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Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program

The application period for the 2016 Pilot Studies Program awards is now open:

Important dates:

  • August 24, 2015, 8:30AM: Online Information Session (sign up via
  • Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 4:00PM (sign up via
  • September 25, 2015, 5:00PM: Deadline to submit an online Letter of Intent.
  • October 7, 2015: Application available.
  • November 6, 2015, 5:00PM: Final application due.
  • January 15, 2016: Awards announcement.
  • February 19, 2016: Regulatory submission deadline.
  • May 1, 2016: Pilot projects begin

Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program - Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program?

Our Pilot Studies Program seeks proposals for innovative, high impact, translational science projects with a focus on building interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams including investigators from the basic, clinical, and/or applied sciences. The Program performs active outreach to generate the strongest pool of proposals possible via broad communication to all Tufts CTSI partners and through methodological study design support, identification of collaborators, and regulatory guidance. Over 50% of all awards over the last five years were awarded to bench-to-bedside applicants, providing a full translational program.

  • What awards are granted?

Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) impact health by promoting research that translates basic biomedical research from bench to bedside (T1), from bedside to practice (T2), and that impacts generally available medical care and public health measures and policy (T3 and T4). Tufts CTSI cultivates collaboration and innovation by offering education and training, research expertise, and financial support to investigators.

Translation, as defined by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), is the process of turning observations in the laboratory, clinic, and community into interventions that improve the health of individuals and the public - from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral changes. To learn more about translational science, please click here.

Tufts CTSI is committed to support researchers in the development of new translational research methods. In addition, Tufts CTSI leverages its strengths and 39 partner institutions to support translational research in its Signature Program research areas including:

Funding for the 2016 Pilot Studies Program will prioritize Methods Development and the Signature Program research areas.

  • Who is eligible to apply? 

Eligible applicants include members of Tufts CTSI’s 39 partner institutions, which span 12 Tufts University schools and centers, 10 affiliated hospitals, three academic partners outside of Tufts, nine community organizations, and five industry and nonprofit organizations. Proposals must designate a Primary Principal Investigator (PI) with a primary appointment or position at a Tufts CTSI academic, medical, or non-profit research partner institution. Secondary PIs and other team members included in a proposal must hold positions at a Tufts CTSI partner institution. Each budgeted key personnel member of the research team must have an eRA Commons Username to meet federal reporting guidelines at the time of award.

  • What is an Interdisciplinary Research Team?

The NIH Roadmap states that interdisciplinary research "integrates the analytical strengths of two or more often disparate scientific disciplines to create a new hybrid discipline. By engaging seemingly unrelated disciplines, traditional gaps in terminology, approach, and methodology might be gradually eliminated." Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSAs) impact health by promoting research that translates insights from basic biomedical research from bench to bedside (T1), from bedside to practice (T2), and impact generally available medical care and public health measures and policy (T3 and T4). In order to do this effectively, team members ideally should be from distinct disciplines, departments, and Tufts-affiliated organizations. Proposals by multiple investigators from a single discipline will not be considered.

  • What are the different types of funding levels?

Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program awards will be made to individuals or teams from Tufts CTSI’s 39 partner institutions for up to $30,000 per award and include direct costs only. In order to stimulate collaboration, Tufts CTSI will also consider multi-site applications including Principal Investigators (PIs) from up to three Tufts CTSI partner institutions with an incremental budget allocation up to $15,000 per additional site (e.g., a two-site pilot could request a total budget of up to $45,000 and three-site pilot could request a total budget of up to $60,000) and include direct costs only.

  • What constitutes a multi-site project?

Applicants seeking funding for multi-site research projects must include PIs with primary appointments or positions from at least two, but no more than three, Tufts CTSI academic, medical, or non-profit research partner institutions. For a list of eligible sites, please refer to the Request for Applications. Multi-site proposals including PIs with a secondary appointment at a participating institution will not be considered.

Each site included in the proposal must designate a Primary PI responsible for managing communication of the overall project and may also include secondary PIs or other team members at each site. Members of multi-site research teams must meet all Tufts CTSI Pilot Award eligibility requirements.

  • How can I find out about projects that were previously funded?

To view the abstracts for all prior Pilot Studies Program awardees, click on the links on the left side of this page. 

  • If I previously received a Tufts CTSI pilot studies grant, can I apply again?

If you received a prior award from Tufts CTSI, you may apply again to obtain funding only for a new research project. However, you will not be considered for additional funding for a project previously supported through the program. If have received two Tufts CTSI pilot awards you are not eligible to apply for another award until five years from the end date of your last award. For example, an investigator who received a second pilot award that ended in 2015 is not eligible to apply again until 2020.

  • Where can I find the application and other information?

If you submit a Letter of Intent, a link to the applications and instructions will be emailed to you.

  • Can I apply simultaneously for a KL2 award and a Pilot Studies Program grant?

A single PI can submit both a KL2 and a pilot application, and these will be reviewed and independently scored by separate review committees. Please note, however, an investigator cannot be awarded a simultaneous KL2 award and Pilot Studies Program funding as the PI or lead. If an investigator has a KL2 award, he or she may serve as a co-investigator of another Pilot Studies Program application. This pilot study must be a different research project than that proposed for the KL2. Please note, Tufts CTSI is not soliciting KL2 applications at this time.