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Pilot Proposals are now being solicited for the following types of pilot awards:

  • Pilot Clinical Studies—Patient-oriented studies designed to test novel hypotheses, therapeutic targets, or diagnostic agents. Projects could include multidisciplinary interactions and use of biomarker or imaging endpoints. Studies to improve access to state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for traditionally underserved populations are also appropriate. Additionally, projects that improve clinical design, biostatistics, ethics, informatics, or regulatory pathways vis-à-vis translational research are sought. Additional consideration is given to awards that include a basic scientist as a co-investigator. Up to $25,000 per award. (Pilot Clinical Studies)
  • Pilot Translational Studies—Pre-clinical studies designed to validate a therapeutic target that uses in vivo or in vitro models. These projects require a clinical researcher to serve as co-PI to assure disease relevance.  Up to $25,000 per award. (Pilot Translational Studies)
  • Pilot Innovative Technology Projects—Projects that develop new technology to assess disease susceptibility, pathogenesis, or severity that could potentially be applicable to clinical research. A particular focus on biomarker or imaging modalities is anticipated. Additional consideration is given to projects that include a clinical researcher to serve as co-investigator to assure disease relevance. Up to $50,000 per award. (Innovative Technology Grants)
  • Community Research Planning Grant grants—A pilot clinical research grant for community-based physicians or agencies without significant previous experience to plan a new research project. These awards will require a senior UCSD faculty co-investigator to help mentor the new community investigators. The grants can be used for “in-kind” services, such as consultation with the DBE group, Translational Research Technology (TRT) core services, and Biomedical Informatics. Up to $5,000 per award. (Community Grants)


  • Priority will be given to junior full time faculty proposing collaborative projects. Previous awardees are not eligible to reapply for one year.
  • UCSD PIs must have a fulltime faculty appointment. Post Doctoral Fellows and Project Scientists are not eligible.
  • PIs can not be co-investigators on other pilot proposals.
  • Full Professors are NOT eligible to be principle investigators unless they are entering a new line of research. Full professors are eligible to be co-investigators if it is clear that they are in a mentor role and the research is that of the junior faculty member.
  • Proposals will be accepted from investigators at UCSD, Rady Children’s Hospital, SDSU, LIAI, Salk, Sanford Burnham, and J. Craig Venter Institute, eligible to be principal investigators under the policies of their respective organizations.


  • The deadline for receipt of initial proposals is Feb 15, 2011.
  • Start date will be by May 1, 2011.  ALL PROJECTS MUST BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 31, 2012.  
  • At this time requested documents are only to include:
    • the pilot Application Form
    • a 500-word abstract in Arial 11 (abstracts longer than 500 words will NOT be reviewed). The abstract should state the project title, principal and co-investigator(s), significance of the research, specific aims, hypothesis and summary methodology, including a statistical plan.
    • NIH-style Biosketch for each investigator, including current grant support (make additional copies if needed)
    • A Proposed budget.
    • Email completed application packet to Lee Cohen
  •  Preliminary data are not required; the emphasis is on innovation, not past results.

 The review will be conducted by a panel of internal and external scientists working in translational research. The review priorities include: 1) significance of the research and its translational relevance; 2) scientific quality; 3) feasibility; 4) probability that the work will yield important new information, technology or service; 5) qualifications of the principal investigator and collaborators.

Investigators receiving a high score on their abstract will be invited to submit an expanded 5-page proposal which will be due on March 15, 2011. Final selection will be based on the second application.

The application and instructions are available at Here. Please apply through the program component most closely aligned with the proposal; i.e., Clinical Studies, Translational Studies, Innovative Technology or Community Seed Grants.  Questions should be addressed to Dr. Sonia Ancoli-Israel at


Form (please download in Word or PDF format)

Application Form—Includes pilot application, abstract and biosketch


Please save your document with your name in the file name before attaching/submitting

Click HERE to email your application to Lee Cohen: Remember to attach the completed forms.

 Application Deadline: February 15, 2011