The Tufts CTSI Pilot Studies Program seeks proposals for innovative, high impact, translational science projects across the T .5-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 disease can be delivered to patients faster.
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 or collaborator. Applicant research teams may also include collaborators who are not affiliated with a Tufts CTSI partner/collaborator, but they cannot be considered as a funded 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 the pre-translational phase (T .5), to bench to bedside (the first translational step, T1), from bedside to practice (T2), and into widespread practice and impact on public 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; the benefits of human-animal interactions; and the relationship between humans, animals, and the environment 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: addresses health disparities or translational research gaps involving: 1) children, 2) elders, 3) minority or underserved populations (e.g., differences in racial, ethnic, gender, or socio-economic status); 4) people living in rural vs. urban environment; 5) pregnant women; 6) survivors of childhood diseases that are transitioning to adult care; 7) people with disabilities; and 8) “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 partners and collaborators. 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 (earlier than T.5) is not part of the translational spectrum and focuses on gaining greater knowledge and understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of biology, disease, or behavior. Basic research identifies opportunities and potential approaches to health problems and includes a broad range of approaches employing animal models of human disease, research in tissue culture cell lines, computational models, human physiological studies, and non-interventional, correlational epidemiologic studies. Basic research yields knowledge about basic 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 partners and collaborators 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 two or more Tufts CTSI partner institutions with an incremental budget allocation up to $15,000 per additional site up to a maximum award of $60,000 (e.g., pilot proposals including two sites could request a total budget of up to $45,000 and pilot proposals including three or more sites 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 two or more Tufts CTSI academic, medical, or non-profit research partners and collaborators (PLEASE NOTE: the schools and centers of Tufts University are considered one site for the purposes of this program. For example, if your project includes Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts University School of Engineering, both schools count as one site, not two). Please also note: Each site included in the proposal must designate a Contact 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.