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2023 Pilot Grant RFA

Applications due July 31, 2023

Please visit the CCTS Awards System to apply.*

*Please note, the application cycle is currently under construction and will be open for applications in June 2023.  However, we invite you to submit your email address on the CCTS Awards System to be notified when applications are open.


RFA Overview: Implementation Research Development Grant Heading link

The Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) announces the availability of pilot grant funding for research project development that incorporates implementation research to address health disparities. These pilot grant awards will be for one-year, up to $30,000, with funding starting in October 2023.

Implementation research seeks to understand the behavior of practitioners and staff, organizations, consumers and family members, and policymakers in context as key influences on the adoption, implementation, and sustainability of evidence-based health interventions.
Implementation science is defined as the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care. [Eccles MP, Mittman BS. Welcome to implementation science. Implement Sci. 2006;1:1.]

The goals of the CCTS Implementation Research Development Pilot Grant Program are:

  • To foster outstanding new clinical and translational research at UIC that supports research development incorporating implementation science 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 an NIH-level grant proposal using implementation science that is ready for submission or that has already been submitted with these pilot funds providing additional preliminary studies or data in response to prior critiques.

This pilot grant opportunity will support studies that will identify, develop, and/or test strategies for overcoming barriers to the adoption, adaptation, integration, scale-up, and sustainability of evidence-based interventions, practices, programs, tools, treatments, guidelines, and policies. Studies that promote equitable dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions among underrepresented communities are encouraged. There is also a benefit in understanding circumstances that create a need to stop or reduce (“de-implement”) the use of practices that are ineffective, unproven, low-value, or harmful.

We anticipate funding 6 proposals. The PI and other key personnel will be expected to also participate in monthly Research in Progress sessions, with the expectation for each funded team to present twice 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. We expect most of the work proposed will be formative. Potential research foci include:

  • Formative work leading to the development of a testable implementation research logic model
  • Focus groups or key informant interviews to guide implementation planning
  • Adaptation work to prepare an intervention for testing in a new or different population or environment
  • Adaptation work and pilot testing to prepare for data collection in a new or different population or environment
  • Testing of delivery mechanisms to enhance patient adherence or tolerability of treatment regimens (a patient-centric focus is encouraged)
  • Acceptability and feasibility testing of telehealth. mHealth, and alternative clinical care formats
    Please note: Pilot funds cannot be used for clinical trials.

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?
  • Feasibility – How well thought-out is the strategy, approach, methodology, 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?  And qualifications to conduct (expertise)
  • Partners – What are the existing partners or what is the need for partner development to support the proposed research?
  • Intervention/evidence-based practice – What is the strength of evidence supporting the intervention/evidence-based practice? What are the reasons for the proposed modifications or changes under investigation?
  • 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 leverages?
  • Proposed outcomes and plans for grants submission

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

This application has an accelerated application timeline. Unlike the standard pilot program cycle, there is no Letter of Intent phase. Applications will ONLY be accepted via electronic submission in the Awards system (

  • RFA Release date: Monday, May 1, 2023
  • Applications due: Monday, July 31, 2023 by 5:00 PM CST
  • Award Notification: Friday, September 15, 2023
  • Award Start Date: Monday, October 16, 2023

Grant applications must include several fields and uploads such as:

  • Lay summary
  • Research plan including specific aims, significance and implication of results, and research strategy
  • Milestones including plans for future grant submissions and publications
  • References
  • Biosketches of all key personnel
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Appendices which are limited to letters of support (e.g. from clinical sites or community collaborators)

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