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Pilot Grant RFA

The application portal is now open for projects invited to submit full proposals.

To submit an application, please visit:

AY 22-23 RFA Heading link


The goals of the CCTS Pilot Grant Program are:

  • to foster outstanding new clinical and translational research at UIC by supporting the development of preliminary data that can be used to launch new NIH or other externally-funded research proposals;
  • to encourage interdisciplinary teams of investigators that span across Colleges, campuses, and communities to develop collaborations or new research avenues;
  • to promote interactions between basic, clinical, and community scientists; and
  • to support research collaborations with community partners and organizations.

This program focuses on clinical and translational research, and as such, all applications must involve human participants, facilitate human participant investigations, establish infrastructure related to human participant investigation, or concern disease mechanisms with clear, near-term implications for therapeutics or prevention. Pilot funding aims to support key aspects that will lead to a successful, extramurally funded research programs.

Pilot funding proposal ideas include but are not limited to:

  • proof of principle studies for new methodologies
  • feasibility studies for participant recruitment
  • measurement validation studies
  • pilot intervention studies to inform sample size and power estimation
  • establishment of collaborative community partnerships
  • development of new technologies to address a research problem
  • improvements in biomedical informatics architecture and/or delivery of services
  • new methods for structuring or analyzing data sets
  • development of research addressing child health

Please note: Pilot funds cannot be used for clinical trials.

Priority Areas Heading link

Priority Areas

Although applications are welcome in the broad domains of clinical translational research, we are especially interested in applications covering the following priority areas for 2023 funding:

  • Projects directly addressing rapid response research questions relevant to COVID-19 pandemic prevention/response/mitigation
  • Projects projects addressing studies related to Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), either understanding mechanisms of disease or interventions to reduce symptoms
  • Projects addressing clinical translational science; that is projects that focus on the process of turning research results into real-world applications to improve health
  • Innovations in chronic pain management, including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic approaches especially to reduce opioid use. (see NIH HEAL initiative)
  • Health disparities/health equity
  • Health issues related to homelessness
  • Innovative Implementation Science methods that promote the uptake of research findings into routine healthcare in clinical or policy contexts
  • Projects linking participant data to Chicago Health Atlas data and Healthy Chicago 2.0
  • Projects that leverages Healthy Chicago 2025 priorities
  • Studies on methods to improve the clinical translational research process
  • Projects using a community-based participatory research approach
  • Child health research

PI Eligibility Heading link

Principal Investigators must be clinical, research, or tenure track UIC faculty or Senior Scientists at UIC. Although adjunct faculty cannot serve as PIs, they may serve as named investigators, collaborators, or key personnel. Post-doctoral fellows may also serve as key personnel but cannot be PIs.

Award Amounts & Duration Heading link

Pilot grants are up to 2 years in duration ($30,000 each year, with second year funding contingent upon progress made during year 1) and focus specifically on activities such as conducting preliminary research to inform study design, demonstrate feasibility of research protocols, pilot test novel methodologies, or initiate and establish new interdisciplinary research.

Application Process Heading link

The grant application process is divided into two phases: the Letter of Intent and Full Application phases.Letters of intent are required and will be reviewed. Only applicants who have submitted a letter of intent and who are invited to apply for the full pilot or planning grant will be eligible. Applications will ONLY be accepted via electronic submission in the Awards system (

PHASE 1: Closed

Letter of intent submission. Applicants will be required to submit a summary of specific aims and scientific plan (up to 200 words) in addition to explaining how the proposed project extends collaborations or develops new areas of research for the investigator. The review committee will review and score these; a selected group will then be invited to submit for Phase 2.


Full Application to be submitted only by those invited from Phase 1. The full application includes a community impact statement, plans for external funding, research plan, biographical sketch, budget, letter of support from the PI’s Department Head, and additional documents.

Timelines Heading link

  • RFA Release date: Wednesday, June 15, 2022
  • LOIs due: Friday, July 15, 2022 by 5:00 PM CST
  • Invitations to full application:  Friday, September 2, 2022
  • Full Applications due: Friday, October 28, 2022 by 5:00 PM CST
  • Award Notification: Friday, December 9, 2022
  • Award Start Date: Monday, January 16, 2023

Questions Heading link

Mary Campbell

Pilot Program Coordinator
Center for Clinical and Translational Science