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Information about Pilot Grants

Project types

Applications should address basic or translational questions relevant to joint biology and/or mechanisms or treatment of rheumatic/joint diseases. Applications for clinical trials will not be accepted.


All MARC members are eligible to apply for MARC Pilot Project Grants. MARC members must have the equivalent of a faculty or instructor appointment at one of the MARC-participating institutions (UCSD, SBPMDI, LJI, or TSRI) and have at least one proposed or active project focused on joint biology or pathology. Those grant applicants who are not MARC members but are eligible for membership must have applied for membership prior to the pre-application deadline.

Non-faculty members of MARC-participating institutions who are eligible to apply for NIH grants (e.g. Project Scientists), by the policy of their home institution, will be allowed to apply for MARC Pilot Project Grants, provided they include letters of support from both their institution and from an established MARC member with their application. New investigators (as defined by the NIH) are strongly encouraged to apply. Previous awardees are not eligible to reapply. Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible. Medical fellows should send an inquiry to to discuss eligibility. Only one pilot proposal may be submitted by a Principal Investigator per cycle.

Funding levels and matching funds

New investigators: $25,000-$50,000 for 1 year, depending on the application's score

                    *Please note, the amount budgeted for in the application is the maximum amount that can be given.

Established investigators: up to $25,000 for 1 year

Matching funds: In some cases, applicants may be eligible for a second year of matched funding from their home department or institution if sufficient progress is achieved in the first year and the home institution/department is willing to participate in matching the funds. Availability of matching funds varies between departments and institutions. Please e-mail the MARC coordinator to inquire about the availability of and eligibility for second year matching funds.

Vouchers: Projects may additionally request MARC vouchers to pay for MARC Core services (ranging from $1,000-$5,000). Please see the MARC website for further details.

Investigators have one full year to spend the funds. All funds not spent by the end date of the Pilot Project award will be returned to the MARC. No extensions can be granted.