Practice-Based Research Micro Grant Program

PBRN Micro Grant Pre-Application

The PBRN Shared Resource (PBRNSR) Micro Grant Program seeks to improve patient care by fostering research ideas into translatable changes in medical practice. Proposals, including a new collaboration or developing translational research infrastructure, consistent with PBRNSR goals are preferred.

The ultimate goal of the PBRN Micro Grant program is to improve patient care in Northeast Ohio through facilitating research findings into changes in medical practice. Brief pilot study grant applications developed by community members and/or PBRN practices with the assistance of the PBRN Shared Resource, when needed, will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications will be submitted for preliminary review, upon which a meeting with the applicant and PBRN Shared Resource representative will be arranged to finalize the project. Finalized projects will then be submitted for peer review by the Community Micro Grant Review Committee consisting of members of the Community Partnership Committee, the PBRN Steering Committee, the CRU Steering Committee and CTSC researchers who are working with or have potential to develop collegial research relationships with community practices, organizations or groups.

Pilot studies will generally be funded for $2,500. Studies that involve collaboration among more than one PBRN, collaboration with a community agency or group or collaboration with a CTSC academic investigator may apply up to a maximum funding of $5,000. We anticipate that many projects will be able to be accomplished for less than the maximum, and encourage both applicants and reviewers to look for ways to maximize the yield of limited funds. Case Western Reserve University will serve as the fiscal entity through which monies will be distributed. The amount of the pilot award will be dependent on the scope and type of the project.


  • Practices currently in or willing to join CTSC-affiliated PBRNs or community organizations (existing or newly created) affiliated with the CTSC will be eligible to apply.
  • Proposals from new or inexperienced investigators are strongly encouraged.
  • One page pre-application (LINK) will be submitted online preliminary review.
  • Following pre-application submission, PBRN Shared Resource staff will contact the applicant to arrange a meeting to finalize the project proposal.
  • Final proposals will not exceed two pages and will include the following: 
    • Background
    • Description of the study hypothesis, design and expected results
    • Expected timeline and feasibility.
    • Relevance and benefit to translational research

Submitted projects will be peer reviewed by the Community Micro Grant Review Committee. Decisions will be delivered electronically (by email) within six weeks of the finalized project submission date.


Proposals that represent a new collaboration or that develop infrastructure for translational research consistent with the goals of the PBRN Shared Resource are preferred. A new collaboration is one where the investigators have never worked together on a research project before.


  • Grant period will be from June 1 of the funding year to May 31 of the following year.
  • Award requests may include:  Supplies, personnel, technical/ software, etc.
  • Carryover of funds require an extension request 60 days prior to the scheduled project completion date.
  • Publication Citation: The Cleveland Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) must receive acknowledgement on relevant publications. Please include the following text:

“This publication was made possible by the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Clinic CTSA Grant Number UL1 RR024989 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health and NIH roadmap for Medical Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of NCRR,NCATS or NIH.”

Review Process

Proposals will be peer reviewed. The reviewer(s) will take into consideration the following:

  1. Significance, originality, scientific merit and translational nature of the proposed project.
  2. Direct relevance to PBRN Shared Resource goals and operations.

Priority will be given to applications that:

  1. Involve both a PBRN and a community group or organization
  2. Develop new relationships between community practices or groups and academic investigators
  3. Generate new knowledge of community and practice relevance.

Reporting Guidelines

Grantees are required to submit an interim report at six month intervals and a final report at the completion of the award summarizing major activities and research findings. They will also be required to provide information on the funding status of the research initiated with this grant as well as related publications in each of the succeeding four years—when applicable. Presentation of the findings may take place at a PBRN Shared Resource retreats or at research gatherings.

Pilot Project Examples

  • Prior to the Micro Grant Program, the PBRN Shared Resource assisted a PBRN member interested in understanding the epidemiology of infections in families in his practice to seek external funding of less than $1,000 to hire his office nurse to conduct after-hours telephone follow-up with patients. This resulted in a publication with important implications for reducing antibiotic overuse. This physician is interested in conducting another study of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus in his and other network practices.
  • An organization is developing a needs assessment to learn what programs they should add to their case management services for newly diagnosed kidney failure patients. The assessment would involve interviewing new dialysis patients to try to pinpoint what they feel they could have used in terms of education and support prior to being placed on dialysis. In addition, primary care and renal physicians who would be able to identify eligible patients would need to be identified. Such a pilot project would be eligible for higher levels of support because it engages both a PBRN and a community organization.
  • The Department of Community Dentistry at Case Western Reserve University has been involved in educating urban and inner-ring suburban children in Cleveland about dental care, including a dental sealant program and a study on xylitol and its effects on preventing tooth decay. The programs have been successful in the schools, but the administrators have found that parental follow up is a problem. One investigator has approached the CTSC Community Engagement Core to talk about setting up parental focus groups to talk about the problems they have in accessing dental care in their neighborhoods.