Pilot & Seed Grants

Many of the PSOM's centers and institutes sponsor pilot and seed grant programs. Each of these programs has different deadlines and these vary from year to year. Contact the individuals listed below for current information:

Cardiovascular Institute (CVI)

Periodically, generally in preparation for multi-disciplinary awards (PO-1's, SCCORs, Roadmap initiatives), the Penn CVI leadership will issue Request for Proposals (RFPs) in order to generate strategically targeted preliminary studies required prior to, or in preparation for, an institutional application or award.

Any Penn faculty member working in the strategically-targeted area, or a closely related area, is encouraged to apply for this funding. These funds are not restricted to investigators with a track record of cardiovascular investigation. Applications from research scientists who have not historically focused their studies in cardiovascular science are encouraged to apply for funding.

The amount of available funding will vary depending upon the RFP, but generally range from $25,000 per year to $200,000 per year. The application process has been streamlined to encourage faculty members to apply for funding.

For more information, please visit the Penn CVI Business Office.

The Penn Center for AIDS Research

The Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) Pilot Grant Program

Application Deadline:  Monday, March 28, 2016

The Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) invites Pilot Grant applications offered through its Developmental Core.  Proposals in HIV/AIDS clinical care, pathogenesis, virology, immunology, structural biology, vaccine development, epidemiology, or prevention research are considered relevant to the goals of the CFAR. The CFAR is especially interested in proposals that bridge programmatic areas and, in particular, (a) projects that link clinical, basic and behavioral scientists, and (b) investigators outside the HIV/AIDS field turning their focus to relevant projects linked with CFAR HIV/AIDS investigators. Note that per NIH guidelines, Clinical Trials cannot be supported through this funding mechanism.

All HIV/AIDS topics are welcome, and proposals are especially encouraged that address our high priority Scientific Working Group areas:

  • HIV and Viral Hepatitis co-infection (with a broad focus spanning basic, clinical, behavioral)
  • HIV and Substance Use (with a focus on HIV biological or biobehavioral outcomes)
  • Strategies targeting HIV Eradication, HIV Reservoirs and Residual Inflammation

Other areas of high priority include:

  • AIDS-associated malignancies (basic to clinical, should involve some HIV-linked aspect of study)
  • Inflammation, metabolic complications, and comorbidities of HIV infection
  • Application of novel engineering and other technologies to critical problems in HIV diagnostics or monitoring, understanding of pathogenesis, or other areas.

Amount:  We offer awards up to $40,000 for each grant. Grants are for a one-year period and are not renewable.  It is expected that funds will be available in August 2016. 

Pre-Submission Pilot Workshop:   

A Pre-Application Workshop will be offered to help with the preparation of pilot grant applications.  This is especially valuable for (a) junior investigators to help them craft a stronger research proposal and (b) all investigators to gain more information about the research services and resources provided through Penn CFAR Shared Resource Cores. For further information on the workshop or mentoring plans, contact Kate Musselman, musselmk@mail.med.upenn.edu.

The Pre-Submission Pilot Workshop will take place on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 2:00 - 4:00 PM in 1413 BRB.                                              

Please see the complete guidelines for the Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) Pilot Grant Program.

Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Safety (CHIPS)

CHIPS supports comparative effectiveness research and research designed to reduce human and system errors and thereby improve the outcomes for patients in hospital and ambulatory care settings.

In an effort to stimulate quality improvement and patient safety research within the Penn community, the Center offers grants of up to $10,000 to new investigators to conduct pilot studies in preparation for larger research projects. The awards provide new investigators with funds to obtain preliminary data regarding feasibility and methodology, effect sizes and findings relating to new research ideas relevant to healthcare quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. Eligible pilot projects should be designed to collect sufficient preliminary data to enable the investigator to prepare a hypothesis-based proposal for future research funding.

To apply for pilot grant funding, please complete the CHIPS pilot grant application form and return it via email to crosset2@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases

Application Deadline:  Monday, May 16, 2016

The purpose of the Center is to unite investigators with interests in digestive and liver physiology and disease and to stimulate others in the biomedical community to enter this area of research. One of the most important aspects of this effort is the funding of Pilot/Feasibility Projects.

The Pilot/Feasibility Project should be related to the focus of the Center, which encompasses molecular studies on the biology or disease of the alimentary tract, pancreas, and liver. Relevant investigations include those in developmental biology, nutrition, regulation of gene expression, growth, differentiation and carcinogensis, the biology of stem cells, molecular genetics, gene therapy, and immunology, including growth factors and cytokines.


All faculty members of the University scientific community who meet the eligibility requirements below are invited to submit proposals. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have permanent visas.

