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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.

University of Pennsylvania Institute on Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Core Center Pilot Study Announcement

Application date date:  February 6, 2015

The University of Pennsylvania Institute on Aging (IOA) and Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center (ADCC) will fund up to six (6) one-year multidisciplinary pilot grants in the 2015-2016 academic year to support biomedical, epidemiological, behavioral or health services research, as well as basic science, clinical or psychosocial research. Two of the pilots, funded by Penn’s ADCC, will focus on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related neurodegenerative disorders as well as healthy brain aging. The remaining pilots, supported by funding from the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn (PSOM) to the IOA, will focus on aging and aging-related diseases as well as healthy aging.

Applicants may consider using data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center. More information can be found at their website: https://www.alz.washington.edu/.

The Principal Investigator (PI) for each of these pilots must be a member of the University of Pennsylvania fulltime faculty from any of its 12 schools. Collaboration with other departments or schools is strongly encouraged. In addition, applicants who want to be considered for the Penn ADCC pilots must ensure that the PI for the pilot commits some effort to the project.

Each pilot will be funded at a level of up to $50,000/year for personnel and supply costs, but not tuition costs, student dissertation research, equipment or instruments. The purpose of these one-year, non-renewable grants is to assist faculty in obtaining preliminary data to serve as the basis of a grant application to the NIH or other public or private agencies concerned with aging  and aging related neurodegenerative disorders.

A committee of IOA and ADCC members will review all proposals. Funding depends on scientific merit, and the likelihood that the pilots will lead to independent funding to continue the research beyond the pilot studies. Priority will be given to:

• Faculty in the early stages of their career who seek to enter research fields on aging or AD and related neurodegenerative disorders

• Senior faculty who intend to shift their research emphasis towards aging or AD and related disorders

Application Process:

Applications will be considered for all pilot grant award programs, for which they are eligible, as described in this announcement, and they should be formatted in the style of a NIH PHS 398 application. However, a title page should be substituted for the NIH face page. Application items #5 and #6 below should be limited to 2 pages (exclusive of title page with abstract, budget, biosketches, other support, letters of collaboration, literature cited, etc. as in PHS 398). Animal and/or IRB protocols may be pending.

Organization of the application:

1) Title Page with Abstract (one page; not the NIH face page) showing the title of grant, name of PI, affiliation, address, telephone numbers and email address, as well as an abstract of the proposed project using language that an educated lay audience can understand

2) Budget (costs for personnel and supplies, but no tuition costs, equipment or instruments)

3) Biosketch

4) Other Support

5) Specific Aims

6) Research Strategy (Significance, Innovation, Approach)

7) Human Subjects (if applicable and protocol may be pending)

8) Vertebrate Animals Sections (if applicable and protocol may be pending)

9) Consultants (if applicable)

10) Consortium Contractual Arrangements (if applicable)

11) Literature Cited

12) Certification of Patient Oriented Research (if applicable)

It is obligatory that Pilot Awardees provide a final report at the end of the pilot year. Financial reports will also be required and Awardees must be responsive to subsequent requests for updates on publications and subsequent grants stemming from their Pilot as this information helps ensure the continuation of this program. In addition, IOA Pilot Awardees must present their pilot data at an IOA Retreat.

For more information, contact Kathryn Jedrziewski, IOA Deputy Director, at (215) 898-2445 or e-mail: jedrzmk@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Applications Due: February 6, 2015; anticipated date of award: July 1, 2015.

Submit one hardcopy original and an electronic PDF file (via email) to: Kathryn Jedrziewski, Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania, 3615 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, jedrzmk@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Note: If anyone encounters difficulties with the email submission, please contact Kathryn Jedrziewski at the number listed above prior to the due date.

March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania Pilot Projects

Application Due Date:  February 13, 2015

Focused Award in Preterm Birth Research:
This one year award is open to any member of the faculty in the 12 professional schools at the University of Pennsylvania or Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with a relevant preterm birth science question. The project must be related to microbiome research as related to spontaneous preterm birth. The research being proposed cannot be funded by an external funding agency nor can it be a clinical trial. Preference will be given to first-time applicants and senior faculty who wish to embrace preterm birth research as a new direction. Applications that support collaborative research that may be used to gather pilot-data for a multi-investigator award are actively encouraged. Applicants can request up to $125,000. Only one award will be made. Awards are renewable for one year.

Applications must be submitted in a single PDF for internal review by Friday, February 13 to helfrick@upenn.edu.

Complete applications must include the following:
1. Title of Application
2. Personnel information, name, position, title, and contact information
3. NIH Biosketch
4. List of Current and Pending grant support
5. An abstract (no more than 300 words)
6. A statement to indicate how this project would lead to extramural funding (not more than 1 page)
7. Specific aims (not more than 1 page)
8. Significance, which must state relevance to spontaneous preterm birth
9. Methods (including statistical power and analysis)
Items 7 to 9 should not exceed 4 pages
10. References
11. Budget - Items that can be requested include salary support, supplies, core costs, and equipment. Travel is not allowed.

