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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:


Application due date:  February 2, 2015 (5pm EST)

The Sarcoma Program at the Abramson Cancer Center is offering three (3) pilot grants of $50,000 each to Penn investigators to study research areas related to sarcoma.

We would like to stimulate cross-disciplinary interest in identifying new knowledge related to this rare cancer. All types of research questions are encouraged.


PI must be a Penn (Medicine, Vet-Med, etc) or CHOP investigator who is an MD or PhD with a formal faculty appointment. The application can include a stipend for trainees if they are key personnel on the grant.


Project must be directly related to sarcoma

Project can be completed in one year

The research is likely to create a foundation for future independent funding

Preference for multidisciplinary approach


Maximum of 2 page research plan (to include hypothesis, aims, preliminary data, and research design) – Bibliography separate

Budget (<1 page) – no PI salary allowed

Biosketch/Other Support for Key Personnel

No indirect funds are allowed

Appropriate IRB/IACUC approval is required before the start of project

Funding is for one year (anticipated July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016)

A progress report will be required within 30 days of the end of funding


Send application to:

Kristy Weber, MD - Director – Sarcoma Program, Abramson Cancer Center

Email kristy.weber@uphs.upenn.edu or call 215-349-82

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.

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.

Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorder

Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program

Application Due Date:  February 27, 2015

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 27, 2015 with a planned start date of July 1, 2015 and we are expecting to award 3 new grants in this round.

Potential applicants are encouraged to send me 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 4 Research Cores (Molecular Profiling, Biomechanics, Imaging, Histology) you would use (core use is required for pilot funding). I would appreciate receiving this e-mail asap, so I can advise and guide you 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

• Categories of applicants include: 1) Established investigators with a proposal to test the feasibility of a new or innovative idea in musculoskeletal tissue injury and repair representing a clear and distinct departure from their ongoing research, 2) Established investigators with no previous work in musculoskeletal tissue injury and repair interested in testing the applicability of their expertise on a problem in this area, and 3) New investigators without significant extramural grant support as a Principal Investigator to develop a new project.

• Pilot and Feasibility Grants must use at least one of the Center's Research Cores.

• Pilot project awardees are eligible for one year, with a second year to be considered. The second year of funding, the dollar amount of which would only be for up to half the year one budget, will be considered based on the progress report submitted after the first year of funding and funding availability in the Center. Please note that second year funding will most often not be awarded, and when awarded, will be done so primarily to new investigators; second year funding to senior investigators will be quite rare.

• Budgets will be for $25-50,000 per year and timelines should be for one or two years.

• It is expected that these Pilot grants will lead to funding through other independent, extramural mechanisms. Therefore, the likelihood of future extramural funding will enter into the evaluation of these proposals explicitly.


• Applications should be formatted loosely in the style of an NIH R03 grant (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-12-045.html).  The main body of the application (Specific Aims through Approach: sections 4-7 below) should be no more than 5 pages total. The format is:

1) Cover Page (not NIH face page) with grant title, PI name, affiliation, contact information

2) Budget and brief budget justification (note that equipment is not allowed)

3) NIH Biosketch of PI

4) Specific Aims

5) Significance

6) Innovation

7) Approach

8) Brief Statement of Category of Investigator per guidelines above

9) Brief Statement of How this Funding will lead to other Extramural Funding

10) Human Subjects and/or Vertebrate Animals Subjects (if applicable)

11) Consultants (if applicable)

12) Literature Cited

13) Certification of Patient Oriented Research (if applicable)

The completed application should be submitted as a single PDF file to pcmd@mail.med.upenn.edu by February 27, 2015 at 5pm.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.

Penn Genome Frontiers Institute (PGFI)

The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute provides support to PENN researchers in several ways, including providing funding opportunities for faculty and graduate students.

PGFI has funded research in strategic areas of the genome sciences. These pilot grants provide the means to pursue innovative, and often risky, ideas to the point that the investigators are able to apply for conventional funding mechanisms. Typically grants are awarded for one to two years, for up to $120,000.

For more information, please visit the PGFI website.

Penn Global and the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives:  The Global Engagement Fund

Appliation Due Date:  February 2, 2015

Penn Global and the Office of the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives welcome proposals for funding from the Global Engagement Fund, a competitive grant program that seeds creative, cross-disciplinary projects that will further Penn’s global initiatives. It is designed to offer maximum flexibility to support faculty initiatives that enhance Penn’s global engagement. 

Goals of the fund include:

Goal 1:   Promoting collaboration across Schools and disciplines;

Goal 2:   Engaging countries or regions of the world that Penn Global has identified as strategic areas for increased engagement and/or that focuses on one of the thematic areas listed in the Global Engagement Fund Guidelines and

Goal 3:   Catalyzing entrepreneurial research and engagements in a global context. Specifically, Penn Global seeks to increase global activity and to promote research and engagement on the part of Penn faculty around the world.

Grants are awarded in amounts up to $25,000 and all Penn faculty and senior administrators are eligible to apply. In the past, the Global Engagement Fund’s awardees have hosted high-profile cross-School conferences on global topics, conducted interdisciplinary global research and hosted distinguished international scholars.

All additional information, including Global Engagement Fund Guidelines, the full Call for Proposals and Application Forms can be found at http://global.upenn.edu/gef


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.

Please visit www.upenn.edu/rwjhssp for more information and further details.

For additional information please contact:

Melissa Kulynych
Program Coordinator