served and over-burdened populations (e.g., urban minorities, disabled veterans, elderly populations, etc.) will be given additional prioritization.
  • Promising direction for future extramural funding.
  • For experienced investigators, utilization of junior investigator/trainees; for junior investigators, adequate/appropriate mentoring and consultation.

Requirements for Applications Include:

  • A limit of seven (7) pages (single spaced, 11-point font, 0.5-inch margins) for description of Aims, Background and Significance, Supporting Preliminary Studies, Design and Methods, and Human Subjects considerations.
  • Current NIH biographic sketch for each investigator and mentor(s).
  • Budget and budgetary justification clearly identifying consortium budget details and total by using NIH budget pages (no more than two pages – salary support for PIs is not an allowable cost, but salary support for research personnel is allowable). Justification should include all identified investigators responsibilities toward achieving project aims.
  • Cover sheet with GHUCCTS resource checklist and sign off, and commentary from the applicant’s division chief and/or department chair supportive of the proposed pilot study and assuring that appropriate time and resources will be made available to successful applicants.
  • Cover letter on affiliated institution letterhead briefly describing your project proposal and the mechanism (IIPP or ICPP) to which you are applying for.

Requirements for novice investigators:

Applicant PIs must be faculty or post-doctoral trainees. Individuals whose rank is not above assistant professor and have never had formal research training or funding for research projects are required to submit a pre-application consisting of a document of no more than two pages that identifies:  1) the problem that they wish to address in developing their proposal;  2) preliminary aims;  3) planned methods of investigation; and,  4) already identified resources, including collaborators and mentors, as well as clinical recruitment sites, and participating laboratories. Novice investigators are required to submit a letter from their mentor/senior investigator addressing their commitment to the project and time and effort of proposed mentorship. A member of the Pilot & Collaborative Studies Program (PCSP) leadership group with relevant expertise will review such submissions, and provide consultation and/or referrals to the potential applicant for developing a full application or participation in a planned or ongoing project when appropriate (the pre-application review is available to other interested applicants, but is not required for those not meeting the above criteria.)

Additional information, including clarification about GHUCCTS resources available for pilot studies and questions about the preparation and submission of applications for pilot studies, can be obtained from the GHUCCTS Navigators:

  • Yejide Obisesan, HU CTSA Navigator (yejide.obisesan@howard.edu; Howard University Clinical Research Unit, 4-West Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20059)

Click HERE to Begin the Application Process


Conflict of Interest/Disclosure Form

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PI Assurance Form

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