All applications will be reviewed by a MOD PRC committee and senior leadership. Funding will have a start date of April 1, 2015. For an award to be made,  all IACUC and IRB protocols must be in place.

Penn Center for AIDS Research (CFAR)

Application Due Date:  March 30, 2015

The Penn Center for AIDS Research (Penn CFAR) invites Pilot Grant applications in HIV/AIDS clinical care, pathogenesis, virology, immunology, structural biology, vaccine development, epidemiology, or prevention research.  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. 

Awards are up to $40,000 for each grant. Grants are for a one-year period. 

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 broad focus spanning basic, clinical, behavioral)
  •  HIV and Substance Use
  • Strategies targeting HIV Eradication, HIV Reservoirs and Residual Inflammation

Award Types: 

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

 Instructor and Research Associate level

A one-page mentorship plan with a mentor at the assistant professor level or above is required.  Guidelines for the Mentorship Plan are available through the CFAR Web Site:


General Pilot Awards: Faculty members

Post-graduate degree with an appointment equivalent to a staff scientist or assistant professor (or above) in any track at the University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, or The Wistar Institute.

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 strongly encouraged.


  • Young investigators (Instructor/Research Associate) who have not received independent funding in HIV/AIDS and are poised to begin an independent project (Mentored Research Scholar award)
  • 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

Application Deadline:  Monday, March 30, 2015

Cover page/instructions may be found at


Note: should include a brief section that describes how this pilot project will lead to future independent funding.

Important info:

Pre-Submission Pilot Workshop:    

A Pre-Application Workshop will be offered to help with the preparation of their pilot grant application.  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 Evelyn Olivieri, oliviere@mail.med.upenn.edu.

Pre-Submission Pilot Workshop:   

Friday, January 30, 2015

1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

253 Biomedical Research Bldg, 421 Curie Boulevard 19104

 International Applications:  specific requirements apply

For further information or questions please contact:

Pablo Tebas, M.D.   (Director, CFAR Developmental Core)


 Luis J. Montaner, D.V.M., M.Sc., D.Phil.   (Co-Director, CFAR Developmental Core)


 Evelyn Olivieri   (Associate Director, Penn CFAR)


Penn Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders

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

The Penn Mental Health AIDS Research Center (PMHARC) Developmental Awards Program
Application deadline:  March 1, 2015                                                                                            

The PMHARC seeks applications for its pilot research program.  This competitive program will select up to six projects with clear potential to lead to larger, funded research initiatives.   All applications will be evaluated for scientific merit, programmatic relevance, utilization of PMHARC Core services and feasibility for completion within one year.   The PMHARC will support a broad range of research topics related to the treatment of individuals with serious mental illness and HIV infection.  Priority will be given to applications that are responsive to the research priorities of the PMHARC (http://www.med.upenn.edu/pmharc).   Applications must pair an established investigator with an early career investigator.  Research strategies may include small feasibility trials and secondary analysis of large data sets.  Potential areas of research include:

•    Treatment of psychiatric disorders among people living with HIV infection who have co-occurring medical conditions—metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers, HCV, TB, substance use disorders (alcohol and illicit drugs)
•    Novel, as well as conventional, treatments and/or interventions of psychiatric conditions to improve access to, and retention in, HIV treatment and improved adherence to antiretroviral medications
•    Adaptations of evidence based psychiatric treatment to the unique needs of HIV patient populations
•    Research that links the effective treatment of mental illness among people with HIV infection to improvements in biological measures of health status
•    Research focused on the treatment of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND)
•    Studies of interaction effects between psychiatric  and antiretroviral medications

Funding amount:  $25,000 plus support from PMHARC Cores.  Funds may be used for personnel (including up to 10% of salary for senior investigator), supplies and/or equipment.  

Core Utilization:  Full use of appropriate PMHARC Core services is strongly encouraged and will be viewed as responsive to this announcement.  Details can be found at: http://www.med.upenn.edu/pmharc/cores.shtml

PMHARC Core Assessments and Repository:  All studies involving human subjects will be expected to utilize a core battery of clinical and lab assessments which, for most projects, will be completed by the Clinical Assessment Core and the Laboratory Biomarkers Core.   All subjects will be offered participation in the PMHARC data and specimen repository.

Eligibility:  All projects must be led by a member of the Penn Faculty, including Instructors.  Post Docs and Senior Fellows at Penn are also eligible with a faculty sponsor.

A pre-application meeting will be held on Thursday, January 29th at 12:00 p.m. in room 640 at 3535 Market Street.  This will be an opportunity to meet the Core directors and learn about Core services for pilot projects.  Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to attend.

Applications and Instructions:  Forms and application details can be found at: http://www.med.upenn.edu/pmharc .  
Page limit:  Five pages not including the literature cited, budget, budget justifications, and biosketch in NIH format.

Please include the attached cover page and budget page with each application, and submit as a single PDF file attachment to: Chelsea Voytek, MPH at chelseav@mail.med.upenn.edu and David Gettes at dgettes@mail.med.upenn.edu.  For further information, please contact Dave Metzger, PhD, Director of Developmental Core at dsm@mail.med.upenn.edu .


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