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Research / Internal Funding / Research Innovation / Pilot Grant

Research Innovation/Pilot Grant Program

Applications Due: Monday, May 15, 2023 by 8AM.

No late applications will be accepted. The 8am deadline allows our faculty the opportunity to utilize the weekend if needed.

Background: The Research Innovation/Pilot Grant Program was established to assist College of Medicine faculty with generating preliminary data necessary to develop highly competitive NIH or other grant applications, or to take their research in a new direction. 

This program seeks to support the development of innovative studies with a high potential for future extramural funding, and is designed to enhance new or current faculty research programs. A research study is responsive to the RFA if it:

  • Uses innovative approaches or discoveries to address relevant problems in the field of medicine
  • Contributes critical experiments or data gathering to an existing research program that will enhance funding success;
  • Brings interdisciplinary expertise to initiate a new research direction for the PI.

Project priorities: A wide spectrum of projects can be considered relevant. Proposals can include basic, translational, epidemiological, outcomes, data analytics or clinical studies.  Priority will be given to those projects that carry the highest potential for a critical finding and are most likely to lead to successful application for extramural funding. Projects with well-developed concepts where additional data are required for proposal submission and/or where innovative ideas require additional testing are also responsive.

Funding pool: Funding for this program is derived from the Dean’s Office of Research, College of Medicine. It is anticipated that up to 4 awards not to exceed $30,000 each will be awarded.

Eligibility: Applications will be accepted from UC paid, full-time faculty members whose appointment is at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and where said faculty member will submit any resulting application for funding to an outside agency through UC’s Sponsored Research Services. Investigators from affiliated institutions, e.g. VAMC, CCHMC or Colleges may not be the principal investigator. Applicants who have received CoM Research Innovation/Pilot funds in the past will need to indicate how the funding contributed to their research program, e.g. resulted in an R21, R01.  

Collaborations: Collaborations among investigators spanning disciplines and programs are encouraged, including those between basic scientists and clinicians to foster the development of translational research projects.

IRB and IACUC: If applicable, applicants must have already submitted or have received IRB or IACUC approval. Applicants who have not yet submitted for IRB or IACUC approval are not eligible. These awards are intended to provide funding for a year and the lack of such approval can significantly delay the start of the proposed studies.

Overview of review process: The review of applications is performed in 2 phases: (1) Application/Scientific Review by a panel of peers and (2) Administrative Review. During the first phase, the 3-page applications will be reviewed by a committee of scientific reviewers at a review session, conducted in a manner similar to an NIH study section, where the proposal is presented then discussed for impact, feasibility, and responsiveness to the RFA. The applicant rankings and scores will be reviewed by CoM Office of Research which is the final decision authority. Some budget cuts may be made during this phase if necessary. Critiques will be provided to the applicants after awards are announced, upon request.

Supplemental items: Supplemental items cannot be submitted.

Submission of applications: Use NIH margins and font requirements. All applications must be submitted to the online portal: Applications received after the deadline will not be reviewed.

Composition of applications: 

  • Face page, budget, budget justification, NIH biosketch, current and pending internal and external funding (use required forms). Be sure to include a biosketch for PIs and all Co-Is. You must use this application package: CoM Research Innovation Application
  • Application to include specific project details with sufficient rationale and appropriate background/significance information. (limit to 3 pages)
    • New requirement: must include specific details of how pilot funding will be specifically used to support a future grant submission, including a hypothesis and Specific Aims for the targeted major grant.
    • Example: “We propose to use the innovative approach of XYZ to address the question of XYZ. We anticipate that this data will identify XYZ, and support our Aim 1 hypothesis of XYZ, for which we will propose a more in-depth study of XYZ”.
      • Literature cited (limit to 1 page, not included in the 3-page application page allocation)
    • Applicants who have received CoM Research Innovation/Pilot funds in the past should include a statement that outlines how previous funding has contributed to their research program, e.g., resulted in an R21, R01. (limit to 1 page)

    Funding restrictions: Funds may not be used to support faculty salaries, travel, meetings, or publication costs.

    Acceptance of this award: Recipients of College of Medicine Office of Research support are asked to assist the Office when requested (i.e. providing grant reviews, attending College of Medicine events, etc.). Recipients are expected to report metrics associated with the award, such as a funded grant or publication, when solicited by the Office of Research.

    Acceptance of this award requires that recipients utilize the College of Medicine Grant Pre-Review Program ( when submitting a grant relevant to this funding. Failure to comply may result in loss of these funds and affect future funding opportunities.

    For questions, please contact Brieanne Sheehan,  


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