Annual Pilot Award Program

Pilot Coordinator

Billie Kyriakides, Assistant Director

Available Funds

The Clinical and Translational Annual Pilot Award Program is funded through the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, which defines translation as “the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public — from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes.” The program is a component of the UL1 TR002548-02 Clinical and Translational Science Awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

  • Up to six grants will be awarded with budgets limited to $50,000 in direct costs.
  • Research proposed in the application must be accomplished by April 30, 2020.
  • Carry-over of funds is not allowed.

The Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC), in its new pilot program for this cycle of the CTSC renewal, is committed to supporting technologies and methodologies with the potential to impact human health. As such, Annual Pilots will be prioritized for projects that have the potential for moving ideas and/or technologies towards patients (or to a later stage of translation), including innovative research methodologies and novel devices, diagnostics, or therapeutics, in all disciplines of biomedical research. As such, these applications are more akin to familiar funding competitions such as the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership, the Taipei Medical University Innovation program, or Ohio Third Frontier funding mechanisms than has been the case in the past.

It is expected that pilot awards will lead to publications in a peer-reviewed journal and the submission of high-quality applications competitive for funding by NIH, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the Department of Defense, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and/or national or local foundations or other peer-review based funding agencies.

Eligibility and Criteria for Review

The PI is required to be a CWRU full-time faculty member (or the equivalent) from CWRU, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals, or Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and eligible to be a PI for a NIH grant.

Scholars currently enrolled in the KL2 Clinical Scholar Program are also eligible and encouraged to apply. Applications from individuals of under-represented minorities are highly encouraged. Applicants should design studies that meet some of all of the following criteria:

  • Multidisciplinary; connecting basic and clinical science in a team based approach
  • Potential to address critical questions about the method or technology in a relatively short span of time
  • Sound hypothesis, research methodology and statistical considerations
  • Good track record in research or innovation for the applicant and/or the co-investigator(s)
  • Likelihood of leading to future independent funding and scientific publication
  • Integration or impact of community engagement principles into protocol design

Budget Considerations

Case Western Reserve University will serve as the fiscal entity through which CTSC and CTSC/CCTRP funds will be distributed and administered. The amount of the pilot award will be dependent on the scope and type of the project. Awards may involve the incorporation of novel methodologies for translational studies and use of CTSC resources. Awardees are encouraged to supplement awards with additional private and institutional funds.

Maximum of $5,000 in salary support for each investigator (must be at least two interdisciplinary investigators). Budget must be well justified. No funds will be provided for secretarial personnel, office equipment and supplies, computers, tuition, travel, purchasing and binding of periodicals and books, dues and membership fees in scientific societies, honoraria and travel expenses for visiting lecturers, recruiting and relocation expenses, office and laboratory furniture, rental of office or laboratory space, per diem charges for hospital beds, non-medical or personnel services to patients, construction or building maintenance, or major alterations.

Number of PIs

Only one investigator can be named as PI. Additional collaborating investigators will be named as co- investigators. Co-PIs are not permitted.

An investigator may be listed as PI or Co-investigator on any number of applications. However, an applicant may only receive one Award as Principal Investigator or co-investigator. If awarded an Annual Pilot, you are ineligible to receive another Annual Pilot for at least two years.

New Investigators

Proposals from new investigators are strongly encouraged. For the purpose of this RFA, a new investigator is defined as a faculty member or equivalent who is not tenured and who has not been a faculty member at Case or any other institutions for more than six years in aggregate. The review panel can assign extra weight to a proposal from a new investigator to enhance opportunity for funding.

Inclusion of Co-Investigators

Applicant should consider including co-investigators from different schools or colleges or institutions. If the co- investigators are from the same school, college or institution, they must be from different departments and justification made in the application that the project is indeed interdisciplinary and new. In addition, the proposal must clearly present the intellectual contribution by each investigator. A project where one of the investigators is simply providing access (to data, specimens, or patients) is less acceptable than one where there is knowledge or skill sets that enhance the research.

Utilization of Core Facilities 

If a CTSC Core is utilized, detailed documented consultation from the specific CTSC Core director or his/her designee for that CTSC Core is required. Justification for use of the CTSC core(s) must be included in the LOI. More than one proposal per faculty member serving as a co-investigator may be submitted; however, a faculty member is only eligible to receive one award as a co-investigator.

Change of Institutions/Transfers

Recipients may not transfer these awards to another institution or to another individual. Reallocations in the approved budget require prior written approval before expenditure. Awardees are required to give 90 days’ notice of any change in Institution, and funds will be prorated when an applicant leaves the Institution within any funding year.

Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative and Case Coulter Translational Research Partnership Funding

The CTSC and CCTRP will provide joint funding to faculty for Annual Pilot Projects that will lead to efficient use of resources and support of inter-institutional, clinical translational research in the City of Cleveland. CTSC/CCTRP projects are expected to have a Biomedical Engineering faculty member as a Co-Investigator. If you have questions about the CCTRP funding, please contact our office.

Application Submission Process

Investigators interested in submitting applications to the Annual Pilot Program must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the CTSC Scientific Review Committee (SRC). The SRC will review all LOIs to determine if the proposed research aligns with the aims of the Annual Pilot Grant Program. Investigators submitting a proposal appropriate to the goals of the Annual Pilot Grant Program will be invited to submit a full application.

The LOI is a short summary of the proposal (one page maximum) that must include the following:

  • Title
  • Project site(s)
  • Names/affiliations of PI, Co-Investigators and collaborators
  • A brief overview of the project and how the award funds would be utilized and distributed.
    • Scientific Question/Hypothesis of the study – This section should be about ¼ of a page and should describe the overall hypothesis and scientific question.
    • Innovation/Translation – This section should be about ¼ of a page and describe how your project is translational, what is taking it beyond basic research to the next level.
    • Feasibility – This section should be about ¼ of a page and describe the feasibility of your study. Can you accomplish your milestones in the time allowed with the funds provided and the resources available? If there are potential roadblocks or concerns with accomplishing your milestones, please address them in this section.
    • Project Milestones – This should describe the project plan in about ¼ page. For the scope of this project we suggest 2-3 milestones that can be achieved with the budget allowed (up to $50,000) and in the time frame selected (up to 1 year). Please include an estimate of how long each milestone will take, and why it is critical to the development of your technology.

Submit the LOI online through WebGrants. The submission deadline is 11:59pm on October 15th (or the first following Monday if October 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday)