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:  Friday, March 3rd, 2017

The Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) invites Pilot Grant applications offered through its Developmental Core.  Proposals in all areas of HIV/AIDS clinical, basic and behavioral research are encouraged. The CFAR is especially interested in proposals that bridge programmatic areas and, in particular projects that link clinical, basic and behavioral scientists, and 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.  Two types of award are available: Mentored Research Scholar Award, and a General Pilot Research Award, further described below.

All proposals must address medium to high priority areas in the NIH Priorities for HIV/AIDS research. (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-15-137.html)

We especially encourage proposals that address areas of particular interest such as:

  • HIV eradication and HIV reservoirs
  • HIV and disparities
  • HIV and liver disease (including hepatitis co-infection)
  • AIDS-associated malignancies (basic to clinical, must 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 July 2017. 

Application Deadline:  Friday, March 3rd, 2017


Please note that Post-docs and Fellows are not eligible for CFAR Mentored Research Scholar Awards or General Pilot Awards.

Mentored Research Scholar awards: Young Investigators (Non-Faculty)

Young investigators at the Instructor/Research Associate level who are poised to begin an independent project within a mentored environment are eligible, and should include a letter of support from their scientific mentor.

In addition to the above letters, a one-page mentorship plan is required.  Guidelines for the Mentorship Plan are available through the CFAR Web Site:  http://www.med.upenn.edu/cfar/developmental_mentorprogram.shtml

General Pilot Awards: Faculty members

Eligible applicants must have a faculty appointment equivalent to Assistant Professor or Staff Scientist and above in any track at a Penn CFAR institution.

For junior faculty applicants, a one-page mentorship plan with a senior faculty member is strongly encouraged; for non-HIV/AIDS investigators of any level, a partnership plan with an established HIV/AIDS investigator is also encouraged.

General Pilot Awards Eligibility

  • New investigators who never have held extramural R01-level support from the NIH
  • Investigators who have not previously been funded for work in HIV/AIDS
  • Investigators who have worked in HIV/AIDS who wish to study an area that is a significant departure from their currently funded work
  • New interdisciplinary collaborations involving investigators from different disciplines who have not previously worked together

International Applications:

  • All applications that include planned research activities at international sites outside the U.S. should be discussed with Dr. Pablo Tebas prior to preparation of the application. Pablo.Tebas@uphs.upenn.edu
  • Applications with research activities in Botswana must be reviewed and approved by Dr. Harvey Friedman before submission.  hfriedma@mail.med.upenn.edu

Application Deadline:  Friday, March 3rd , 2017

Cover page and instructions can be found at www.med.upenn.edu/cfar/DevPilot2017RFA.shtml

*Note that the application should include a brief section that describes how this pilot project will lead  to future independent funding. Awardees will be contacted 6 months after the completion of the funding period with the request for a written progress report.

For further information or questions please contact:

Pablo Tebas, M.D. — (Director, CFAR Developmental Core) — pablo.tebas@uphs.upenn.edu

Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., M.Sc., D.Phil. — (Co-Director, CFAR Developmental Core) — montaner@wistar.org

Kate Gordon — (Associate Director, Penn CFAR) — gordonk@mail.med.upenn.edu

Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE)

Roybal Pilot Program

Deadline: November 17, 2017 at 5pm.

The Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) invites proposals from affiliated faculty for pilot projects that translate ideas from behavioral economics into practice in ‘real world’ settings, specifically testing interventions that reach middle-aged and elderly Americans at high risk for premature morbidity and mortality.

The pilot program aims to: 1) give research opportunities to junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students in behavioral economics; 2) encourage interaction between affiliated researchers; 3) build collaborations with new partner organizations that have access to populations and potential willingness to translate results from the research studies into practice.

The Penn Roybal Center, with funding from the National Institute on Aging, distributes up to $100,000 in pilot funding. Each pilot project is funded one year, and receives between $2,500 and $20,000.  Priority is given to applications that are particularly innovative, meet some of the aims listed above, and which are seen as likely to lead to external peer reviewed funding.


