These awards provide up to $50,000 for a period of one year to support the collection of pilot data for an upcoming grant submission or a project representing a new research direction that is currently unfunded for an investigator. Examples include the use of new experimental techniques and/or a project in a field the PI has not published in previously. Funding of the pilot must greatly increase the ability of the investigator to obtain external funding.

Applicant Eligibility

  • All investigators with a primary faculty appointment in DOM are eligible.
  • All scientist track/research staff in DOM with PI status eligibility and an independent research program separate from their mentor are eligible.
  • An individual may receive only one pilot award as a PI in the last three years.
  • All investigators must be eligible to submit an R01 as a PI at the start of the grant period.
  • Applications are welcomed from basic, clinical, health services, and translational investigators.
  • The Research Executive Committee and Study Section follow the NIH proposal model where an initial application and one resubmission are allowed for funding consideration. Previously submitted but unfunded proposals found to have merit may be revised and resubmitted one time.
  • A no-cost extension (second year) is possible with demonstrated productivity. Such continuation requests need to be carefully justified and will be considered as a competing renewal application (see below). Support for a second year is not allowed if the applicant has received external funding for the same project.

Proposal Requirements

See “Proposal Document FAQs” below for more information

Proposals should consist of the following (in order):

  • NIH-style Biographical sketch for all PIs and Co-Is (5 page max for each)
  • List of all grants applied for in the last 3 years by each PI and status of each grant
  • Budget (use the linked template)
  • Budget justification
  • Revision summary, if a revised proposal (1 page max)
  • Eligibility justification, if scientist track (1 page max)
  • Specific Aims (1 page max) and Research plan (5 page max)
  • References cited
  • Project milestones and future funding plans (1 page max with a Gantt chart describing the timeline to external proposal submission)
  • Letter from PI’s Division Chief confirming protected time for PI to conduct the research, and provision of matching/support funds, if applicable

Review Criteria

Awards recommendations will be based on an NIH-style review conducted by the Study Sections Sub-Committee and/or ad hoc review panelists, with a major focus on the Overall Impact, Significance, Innovation and Approach sections. Applicants are encouraged to suggest reviewers with content expertise to assist with this process.

Proposal Document FAQs

Revision Summary (1-Page Limit)

Investigators resubmitting a proposal already reviewed by this DOM program should include a response to the previous reviews, a list of revisions made in response to the previous reviews, and detail where in the proposal these changes can be found. 

Eligibility Justification (1-Page Limit)

Investigators in the scientist track should include an outline of pathway to independence and a detailed description of how the research plan is different from that of their current PI/Mentor.

Specific Aims (1-Page Limit)

Applicants should briefly describe the aims they will use to test their hypothesis. Aims should be related but not dependent upon each other (i.e., a failure or unexpected results of one aim will not prevent the completion of another). 

Research Plan (5-Page Limit)

This section should conform to the standard NIH style, including significance, innovation, and research approach sections. Research goals/hypotheses/specific aims should be clearly stated in the significance section. The research plan should be written at a general neuroscientist or behavioral science level. Use one-inch margins and no less than 11-point font. 

Project Milestones and Future Funding Plans (1-Page Limit)

A timeline for completing project milestones should be provided. A timeline and Gantt chart describing plans for obtaining external funding are required. 

Summary Report (1-Page Limit for Each Pilot Grant Report)

PIs who have been awarded DOM pilot program funding in the past should provide a brief summary report for each grant. Details should include the date of award, the budget period, the project milestones/future funding plans as stated in the funded grant, and progress made to date toward these milestones.