  • New investigators who have never held extramural support
    (R01, P01).
  • Established investigators in other areas of biomedical research who wish to apply their expertise to a problem in digestive and liver disease.
  • Established digestive and liver investigators who wish to study an area that represents a significant departure from currently funded work.

Pilot project awardees are eligible for two years of funding; renewals are evaluated competitively.

The Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI) and the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)

The Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI) and the Community Engagement and Research (CEAR) core of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Pilot Grant Program

Application Deadline: May 6, 2016 by 5:00 pm.

The Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI) and the Community Engagement and Research (CEAR) core of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) at the University of Pennsylvania are collaborating on a pilot grant program to fund research with public and community health relevance. 

This call for proposals is open to faculty with significant public and community health-related experience at Penn and is intended to:

  • Foster interdisciplinary research in public health at Penn that will have meaningful results at the community level.
  • Assist in garnering external support for large-scale studies in the field of public health.
  • Encourage additional faculty and staff at Penn to become involved in public health research.
  • Identify innovative methodologies in the field of public health that have the potential of informing local, state and national policy and programming.

Applications are due May 6, 2016 by 5:00pm.  Awarded grants will be in the range of $2,000 to $20,000.

All applications should be submitted electronically to Sarah Green (shgreen@upenn.edu).  Please see the call for proposals for complete details. 

The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) and the LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE)


Application Due Date:  March 16, 2016

The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) and the LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) invites proposals from ITMAT Members and ITMAT Associate Members in the Research Associate or Instructor A category.  It is not too late to become a Member or an Associate Member if you would like to apply for the grant and meet membership criterion.  If you are interested, please visit the membership section of our website (http://www.itmat.upenn.edu/membership.shtml) for details.

The proposal must center on novel approaches to testing and delivering interventions for people at high risk for poor health outcomes. We are seeking pilot projects that utilize wireless technologies (e.g. wearable devices, wireless pill bottles, weight scales, etc.)  with engagement strategies from fields like behavioral economics to translate ideas into practice in ‘real world’ settings.  We are particularly interested in projects that utilize these technologies to help us better understand variability of response to therapeutics and susceptibility to disease. Proposals must utilize the Way to Health platform.

Please click here to view the complete TAPITMAT-CHIBE Pilot Grant guidelines.

Please visit our website at http://www.itmat.upenn.edu/funding.shtml for detailed instructions.

Please contact Lisa Wesby at wesby@mail.med.upenn.edu to schedule a meeting to discuss your research project and to obtain information about the Way to Health platform.

Application or Funding Questions

For programmatic or budget questions please contact Joelle Friedman, Associate Director of the LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), at joellef@mail.med.upenn.edu

For technical questions related to completing the online application please contact Jessica Bickhart, bickhart@exchange.upenn.edu or Jason Molli, molli@exchange.upenn.edu

Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program

Application Due Date: February 29, 2016

The Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders is once again accepting applications for its Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program. Submissions should be related to musculoskeletal tissue injury and repair which is the broad focus of the Center and Grants are only eligible for Full Members (if you are not a member but would like to become one, please visit: www.med.upenn.edu/pcmd/memberinfo.shtml for instructions on joining).

Pilot grants will be due on February 29, 2016 with a planned start date of July 1, 2016 and we are expecting to award 3 new grants in this round. Potential applicants are encouraged to send Lou Soslowsky a short e-mail, with your name, a rough title of your proposed project, a sentence or two (at most) describing the global hypothesis or objective, and a note as to which of the 3 Research Cores (Biomechanics, Micro-CT Imaging, Histology) you would use (core use is required for pilot funding). Pleased send your e-mail asap, so that you can be advised and guided on the appropriateness of your application idea within the framework of the overall Center. For more information on our Cores and Center in general, please see our web site at www.med.upenn.edu/pcmd.

 Only Full Members are eligible. If you are not currently a member, please visit our website at www.med.upenn.edu/pcmd/memberinfo.shtml

Please see the complete guidelines for the Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program.

The completed application should be submitted as a single PDF file to pcmd@mail.med.upenn.edu by February 29, 2016 at 5pm. Please contact Lou Soslowsky at soslowsk@upenn.edu or 215-898-8653 with any questions or comments.

Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Pilot Program

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania (RWJF H&SSP at Penn) has set aside a Competitive Research and Education Fund to promote interdisciplinary research and education in population health at Penn. These funds will be used to help Penn faculty develop pilot projects which will attract external support for larger-scale studies, as well as new and innovative didactic material.

For additional information please contact:

Melissa Kulynych
Program Coordinator