Pilot for Established Investigators in Basic and Clinical/Translational Sciences

Project Award Amount $30,000

    • $37,500 if funded by the Cancer Center-Cancer Center Support Grant (CC-CCSG) Developmental Funds or the Cancer Center-Mount Zion Health Funds (CC-MZHF)
    • $25,000 if funded by the Core Center for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine (CCMBM) Pilot/Feasibility Program

These pilot projects are intended to support a wide range of biomedical research, including fundamental basic science, clinical/translational science, health policy and social science, and population science.

Pilot projects are for one year and not renewable. (Some funding agencies allow for no-cost extensions. This will be clarified in the Award Letter.) Pilot research should collect data for publications and to acquire successful subsequent funding by other mechanisms. All funding agencies require progress reports if an award is received. The number and timing of those reports varies between the agencies. Detailed information about this will appear in the respective funding agencies' Award Letter.


Who's Eligible:
Faculty at the Associate Professor level or higher in all series (including adjunct and professional research series) can apply.

To be funded by the Cancer Center-CCSG Developmental Funds, applicants must be Cancer Center Members or Associate MembersIf the proposal has multiple PIs, both PI1 and PI2 need to meet the eligibility criteria listed above for this grant mechanism.


For grants funded by the Core Center for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine (CCMBM), applicants must be Full members of the center. Instructions for becoming a member can be found at http://www.ucsf-mskp30.org/#!becoming-a-member-/c1799. In addition, established investigators should explicitly indicate how the proposed work:

  • Tests the feasibility of a new or innovative idea related to osteoporosis and/or osteoarthritis representing a clear and distinct departure from their ongoing research; or
  • Addresses a problem in the area of osteoporosis and/or osteoarthritis, and that the PI is new to the musculoskeletal field.

In the body of the application please address your membership status and how you fulfill either of these proposal criteria.

Who's Not Eligible: Specialists are not eligible.

More on individual funding agencies:

  1. Cancer Center-CCSG Developmental Funds (funded by the NCI P30 award) provides seed funding to encourage innovative cancer-related research in a wide range of research areas, including basic science, clinical and translational science, health policy and social science, and population sciences. Priority is given to translational science and to areas that are generally under-represented, such as population sciences. This program supports novel cancer research initiatives which are not currently funded by research grants and which may ultimately lead to new ways of preventing, detecting or treating cancer. Emphasis is placed on innovative projects, and applicants must be a Cancer Center Member or Associate Member. Training costs and routine equipment purchases are not allowable. International Subcontracts are allowable on CCSG funds, with specific requirements regarding foreign components and if the foreign subcontractor is from industries (see Detailed Budget section below).
  2. Cancer Center-MZHF (funded by the Mt. Zion Health Fund) provides seed funding to encourage clinical and clinical translational scientists, especially those at the beginning of their research career or established investigators wishing to embark on a new area of study, to initiate promising new projects in cancer research that may enable them to compete successfully for federal research grants. Targeted areas are innovative pilot, phase I/II therapeutic studies and other projects in clinical, health policy, health services, psychosocial and behavioral research that have direct application to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Pre-clinical or laboratory correlative studies that demonstrate a direct path to the clinic will also be considered. The proposed project must be a Mt. Zion-based activity; or led primarily by Mt. Zion-based personnel; or use a Mt. Zion-based resource; or that will especially benefit Mt. Zion constituents (e.g., patients, families, faculty, staff, and/or trainees). Applicants must be physician-scientists and a Cancer Center member or be sponsored by a Cancer Center member. Investigators who are proposing basic science and population research projects are eligible for funding through the Academic Senate, REAC, and CTSI-SOS.
  3. The CCMBM Pilot/Feasibility grants are intended for projects that are translational in nature and related to osteoporosis and/or osteoarthritis. The CCMBM consists of 3 Research Cores (Imaging, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and Skeletal Biology). You must use a portion of your funds in, at least, one of the cores although use in more than one core is encouraged. For more information on our Cores and the CCMBM in general, please see our web site at ucsf-mskp30.org.