A CHIBE affiliated faculty member must be the principal investigator in order for a proposal to be considered.  If the faculty member is not already affiliated with CHIBE, s/he must affiliate to be considered eligible to apply for pilot funding (this requires submission of a current CV, short description of your research for our CHIBE website, and a willingness to attend at least one annual Penn Roybal Center Retreat every two years).

Other Requirements

All successful grantees must submit IRB approval by March 28, 2018 in order to be approved by the NIA and considered for funding.  A one-page annual progress report must be submitted in March 2019 that includes a description of the project’s specific aims, significance, summary of the research conducted and results found to date, total enrollment, and future plans.  A member of the research team must present study findings at one of the annual Penn Roybal Center Retreats.  To receive funding you will need to have obtained IRB approval, if applicable, posted the project on ClinicalTrials.gov, if applicable, and the project summary and budget will need to be approved by the National Institute on Aging.

How to Apply

Please submit an electronic (.pdf) application using the application site (http://www.med.upenn.edu/apps/pgchibe) by November 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm EDT. See below for application content. Applications must be submitted using the application system. The application documents are embedded within this notice.

The application must include the following:

  • Abstract Page:  The abstract text should be no longer than 250 words.
  • Budget:  Please use the excel template budget page and provide detailed expenses.
  • Budget Justification:  Please provide a short justification for all personnel, supplies, and equipment that will be expensed to this project.
  • NIH Biosketch:  An NIH format biosketch must be submitted for the PI and the Co-PIs only.
  • Research Proposal:  The research proposal should be no longer than two single-spaced pages with one-inch margins and should include the essential background information relative to the project.  Please use Arial size 11 font.  Please indicate the importance of this funding to the feasibility of your research proposal and potential for future funding.  Please indicate if any other funds are available to you for the proposed research.  References should be attached to your research proposal and will not count toward your two-page limit. Please provide a timeline of implementation to ensure meeting the end date of May 31, 2019.

The deadline for submitting applications is November 17, 2017.  Awards will be announced by December 22, 2017.   Funding will begin June 1, 2018.  For additional information, please contact Joelle Friedman by email at joellef@pennmedicine.upenn.edu or by phone at 215-746-5873.

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 15, 2017

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

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.

Application due dates will be announced. 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).  

The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT)

The Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) maintains current grant funding opportunities on their own website, including a dedicated Pilot Grant Application System. For further details please visit http://www.itmat.upenn.edu/funding.html

For any technical questions please contact Lorri Schieri, schieril@upenn.edu.

Center for Human Phenomic Science (CHPS), formerly CTRC, Junior Investigator Preliminary/Feasibility Grant Program (JIPGP)

Applications due date: Friday, March 3, 2017, at 12pm.

The Center for Human Phenomic Science (CHPS) will soon be accepting research proposals to be considered for the Junior Investigator Preliminary/Feasibility Grant Program (JIPGP).

The primary goal of the Center for Human Phenomic Science (CHPS) Junior Investigator Preliminary/Feasibility Grant Program (JIPGP) is to encourage junior investigators to develop clinical research projects that will ultimately lead to competitive extramural funding and a career in Clinical Translational Research Center-focused clinical investigation.  The awards are designed to allow junior faculty members and M.D., Ph.D. or D.M.D post-doctoral trainees with appropriate mentors to obtain funds for pilot projects that are investigator-initiated, human-based, CHPS studies that will enable an applicant to obtain preliminary data.

The grants will be available at each institution effective June 1, 2017.

Award Dates:

  • Application Receipt Deadline: March 3, 2017 at NOON
  • Notification of Award: April 17, 2017
  • Funding Period: 6-1-17 to 5-31-18

JIPGP Guidelines and Submission Instructions 2017 (pdf)
Please see the attached full announcement for eligibility criteria, proposal instructions, documents (accessed by clicking on the paper clip) and additional details.


