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Pilot Grant RFA

Not currently accepting applications


2024 RFA Overview Heading link

The Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) announces the availability of pilot grant funding for research project development. These pilot grant awards will be for one-year, up to $30,000, with funding starting June 1st, 2024.

The goals of the CCTS Pilot Grant Program are:

  • To foster outstanding new clinical and translational research at UIC that supports research development to address urgent questions or to develop 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 and campus to develop collaborations or new research avenues;
  • To promote interactions between basic, clinical, community, and social scientists;
  • To support research collaborations with community partners and organizations; and
  • To advance health equity through research.

The expectation at the end of the 12-month grant cycle is that awardees will have generated preliminary data, or data that helps respond to prior submitted proposal critiques, that will be used in an external (e.g., NIH) grant proposal. The Pilot Grant Program submission needs to include concrete proposal submission plans (including dates) and publication plans.

This pilot grant opportunity 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.

We anticipate funding 6 proposals. The PI and other key personnel will be expected to also participate in CCTS Research in Progress sessions, with the expectation for each funded team to present at least once over the course of the funding year. Awardees will also be encouraged to make use of other CCTS services (

We will consider a range of potential research ideas across the full translational spectrum. 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

Priority Areas Heading link

Although applications are welcome in the broad domains of clinical translational research, we are especially interested in applications covering the following priority areas for 2024 funding:

  • 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
  • Projects that have a lifespan, critical period perspective

Review Criteria Heading link

  • Significance – How will this project contribute to research addressing health disparities? What is the importance of the proposed intervention/evidence-based practice?
  • Approach and Feasibility – How well thought-out is the strategy, approach, methodology, milestones, and feasibility of conducting the study within one year time frame?
  • Investigators – What is the need of the PI and research team for this year of support to formulate an NIH-level research proposal?  Does the team have the appropriate qualifications (expertise) to conduct the proposed research and apply for a subsequent larger grant?
  • Partners or Collaboration – What collaborative groups or partners are involved; is this multidisciplinary?
  • Environment – How does the proposed research align with the UIC or local community missions and environments? What existing studies, data sources, or other resources are leveraged?
  • Future Potential: Proposed outcomes and plans for grants submission and publications.

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.

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: 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, develops new areas of research, and/or prepares for future grant submissions. The review committee will review and score these; a selected group will then be invited to submit for Phase 2.
  • PHASE 2: Full Application to be submitted only by those invited from Phase 1. The full application includes a lay summary, research plan, milestones, biosketch, budget, letter of support, and additional documents.

For the full list of requirements, please view the application instructions above.

Questions? Heading link

Contact Mary Campbell, Pilot Program Coordinator, Center for Clinical and Translational Science, at