Criteria for Review/Evaluation of Applications
Projects will be evaluated based on the quality of the proposed scientific investigation, the potential of the proposal to lead to a fully funded independent research grant, and the quality and potential of the applicant and the research team. Consideration will also be given to documented need for the funds based on review of investigator's bio-sketch and other relevant information.


STEP 1) Complete the electronic application form 
STEP 2) Upload your proposal PDF


Instructions for Proposal PDF

Please write your proposal following the instructions listed below and create one single PDF file

Proposal Length: Maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding table of contents and literature cited.

Format Requirements:  Arial font; 11 pt; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices; include page numbers and table of contents.

Definition: same research topic with an amended application or research plan rather than a new research topic and new research plan.
Requirements: Please use up to one extra page to introduce your revised proposal, addressing the issues raised in the review, and any additional changes to your proposal. A new letter from the Chair is not required if the resubmission is within 2 cycles (one skipped cycle max). You will include the old letter and state your resubmission is within 2 cycles and new letter is not required. Make sure the new changes are highlighted in bold or italic font so the reviewers can easily see where and how the proposal has changed. Do not use track changes.

1. P.I. Name(s) - Optionally, you may apply with two PIs. If funded, PI1 will be the primary contact for the award set up and management. If the proposal has multiple PIs, both PI1 and PI2 need to meet the eligibility criteria listed for this grant mechanism.

2. Project Title

3. Proposal (maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)

    • Aims
    • Background and Significance
    • Preliminary studies
    • Experimental Design and Methods (include time-table)
    • Explain how this pilot project is important for your career goals (e.g., lead to major funding, etc.
    • Literature cited (not included in page limit)

4. Detailed Budget:

    • $30,000 maximum per proposal 
    • $37,500 if funded by the CC-CCSG or CC-MZHF
    • $25,000 if funded by the CCMBM

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period": http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/phs398.html    Add the network recharge rates to your budget.



Not Allowable

PI Salary *



Post Doc Salary



Administrative Support












Personal Computers












Research Staff Support (e.g. RSA; Lab. Technician)



Patient Care



International Subcontracts**

(CC-CCSG only) 


Indirect costs on Subcontracts



*NIH base salary cap. Fully justify all requests. Generally PI partial salary support should not exceed 10% of the budget, anything over 10% must be well justified. Multiple PIs can decide how to distribute that 10% salary support among them (e.g., 5%/5% or 6%/4%).

** If CCSG resources are used in partnership with industrial resources, the Cancer Center must assure that applicable federal law governs the public availability of any final products of the research. In addition, NIH must track all pilot projects in this category that include foreign components and, if necessary, State Department clearance must be obtained prior to implementation. Cancer Center staff will act as the liaison between the Centers and the NIH Fogarty International Center, which is responsible for coordinating all clearances.

Notes on specific funding programs:

Cancer Center-CCSG Developmental Funds cannot support training costs and routine equipment purchases. International Subcontracts are allowable on CCSG funds, with specific requirements regarding foreign components and if the foreign subcontractor is from industries (see Detailed Budget section above).

CCMBM cannot fund any international projects or expenses. In the budget, please also outline how much money you will be spending in each CCMBM core. In addition, before the CCMBM can release funds, NIH/NIAMS requires a review of the application to ensure all relevant human and animal welfare protocols are approved and in place. Consequently, proof of relevant training for all PIs and Co-Is (if applicable) and IACUC and IRB approvals letters (if applicable) need to be provided for timely release of project funds.

5. Budget Justification: Clearly and fully justify all costs.

6. NIH Bio-sketch of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigator(s) (5 page maximum). Use form http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/424/SF424R-R_biosketchsample_VerC.docx  with other support pages. Include active, pending, and planned proposals. Include percent effort, total direct costs (current year) and potential overlap with the current proposal. Include bio-sketch for both PIs of a multi-PI application.

7. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from the department chair or other unit head. In addition, for junior investigators, department chairs/unit heads should comment on the independence of the applicant and availability of research space and other resources for the proposed research. Include the letter of support at the end of your PDF proposal and address it to the RAP Committee. If there are multiple (two) PIs, a letter of support is required for both PIs. If PIs are in the same department, the chair can vouch for both PIs in a single letter.  VIEW SAMPLE