Overview

Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program seeks proposals for innovative, high impact, translational science projects across the T1-T4 spectrum with a focus on building interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams including investigators from the basic, clinical, and/or applied sciences. Successful pilot studies projects should address a translational research question that provides generalizable insights to advance translational science so that new treatments and cures for diseases can be delivered to patients faster.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to focus on one of our Signature Program areas, integrating special populations, and/or the development of new translational research methods across the T1-T4 spectrum.

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 populations – from diagnostics and therapeutics to medical procedures and behavioral interventions.

The application period for the 2018 Pilot Studies Program awards will be announced soon.

Who is eligible?

In order to be eligible for Pilot Studies grants, the primary Principal Investigator (PI) must have a primary appointment or position at a Tufts CTSI academic, medical, or non-profit research partner institution. Collaborators who are not affiliated with a Tufts CTSI partner institution can be included in proposed research teams, but will not be considered a site for a multi-site proposal.

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 of the program 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. To learn more about translational science, please click here. Tufts CTSI is committed to support researchers in the development of new translational research methods. Tufts CTSI leverages its strengths and 39 partner institutions to support translational research projects in the following areas:

    • Comparative Effectiveness Research: comparing the benefits and harms of alternative interventions including improving health care delivery to prevent, diagnose, monitor, or treat a clinical condition.
    • Methods Development: procedures, techniques, and tools for approaching and solving translational research questions, problems, or barriers. New translational methods should be generalizable and broadly applicable and allow researchers to:
      • Overcome roadblocks that impede the conduct of clinical and translational research
      • Expedite translation of biomedical discoveries into interventions
      • Improve efficiency and quality across the translational research spectrum.
    • One Health: leveraging the synergies of diseases shared by people and animals, as well as the benefits of human-animal interactions, to advance collaborative and interdisciplinary solutions for important medical issues.
    • Stakeholder and Community Engagement: promoting and identifying effective approaches to involve stakeholders and community members in research across the translational spectrum, including identifying research needs and priorities, hypothesis development, study design, study implementation, data analysis, and/or results dissemination.
    • Integrating Special Populations: addressing health disparities or translational research gaps in understanding the health of children, elders, minority or underserved populations including racial, ethnic, or gender differences as well as differences in socio-economic status or in a rural vs. urban environment, and other populations such as pregnant women, survivors of formerly fatal childhood diseases, people with particular disabilities, and “hard-to-reach” groups that are often impacted by health disparities.

Funding for the Pilot Studies Program will prioritize these areas.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
    Eligible applicants include members of Tufts CTSI’s 39 partner institutions. 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. Collaborators who are not affiliated with a Tufts CTSI partner institution can be included in proposed research teams, but will not be considered a site for a multi-site proposal. At the time of award, each budgeted key personnel member of the research team must have an eRA Commons Username (and be eligible to receive NIH funding) to meet federal reporting guidelines. We strongly encourage all applicants to request a consultation (in-person or virtual) for more information about responding to the Pilot Studies Program’s priority research areas.
  • Does Tufts CTSI fund basic research?
    No. Basic research, pre-translational research is not part of the translational spectrum and focuses on identifying opportunities and potential approaches to health problems and includes a broad range of preclinical approaches employing animal models of human disease, human blood or cell lines, computational models, human physiological studies and non-interventional, correlational epidemiologic studies. Basic research yields knowledge about biological, social, and behavioral mechanisms and presentations of human disease.
  • How does Tufts CTSI define translational research?
    For Tufts CTSI’s definition of each of the phases of translational research, and how they relate to the Pilot Studies Program, please review our What is Translational Science? web page.
  • 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. Each site included in the proposal must designate a Primary PI responsible for managing communication of the overall project and may also include key personnel or other team members at each site. Members of multi-site research teams must meet all Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program eligibility requirements.
  • How can I find out about projects that were previously funded?
    View the project titles and team members for all prior Pilot Studies Program awardees.
  • 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.