TAPITMAT/CHIBE Pilot Grant Program

In partnership with ITMAT, the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) is inviting proposals for Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) pilot projects addressing 1.) improvement of enrollment in clinical trials and 2.) improvement of health outcomes or health behavior through the use of connected health interventions.

Improving Enrollment in Clinical Trials:

Deadline: Friday November 3, 2017 at 12pm.

The concomitant problems of under‐enrollment and selective enrollment in randomized clinical trials (RCTs) often plague efforts to evaluate medical interventions. These problems often arise due to unexpected impediments to participant recruitment, which represents one of the largest costs of conducting RCTs. In recent decades, behavioral economics has provided considerable insights into how people make decisions, blending findings from economics and psychology to generate better descriptive and normative models of behavior. However, systematic efforts to apply behavioral economic approaches to improve patient enrollment in RCTs have rarely been attempted. Potential ways to address low enrollment in trials through behavioral economics include more effective information provision, different ways of presenting choices (choice architecture), and monetary or nonmonetary incentives. A taxonomy of such approaches can be found in: Van Epps EM, Volpp KG, Halpern SD. A nudge toward participation: Improving clinical trial enrollment with behavioral economics. Science Translational Medicine. This taxonomy is far from exhaustive, but rather highlights some possibilities among many for surmounting the public health threats of under enrollment and selective enrollment in clinical trials. However, achieving this goal requires experimental evaluations to determine which strategies are most effective, and which engender the fewest unintended consequences, such as undue or unjust inducement. The goal of this pilot program is to help investigators at UPENN develop more successful strategies to increase the efficiency of clinical trial enrollment across a range of different types of interventions.

The proposals are due by November 3, 2017 for a proposal start date of January 1, 2018.  LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED NOR WILL EXTENSIONS BE GRANTED.

For more information on guidelines and document submission for CTSA pilot programs, visit ITMAT’s website here. For programmatic or budget questions, please contact Joelle Friedman at joellef@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

TAPITMAT/CHIBE Pilot Grant Program

In partnership with ITMAT, the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) is inviting proposals for Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) pilot projects addressing 1.) improvement of enrollment in clinical trials and 2.) improvement of health outcomes or health behavior through the use of connected health interventions.

Connected Health and Population Health Improvement:

Deadline: Friday November 3, 2017 at 12pm.

The proposal must center on novel approaches to testing and delivering interventions to improve health outcomes or health behavior for people at high risk for poor health outcomes. The purpose of this RFA is to support research teams to do quick turnaround studies focused on improving the management of population-based health within Penn Medicine patients. These are designed to be relatively short-term projects to create a cycle for rapid learning and iterative improvement, with a planned intervention duration for each pilot of 3-6 months. This type of initiative is important to accelerating the rate of progress in preparing for the rapidly evolving shifts in health care financing towards health care systems taking on population risk, as existing governmental funding mechanisms typically have significant lag times between idea inception and funding. This type of academic work – in which promising approaches are tested in application to improving health among patients in our health system and communities – will help to rapidly develop evidence on how to efficiently manage population health that would be useful for both Penn Medicine and for the nation. We strongly encourage proposals to use the Way to Health platform.

The proposals are due by November 3, 2017 for a proposal start date of January 1, 2018.  LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED NOR WILL EXTENSIONS BE GRANTED.

For more information on guidelines and document submission for CTSA pilot programs, visit ITMAT’s website here. For programmatic or budget questions, please contact Joelle Friedman at joellef@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

MHB Maturational Human Biology Pilot Grant Program

 Proposal due date: May 23, 2016 at 12pm.

The proposals must be interdisciplinary and translation in nature and bridge the pediatric to adult divide. All proposals must have at least two Co-Principal Investigators, including at least one from the University of Pennsylvania and at least one from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The proposals are due May 23, 2016 at noon for a proposal start date of July 1, 2016.


Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) at CHOP/Penn New Program Development Award

New Program Development Award for the Institutional Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at CHOP/Penn

Application Due Date:  March 13, 2017

We are pleased to announce the availability of funding to support pilot projects relevant to elucidating the causes of and/or developing potential new therapies for intellectual or
developmental disabilities. These pilot projects may be basic, translational, or clinical research. The goals of this program are to help junior faculty integrate into the IDDRC and
to develop strong externally funded research programs in this area.

This program was previously supported as part of the Institutional Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center at CHOP/Penn with funding from the Eunice
Kennedy Shriver National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) when the Center was supported as a P30 mechanism (see attached list of prior awardees).
With the most recent competitive renewal, the mechanism switched to a U54 and the New Program Development was excluded from eligibility. Thankfully, Drs. Bryan Wolf and
Jonathan Epstein agreed to provide funding so that the program could be reinstated.

This year, we anticipate making 1 award of up to $50,000 per year for two years. The second year of support is contingent upon demonstration of adequate progress.
Applications will be reviewed by a subgroup of the IDDRC Steering Committee.

Eligibility Requirements:

1. Individuals must hold a faculty appointment as an Assistant Professor for less than four years from the date of appointment by July 1, 2017. Academic Clinicians are not
eligible for this award.

2. None of the funding can be used to support the salary of the Principal Investigator (support for salaries of technical staff and trainees is acceptable). K awardees are
encouraged to develop projects that are non-overlapping extensions of their funded K awards (the goal will be to subsume the effort required for the pilot project under
the K award). All others will need to commit a reasonable percentage of effort to the pilot project (generally 5-10%). This will be cost-sharing supported by either the
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or the University of Pennsylvania (presumably from start-up funds).

Application Information (in the following order):

1. Please provide a title page that includes the title of the project, name and academic title of the Principal Investigator, date of faculty appointment, and contact

2. Provide an abstract for the project (no more than 250 words) that clearly describes the overall project.

3. NIH Biosketch (current format), including past, present, and pending grant support.

4. Research Activities. Please provide a list of projects underway—even if they are supported by internal sources—with brief summaries (1-2 sentences each) for each

5. Research Plan, including specific aims, significance/innovation, and experimental approach. We recommend one page for specific aims, 1/2 page for significance, 1/2
page for innovation, and three pages for experimental approach (note the total length cannot exceed five pages - excluding literature cited).

Please Note: The Center supports core activities, including Clinical Translational Core, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core, Analytical Neurochemistry Core, Neuroimaging and Neurocircuitry Core, and Preclinical Models Core. For descriptions of services and contact information, please contact Kristen Pidgeon (pidgeonk@email.chop.edu) or visit our website: http://iddrc.research.chop.edu/. Applicants are encouraged to describe how usage of these cores will facilitate the goals of the pilot project. Also, please articulate a plan for securing external continued support for the program.

6. A letter of nomination from the Department Chair or Division Chief that describes the applicant’s qualifications for the award and the institutional commitment to the
candidate. This letter should include an explicit statement that effort for the project will be supported by institutional funds, if needed. This letter can be sent separately
to Kristen Pidgeon (pidgeonk@email.chop.edu) or included in the application packet.

7. A budget and brief budget justification. Please keep in mind the eligibility criteria—salary support cannot be included. 5-10% of effort will be expected.

Application or Funding Questions

If there are questions regarding the application process, please contact Kristen Pidgeon (pidgeonk@email.chop.edu or 215-590-3728).

Applications (assembled as a single PDF) are due Monday, March 13, 2017 to: Kristen Pidgeon, Research Program Manager - pidgeonk@email.chop.edu

Applicants selected for support will be notified as soon as possible. Anticipated start date for funding is July 1, 2017.

Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders

Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program

Application Due Date: February 24, 2017

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 Friday, February 24, 2017 with a planned start date of July 1, 2017 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, Histology) you would use (core use is required for pilot funding). Please 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 24, 2017 at 5pm. 

Please contact Lou Soslowsky at soslowsk@upenn.edu or 215-898-8653 with any questions or comments.