Opportunities for Pilot Projects to Support Multi-Investigator Grants

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (Case CCC) will provide support to research teams that plan to submit large multi-investigator grant applications (usually non-R support mechanisms). For research teams that have an established track record of collaborative research, pilot project funding is available to support key research initiatives that are deemed necessary to generate competitive multi-investigator proposals. Requests for support are competitive and decisions regarding funding will require the research team to demonstrate the active engagement of team members in the proposed project, clearly articulate the significance and innovation of the project, and provide a roadmap for acquisition of external funding.

This RFA is open to all Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Members. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Award Description

Once a multi-investigator team has demonstrated a track record of meetings, research advances, and interactions with external advisors, the Cancer Center Leadership will consider requests for pilot project funding to elevate the competitiveness of a multi-investigator application (P or U grant level). Preferably, the leaders of the multi-investigator team will meet and discuss their projects and goals with their Program Leaders and the appropriate Cancer Center Associate Director (Basic, Clinical, or Translational Research). This meeting is encouraged and will serve as an advisory meeting that is meant to facilitate positioning of the application for successful support from the Case CCC. The team leaders may prepare a formal request for project support that includes a written proposal (see guidelines below) and a discussion with the Executive Committee.

If a project is approved for support from the Case CCC, the Executive Committee will work to identify appropriate funding sources which may include but are not limited to, Case CCC funds, Case CCC Philanthropy, Pilot project funding from the Seidman Cancer Center or Taussig Cancer Institute. Thus, it is imperative that the formal request includes information regarding all other institutional funding sources for the project. Prioritization of projects will be based on the strengths of the request for funding as well as donor intent, institutional priorities, and priorities described by the Case CCC programs and its strategic plan.

Recipients of pilot funds will be required to present their progress on the multi-investigator project at 6-month intervals following the initiation of Case CCC support.

Project awards will be in these categories:

  1. Support for administrative activities including meeting organization, travel for external advisor, travel to NIH to review planned submission. (up to $15,000 plus staff time)
  2. Research project support designed to facilitate multi-PI efforts for P grants – predominantly P01 and P50 applications. (Up to $150,000, renewable once with a progress report after review and impending submission)

Proposal Guidelines

Proposals should be as concise as possible. The entire proposal, not including biosketches, should not exceed 6 pages.

  1. Provide one (1) Specific Aims page for the overall project and the specific aims for each proposed research project. There is no need to duplicate the overall description (2-4 pages).

  2. Provide a one (1) page proposal for the pilot funding request that describes the project including the study design and studies to be performed
  3. Provide a timeline for federal grant submission.
  4. List all co-investigators for the proposal, including their roles on the project and home departments, and email. Also, submit biosketches for all project leaders with other support pages. It is not necessary to tailor the biosketch to this specific project.
  5. Summarize the team science efforts in terms of organizational and research meetings, use of advisors and contact with program officers to refine the projects, including formation of an IAB or EAB (.5 page).

Application Instructions

Prepare formal request for support (outlined above) and submit to John Pounardjian at casecccpilots@case.edu.

Review Criteria

  1. Does the proposed multi-investigator grant address an important question or critical need? Is it innovative?
  2. Are pilot funds necessary to complete key experiments for submitting a proposal to a funding agency?
  3. What is the quality of the multi-investigator team? Is the team fully functional? Have they worked together previously? What is the extent of their interactions? Is the proposal lacking any essential areas of expertise?
  4. Are the time-frame and proposed outcomes for the pilot reasonable?
  5. How responsive is the funding agency to this group/application? What is the potential for future funding?
  6. Is the team working to develop advisory boards?

Obligations of Awardees

  1. Timely submission of data and stewardship reports upon request from the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  2. Participation in meetings of the aligned program.
  3. Presentation of Progress in Cancer Center-sponsored symposia.


Contact casecccpilots@case.edu or John Pounardjian, 216.368.0846 with any questions.