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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:

BASSER RESEARCH CENTER FOR BRCA External Research Grant Program Announcement

Letter of Intent Due:  March 30, 2015
Application Due Date:  May 11, 2015

The Basser Research Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center announces the Basser External Research Grant Program, which focuses on projects that have the potential to advance the care of individuals living with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Research grant applications in basic science, prevention, early detection, or targeted therapeutics and relevant to the study of BRCA1/2 will be considered. Grants that demonstrate a potential for translation into clinical practice will be prioritized for funding.

Funding Level: Basser Innovation Award. Three $100,000, one-year, high-risk idea projects will be awarded.

The deadline for mandatory Letters of Intent is Monday, March 30, 2015.

The deadline for full applications is 5:00PM EST on Monday, May 11, 2015.

FOR INFORMATION go to: http://www.penncancer.org/research/investigators-only/funding-opportunities/basser-external-research-grant-program/

CONTACT: Cecilia Scavelli; Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania; Phone: 215-349-8387; Email: cecilia2@upenn.edu


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.

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

Application Due Date: April 16, 2015

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.  Way to Health is an integrated research platform that integrates information from wireless technologies, communications tools, and other applications to allow investigators to test ways of improving health behaviors and helping people keep on track to better health. Please see the attached document for more information.

The proposals are due by April 16, 2015 for a proposal start date of June 1, 2015

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

Please note that the linked PDF document contains all of the documents required for submission via our Pilot Grants system.

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.

 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 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 Program in Chronobiology

Application Due Date:  March 31, 2015

The Penn Chronobiology program invites applications for pilot awards in the general area of circadian biology. Virtually all physiological processes demonstrate ~24 hour rhythmicity on some level, but little is known about these rhythms, the nature and extent of their control by endogenous circadian clocks and their importance for human health.   We seek to fund research that will provide novel insight into circadian physiology and behavior, on basic or translational levels.  We are particularly interested in investigators who would be new to the field, in other words those who do not currently work on circadian rhythms.

Faculty and staff (e.g., Senior Research Investigators) are welcome to apply by March 31st.  Proposals should be no longer than two pages and should be accompanied by the biosketch of the lead investigator(s), a budget of no more than 30K and a budget justification.   Funding will be for one year and cannot be used towards faculty salaries.  

Applications should be emailed to Dr. Sam Zheng (zhengx@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